Are you planning a trip to Italy and unsure of when to go? Having lived in Italy throughout the year, we’ve cherished every season, each offering its distinct weather, festivals, and charm. I want to help you in determining the best time for YOU to explore Italy!
This post about the best time to visit Italy was written by Italy travel expert Vanessa Hunt and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this website.
I know what you’re thinking. If there’s a ‘best’ time to visit Italy… Does that mean there’s such a thing as a ‘bad’ time?!
Because as far as you’re aware, the Colosseum stands tall as one of the Seven Wonders of the World 365 days a year. You can hike in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, visit quaint villages of the Amalfi Coast, and marvel at Michelangelo’s genius in the Vatican Museums year-round!
That’s all true but ask yourself, when is the best time to visit Italy for winter sports? What is the best time to go to Italy to explore major cities with fewer crowds? And what’s the best time to go to Italy to visit Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, or other beach resort towns so you can swim in the sea?
Trust me, you do not want to swim in Italian waters in the winter months!
This guide covers all the essential information you need to figure out the best time of the year to go to Italy for your dream Italian vacation. It breaks down the best times by month, destination, and other important factors so you can have the most fantastic time in Italy!
When’s the Best Time To Go To Italy Weather Wise?
So, when is the best time to go to Italy for weather?
There are probably three key desirable weather conditions for visiting Italy:
- Pleasant Weather: Sightseeing
- Snowy, Cold Weather: Winter sports
- Hot, Sunny Days: Beach time
Shoulder season is the best time of the year to visit Italy if you want pleasant weather for sightseeing. These are the late spring months of April – May and the early fall months of September – October.
Temperatures will be warm so you’ll need to wear a light jacket! Italy’s summer months are too hot to rack up 20,000 steps pounding the cobblestone streets of Italy’s cities.
While the winter months are the off-season for the rest of Italy, December – March are definitely the best times to visit Italy for skiing and snowboarding on snow-capped mountains.
Snowfall is all but guaranteed during these cold weather months. All the mountain resorts in the Italian Alps will be in full swing!
And if you’re dreaming of sunny skies and scorching temperatures for swimming and sunbathing on your Italian vacation, go to Italy during the summer months of June – August. You can count on plenty of sunny days, especially in seaside towns in Southern and Central Italy.
What’s the Best Time To Visit Italy for Fewer Crowds?
Italian cities are not the best places to be during an extremely busy time of year. It’s understandable you want to visit Italy when there are as few tourists as possible!
The best time to visit Italy to avoid crowds is the time of year that generally has the worst weather, which is winter.
The winter months in Italy can boast some sunny days (usually in the south) but it’s mostly cold weather and wet weather. This is especially the case in North Italy and Central Italy!
However, December – February (not including the Christmas period) are still great months to visit Italy’s cities thanks to the fewer tourists. This has a knock-on effect as flights and accommodation tend to be cheaper, which is ideal if you are traveling on a tight budget.
Everything stays open in major cities year-round. You can explore museums (like the Vatican Museums and Uffizi Gallery in Florence, for example) without waiting in long lines and eat delicious food at popular restaurants without reservations.
Note that the off-season is not a great time to visit Italy if you want to sunbathe or wear sundresses.
While there may be smaller crowds in Italy’s seaside towns like Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast and Cefalù in Sicily, they will be ghost towns. While these places might still have pleasant weather, it won’t be bikini weather!
What’s the Best Time To Visit Italy for Holidays and Festivals?
Italy has 12 national public holidays, countless regional public holidays, and many more festivals. Visiting Italy during a national holiday or celebration can be an amazing cultural experience!
This is a list of amazing holidays, seasons, and festivals you should consider visiting Italy to check out. Some are region or city-specific but others you can enjoy wherever you are in Italy.
- Venice Carnival: Carnival is celebrated throughout Italy before the Catholic period of Lent which is usually in February or March. Of all the carnivals in Italy, Venice Carnival is by far the biggest and best! It takes place over 10 days (ending on Ash Wednesday) and is famous for its elaborate masks and colorful old-timey costumes.
- Easter Week: Right after Lent, many Italians celebrate Easter Week. This holy week in the Christian faith begins on Easter Sunday and includes Easter Monday (also a national holiday in Italy). It usually falls in March or April. Scoppio del Carro, which means ‘the burning of the cart’, is a fun tradition in Florence on the Good Friday of Easter. If you’re not very religious, head to Lake Garda where there is a huge funfair called Gardaland open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
- Republic Day: The day that Italy voted to become a republic in 1946 is a national holiday celebrated every year on June 2nd. This was a monumental day in the country’s history! If you’re visiting Italy for Republic Day, Rome is the best place to be. Many Italians celebrate with picnics and fireworks but Rome also has an incredible military procession with a plane display carrying streams of smoke in the colors of the Italian flag.
- Venice Film Festival: The first week in September is one of the best times to visit Italy for film fans, especially if you want to go to Venice. The sinking city welcomes the who’s who of Hollywood and World Cinema during a week full of film premieres and red carpet events. Some tickets to screenings are sold to the general public online, so you can absolutely attend even if you’re not considered a VIP.
- Harvest Season: Although Italy’s lemons are harvested from March to July, the main harvest season is from September to December. This is the ideal time to visit Italy for food festivals dedicated to white truffles, chocolate, olives, chestnuts, and grapes. Some of the best food festivals are the Truffle Festival in Alba, the Chocolate Festival in Perugia, Chestnut Festival in Montella, and wine lovers will enjoy the Wine Festival in Montepulciano.
- Christmas Season: Since Italy is a Christian country, a great time to visit Italy for Christmas festivities is in December. Around December 8th, (a national holiday for the Immaculate Conception and when most cities light their Christmas trees) is when the Christmas period is in full swing. You can expect seasonal, delicious food at Christmas markets, skating rinks, carol singers, and special church services.
What Is the Best Time To Visit Italy By Destination?
You might know where you want to go in Italy. But do you know when is the best time to visit Italy for that particular city or region? This is a list of all the most popular destinations that most travelers like to visit in Italy so you know when you press ‘book’ on those flights!
Best Time of Year to Go to Rome, Italy
The best time to go to Rome, Italy is every time of year except the early summer peak season. The weather in June and July can get too hot to really enjoy visiting Rome’s famous landmarks. Plus, it’s an extremely busy time to be in the Italian capital.
So, the best time to visit Rome, Italy is the low season. November, January, and February are much quieter and cheaper. You won’t care that Central Italy can be a little chilly and wet in this season because you’ll be too busy enjoying the Vatican Museums, Piazza Navona, and Colosseum without the crowds.
Best Time of Year To Go To Venice, Italy
The best time to visit Venice, Italy is the shoulder season of late spring (April – May) and early fall (September – October). The weather is pleasant but not muggy and the cruise ship crowds haven’t reached their peak yet.
Another best time to go to Venice, Italy is during the Carnival or the Venice Film Festival.
Best Time To Go To Florence, Italy
The best time to visit Florence, Italy and other big cities in Central Italy (Bologna, Perugia, etc.), like Venice, is the shoulder season. Yes, it might be a more expensive time to visit Italy but it’s a pleasant time in terms of weather.
Easter in Florence is super fun and a great opportunity to see traditional flag-waving displays on your Italian vacation. Peak season is in early summer so avoid visiting most places in Central Italy during June and July if you can.
Best Time of Year To Go To Tuscany, Italy
Although Florence is in Tuscany, the best times to visit the quaint villages dotted around the Tuscan Hills in Central Italy are early spring and late fall. These are not busy times and are perfect for wine lovers and Italian cuisine connoisseurs.
Tuscany’s wine regions (Chianti, San Gimignano, etc.) start to harvest their grapes in late September which is super interesting to watch on a vineyard tour.
Best Time to Visit the Dolomites
This is a tricky question to answer because it really depends on what you want to do there. If you want to ski, then January, February, and March will be the best months to visit the Dolomites. But if you want to hike hut to hut in the Dolomites, you’ll want to do that in the summer. We visited in August and September and the weather was very pleasant, chilly up in the mountain tops, but we never needed a coat.
Best Time To Visit Naples, Italy
For most other cities, the best time of year to go to Italy would be spring and fall but the later months of October and November are perfect for Naples. This vibrant city sits on the edge of Central Italy and Southern Italy, so you can skip the busy time while also enjoying some late-season warmth.
Best Time To Visit Amalfi Coast, Italy
If you’re looking for the best time of year to go to Sorrento, Italy or the best time of year to go to Positano, Italy, you’ll find your answers here! They are both two of the most popular towns on the beautiful Amalfi Coast.
The best time to go to Positano, Italy, Atrani, and Sorrento for beach weather is the peak season! Yes, the summer is more expensive and crowded, but the sea and the evenings are so warm.
Plus, it’s the best time to go to Amalfi Coast, Italy for the world-famous Amalfi lemons! They’re in season from February to August.
Best Time of Year To Go To Sardinia, Italy
Likewise, the best time of year to visit Italy if you want to travel to Sardinia is late summer. While there are benefits to visiting some places in Italy out of season, the island of Sardinia comes alive in the sunshine.
It’s better to miss the scorching hot weather in July by heading to Sardinia in late August, September, or even October as it will still be pretty warm. I would avoid Sardinia in the spring as it tends to rain quite a bit, at least that was our experience.
Best Time To Go To Capri, Italy
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the best time to visit Capri, Italy is just after the peak season in late August, September, or October. The island of Capri is in the Bay of Naples so it’s an ideal place to go if you’re visiting Italy for warm weather and a late-season beach break without too many crowds.
Best Time of Year To Go To Lake Como, Italy
If you’re visiting Italy to visit the Italian lakes like Lake Como and Lake Garda, any time from April to early October is perfect weather-wise. North Italy does not get the same extreme heatwaves as Southern Italy, so it’ll be much more comfortable.
Yes, these months are during the peak season of summer. But as long as you book your accommodation and ferries in advance, you’ll be surrounded by similar crowd levels whether you visit in April or August.
We lived in Lake Como, so we’ve experienced it in all seasons. My absolute favorite is probably May when it’s still warm, but the crowds have not yet descended! September is really nice too, but more crowded than May.
What Is the Best Time To Visit Italy By Month?
There’s no better way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or graduation than by visiting Italy. But if your birthday is in March, it’s not the best time to visit Northern Italy if you want to lounge on a beach during your Italian vacation.
Likewise, if your anniversary is in July, it’s not the best time to visit Southern Italy unless you want to sightsee in 100-degree heat!
This month-by-month breakdown covers the pros and cons of visiting Italy every month of the year. You’ll be able to choose the right region (Northern Italy, Central Italy, or Southern Italy) for your trip.
- Average Temperatures: 30-37.5°F (-1-3°C)
- Average Rainfall: 28mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 9:31
January is definitely the coldest time to visit Italy. It’s perfect for skiing in the snow-capped mountains in the Alps in regions like Aosta Valley, Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige, and Friuli Venezia Giulia.
This is a low-season month to visit Italy so expect shorter hours but cheaper prices and almost no crowds. If you’re traveling on a budget or want a more local experience, it’s an ideal time to visit museums and indoor attractions in larger cities like Rome, Florence, and Milan.
- Average Temperatures: 34-43°F (1-6°C)
- Average Rainfall: 20mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 10:39
February is similar to January in that there are fewer crowds in all cities so it’s a great time to visit Italy to save money on accommodation and flights if you want to sightsee. It’s peak season for skiing and snowboarding in the northern region of Italy.
- Average Temperatures: 35.5-46.5°F (2-8°C)
- Average Rainfall: 23mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 11:56
If you’re desperately in need of some winter sun, head to Sicily, Naples, or other southern regions like Puglia or Calabria. Late February to early March can be a great time to visit Venice for the best carnival in the country.
- Average Temperatures: 43-53.5°F (6-12°C)
- Average Rainfall: 13mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 13:23
April officially starts the first of two shoulder seasons in Italy. It’s a pleasant time to visit Italy weather-wise as Southern and Central Italy are both really starting to warm up.
The shoulder season is really your last chance to visit Italy without the summer crowds. It’s an ideal time to visit Venice without the busy cruise ship crowds but be aware that Rome and Florence are already busy by April. Alternative cities like Turin, Bologna, or Palermo will be less crowded.
- Average Temperatures: 48-61°F (9-16°C)
- Average Rainfall: 13mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 14:36
Check out the wine regions if you’re visiting Italy in May. The vineyards in Veneto, Tuscany, and Marche and Abruzzo in Northern and Central Italy start to blossom and they look absolutely stunning.
Also in the northern region, the Italian Lakes are fantastic to visit in the shoulder season. Lake Garda and Lake Como are busy yet warm and have picture-perfect scenery.
- Average Temperatures: 57-70°F (14-21°C)
- Average Rainfall: 11mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 15:16
June is early summer in Italy and it’s also the start of peak season. This is probably the last month you can comfortably sightsee in Southern cities like Naples and Palermo without having to do so in 100-degree temperatures!
Sea temperatures are starting to warm up so it’s a great time to visit Italy for a seaside break somewhere like Cefalù and Taormina in Sicily or Capri in the Bay of Naples.
- Average Temperatures: 62.5-75°F (17-24°C)
- Average Rainfall: 12mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 14:59
July is Italy’s hottest month so you want to make sure sure your accommodation has air conditioning regardless of whether you’re staying in Northern, Southern, or Central Italy! Visiting Italy in July, no matter where you go, will be crowded as it’s the busy season.
But let’s get back to making the most of those warm waters, shall we? Since it’s so hot, head to seaside towns in the northern region like Cinque Terre, Camogli, or Portofino.
- Average Temperatures: 62.5-75°F (17-24°C)
- Average Rainfall: 13mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 13:56
August is a late summer month in Italy but some would argue that August is not peak season. Since it’s customary for Italians to flee the country for their own vacations in August, cities look a little emptier.
It’s the most ideal time to explore larger cities or popular regions like Tuscany in Central Italy if you’re restricted by school breaks.
- Average Temperatures: 53.5-64.5°F (12-18°C)
- Average Rainfall: 35mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 12:34
September is the start of shoulder season in Italy. There really aren’t many places you shouldn’t visit in early fall! It’s the start of the harvest time so the rolling hills and wine regions of Tuscany and Umbria in Central Italy are especially beautiful in fall foliage.
- Average Temperatures: 48-57°F (9-14°C)
- Average Rainfall: 38mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 11:10
Early October is the ideal time to check out Italy’s southern regions if you want to squeeze in a last-minute winter sun break to places like Naples, Matera, Palermo, and other southern cities. Late October marks the last glimmer of Italy’s shoulder seasons as the weather grows colder.
- Average Temperatures: 41-50°F (5-10°C)
- Average Rainfall: 27mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 9:54
November is the first month in Italy’s low season and the end of the busy time period. It’s a great month to visit heavily-touristed places like Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, and Naples if you don’t mind the cold.
In fact, southern cities in late October to early November will still be fairly mild. Rain is still likely, so pack an umbrella!
- Average Temperatures: 34-43°F (1-6°C)
- Average Rainfall: 6mm per month
- Average Daylight Hours: 9:12
Expect shorter hours and cold weather in December as well as cheaper prices and almost no crowds in early December. But the Christmas festivities kick in on December 8th!
Bolzano Christmas Market is the best in the country. Or, head to the Alps for the start of Italy’s ski season.
Best Time to Visit Italy FAQs
What is the best time of year to visit Italy?
Overall, the best time of the year to visit Italy is in the shoulder season. These are the late spring months of April – May and the early fall months of September – October.
The shoulder season is the Goldilocks of seasons in Italy. There are fewer tourists than in the summer months and accommodation and flights are cheaper so it’s a fantastic time for travelers on a tight budget. Plus, there is warm, pleasant weather throughout every region but it’s not extremely hot.
Where are the best places to visit in Italy for the first time?
The best places to visit in Italy for first-timers are the world-famous major cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence in Northern and Central Italy. You might also enjoy visiting the Italian Lakes like Lake Como or Lake Garda, or the picturesque seaside towns of Cinque Terre.
What are the best cities to visit in Italy for the first time?
If you are visiting Italy for the first time, the best cities to visit are the ones with the famous landmarks you’ll be itching to see in person! Rome, Florence, and Venice are absolutely the best Italian cities for first-timers.
The Best Time to Visit Italy For Your Trip
Choosing the best time to visit Italy for your dream vacation will ensure your Italian vacation is just that little bit more incredible! It will help you save money you didn’t have to spend, side-step the busy season, and plan for the weather and cultural holidays.
While this guide shows the best times to go to Italy, don’t let it discourage you from visiting Italy if you cannot travel in the most perfect time of year! Traveling to Italy in the wrong season is far, far better than not going at all.