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Peace Arch covered with snow in Milan, Italy | © Paolo Bona/Shutterstock
Peace Arch covered with snow in Milan, Italy | © Paolo Bona/Shutterstock

11 Reasons You Should Visit Italy in the Winter

Picture of Francesca Masotti
Updated: 24 October 2017

Winter is an ideal time to book a visit to Italy. In this season, prices are lower and in the cities there are fewer tourists. Also, Italy has plenty of festivals and events to keep you entertained in winter, from the Christmas festivities, to the superb Venice Carnival.

Enjoy the Colosseum without Crowds

If it’s your first time in Rome, you can’t surely miss its most famous building, the Colosseum. When you travel in the summer months, it can be very difficult to visit this masterpiece of architecture because of endless lines of tourists and hot weather. That’s why a visit in Rome in winter is better just to make sure you don’t miss the most well known amphitheater of the world. Inside and out, the Colosseum on a winter day is relaxing.

Colosseum, Rome | © Michal 11/Shutterstock

Colosseum, Rome | © Michal 11/Shutterstock

Enjoy the Mountains

From north to south, mountain lovers have a wealth of choices in Italy; skiing, alpine skiing, trekking, walking, snowboarding and so on, are all activities that you can do in the more than 400 Italian ski areas throughout the country. Winter sports enthusiasts can be sure that at this time of the year you won’t be bored, from Tre Cime di Lavaredo to Alta Via in the Dolomites, from Valtellina to Monte Bianco, you only have to choose your destination, book an airplane ticket and get ready to experience Italy at its best.

St. Magdalena in front of the Odle dolomites, Italy | © iPics/Shutterstock

St. Magdalena in front of the Odle dolomites, Italy | © iPics/Shutterstock

Take Your Time in Museums

Visiting an Italian museum is one the most extraordinary experiences that you’ll have in your life, but the lines and crowds can be really annoying and can turn your visit into a kind of battle. The best way to enjoy a fantastic museum experience in Italy is to visit its galleries in winter, a season in which the number of visitors reduces considerably. Imagine you are in the Uffizi Museum with no crowds and more staff on hand to help you in case you need extra explanations about artworks. A dream? Not in winter.

Gallery of the Uffizi, Florence, Italy | © DiegoMariottini/Shutterstock

Gallery of the Uffizi, Florence, Italy | © DiegoMariottini/Shutterstock

Head South for Winter Sunny Days

Italy is a country where in winter you can always find mild climate destinations and also sunbathe in the coldest months. Famous destinations like Rome, Naples and Palermo have warmer winter climates compared to other towns, but the best reason is that you can easily visit true hidden gems paying just a few euros, such as Alberobello in Apulia with its fascinating trulli and Matera, which has recently been nominated European Capital of Culture for 2019. Go visit it, before everyone else finds out how beautiful it is.

Matera, Italy | © Vaida Vir/Shutterstock

Matera, Italy | © Vaida Vir/Shutterstock

Visit Christmas Markets

Christmas is one of the best times to come to Italy, at least for Christmas enthusiasts. From north to south, Italy has plenty of street markets where it is possible to find a large number of gifts and handcrafted objects you won’t find in usual shops, and taste some of the most delicious Italian Christmas pastries. We strongly recommend to visit the street markets of the North of Italy, as well as Bolzano and Trento.

Christmas Market in the famous Walther Square in Bolzano, South Tyrol | © pixelaway/Shutterstock

Christmas Market in the famous Walther Square in Bolzano, South Tyrol | © pixelaway/Shutterstock

Enjoy the Winter Comfort Food

After a day of sightseeing, skiing or shopping, there is no better thing to do than enjoy a dinner with excellent Italian food with a good glass of wine and some friends. From polenta to soups, from truffles to mushrooms, from risotto to meat dishes, each part of Italy has its own unique and exquisite winter food. When it’s almost Christmas, remember to try Panettone, a typical Italian sweet bread with raisins and citrus peels, along with a cup of hot chocolate.

Mushroom Risotto | © Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock

Mushroom Risotto | © Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock

Take advantage of superb winter sales

Winter sales start on the first few days of January and finish at the end of February in all of Italy. If you are planning a shopping trip to one of the most famous fashion countries in the world, there is no better season. Prepare yourself to face the crowds and compete with some determined customers, but if you are smart you can buy some of the most expensive brands for lower prices.

Shopping in Milano | © Oscity/Shutterstock

Shopping in Milano | © Oscity/Shutterstock

Visit Nativity Scenes

Christmas is not famous only for its markets and foods, but also for nativity scenes, or Presepi in Italian. Every family makes their own and displays it in the most visible place of the home, but Presepi can be found everywhere in Italy, in churches, squares, shops and other public areas. Another event connected to this old tradition are the Presepi viventi, these enchanting living nativity scenes can be found in many parts of Italy, usually held for several days during Christmas week.

Life-size Nativity scene in Gubbio, Italy | © Claudiovidri/Shutterstock

Life-size Nativity scene in Gubbio, Italy | © Claudiovidri/Shutterstock

Visit Less Busy Wineries

If you are a wine enthusiast and want to taste Italian wines in authentic wineries, winter is a good time to do that. The grape harvest has been done in September and cellars are full of new bottles just waiting to be opened. Another plus is that the owners have more time to dedicate to visitors and to explain information about the wines.

Winery in Tuscany, Italy | © Simona Bottone/Shutterstock

Winery in Tuscany, Italy | © Simona Bottone/Shutterstock

Stay in Dream Hotels and Villas at a Lower Price

Italy is full of fabulous accommodations that in the summer holiday season are too expensive for many travelers. But winter is the perfect time to book a dream hotel room or even a villa for lower prices. Many hotels that are usually overbooked in spring and summer times have a significant number of empty rooms (except in the mountains) and consequently reduce their fares. Take advantage of it!

Elaborate Villa, Italy | © St. Nick/Shutterstock

Elaborate Villa, Italy | © St. Nick/Shutterstock

Carnival of Venice

There is no better way to end your winter than with a party at the Carnival of Venice that takes places every February in the famous Italian city. In Venice, it’s one of the main events of the year and the city is full of crowds, so if you don’t want to miss this festival you should book an hotel in advance. Also, other cities have carnivals during this time of the year, such as Viareggio and Ivrea, to name a few.

Venice Carnival in February | © Luciano Mortula - LGM/Shutterstock

Venice Carnival in February | © Luciano Mortula – LGM/Shutterstock