Italy in February – The Best Things to See & Do
While February may not be the best month to visit Italy, don’t completely count out this month just yet. Sure, the weather can be cold and testy but this often means less tourists and much cheaper prices. Also, keep in mind that a winter landscape in Italy can be quite beautiful, especially if you’re traveling to the northern regions. The part of Italy that touches the Alps can look a bit like a winter wonderland if you can appreciate the snow capped mountains and tourists on skis. If you’re visiting Italy in February and wondering what there is to see and do, we’ve got you covered. You may even be pleasantly surprised by the unique festival and activities that Italy in February has to offer.
ITALY WEATHER IN FEBRUARY
The weather in Italy during February tends to be damp and cold, especially the climates up north. However, this isn’t all bad, and can actually be a great opportunity to indulge in some winter sports. Skiers and snowboarders will love the wintery weather, as will anyone who just loves to be warm and cozy inside while looking off in the distance at the snow capped Alps.
While February weather in Italy may not be ideal for everyone’s tastes, it often means that your vacation can be more affordable and less hectic. Keep in mind that many of Italy’s best attractions, like the museums and churches, are indoors, so you can explore the Italian history and culture without stepping foot outside. And, consider the fact that Italy puts on a pretty fantastic lineup of festivals in February that are worse braving a little cold weather for.
Are you considering visiting Italy in February? If so, here’s some of the best things to see and do.
Stay warm inside the Florence museums. This charming city is known for its art and culture, and there’s no better way to experience it than wandering through the museums. Plus, you can view the incredible architecture while staying warm indoors. The city is packed with fantastic museums but some of the top ones to visit include the Accademia Gallery, where you can view Michelangelo’s David statue, and the Galileo museum where you can learn all about the life and works of this famous Italian. Make sure to visit the Uffizi Gallery to see artwork by Da Vinci, Giotto, Michelangelo, and Botticelli. And, don’t forget to spend some time in the Palazzo Publico, Bargello, Palazzo Pitti, and the Palatine Gallery. Florence features plenty of niche museums that are scattered around the city as well.
Venice is famous for its canals, gondolas, and bridges. However, it’s also well-known for its intriguing collection of museums. You can keep warm by spending all day wandering the halls of this city’s most beautiful pieces of architecture. Make sure to wander the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is well-known for having an impressive collection of Venetian artifacts. Spend some time exploring the Ca’Rezzonico, which features three floors of 18th century artworks. And, give yourself an entire afternoon dedicated to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection which is one of Italy’s top art museums.
You won’t have to worry about the winter weather when in Vatican City. The lineup of museums here is so impressive that you could spend an entire day inside and still learn all about Italy’s religious history. You’ll stay warm, have plenty of opportunities to dine at the museum cafes, and feast your eyes upon thousands of famous artifacts and artwork. In fact, there are more than 20,000 pieces of that have been collected over the years by the Pope and put on display for visitors. Each piece tells a story and many of them are considered artistic masterpieces. Highlights here include the works by Raphael, the Renaissance collection, sculpture collection, Gallery of Maps, and the Sistine Chapel.
National Museum of Cinema
If you’re visiting the northern city of Turin, stop into this Italian motion picture museum. It’s quirky and was put together by a historian and collector. You’ll find props from Italian films, video equipment, and themed rooms based on various film genres. There’s also a massive collection of paintings and artwork from the film industry as well as movie posters.
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN FEBRUARY
Saint Agatha’s Feast Day
Taking place in the beginning of February, this is one of the largest festivals in the world. If you want to experience it, you’ll need to visit Catania, a city on the island of Sicily. The festival exists to celebrate the patron Saint Agatha who has a feminist, yet horrifying backstory. According to the stories, Saint Agatha was a teen when she denied the romantic advances of a well-off, Roman suitor. He did not take her rejection very well and decided to kidnap her and torture her in a variety of ways. One of the most famous was by cutting off her breasts. Now, statues of Saint Agatha depict her holding a plate of amputated breasts, which is a dismal display of what supposedly happened to her. The legend says that she was ordered to be burned at the stake, but an earthquake ruined the plan. She was then sent to prison where she later died. It’s an extremely sad story, but the festival brings millions of people together to celebrate her life and her bravery. And, it’s one of the most unique festivals out there, making it worth the trip to Sicily.
San Remo Song Festival
If you’re a fan of music you’re going to love this festival. It’s one of Italy’s most famous song contests and festivals. Most people watch the festivities on T.V, but the best way to experience it is in-person at a live event. If you want to check it out, you’ll need to visit the town of Sanremo to see the performances up close.
Almond Blossom Fair
This fair brings together locals and tourists who can’t wait for spring. You’ll find it in Sicily in the city of Agrigento. The Almond Blossom Fair signifies the beginning of the harvest season, which is extremely important in Italy, especially for their foodie scene. People come from all over the world to celebrate with live music, parades, and cultural events. It’s a lighthearted festival that brings everyone together to celebrate the natural beauty of Italy.
This is one of the most famous festivals in all of Italy and it takes place in Venice during February. It’s held 40 days after Easter each year, and is the catalyst for festivities all over the country, not just in Venice. However, if you want to experience Carnevale authentically, Venice is the spot. For two whole weeks before the main event, Venice is alive with colors, costumes, festivals, parades, and events. People walk around in lavish masks and dresses, heading to masquerade balls. Piazza San Marco is alive with costumes and people, all buzzing from the excitement. You can buy a mask and dress of your own to take back as a souvenir but many hotels offer costume rentals so that you don’t have to purchase one on your own.
Olive & Bruschetta Festival
If you’re a foodie, this festival is a must. February may be a winter month, but it marks the beginning of spring for many of the Italian farmers. This is when they begin to plant seeds and trees to get ready for the warmer months that bring growth. You’ll find the Olive and Bruschetta Festival in Umbria in the town of Spello. It takes place on the third Sunday in February and draws quite the crowd of locals and tourists. Guests can learn all about growing, harvesting, and using olives to make authentic, Italian cuisine. You’ll get to see olive oil pressing demonstrations and have the opportunity to taste some of the freshest olive oils in the world. Spend time enjoying the food, live music, dancing, and the farmer’s parade. Don’t forget to do some shopping for olive oil to bring home too.
TAKE A SELF-GUIDED WINE BAR TOUR
If you’re visiting Italy, you’ll definitely want to spend some time enjoying the wine. Not only is a rich glass of red wine very warming, but you can enjoy it indoors, away from the cold, with the people you love. The country is full of wine bars but some of the best cities for them include Florence, Milan, Venice, and Rome. If you’re looking for the best of the best, consider these wine bars, Enoteca Ferrara, N’Ombra de Vin, and Coquinarius.
BORMIO HOT SPRINGS
While some people may not know this, Italy is dotted with incredible hot springs. Bormio is one of the top places for a toasty soak during February travels. You’ll find Bormio where Italy borders Switzerland, in the Bagni Di Bormio hot springs spa. Guests can expect temperatures between 37 and 43 °C all year, but February is one of the best months to really appreciate the warmth. Once you finish soaking in the springs, head to the spa to try out one of their soothing therapies.
SKIING IN TURIN
If you want to get in on the action, try some winter sports in Italy. Turin is a snowy destination in northern Italy that is referred to as the ‘Gateway to The Alps,’ and is frequented by both locals and tourists looking for a wintery atmosphere. Turin isn’t actually a prime spot for skiing, which is why it serves as a great base for hitting the mountains with the best slopes. Spend a few nights here and enjoy easy access to fantastic skiing and snowboarding while still enjoying the comfortable amenities like fantastic restaurants and bars.
DO SOME CHURCH HOPPING
Italy is filled with ornate churches that serve both as museums and architectural wonders. Regardless of where you’re traveling in Italy, there will usually be a stunning church somewhere close by. Despite your religion, these places are fantastic for their beauty, culture, and atmosphere so make sure to check a few out. Some of the top churches in the country include: St. Mark’s cathedral, St. Peter’s Basilica, San Miniato al Monte, and Piazza del Duomo.
AQUARIUM OF GENOA
This is Italy’s largest aquarium and is the perfect place to get away from the winter weather. Anyone will love a visit, but families traveling with children are particularly urged to go. It’s located in Genoa’s harbor district and has 70 tanks filled with over 6,000,000 liters of water. Guests have access to 10,000 meters of exhibit space to explore.
VISIT A COVERED MARKET IN ROME
When visiting Italy, wandering the Roman markets is a must. Many of the markets are outdoors but there are a few great ones that are also inside or covered. This is the best spot for finding souvenirs, local flavors, food, and interesting people watching. Some of the best markets are Mercato Trionfale, Esquilino Market, and Mercato Testaccio. If you want to stay warm while enjoying authentic, italian life, this is a great way to do it.
TAKE A COOKING CLASS
The culinary scene in Italy is famous, and one of the best ways to experience it is through a cooking class. Sure, you can eat your way around the country, but you can’t bring your restaurant meals home with you on the plane. Instead, learn some cooking skills and take those home with you as souvenirs instead. You’ll be able to find an authentic, Italian cooking class in most places around Italy. They’re typically held inside so you can stay warm while crafting pasta dishes, pesto, and the perfect tomato sauce.
GO ON A CAFE TOUR
Take yourself on a self-guided cafe tour around Italy. The Italians are fans of cafe living and coffee drinks so if you want to experience true, local culture, you should spend some time in the cafes. Bring a good book and try out the coffee, espresso, and cappuccino while you watch the world go by outside. Sure, if you’re visiting in February you won’t get to experience the outdoor seating. However, hanging out in the Italian cafes is just as nice indoors. You can sip on a steamy cup of coffee, connect with the local culture, and watch the hustle and bustle in the streets from your warm sanctuary. While cafe culture is big all around Italy, some of the best places for a cafe tour are Rome, Florence, and Venice. This is where you can find traditional cafes, as well as more modern places.
Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:
- The best things to see and do in Italy in January
- The best things to see and do in Italy in March
- The best things to see and do in Italy in April
- The best things to see and do in Italy in May
- The best things to see and do in Italy in June
- The best things to see and do in Italy in July
- The best things to see and do in Italy in August
- The best things to see and do in Italy in September
- The best things to see and do in Italy in October
- The best things to see and do in Italy in November
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December