How to choose the best time to visit Italy

best time to go to italy

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Italy is a beautiful country, with incredible landscapes, history and culture. From warm Mediterranean waters, rolling vineyards, and jagged mountain slopes, to gorgeous cities and delicious food. Each region varies not only in terrain and culture but also by climate. So when is the best time to travel to Italy for your trip? We’re here to answer that question.

For most travelers looking for sunny, warm days and minimal crowds the best time to visit Italy is late May or early October. These months are cooler and less busy than the hot summer months that lie between them. At these times you can explore the north and south, cities, coast and mountains in comfort.

However, depending on destination, your schedule and travel interests, this may not be the best time for your trip. We’ve broken this article down by season, month, activity, and place, so you can understand the ideal time to carry out your specific itinerary. If you’re wondering when to visit Italy, you’ve come to the right place.

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The Best Season to Visit Italy

Italy enjoys the classic four seasons, each of which has its own merits and downfalls.

It is important to note that temperatures and conditions vary greatly by region. While it might be searingly hot in the south in summer, you can find cooler temperatures and fresh mountain breezes in the north.

This section will give you an overview of the best time of year to visit Italy.

Spring in Italy

spring - best time to visit sicily

Spring (March – May) is a fantastic time to go to Italy for most travel interests and destinations. It makes up part of the shoulder season, lying just before the busy peak season.

The weather in spring is mostly mild and pleasant, and crowds tend to be thinner than in the summer months.  In particular, spring is a great time to visit the south before temperatures soar. Sicily is particularly beautiful, mild, and quiet during Spring. Wild flowers are in full bloom and many small towns enjoy unique Easter festivities.

Spring is a gorgeous time of year to visit, and you can generally find good deals on flights, accommodation, and tours when compared to peak season.

March, April, May weather stats by region
MARCHAPRILMAY
North - Venice, Milan, Turin, Dolomites
Avg temperature °C
2-135-1610-21
Avg temperature °F
35-5540-6050-70
Rainfall mm617473
Central - Rome, Florence, Tuscany
Avg temperature °C
7-1610-1813-21
Avg temperature °F
45-6050-6555-70
Rainfall mm706246
South - Naples, Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily
Avg temperature °C
10-1613-1816-24
Avg temperature °F
50-6055-6560-75
Rainfall mm766844

Summer in Italy

summer months in italy

Summer (June – August) is peak season in Italy. Peak season, particularly the months of July and August (and even extending into the first two weeks of September), is generally considered a very busy and expensive time to visit Italy’s cities and major tourist areas like the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. The tourist crowds are at their maximum, prices are sky high, and the heat can be unbearable (especially in the cities).

That being said, while the areas surrounded by mountains and lakes can get busy during summer (particularly in August), the weather is milder up north. This makes early summer a pleasant time to visit the Dolomites or the lakes.

Or if you’re a beach lover, take advantage of the warm conditions and explore some of the lesser known regions in the south like Calabria or Puglia where sea temperatures are ideal and it is not as busy.

June, July, August weather stats by region
JUNEJULYAUGUST
North - Venice, Milan, Turin, Dolomites
Avg temperature °C
13-2718-3018-30
Avg temperature °F
55-8065-8565-85
Rainfall mm786377
Central - Rome, Florence, Tuscany
Avg temperature °C
16-2718-3221-32
Avg temperature °F
60-8065-9070-90
Rainfall mm351733
South - Naples, Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily
Avg temperature °C
21-3024-3226-32
Avg temperature °F
70-8575-9080-90
Rainfall mm292137

Fall (Autumn) in italy

best time of year to visit italy

Fall (September – November) also makes up part of the shoulder season and is arguably the best time of year to travel to Italy. It lies just after the busy peak season and carries many of the same benefits as spring, with thinner crowds and pleasant weather.

Fall is when the harvest takes place in Italy, as the countryside bursts into color and Italians around the country celebrate their incredible food and wines with vibrant festivals. Tuscany, Le Marche, and Piedmont are great places to experience the harvest and truffle festivities.

Much of Italy, particularly the north, does get cold toward the end of fall, so late September and October are better bets for nice weather. November is the start of the off-season.

September, October, November weather stats by region
SEPTEMBEROCTOBERNOVEMBER
North - Venice, Milan, Turin, Dolomites
Avg temperature °C
13-247-182-10
Avg temperature °F
55-7545-6535-50
Rainfall mm697793
Central - Rome, Florence, Tuscany
Avg temperature °C
18-2713-217-16
Avg temperature °F
65-8055-7045-60
Rainfall mm73103114
South - Naples, Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily
Avg temperature °C
21-2718-2413-18
Avg temperature °F
70-8065-7555-65
Rainfall mm71112141

Winter in Italy

visiting italy in winter

Winter (December – February) is considered off-season in Italy. The streets are quiet as the flow of tourists slows with the falling temperatures.

This can result in reduced prices on flights and accommodation. In addition, indoor attractions such as the Vatican Museums, Uffizi Gallery and other tourist hotspots are much quieter and more pleasant to visit during winter. You can take your time wandering galleries and appreciate the art at your own pace.

Of course, this is not the case in ski resorts, which are mostly found in the Dolomites, the Val d’Aosta, and Savoy Alps to the west of Turin. Winter in Italy is fantastic for skiing and snowboarding, but the ski resorts do get crowded so book early.

Winters in Italian cities are quite mild and low temperatures generally stay above freezing. Snow rarely falls and settles in the urban areas except in Turin in the north

December, January, February weather stats by region
DECEMBERJANUARYFEBRUARY
North - Venice, Milan, Turin, Dolomites
Avg temperature °C
-4-5-4-5-4-5
Avg temperature °F
25-4525-4525-45
Rainfall mm634953
Central - Rome, Florence, Tuscany
Avg temperature °C
5-135-135-13
Avg temperature °F
40-5540-5540-55
Rainfall mm967970
South - Naples, Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily
Avg temperature °C
13-1610-1610-6
Avg temperature °F
55-6050-6050-60
Rainfall mm11110084

BEST MONTH TO VISIT ITALY

best time of year to go to italy

There really is no bad time to visit Italy but here’s a breakdown of each month of the year, so you can get a more detailed understanding of when to visit.

January and February

January and February are cold but tend to be mostly quiet and affordable. January can be busy during the holiday period at the beginning of the month. Expect trains to be crowded as people travel home for the holidays. This is a great time for winter sports.

Best for: skiing and snowboarding, visiting museums and galleries

March and April

Although it is generally still a little chilly throughout Italy, crowds are reasonably sparse and there are decent deals.

Do note however that Easter is an important religious holiday in Italy, and whilst it is a time of vibrant celebration, it’s best to be mindful that the holiday also brings crowds, and results in closures. Make sure to check the Vatican and Colosseum websites for opening times if you plan to visit them.

Best for: general sightseeing at the top attractions without the crowds

best time to visit tuscany

May

Prime shoulder season, May is arguably the best month to travel to Italy, with warm and pleasant weather. Ferry routes start to open and there are

Watch out for the period around May 1st when there is a holiday for most countries in Europe. Many people enjoy time off and travel to Italy for mini breaks around this time, pushing prices up and availability down. There are also closures of restaurants and attractions at this time.

Best for: multi-city and region trips where you are covering north, central and southern regions

June

The first half of June is also generally considered shoulder season and is a great time to visit. It can be a little crowded, but the weather is at its prime.

The second half of June is less favorable as it gets even busier, temperatures creep up and the cities start to get stifling hot. At this time, head to the Tuscan hills or lesser known regions like Puglia and Calabria to enjoy la dolce vita without the crowds.

Best for: family beach vacations and exploring off the beaten path

when is the best time to go to italy

July

July is generally the hottest month across most of Italy. It’s the height of summer and peak-season, meaning prices are high.

The main cities and tourist hot spots in Italy are at their busiest, with hordes of tourists flooding the country from Europe and beyond. The temperatures soar, which can be unpleasant, particularly in the cities where air-conditioning are not as common as you might expect. Humidity and mosquitoes can also become an issue.

Best for: exploring lesser known regions such as Le Marche and Lombardy, off the main tourist routes

August

Many people will tell you to avoid August in Italy. This is the typical summer holiday month for countries across Europe and people flock to Italian resorts for their annual dose of summer sun.

Italians also head for the sea and mountains on long holidays in order to escape the heat of the cities. The busiest time is around August 15th – the Ferragosto holiday. At this time resorts in the mountains, countryside and by the sea are extremely busy.

On the other hand, cities are generally quieter and less expensive although the heat can be unbearable. You may find some store and restaurant closures in the major cities, weird opening hours, and slow public transport..

August does, however, bring warm sea waters, and temperatures in the north can be tolerable.

Best for: city sightseeing for those who can stand the heat and a busy beach adventure

weather in italy in august - great for positano beach

September

Early September is often similar to August, although temperatures do start to cool. This is a very busy time for visitors from the United States as well as retirees from within Europe who can avoid the school holiday restrictions. Expect long lines at the major attractions. The best ticket slots at the Colosseum sell out months in advance for September visits.

The second half of September is back to shoulder season and starts to become a more appealing time for a visit to the major cities and tourist areas. At this time the balance is right between warm sunny days and cooler nights.

Best for: catching the last of the summer sun and warmer sea temperatures on the coast

October

October is shoulder season and welcomes comfortable cooler temperatures. Crowds start to thin, and prices start to drop. We love visiting in October as you can enjoy sunny days and watching the trees and foliage change color.

Grape harvesting in the wine regions is in full swing. And it is at this time that many food festivals known as sagre take place celebrating local produce like truffles. The regions of Tuscany, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria are particularly lovely at this time.

Best for: food and wine lovers

best time to go to rome - christmas

November

November tends to be one of the most affordable months to visit, though it can be pretty cold as temperatures drop dramatically. It is also a quiet time of year, with few tourists.

This is the wettest month in Rome and Venice and a great month to spend indoors but you wont regret taking brisk walks and munching on warm roasted chestnuts from the street vendors.

Best for: cultural adventures in the big cities

December

December is usually one of the coldest months, and although the first half is quiet, it gets busy around the Christmas holidays. Though there are fewer daylight hours, the streets come alive with Christmas market stalls and lights. Wandering through the streets of Rome building up an appetite and ducking into a cosy trattoria is very appealing at this time of year.

Hotel and travel prices also increase around the holiday times as Italians increase their travel to visit family and friends across the country.

Thanks to man made powder, even if there has not been snow fall the ski resorts are open and ready for action in December.

Best for: festive cheer and skiing

Best Time to Travel to Italy’s Popular Cities

best time of year to visit rome

Shoulder season is the best time to visit the majority of Italy’s cities. However, there are some variations based on the specific nature of each city. We’ll discuss the best time to visit Rome, Florence, and Venice.

If your city of choice isn’t mentioned below, it’s generally safest to visit during shoulder season for the best experience, and low-season for the best price.

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Italy, it’s generally best to avoid the weekend crowds where possible. Attractions tend to be a lot busier over the weekends as tourists flock in for an end-of-week break.

Best Time to Visit Rome

best time to go to rome

The best time to visit Rome is in April and May, and between late September and early November. Rome is an extremely popular city, so you’ll still face big crowds, but it’ll be less busy than in peak season. The weather is more mild and comfortable than in the peak season as well.

July and August are swelteringly hot and extremely busy, so avoid these months if you find crowds and heat uncomfortable. Note that the Vatican Museums are not air-conditioned (except for the Sistine Chapel) and there is limited shade at the Colosseum. If you are visiting during these months, plan your activities for the morning or evening and relax during the heat of the midday sun.

If you want to take part in the Easter festivities, including the Good Friday and Palm Sunday services at the Vatican, this is a great time to visit Rome. However do note that there are closures during this time so plan accordingly.

As usual, winter is the best time to go if you want to avoid crowds and save some money.

Many museums and attractions in Rome are busy on the weekends and the Vatican Museums are closed on most Sundays, so the best time of the week to visit Rome throughout the year is between Tuesday and Friday.

READ: Our guide to the best tours of the Vatican

Best Time to Go to Venice, Italy

best time to visit venice

Shoulder season is also ideal in Venice. The lagoon city gets extremely crowded during peak season, which can be overwhelming. Winter months are quieter, but the poor weather conditions can dampen the experience.

April to May, and September to late October are your best bets. Early May is our favorite time to visit, as the winter cold is replaced with pleasant warmth, sunny skies, and fewer tourists than peak season.

Fall (especially October) is also great although it can get chilly around this time of year, the streets are particularly empty. Just be aware of the Acqua Alta (high water), which can cause some flooding of the Venetian streets, usually between late October and early December.

Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival) is one of the biggest celebrations in the country and is particularly vibrant in Venice. The festivities including balls and concerts take place in February and early March.

The weekends during this period are particularly busy, and the celebration is when Venice is at it’s most expensive. If you’re not interested in partaking in the festivities, it’s best to avoid these dates.

Best Time to visit Florence, Italy

best time to go to florence

Florence is best experienced between May and September, despite these months being the busiest of the year. The mild but warm and pleasant weather of late spring and early fall sets a stunning scene, that will live up to your Italian fantasies.

Note that summers are hot however and choosing a hotel with a pool is a good idea so you can cool off after a day of sightseeing.

If you prefer to avoid the crowds and want to find a good deal, you should aim to visit Florence during the low-season. You’ll be able to save money on flights, accommodation, and tours. This is also a great time to visit the city’s museums. In winter you can wander around the Uffizi Gallery for hours in relative solitude.

It will, however, come at the cost of cold and wet weather, which can detract from the city’s quaint charm.

Best Time to Go to Italy for your travel style

The best time to visit Italy will vary greatly depending on what you want to do while you’re there. Whether you’re after a wine-filled countryside adventure, a snowy ski holiday, a sunny beach vacation, or a Roman sightseeing experience, will influence the ideal time to visit.

Best Time to Visit Italy Beaches and coast

best time to visit amalfi coast

If you love the sun and sea water the best time to visit Italy’s beaches is between May and October. These months bring warm, sunny weather and temperate waters to popular beach destinations such as the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Calabria, and the Italian Riviera.

This is also when the ferries are running, so you’ll have more options for transportation. By the end of October, most of the ferry services switch to the winter schedule.

Many Italians head to the beach in August, and they’re joined by hordes of visitors from across Europe. At this time the beaches are packed and chaotic, and accommodation expensive.

We think that a better time to visit is around late May and early June, or the second half of September and early October. At this time you can enjoy sunny days and a more relaxed atmosphere. Some of the beach clubs may not be open but the restaurants and cafes are.

If you are traveling in between late June and mid September make sure to book accommodations early (around 6 – 9 months in advance) to secure the best and most popular properties.

Best Time to Visit the lakes and Mountains

lake como - weather in italy in october

The Italian Alps offer a diverse range of experiences throughout the various seasons. In the warmer months (May – September) the conditions are ideal for mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, and white water rafting.

Mountain resorts can get pretty busy in August, though, when many Italians take their holidays up in the mountains.

However, in the frigid winter months, the Alpine landscape transforms to the delight of many, as the mountains are draped in a thick blanket of fresh snow. This is when the mountains are at their busiest, as tourists, and locals alike, flock for the ski season.

Ski resorts tend to open in November and close around April. So when is the best time to hit the slopes?

January and early February offer the best snow conditions and relatively quiet slopes, while late February the busiest time. March and April are warmer and pleasant, but the snow conditions tend to be poorer, with the exception of glacier slopes and some high altitude resorts.

Best Time for Sightseeing

when is the best time to travel to italy

Most of Italy’s popular sightseeing attractions are located within its cities. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and visiting monuments so consider these activities when planning your trip.

It’s usually more enticing to visit in the warmer months (shoulder season is ideal) so that walking is more pleasant and comfortable and you have more chance of taking your photos in brilliant sunshine, instead of cloudy grey days. However some people may find walking in high temperatures uncomfortable and we’d certainly recommend avoiding the hottest periods if you are traveling with young children.

There are peak times to avoid and special occasions to consider for each of the major cities – please see the details above.

If you want to explore museums and galleries, then winter should suit you just fine. The smaller crowds can make for a more pleasant experience, and you can certainly save some money.

Best Time for Shopping

The best time for shopping in Italy is during the winter and summer sales. These end of season sales bring great deals on all sorts of retail items.

Winter sales start in early January and run until around the middle of February. Summer sales take place around July and August.

Best Time for Wine LOVERS

best time to go to tuscany

September and October are when the wine harvests occur in Italy, bringing with them vibrant harvest colors and a host of feasts, festivities, and celebrations. It’s an amazing time of year to visit Italy’s wine regions.

However, this is a busy time of year for the winemakers, which means they may have less time to offer wine farm tours and tastings. If you go during harvest season, be sure to book winery tours in advance.

Between March and May is also a fantastic time to visit the wine regions. Spring brings brilliant life and greenery to the rolling hills, and the weather is at its prime. It is also relatively quiet this time of year and will be easier to organize tours and tastings.

Cheapest Time to Travel To Italy

cheapest time to fly to italy

The low season, particularly November, is generally considered to be the most affordable time to go to Italy.

However, the discounted rates can come at the cost of some comfort. November and the other winter months are cold and can be wet, plus you may find some attractions and tour groups reduce their operating hours due to reduced demand.

If you’re planning on sticking to indoor attractions such as museums, theatres, and restaurants, November is a good month for a low-cost vacation.

However, if you want to enjoy the full potential of the country, shoulder season is your best bet. If you plan carefully, it is possible to organize a trip during shoulder season for a similar price to during the winter months.

To get the best value for money, avoid peak season as well as big holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Flying mid-week can also save money on travel costs.

When will you visit Italy?

when to visit italy

There really is no wrong time to visit Italy. This year round destination has treasures to uncover in all seasons. From vibrant and colorful harvest festivities in fall, coastal and mountain adventures in summer to incredible skiing in winter and gorgeous sightseeing weather in spring.

Each visitor to Italy has a different set of objectives and traits, all of which will influence the ideal time for a visit. We hope this guide has given you an idea of the best time to travel to Italy, and whenever you choose to go, we hope you have a wonderful trip.

Buon viaggio!

Planning a trip to Italy?

We love travel in Italy and sharing our knowledge. Come and join our FREE Facebook group with over 10,000 members where you can ask questions about your itinerary, the best places to stay and fun things to do

You might also like to join our regular news updates where we share mini guides, tips, exclusive deals and more - click here to subscribe and we'll send you our 101 Tips for Italy ebook to say grazie!

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