Italy is an incredible country and one of the world’s top tourist destinations. It has amazing landscapes, rolling vineyards, gorgeous cities and towns, jagged mountain slopes, rich history, and mouthwatering cuisine. Visitors travel from worldwide to enjoy the country throughout the year. But one aspect that each traveler must determine is the best time to visit Italy.
This post will explore the best time to go to Italy by season so you can understand the right time to visit each region. If you are planning to visit Italy but don’t know when you are in the right place. We’ve been traveling to Italy for almost 25 years and have visited almost every region in almost every month of the year. We’ve been frozen in the winter and sweat it out in Italy in summer.
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When Is The Best Time To Go To Italy
Italy is a massive country with 20 administrative regions divided into 107 provinces. Each area varies not only in cuisine, landscapes, culture, and terrain but also in climate. Therefore, the best time to travel to Italy largely depends on where you intend to visit.
Italy has a typical Mediterranean climate with dry, sunny, and usually hot summers and mild, occasionally rainy winter. However, in such a large country with numerous geographical features, from a coastline stretching over 4,000 miles to high mountains, you’ll find regional climatic differences and micro-climates.
The climate in northern Italy is cooler because of the Alps mountains and the nearby cold countries. On the other hand, southern Italy is hotter because of its proximity to the equator. In Italy in winter, you can ski in the north or stroll along the sea in the south, and on the islands.
The good news is that if you are traveling in search of the best foods in Italy, you can do that in every season!
How To Book Hotels In Italy
In the 20+ years of traveling to Italy, we’ve learned a thing or two about booking a hotel in Italy. We’ve stayed at some stunning hotels like the Westin Excelsior Rome and St. Regis in Florence. And we’ve stayed at some not-so-great hotels mainly around train stations in Italy. Do yourself a favor and avoid hotels near train stations at all costs.
When planning a trip to Italy, we use Booking.com for our accommodations. In addition to booking hotels, we’ve used them for booking apartments for longer stays or booking villas in Italy when we want something special. We’ve even found some charming and less expensive guest houses in Italy on Booking.com.
Traveling To Italy In Spring
Spring is a great time to travel to Italy. The country gets its share of springtime rain, specifically in March and April. But the weather in Italy in spring is beautiful.
Sunny days are plentiful and come with wonderfully relatively warm and pleasant temperatures. In Florence and Rome, temperatures in April tend to range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it heats up in May, and temperatures may rise to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in major towns with little rain.
Spring in Italy is warm enough for you to spot sandals and dresses and cool enough for a comfortable outdoor sightseeing adventure or in museums.
Springtime in Italy is a shoulder season: lower prices and fewer crowds. You’ll find fewer visitors in the country’s cities and top sights than you would in the height of summer. In addition, you will spend less money on tickets and less time waiting for them.
And when you eventually sit at the local cafe to relax and people-watch, you will be watching Italians rather than tourists.
Italian cuisine is seasonal, and certain farm produce grows at certain times of the year. Spring is Roman artichokes season. You will enjoy local artichokes and not imported ones.
Traveling To Italy In Fall And Autumn
Despite the unique charms of each season, the weather in Italy in fall has something special about it. The crowds begin to drop together with the air temperature. Colors start to come out in the countryside along with some of the best farm produce of the season.
The fall season is the best time to visit Italy if you are a foodie and wine lover. The best thing about fall is that little towns and villages from Lombardia to Puglia blossom with festivals.
For centuries, fall in Italy has been the season to harvest and celebrate. This season brings an abundance of sumptuous foods from the rich soils, especially grapes and olives. Some olive orchards and vineyards allow visitors to assist with the harvest.
It is the perfect time for wine, and you will get the opportunity to enjoy the wine straight from the winery. If you plan to visit Umbria and Tuscany, fall is the perfect time to explore the vineyards for wine tasting.
But wine is not the only harvest you get to enjoy; other foods harvested in fall include almonds, white truffles, chestnuts, potatoes, broccoli, and zucchini. This season is also great for tasty Italy snacks including loads of fried snack foods.
Where to go to in Italy in the fall? A great destination everywhere, but especially in Bologna for the truffles or Turin in Piedmont, before it gets cold.
Visiting Italy In Summer
Summers in Italy are the most popular times for tourists. You can see all the sights and engage in all the outdoor activities in your itinerary. The kids are out of school, and visitors are flocking the country. One of our top Italy tips is to try to avoid Italy in the summer if you can.
The weather in Italy in summer is hot and humid nearly everywhere. If you are not used to the heat, you should plan your outdoor activities for early mornings when possible. Floppy hats and sunscreen come in handy for afternoon sightseeing and always remember to stay hydrated.
The Amalfi coast, Sardine, and Sicily are some of the great destinations in the summertime. They offer turquoise waters and beautiful coastlines for you to enjoy. You get to swim, sunbathe, and enjoy different water sports. Despite the ideal weather, Italian beaches are often crowded and expensive in summer.
The hilltop towns of Tuscany and Umbria offer a quintessential summer vacation with a combination of historic architecture, landscapes, and local cuisine. Tuscany has some of the prettiest Italian towns, such as the tower-filled San Gimignano. However, don’t expect to find air conditioning in the small hilltop towns and villages.
Where to go to in Italy in summer? If this is your only option, head north for slightly cooler weather, or try the smaller towns and villages to avoid the crowds of the big cities. Avoid Rome, Venice, and Florence.
Check out our packing guide, where we share our Italy summer packing list.
Winter Travel In Italy
Winter in Italy is fantastic. Though most visitors might avoid the sunny Italian peninsula in winter, Italy is a great destination all year round. The season is packed with festive holidays but with fewer tourists.
If you are planning a winter trip, don’t be afraid, winter is also the best time to visit Italy.
Weather in Italy in winter ranges from relatively mild in the central and south to wet and cold in the north. Naples and Rome are two major Italian cities with the mildest winter climates. You can head to Naples to shop for Christmas or Rome for Vatican City celebrations.
You can enjoy snow up in the mountains too. The country offers top winter sports and skiing destinations from Mount Etna in Sicily to the Dolomites and Alps in northern Italy. The best thing about Italy’s unique geography is that you can head down the coast after skiing the Alps and find warmth even in the middle of the winter.
Winter in Italy lets you enjoy fewer crowds and bargain prices. Though it is lovely, it is off-season in Italian tourism. You can see sights with fewer crowds, and costs are significantly lower.
There are plenty of indoor activities, including romantic dining and exploring churches and museums.
Where to travel in winter in Italy? Southern destinations that are still warm, including Puglia, Naples, and Sicily.
When Is The Worst Time To Travel To Italy
August is the month to avoid Italy. Many travelers visit the country because kids are not in school. Usually, the idea of a holiday is on everyone’s mind.
Then comes August 15, Ferragusto, the traditional Italian holiday that typically runs from August 15 to September 1. In the cities, restaurants and stores close before, during, and after Ferragusto.
This is the time Italian families take their holidays. Through August 15 is the national holiday, some businesses close as early as mid-July, others for a week, two, or even a month.
Though tourist restaurants remain open, you probably plan to taste the authentic local cuisine. Coastal islands and towns will also be available, but they will be crowded. One area that is routinely overwhelmed by tourists in the summer is the Italian Riviera.
When Is The Best Month To Go To Italy
The best time to visit Italy is fall or spring. The weather is fairly warm, and you can enjoy fewer crowds and lower prices. Spring offers seasonal dishes, while fall is harvest season and wine tasting. But our favorite months are May and September, just before or after the summer break.
In the prime shoulder season, May is probably the best month to visit Italy. The weather is warm and pleasant, and ferry routes have begun to open. This month is best for regions and multi-city trips across the northern, central, and southern regions.
September is just after the August Ferragusto holiday. The season is becoming more appealing to tour the major tourist sites and cities. The weather also perfectly balances cooler nights and warm sunny days.
Italy is a large country with numerous regions that attract visitors all year round. However, the best time to visit Italy will depend on where you want to go. This Italy travel guide will assist you in planning your Italian Trip.
Culinary Travel To Italy
Our Italy Travel Experience
Check out Food & Drink Destinations original founder Amber Hoffman’s book, the Food Traveler’s Guide To Emilia Romagna, which is available on Amazon. In addition to being a culinary travel guide to the region, it walks through how many of the typical Italian food products are made, like mortadella, prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano.