When to Visit Italy
As one of the most visited countries in the world, Italy is on the bucket list of just about every traveler, offering something for everyone, from history enthusiasts and foodies to outdoor adventures who can enjoy postcard-perfect beaches, sparkling lakes, and soaring mountains. It’s a place that can be visited year-round, with the best time to go depending on the type of trip you hope to enjoy.
Italy enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and hot dry summers. Any season can be ideal if you plan to explore cities like Florence and Rome, although you might want to consider winter for avoiding the biggest crowds and cheaper accommodation rates. Summer is fabulous for enjoying the Dolomites with opportunities to swim in mountain lakes, and if you want to enjoy world-class skiing, the season typically runs from December through March. Central Italy, including Tuscany is fabulous in the fall, while Southern Italy, including Naples, is popular in the summer for a seaside escape where time is spent on the beaches and swimming in the water – temperatures will be more pleasant in the spring and fall for sightseeing.
Italy is a year-round destination, with something to offer whatever time of year you choose to visit. We’ve put together an overview of climate season-by-season and region-by-region below.
April to May
Spring, particularly April and May, is a “shoulder” season that often brings pleasant temperatures ranging from 57°F to 66°F (14°C to 19°C) in April, climbing into the mid-70s (around 24°C) by late May. While it might be possible to find some discounts, the popularity of Italy makes that relatively rare, although cheaper airfares are likely. In Southern Italy, it will probably feel more like summer, making it possible to enjoy swimming at the beach without the big crowds. While you’ll need sunscreen and sunglasses during the day, evenings can be cool, requiring a light jacket or sweater.
In the cities, you won’t be able to avoid the crowds entirely as Italy is such a popular tourist destination, but it’s unlikely to be as busy as the summer months. In the Italian Alps, you can enjoy hiking through lush, green meadows on trails where there’s no rubbing elbows with others. The mix of warm daytime temperatures and cooler nights here require packing both shorts and jeans, short-sleeve and long-sleeve tops, sweaters, and a jacket.
Good to Know: If you plan your visit around Easter, expect peak season rates and big crowds, especially around the Vatican as it’s one of the busiest times of the year.
Discover Italy in Spring on our example itinerary The Highlights of Italy.
June to August
Summer is Italy’s high season, although in some places the month of August can mean discounted rates as many Italians taking their vacations this time of year. In many destinations, the heat can be intense, particularly in the south of Italy, which is when many will be looking to cool off in the sea. In July and July, much of the country will be crawling with visitors which makes booking accommodation well in advance a must. It will be very warm with the exception of the Dolomites where the average afternoon high might get up to 80°F (25°C) on the valley floors. If you visit now, avoid the biggest crowds by heading to lesser-known areas and small villages, avoiding the large cities like Florence, Venice, and Rome.
Good to Know: Summer is the time for outdoor concerts, plays, and festivals, including the Opera Festival held in Verona’s Roman amphitheatre in July.
September to October
In early fall, Italy often experiences summer-like days with temperatures that can reach into the low 80s 27° to 28°C and rain is rare. As the season progresses, things will start to cool down, especially in northern Italy. October is one of the most popular times to visit with few places crowd-free although the beaches can be enjoyable with few spending their holidays on the sand, and you may even get the occasional warm, summery day. Autumn brings lots of food festivals, making it a perfect time for those who want to take part in authentic experiences while enjoying lots of mouthwatering food and drink. Think chestnuts, fresh-pressed olive oil, truffles, mushrooms, chocolate, and grapes, meaning plenty of wine.
While this season can’t promises the lowest rates or thin crowds, it can be a great compromise between the low and high seasons.
Good to Know: Outside of major tourist areas, museums and other attractions may have shorter hours or be only open on weekends.
See Italy in all it’s glory on our Italy The Grand Tour example itinerary.
November to March
Winter is the low season, except around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and Carnival, which falls in the period before Lent, usually in February. Except in the big cities where business continues as usual, many shops, restaurants, and family-run hotels will be closed. Properties that stay open often provide significant discounts. While you can expect chilly temperatures, rain, and snow in the north, in the south, it’s rather mild with temperatures averaging around 50°F (10°C). Of course, in the mountains, this is peak season as many come to take advantage of the ski resorts. Otherwise, in much of the country you’ll be able to enjoy sightseeing without the crowds.
In north Italy, January is the coldest month, with some areas getting snow while others mostly see fog and rain. Lows can dip to 37°F (3°C) or below, so you’ll need to bring your winter attire, including a warm jacket, gloves, and hat. The south enjoys a Mediterranean winter with cool but not uncomfortably cold temperatures although evenings can be rather brisk, with the mercury falling to the low 40s Fahrenheit, around 5°C.
Good to Know: Winter is a great time for shopping, with Christmas markets offering fine handcrafted gifts and traditional specialties. After the holidays, everything is on sale, making January and February ideal for purchasing those leather goods you’ve been dreaming of.
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