The Best Time to Visit Italy

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

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Is there ever really a bad time to visit Italy? Well, it depends. Most people envisage going to the dreamy Italian countryside during the height of summer. Yet, the other seasons have their charm too, and each time of year offers something different to visitors. 

While paying a trip to this foodie haven is always a good idea, some periods of the year will more naturally align with what you want to do than others. So, there is certainly a prime time to visit Italy, depending on your interests.

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 the beautiful Italian boot off your bucket list, here is a breakdown of the best times to visit the country.

January

Although January has the coldest temperatures, if you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Italy to go skiing or snowboarding, this could be the best month for you! While this period is typically the low season for most of Italy, this is when the snow-covered slopes of the Dolomites and the Italian Alps are at their busiest. 

These areas will be buzzing with fellow winter sports fans, creating the most magical of atmospheres. If you’re looking to visit other areas of Italy in January, be aware that you are likely to see a lot of rain and gray skies. 

Yet, a low-season vacation does not come without its benefits. You won’t have to face the usual crowds that envelope popular areas in the summer months. You could always dodge the rain showers by making a beeline into an Italian cafe for a cappuccino anyway or warming up at the Italian hot springs.

Plus, there is also lots going on in Italy in January. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Join in on the Epiphany festivities. 

This celebration happens on January 6th and 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.

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.

If you’re looking for more recommendations, take a look at our guide on all the best things to do in Italy in January.

February

Similarly to the rest of winter in Italy, February is cold, snowy, foggy, and dark. While the weather isn’t ideal across most of the country, it’s one of the best times to go to Italy if you’re wanting to avoid crowds and inflated prices. 

Again, anyone who loves skiing and snowboarding will find plenty to do in Italy during this month. A few other events are going on too. If you’re in Italy during February, make sure to check out:

  • The Venice Carnival

One of the most famous events in Italy. On 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 may seem a little strange, but it is an important annual celebration. 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.

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 incredible fashion to be seen.

For more advice, check out our full guide to Italy in February.

March

One of Italy’s best-kept secrets is that many locals say that March is the best time to visit the country. 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 exploring Italy in March, don’t miss out on:

  • The Reenactment of Julius Caesar’s Death

This extravaganza takes place on March 15th in Rome and actors recreate the assassination of this iconic Roman general in the Roman Form.

  • Easter Celebrations

With Easter considered one of the most important days in the Italian calendar, there will be a whole load of events taking place all around the country. Make sure to check out the Stations of The Cross celebration in Rome, the Explosion of the Cart in Florence and the La Pasquetta festival which happens all around the country.

  • La Pasquetta

Essentially Easter Monday, La Pasquetta is a day that everyone takes off to eat, relax, and go on picnics with their families.

  • The Stations of The Cross 

The Pope himself leads this festival on Good Friday. 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.

Don’t forget to get clued up on all the ins and outs by reading our guide to visiting Italy in March.

April

If you’re trying to find the best time to visit Rome, Italy, to avoid the crowds but not wholly compromise on the weather, April is a fabulous option. Considered a shoulder season in Italy, this month offers a nice balance of tranquility and festivities, including the Birthday of the country’s capital.

If you are one of the lucky few, don’t miss out on celebrating:

  • Saint George’s Day 

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 festivity 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 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.

The weather is likely to keep you on your toes. Expect higher temperatures and sunnier skies than in March but also be prepared to see a fair bit of rain too – don’t ditch the umbrella just yet! 

The prices are also a bit more affordable as there aren’t as many tourists

Here’s our full guide to visiting Italy in April.

May

By the time May comes around, spring has sprung in Italy. While the weather is rather changeable during this time, it tends to remain quite warm and sunny. The tourist season also starts to pick up a bit, bringing more buzz to the cities and towns. 

May is the best time to go to Italy if you’re wanting the tourist seasons to be in full swing without having to face many crowds or soaring temperatures. Yu can tick off site after site in pleasant temperatures and a relaxed atmosphere.

If visiting Italy in May, make sure to celebrate:

  • 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

As Italy’s biggest bike race, it is a fantastic idea to get clued up on which cities the competition is going through to get in a slice of the action. 

For more information and advice, check out our full guide to Italy in May.

June

If you ask most tourists when’s the best time to visit Italy, you are likely to get a fair few of them saying June. While early summer is no doubt an excellent month to visit, it is also one of the most popular times to do so!

As long as you don’t mind a bit of hustle and bustle and prices a little higher than usual, you are sure to enjoy the sunny skies. Likely to be the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast and picturesque coastal areas, be sure to make the most of the gorgeous weather by heading out to the Mediterranean sea.

What’s more, this is also said to be the best time to visit Tuscany, Italy, due to the perfect weather for exploring the rolling hills and touring the region’s exquisite vineyards. 

Events to have on your radar when visiting Italy in June:

  • The Palio Boat Race

Taking place on June 12th, this is a boat competition between Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa, and Venice. Along with a competitive buzz, you will also be able to enjoy parades and other exciting festivities.

  • MUV Music and Digital Art Festival

A whole lineup of electronic music, workshops, and art installations takes Florence by storm at the beginning of June. With more than 50 DJ sets and concerts taking the floor.

  • Festa Della Repubblica

This national holiday happens on June 2nd and is one of the most important holidays of the year. It celebrates the founding of Italy and features parades, fireworks and a whole series of other events around the country. Accommodation can be difficult to find at this time of year so be sure to be organized and get everything sorted early.

Check out our guide on all the best things to do in June in Italy.

July

For those of you wanting to know what is the best time of year to visit Italy to secure the peak temperatures, July is the one for you. This is the hottest month and also a very popular time for tourists to visit.

So, if you’re seeking a vacation spent basking in the sun, perhaps on one of Italy’s stunning shorelines, July is a fantastic time to visit. 

If you do decide to do so, here are a few events to be aware of: 

  • Il Palio di Siena

A famous horse race takes place in the streets. Expect to see plenty of people getting in on the festivity by donning their most lavish medieval costumes.

Translating 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.

You can read about more of the best things to see and do in our guide on visiting Italy in July.

August

Another hot and dry summer month, August is a fantastic time to hit some of Italy’s wonderful beaches. After wandering around the famous attractions in the heat, cool off with a dip in its turquoise waters. 

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 and things to be a little quieter than usual. 

While most of the big tourist attractions will still be open, just make sure to double-check and plan before creating your itinerary. If you’re 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.

If you want to hear more about the best things to do in Italy during August, check out our guide!

September

September in Italy experiences some of the country’s most wonderful weather conditions. The days are hot and sunny, while the nights tend to cool off to more bearable temperatures.

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 also marks the start of the harvest, meaning that there will be a fantastic array of delicious food to try during your visit. 

Thus, September is the best time of year to visit Italy for food lovers. What’s more, prices tend to drop around mid-September as the tourist season begins to calm down. When visiting in September, make sure to check out:

  • Regatta Storica

This is a historic boat race through Venice during which lots of festivities and celebrations take place, creating a fantastic spectacle to oversee.

  • Palio di San Rocco

Medieval days occur over several days nearby Florence, treating you to scenes of jousting, horse races, and archery.

This film festival takes place in early September and has become increasingly popular over the years.

For more suggestions, here are the best things to do in Italy in September.

October

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 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 are prime 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.

If you would like some more tips and tricks, check out our full guide for visiting Italy in October.

November

While November is usually rainy and cold, it also tends to be the cheapest time of year to visit Italy and so, a brilliant month to come over on a budget. Visitors tend to stick to southern Italy, as it tends to be warmer during this time of year. 

Attractions are also usually much less crowded, allowing you to take them in peace and tranquility. 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.

If you’re tempted, you should check out our guide on all the best things to see and do in Italy in November.

December

December is a magical time to visit Italy, as the country is buzzing with the electricity of holiday spirit. The Christmas holidays are not taken lightly in this part of the world as locals and visitors come together to celebrate this special time of year with parades and public celebrations all the while surrounded by beautiful festive decorations. 

While the tourist season depletes along with the temperatures, Christmas markets pop up all around the country and the slopes in northern Italy are usually dusted with snow. Thus, it’s the perfect time to visit 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 Piazza Navona 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 Gregorio Armeno.

  • 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

A 10-day festival taking place during the first week of December, the Wild Boar Festival is 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.

For more suggestions on how to spend your vacation, read our full guide to Italy in December.

Summary

While a vacation to paradise is always a good idea no matter the time of year, you may be wondering when is the best time to visit Italy for you. 

While you may have a sunny summer getaway in mind or a winter vacation, it is also great to get up to speed with the local festivities taking place each month to get a real feel for the local culture. Whenever you choose to visit, you are sure to fall in love with this magical part of the world.If you’re planning a vacation to Italy and want more advice on where to go and what to do, get in touch.

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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