Isn’t any time the best time to visit Italy? Well, it really depends. While most people picture the Italian countryside in the heat of summer, the other seasons have their charm too. And, each time of year offers something different to visitors. So, it really just depends on the experience you’re looking to have.
Whether you want to lounge on coastal beaches in the summer sun or hit the slopes in December, there are more ways than one to experience Italy. If you’re ready to finally cross Italy off your bucket list, here is a breakdown of the best times to visit.
Italy in December is buzzing with the electricity of holiday spirit. Italians take the Christmas holidays seriously and visitors will find parades, public celebrations and tons of decorations. Christmas markets pop up around the country, and the fashion scene is amplified with new clothing lines and sales. Plus, the slopes in northern Italy are usually dusted with snow, making it the perfect getaway for a ski or snowboarding trip.
Some popular celebrations happening in December include:
–Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception: This happens on December 8th and is considered a national holiday. Visitors will see parades, pageants, and masses going on throughout the day.
–Rome’s Piazza Navona: It’s not exactly a celebration, but it is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the country. Be ready to shop and be in awe of the decorations.
–Naples Celebrations: Some of the country’s most renowned Nativity Scenes can be found here. There is also a famous Christmas market that is set up close to Via San Gergorio Armeno.
–Romaeuropa Festival: Held in Rome, this holiday festival is filled with dance, music, and theater throughout the city.
–L’Artigiano in Fiera: This festival is a favorite during December. It’s located in Milan and is full of handicrafts from places all around Italy. You’ll find jewelry, clothing, furniture, and food. It happens between December 5th and 13th, so you can stock up on Christmas presents to ship back home in time for the holiday.
-The Wild Boar Festival: This 10-day festival takes place during the first week of December. It’s located in Tuscany as an ode to the large boar population there. The festival is largely based around food and wine; the most popular ingredient being boar. It’s a great event for anyone who considers themselves a foodie.
During December, the weather in Italy is cold. However, visitors will have many festivals to attend, and because it’s low season there will be cheaper prices and less crowds.
While January is the coldest time of the year in Italy, it is also the best for skiing and snowboarding. The Dolomites and the Italian Alps are buzzing with winter sports fans. And, while January is typically the low season for most of Italy, it is high season in these regions. While January can be pretty rainy in most regions, there will hardly be any crowds to tackle on your visit. Plus, rainy weather gives you a great excuse to sit in Italian cafes and drink cappuccinos all day. Also, visitors can find hot springs around many of the ski resorts to warm up from the cold.
If you visit Italy in January, make sure to:
-Celebrate Epiphany: This celebration happens on January 6th and it signifies the real end of Christmas. It’s the day that Italians actually exchange gifts.
-Go Shopping: Once Christmas is over there are tons of sales going on. If you love to shop (especially for fashion items) this is the time to get to Italy.
-Check Out The Umbria Jazz Festival: This jazz festival runs from December 30th through January 3rd and is set in the beautiful city of Orvieto in Umbria. Come out, listen to some music and wind down after a long day of shopping.
Like the rest of winter in Italy February is cold, snowy, foggy, and dark. While the weather isn’t ideal, it still is a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds and inflated prices. Again, anyone who loves skiing and snowboarding will find plenty to do in Italy during this month. There are a few other events going on too. If you’re in Italy during February, make sure to check out:
-The Venice Carnival: This is one of the most famous events in Italy and it happens between February 1st and 9th. Attendees will be dressed in elaborate masks and costumes, celebrating in the streets. There is also a grand masquerade to attend and plenty of food to eat.
-Ivrea Battle of The Oranges: This event is a little strange, but it continues to go on every year. It’s located in the town of Piedmont and is meant to remember an event nearly 800 years ago when the townspeople had an uprising. If you attend, get ready to throw as many oranges as you can at the armored knights who ride around the streets in carts.
-Milan Fashion Week: Since Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, this is a great event to attend. There are multiple exhibitions, a ton of nightlife, and of course, incredible fashion to be seen.
This may just be one of the best, yet unknown times to visit Italy. With the winter finally wearing off, and the weather getting slightly warmer, outdoor activities become enjoyable again. While the weather is warming up, the tourist influx is low. You won’t have to battle tons of crowds and high prices when visiting Italy during this time. Make sure to pack winter clothing though. While the weather does get slightly sunnier, the temperatures can still be quite low. When visiting Italy in March, make sure to check out:
-The Reenactment of Caesar’s Death: This takes place on March 15th in Rome. Actors recreate his assassination in the Roman Form.
-The Easter Celebrations: There are tons offo events that happen all around Italy since Easter is considered their most important holiday. Make sure to check out the Stations of The Cross celebration in Rome, the Explosion of the Cart in Florence, the La Pasquetta festival which happens all around the country.
-La Pasquetta: This is essentially Easter Monday and a day that everyone takes off to eat, relax, and go on picnics with their families.
-The Stations of The Cross: This happens on Good Friday and is led by the Pope himself. It’s a tradition that involves expanding on the trials of Christ that happened before he was crucified.
-The Explosion of The Cart: This traditional celebration takes place in Florence. A cart is filled with fireworks, wheeled around the city, and then set to explode in front of the Duomo.
Considered a shoulder season in Italy, a visit in April will have less crowds than the summer. The weather is unpredictable, and often rainy. However, you will certainly see higher temperatures and more sun than March. The prices are also a bit more affordable as there aren’t as many tourists. When visiting in April, make sure to check out:
-Saint George’s Day: This takes place on April 23rd in Piedmont. The day is celebrated by an ox cart race through the streets. Watch the competition and feast on the free bread that is handed out.
-Rome’s Birthday: This takes place on April 21st to celebrate the famous city that was established back in 753 BC. The museums and parks are all freely open to the public and there will be parades and historic reenactments going on all throughout the day.
-Vinitaly: This wine festival takes place between April 8th and 11th in Verona. There are around 4,000 winemakers that come out to show off their bottles. There is live music, tastings, food, lectures, and a wine market to explore.
May is officially spring in Italy. The weather is not always predictable, but it is usually quite warm and sunny. Since the tourist season starts to pick up a bit, expect the prices to be higher than the winter. You might be in for a few heat waves and more crowds than expected. If visiting Italy in May, make sure to experience:
-International Worker’s Day: This national holiday is meant for everyone to enjoy a day outside with their family. Many of the shops and attractions are closed on this day so make sure to plan accordingly. Most of the locals can be found outside having picnics, so consider joining them.
-Giro d’Italia Bike Race: This is the country’s biggest bike race. Check to see which cities it goes through to see if you can get a glimpse of the action.
This month is when tourist season is at its highest. The weather is warm and the prices are high. Head south if you want to experience high temperatures and beach culture on the coast. The weather is great for seeing the famous Italian sites, although there will be significant crowds. Also, this is one of the best times to check out the rolling hills of Tuscany. When visiting Italy in June, make sure to experience:
-The Palio Boat Race: This happens on June 12th. The competition is between Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa, and Venice. There are parades that accompany the race as well.
-MUV Music and Digital Art Festival: This happens in the beginning of the month and features a whole lineup of electronic music, workshops, and art installations. There are more than 50 DJ sets and concerts going on during the festival.
-Festa della Repubblica: This national holiday happens on June 2nd and is one of the most important holidays all year. It celebrates the founding of Italy and features parades, fireworks and a whole series of other events around the country. Accommodation may be scarce and expensive during this time so plan ahead.
This is the hottest time of year and also peak tourist season. There will be tons of crowds and humid weather. However, many people still choose to come because of summer breaks and good weather. If you like the beach, July is a great time to explore the coastline in Italy. If you’re visiting in July, try to check out:
-The Il Palio di Siena: A famous horse race that takes place in the streets. Expect to see people dressed in medieval costumes.
-Festival dei Due Mondi: Translated to ‘Festival of Two Worlds,’ this is one of the largest performing arts festivals in the country. Guests can see ballets, opera, films, art, and concerts.
This summer month is particularly hot, sunny, and dry. The beaches make a great retreat for those who are tired of wandering around the famous attractions in the heat. From mid-August until the beginning of September, many local families take off for the national holidays. So, be prepared for stores and attractions to be closed. While most of the big tourist attractions will still be open, just make sure to double check and plan ahead before creating your itinerary. If in Italy during August, make sure to:
-Experience Ferragosto Celebrations: This holiday takes place on August 15th. The local people will hold public celebrations that usually include a heavy dose of fireworks.
-Palio Horse Race: The second running of this famous horse race happens on August 16th. If you missed the first one, this is your chance to check it out.
This month has some of the best weather in Italy. The days are hot and sunny while the nights tend to cool off. Since this is the time of year that everyone goes back to work and school, visitors can expect all attractions to be open. This month starts off the harvest which means there is plenty of delicious food to try while visiting. Foodies should aim to visit Italy in September just for this reason. And, it’s around mid-September that tourist season prices start to drop. When visiting in September, make sure to check out:
-Regatta Storica: A historic boat race through Venice. Expect lots of festivities and celebrations to be going on around this time.
-Palio di San Rocco: This festival is close to Florence and includes multiple days of competitions from the medieval days. Expect to see jousting, horse races, and archery.
-The Venice Film Festival: This film festival takes place in early September and has become increasingly popular over the years.
Technically considered a shoulder season, October still gets plenty of visitors in Italy. The weather is cool and beautiful, but prices are still not as low as they are in winter. Days are typically sunny and warm, while nights tend to cool off. If you’re visiting Italy in October, make sure to check out:
-The Alba White Truffle Festival: This festival happens on weekends all throughout October in the town of Alba. It’s one of the largest truffle festivals in all of Italy.
-Boccaccesca: The first two weekends of October will be the best time to test out the food and wine in Italy. There are tons of food stalls, wine tastings, and a chance for you to buy some to take home. Plus, it’s held in Tuscany, which happens to be stunning this time of year.
This time of year tends to be rainy and cold. However, the landscape is still stunning. Visitors tend to stick to southern Italy as it tends to be warmer during this time of year. The prices are much lower than the peak season which makes November a popular time for budget travelers. The attractions are much less crowded as well. If you’re visiting Italy in November, make sure to:
-Experience All Saints Day: This takes place on November 1st and 2nd. Local Italians will typically visit their deceased family members and bring flowers to their graves. There are plenty of music and arts festivals that surround this holiday.
-Olive Festival: Held in Tuscany, this festival usually happens on November 3rd. Taste some of the world’s best olives and olive products. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love this festival.
There’s always something to do, see, and experience in Italy. Is there a best time to visit? Well, it really depends on the experience you’re looking for. Take everything into consideration when planning your next trip and you’re sure to have a great time. It’s Italy; there’s always something to love.0