The Best Time of Year to Go to Italy

Whether youre visiting in a sizzling July or frostbitten December, Italy is a vibrant land of festivities and architecture
Whether you're visiting in a sizzling July or frostbitten December, Italy is a vibrant land of festivities and architecture | © Boris Stroujko / Alamy Stock Photo
Maria Pasquale

There is never a bad time to visit Italy. It has something to offer all through the year, from active city jaunts to relaxing trips to the beach or countryside. Here’s our month-by-month guide to visiting this scenic, culture-rich country.

Keen to visit Italy but not sure where to go? Take your pick from Culture Trip’s specially curated 10-day Northern Italy trip or our action-packed 10-day Sicily adventure.

January

As the coldest month of the year in Italy, January is the perfect time to look for bargains on flights and accommodation. However, prices tend to skyrocket in the winter resorts, where the increased snowfall makes it the optimum time for a visit. For the best skiing opportunities, head to the Dolomites in the north or the Appenines in Abruzzo and central Italy.

Average rainfall days (Rome): 7

February

February is Carnival time. To experience Carnival in Italy means a trip to Venice. During the weeks leading up to Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), the streets are vibrant with colour and masks. Additional celebrations take place throughout the country, with famous festivities in Arcireale and Viareggio, as well as Ivrea, where the annual Battle of the Oranges marks the beginning of Lent.

Average temperature (Rome): 9°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 6

March

The age-old Italian saying, “Marzo pazzerello guarda il sole e prendi l’ombrello,” (“Crazy March, look at the sun and take an umbrella”) gives an idea of the weather to expect this month. As the temperatures begin to rise (although usually still too cool for the beach), the country starts to come out of hibernation. This makes March the ideal time for city breaks, with indoor museums a popular choice on rainy days.

Average temperature (Rome): 12°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 7

April

Easter is a major celebration in Italy. In the focal point of Rome, the Pope undertakes the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday, as well as his traditional Mass on Easter Sunday. Almost every town organises parades and processions, often in historical costume. Florence holds the annual Scoppio del Carro, where a cart filled with fireworks explodes in front of the Duomo and a spectacular parade marches through the city.

Average temperature (Rome): 14°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 9

May

May strikes the perfect temperature balance in Italy. But, as the month’s sandwiched between Easter and summer, there are still a few bargains to be found. This is especially true in the coastal resorts, where the high season just begins to get underway. The Giro d’Italia (the annual Italian bike race) travels across the country for a three-week period. There are also several unique festivals, such as the stunning Flower Festival in Noto, Sicily, and the Corsa dei Ceri (Race of the Candles) in the picturesque town of Umbria, a celebration which has taken place every year since 1160.

Average temperature (Rome): 21°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 7

June

The Italian tourist season hits peaks in June, as the sights and attractions start to get hot and crowded. You can escape the heat with a trip to the unspoilt beaches of the south, or into the cool, tranquil hills of the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside. Florence holds an annual tournament called Calcio Storico: an early form of football dating back to the 16th century. Meanwhile, Venice is overrun with boats, canoes and kayaks as it celebrates the Vogalonga, a 30km (19mi) race through the canals.

Average temperature (Rome): 23°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 4

July

The summer brings a plethora of cultural events to all corners of Italy. Classical music fans should travel to Verona, which hosts the Opera Festival in a spectacular ancient arena. The chilled-out Umbrian town of Spoleto is the site of the Festival dei Due Mondi (Two-World Festival), which invites international names in music, dance and theatre for two weeks of concerts and performances. The beautiful town of Siena holds the first of two annual Palio horse races in the central piazza; elsewhere, Venice fills its waters with boats and the sky with fireworks for the Redentore Feast.

Average temperature (Rome): 26°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 3

August

Sweltering temperatures cause most Italians to flock to the beach or mountains during August, when the Feast of the Assumption prompts many businesses to close for the middle two weeks of the month. Those of you who can handle the heat will enjoy fewer crowds in the big cities and lower prices as hotels try to fill empty rooms. Alternatively, follow the Italians to the beaches of Puglia, Calabria, Sardinia and Sicily to soak up the sun and scenery.

Average temperature (Rome): 24°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 0

September

The heat begins to subside in September, making it among the most pleasant, if increasingly busy, times of year to visit Italy. The Lido of Venice welcomes international movie stars for a Film Festival at the beginning of the month, and also holds the awe-inspiring Regata Storica (Historical Rowing Regatta). Naples hosts an annual blow-out for the local patron saint, the Festa di San Gennaro, with religious ceremonies and parades throughout the city. Florence holds the Festa della Rificolona, which sees the night sky illuminated with thousands of paper lanterns.

Average temperature (Rome): 22°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 6

October

October gives you an autumnal bite in the air as the coastal resorts start shutting up shop, making it a great time to enjoy sightseeing and activities in the major cities of Rome, Florence and Venice. Truffle lovers should head to Alba, where the annual Festa dei Tartufi takes place throughout October and November, while those of you with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss the chocolate festival in the pretty town of Perugia.

Average temperature (Rome): 18°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 8

November

November marks the drop into low season, as the damp, cooler weather sends Italians scurrying back inside. If the weather isn’t a deal-breaker, this month offers plenty of empty museums and deserted cultural sites. Alternatively, visit Tuscany to sample the new oils from the olive harvest, or squeeze in a trip to San Miniato near Pisa for the truffle fair.

Average temperature (Rome): 13°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 8

December

Early December is quiet, but people begin to flock to Italy to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays starting in the middle of the month. A variety of German-style Christmas markets are held across the north of the country, including some of the best in Pordenone, Trentino and Bolzano, as well as versions in the larger cities of Florence and Verona. Milan holds Oh Bej! Oh Bej!, a fantastic Christmas fair dedicated to St Ambrose. Rome is the focus at Christmas time, with the Pope’s Christmas Eve Mass drawing in the crowds. New Year celebrations, or Capodanno, are marked by parties, concerts and fireworks throughout the peninsula.

Average temperature (Rome): 10°C

Average rainfall days (Rome): 9

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