Post Summary: The best time to visit Italy
If you’re wondering when the best time to visit Italy is you’re in luck as Italy is a cultural wonderland any time of year. Come rain, cloud, or sun, the sight of Pompeii, the Colosseum in Rome, Florence’s amazing cathedrals, or a whole host of other sights, are going to look pretty awesome.
But there are times of the year you may want to avoid. Colder periods, months when it rains more in Italy, and even times when it’s super hot and there’s a ton of tourists – we understand. So, we’ve got you covered with a month-by-month breakdown of the best time to visit Italy, including info about its seasonal festivals, too.
So what are you waiting for? Read on and find out the best time for you to take a trip to Italy.
When is the Best Time To Visit Italy?
Weather in Italy in January
Italy is not warm in January. Rome’s daytime high is 13°C, the nights are around 3°C. Even down south in Sicily, the average temperature is 12°C.
You’ll see cloudy skies and light showers throughout the month. In fact, in January, Rome gets more rainfall than London, UK! There will be far fewer people visiting Rome this time of year, so if you care more about beating the crowds than being a little chilly, it’s a good time of year to schedule a trip.
Further north, it’s colder; in Venice, for example, it’s around 4°C (but it is drier). Sea temperatures around the coast are chilly – 15°C.
However, January is possibly one of the best times to visit Italy if you’re planning on skiing or snowboarding. Just after the Christmas vacation, and before high season, ski resorts, rentals, and even lessons may much better value this time of year.
Weather in February in Italy
Temperatures are still pretty cool in February, especially in the mornings and evenings. Rain is still a consistent feature, but it is drier than January in general.
The north remains chilly – Milan’s average daytime high is 6°C, with nights hovering around 1°C. But the north also tends to get less rain, which is good if you don’t like getting wet. Sicily’s average, on the other hand, is about 9°C.
February boasts around eight hours of daily sunshine, meaning there are not too many cloudy days.
Winter sports are still very much a viable option in February, with this still somewhat of a low season in the Italian Alps.
Weather in March in Italy
Winter definitely begins to feel like a thing of the past when March arrives in Italy. Spring has arrived – kind of, anyway. The average nationwide temperature rises from 9°C to 12°C. But weather-wise, there’s a lot going on.
The weather can be unpredictable with the changing of the seasons. Expect cloudy days, downpours, and sunny days. March definitely is not the time of year to visit the beach (the Mediterranean Sea is only about 14°C at this time of year).
It is, however, the perfect time of year to explore historic cities – minus the heat of summer and the tourist crowds.
Towards the end of the month, there’s less rain, and blue skies prevail!
Weather in April in Italy
Things start to brighten up in April. The winter chill is gone in cities like Rome, where it will be generally fresh and sunny in the daytime. Towards the end of the month, the average high across the country creeps up to around 15°C.
Evenings will still be cold though, even though the sun sets around 8 pm. Wrap up warm.
In mountainous areas, expect more rainfall and cooler temperatures. It’s the mountains, after all.
Flowers start to bloom across the country, which makes everything look a lot nicer and less dreary. Down south in Sicily, daytime temperatures can reach around 18°C, though – like in other areas – nights are still chilly at around 11°C.
And don’t even think about swimming in the sea yet!
Weather in May in Italy
Spring will be in full bloom come May. Even in the cooler north, temperatures are inching towards the realm of ‘warm.’ Venice is around 17°C, Rome in May is about 21°C, while destinations on the Mediterranean Coast hover around 23°C.
Milan is wet during May; it gets around 70mm of rain during the month.
Again, May will be a lovely time of year to visit historical sights, ruins like Pompeii, as well as interesting places like Alberobello (one of the best places to visit in Puglia, southern Italy), with its Trulli – strange, conical-roofed houses. It’s not scorching, but it’s pleasant.
You may, if you’re brave, head to the beach. Hours of sunshine reach a daily average of 12, and the sea temperature is a not-freezing 19°C.
Weather in June in Italy
June feels like spring when it first starts, but by the end of the month, it will definitely feel like summer. Temperatures follow a steady incline from 22°C to an average of 24°C (in Rome, at least). Even Milan hits highs of 28°C in late June, though it’s still rainy.
Sicily is where it really starts to heat up; in the evening, it barely drops below 18°C. You’ll also see around 13 hours of sunshine a day, which can’t be a bad thing when you’re on vacation.
Swimming in the sea is also beginning to feel like a sane pastime; beach days are well and truly on the cards.
Weather in July in Italy
July is the hottest time of year in Italy. This is the scorching summer season, with 14 hours of daily sunshine and temperatures that jump from the mid-20s to the low-30s. Very little rainfalls.
Even Venice, typically colder than other places, sees average temperatures of 23°C – but also experiences more rain than other places, too.
Down south, in Sicily, you can expect averages of 29°C. The Mediterranean Sea reaches bath-like temperatures of 23°C, so you’ll be free to float around in the sea. Punta Prosciutto in Puglia, for example, has some of Italy’s most beautiful beaches.
Beaches are a reliable option because in general, they won’t be as busy as they are during August…
Weather in August in Italy
August is sun, sun, and more sun. Lots of sunny days, sure, but temperatures begin to drop… just a little bit, anyway.
Because of summer vacation, August is prime tourist season. Rome will be packed with people, with daytime temperatures around 27°C. The tables turn a little for Milan, when this northern city sees its temperatures soar to sticky highs of 30°C.
People flock to the beaches. With less rain, cooler temperatures, and sea temperatures of around 26°C, you can see why.
Italy in August is generally a busy time of year to visit. Heading to one of its UNESCO-designated sights, like the Cinque Terre, won’t exactly be a pleasurable experience during this time.
Weather in September in Italy
With fewer tourist crowds but still boasting the remnants of summer warmth, September is a great time to visit Italy. Mountainous areas are cooler, while even Rome’s nighttime temperatures drop to about 15°C (the daytime high is 27°C, however).
Beaches are still a good option; probably a better option than when they’ve been overrun with domestic and international tourists alike. The average sea temperature is 24°C.
But you’d better go to the beach in the first week or so of this month, because by the end of September, the rains set in and the average temperature sinks to about 19°C. Not beach weather, we’d say.
Weather in October in Italy
October arrives, and so does the start of fall. Temperatures are cooler, the sun sets before 7 pm, the sea is colder… There are still six hours of sunshine a day though, and the cooler temperatures make it easier to explore cities – and a much less sweaty experience, too.
The sea is still warm enough for a swim, however, at 22°C, so if you really are a stickler for swimming in the briny blues of the Mediterranean, it’s at least possible.
Generally, though, it feels cooler and fresher. The leaves on the trees start to turn, daylight savings comes into play, and by the end of October, we’re talking sunsets at 5 pm and an average temperature of 15°C (in Rome, anyway).
Weather in November in Italy
Chilly. That’s how we’d describe November. Especially in the mountains. Snow starts to fall this time of year in the Italian Alps. The average temperature across the country is 17°C, but it can be pretty varied from place to place.
Humidity rises to around 75%, coastal areas get a lot of wind, rainfall is on the rise, southern Italy can get into the low-20s temperature-wise, but sunshine hours decrease nationwide, dwindling to nine hours per day.
With the increase in rainfall, there’s the increased chance of getting caught in a shower. You should pack layers, too since nighttime really cools down. Beach season is definitely over, though it’s still a decent time to explore cities.
Weather in December in Italy
Cool, though still drenched in a fair few hours of sunshine, December is the beginning of winter in Italy. The average temperature drops to 13°C nationwide.
The cold weather, and the snows of November, usually mean that the Alps are open for business during December; though being Christmas and all, this is peak season, and you’ll be paying (sometimes) around double what you’d pay in January.
The conditions are perfect for skiing and snowboarding, it’s just whether you want to pay for the privilege of hitting the slopes so near to major holidays.
Night temperatures in cities are around 4°C. You’ll need sweaters and coats.
But honestly, we’ve been to Italy twice in December and while it’s not the best time to visit Italy, it certainly isn’t terrible!
Festivals in Italy – By Season
Festivals in Winter in Italy
Christmas kicks off in Florence with Noel Week. Nativities and family-friendly games abound. In December, people across the country light bonfires and get involved in a lot of feasting to celebrate the Immaculate Conception.
Christmas Day itself is family-oriented, but New Year’s, as it is in many places, is a big, big celebration, with a lot of chances to party the night away.
Then there’s Shrove Tuesday; that’s the start of Carnevale – or Carnival, if that makes things easier for you. This is the pre-Lent festival which, Italy being a Catholic country and all, is a pretty big deal. Expect parades and parties across the board.
In Venice, you’ll find the famous mask-wearing party of the Carnival of Venice. Elsewhere, lesser-known ways to celebrate this time of year include an orange-throwing contest at Ivria.
Festivals in Spring in Italy
Spring is busy with festivals. There’s the charming Festa della Donna (March 8), celebrating women, where men take yellow flowers to the women in their lives. But the main event is Easter week.
Falling either in early April or late March, the week – known as Pasqua – follows solemn traditions before erupting into the festivities of Easter Sunday. This is the day when the Pope gives his Easter message to the thronging crowds in St Mark’s Square, Vatican City. It’s a sight to behold if you’re in town, that’s for sure.
You must catch Calendimaggio, too. Don’t know it? We don’t blame you. This little known festival takes place in the town of Assisi and is a medieval and Renaissance cosplay extravaganza, when local folks compete to see who’s the best at everything from crossbow shooting to singing.
Festivals in Summer in Italy
If you thought Spring had a lot of festivals, think again. Summer is when traditional and modern-day gatherings in open spaces (thank you, warmer weather) collide for a month or two of almost non-stop fun.
The Tuscan Sun Festival, for example, is a week-long fiesta of culture, with art, music, wine, and food attracting people from all over. Exhibitions, concerts, dinners – it’s all here. If you were thinking EDM, stop – this is a classical affair, people.
Also in Tuscany – Florence to be exact – you can see Calcio Storico. Boy oh boy, this pretty brutal tournament is a display of a 16th-century forerunner to soccer. Think teams of 27 players each and being able to punch, kick, and basically assault your opponent to get the ball. Ouch.
For something more rock, pop, and dance-related, the Milan Summer Festival may be the arena music festival you were looking for.
Festivals in Fall in Italy
Fall in Italy begins with a glamorous film festival in Venice. Every September, the historic city plays host to one of the biggest, most glam film festivals in the world. If you’re a film buff, this is when you should be visiting the sinking city.
Being on the water, Venice also holds a Regatta every September, which is pretty cool. Picture a ton of rowing races and you won’t be far wrong.
Elsewhere, in October, there’s a truffle fair. Held in Alba, the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba is a must for foodies. Truffles galore. For more food-based fun, a trip to pretty much anywhere in Tuscany from September to November could yield the treasures of a New Olive Oil Festival.
When is the Best Season to Travel Italy?
High season (June-September)
Like most places in Europe, Italy’s high season runs from June to mid-September. This is when you will find the best sunny weather as noted, but also crowds, crowds, and more crowds. Italy is one of the most sought after destinations in Italy! Especially places like Venice, Florence, and Rome. Days are longer, the weather is HOT, so being near the coast might be appealing. Hotel and car rental prices are at their highest.
Shoulder Season (April-May and October-November)
The weather in Italy is cooler during these months, some would consider it much more comfortable than prime summertime weather Short sleeve shirts and sandals are still completely okay now.
It’s not as busy as the summertime, but you’ll still see lots of travelers lingering about. Prices on accommodation and car rentals will drop during this time. The shoulder season is typically a fantastic time to visit Italy.
Low Season (Late November- early April)
I’ve been to Italy in the winter three times now and it is just magical. Up in the Dolomites it’s truly a winter wonderland and lots of opportunity for skiing and snowboarding.
In Rome, Florence, Venice, and south you likely won’t find any snow, just cool temperatures where a jacket is preferred. Costs are lower during this time and tourism is way down.
Even around Christmas time we never found the streets too busy. A busy like Venice, especially, is at it’s best during the winter.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Italy?
Because Italy can get so incredibly busy (and hot) during peak season I think the shoulder season is the best time to visit the Italy. April, May, Late September, and October will provide pleasant temperatures and fewer people. I was sitting on the beaches of Sicily sunbathing in early October!
When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Italy?
The cheapest time to visit Italy is in the low season, between November and March. The only exception to this would be around Christmas and if you are in the mountains on a ski holiday.
Best Time to Visit Italy for Honeymoon?
The best time to visit Italy for a honeymoon is May, June, and September and October. Spring and Autumn are warm, but not too warm, so it’s great for couples who want to do outdoor activities. Plus you’ll get lower prices than in peak season and far fewer people.
Best Time to Visit Rome or Florence?
Rome and Florence are two Italy hotspots that see an enormous amount of visitors. The best time to visit Rome would be in May, early June, September, and December if the holidays. The best time to visit Florence is the shoulder season and around the Christmas and new years holiday if you want to celebrate Christmas in Europe.
Quick Travel Tips for Italy
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Italian: “Buongiorno” (formal) “Ciao” (informal) and “Grazie”
- Currency: Euro – (EUR) – €
- Visa: Schengen visa. Which is 90 days in Schengen countries visa free for most nationalities. Make sure to check with your embassy to see if this is you or not.
- What to Pack: All depends on the season – Style is key to Italians – Read what to pack for Italy
- Stay Connected: Tim and Vodafone sim cards are cheap and you can pick them up at the airport.
Plan and Pack for Italy
What to wear in Italy is one of the first things to consider once you plan the basics of your first trip to the country. Packing can be simple. Generally, Italians are stylish and we recommend dressing casually that way you’re comfortable when hanging out with locals.
Italy is a stylish place, but it’s also a country that leaves much to be explored on foot and seasons vary. There is a huge difference in style and weather between the different regions in Italy, and nailing down what exactly to throw in your suitcase may be daunting. Some of the best solutions are to keep it simple with clothes and come prepared for a variety of activities and social functions. Staple items in your wardrobe can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits.
Italians are known for being fashionistas and we suggest anyone traveling the country take their style seriously too. So, when we’re in Italy we stand at the espresso bar, don’t order cappuccinos afternoon, and dress to kill.
Book a Tour!
Sometimes it’s nice when others do all the travel planning!
Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend picking up a Lonely Planet to get you through the wireless nights.