Era ora.

I always thought “era” means “it was”, not “it is”. When is era used vs. e (with accent) for “it is”?

Ciao. Era ora - it was time.

era - third person imperfect of essere (it was)
è - third person present of essere (it is)

Ero stanco - I was tired. Lui era stanco - he was tired.
Lui è stanco - he is tired.

Hope this helps…

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Yes, that’s right. It is a common expression, but I think in English there is a similar one: “It was about time!”

It is often used by itself as an exclamation, or it can be used to suggest support for some new information you learned:

“Era ora che qualcuno ci pensasse”.

If you wish for something to happen, you can use “Sarebbe (anche) ora che…”