Planning a trip to Italy soon? Good choice! This is one of the top travel destinations and the country is jam-packed with sights to see, foods and wines to taste, cities and villages to explore, and so much history to appreciate.
To have the smoothest trip without weather, prices, or crowds ruining your plans, you’ll want to know the best time to visit Italy, the worst time to go, and what each season is like in the most popular regions.
We’ll show you the best time to go for great weather, optimal sightseeing, cheap prices, and fewer crowds. You’ll see the worst time to visit and helpful travel tips to make the most of your stay. It’s all here in our quick travel guide!
Why You Should Visit Italy
Italy is one of the top 5 international travel destinations – if you haven’t been, you know it’s on your bucket list. It’s the Italian history, art, architecture, fashion, food, wines, and the allure of la dolce vita – the good life – that make this European country such a popular spot for tourists.
The History, Architecture, and Art
The history, architecture, and art of Rome, the fashion and prestige of Milan, the unique canals of Venice, and the “heart of the Renaissance” Florence will grab your attention with historic and awe-inspiring beauty.
Italy is a must-see country for travelers who want to see the best the world has to offer. From Leonardo da Vinci to Michelangelo, internationally renowned artists have found their inspiration in Italy.
Visit Rome’s Borghese Gallery, Venice’s Gallerie dell’Accademia, Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican to see the way historic Italian artwork is preserved and appreciated today.
Combine this country’s appreciation for art with the architectural genius throughout the country and you can see why Italy is so special, even at a glance.
Stunning cathedrals, towers, fountains, and arches fill the cities. Ancient ruins of great structures like the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and the city of Pompeii fill visitors with awe and wonder.
Examples of Classical, Early Medieval, Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles in Italian cities serve as a visual record of the country’s history and enduring beauty.
Diverse Landscapes and Natural Beauty
And outside of the bustling cities, the diverse landscapes found across Italy are just as appealing. Alpine lakes, snow-capped mountains, gorgeous coastlines on 5 seas (the longest coastline in Europe), and vineyards on rolling hills make up Italy’s idyllic scenery.
This is one reason Italy has earned the nickname Bel Paese, meaning “beautiful country.” In fact, if there were just one word to describe Italy, it might be “abundance.”
The country is truly overflowing in every aspect – in the beauty, the art, the buildings, the countryside, sure. But also in the food and the wine. Foodies and wine connoisseurs will especially appreciate the abundance of dishes and wines to try here.
World-Renowned Food and Wine
Italy’s influence on food and drink is rich throughout the world, and if you want to try the original and best, this is where you’ll do it. The often imitated, never duplicated Italian pizza finds itself reincarnated in different forms in nearly every country today.
Classic Italian pasta dishes, risottos, and sauces that originated here are mainstays in countries across the globe. And intoxicating wines from vineyards in Sicily, Tuscany, Veneto, and Piedmont are internationally renowned for their unique and complementary flavor profiles.
Bustling Modern Cities With Ancient Roots
Italy’s busy modern cities are a major draw for visitors, especially since these urban metropolises are steeped in ancient history and ruins. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world and you can easily spend a week in each city with new things to explore each day.
Some of the world’s best shopping is here in Italy, with major designers calling Milan – the fashion capital of the world – home.
Vibrant Italian carnivals, regattas, and city-wide festivals mean there’s always something to celebrate year-round, no matter which city or region you visit! Whether you decide to venture across Italy as a whole or plan visits to your favorite cities and regions, Italy never disappoints.
The landscapes, architecture, foods, and wines are equally stunning across the country. That includes the northern region (Milan, Genoa, and Venice), the middle regions of Pisa, Bologna, Florence, and Rome, and down south in Naples, Calabria, and Sicily.
Now that you’ve had a taste of what Italy has to offer, let’s look at the best time to visit Italy for the goals of your trip. Below, you’ll see the best time to visit overall, the cheapest time to go, the least busy time of year to travel, and the worst time to go.
Overall Best Time to Visit Italy
- May-June, September-October are the best times to visit
- Best weather, mild temperatures, and little rain
- Peak tourism season for Italy with higher prices
If you want the ideal Italian vacation, the best time to visit Italy is during the late spring/early summer (May and June) and in the early fall (September and October).
This is when Italy is fully alive and vibrant with the most welcoming weather. All tours and attractions are open at full capacity and it’s the best time of year to get out and see Italy in any region.
All regions of Italy are busy and in full swing at these times of year, which make up the start and end of Italy’s peak tourism season (which runs May through September). You’ll experience ideal weather with temperatures ranging from 50°-85°F throughout the country in May and June.
The climate is similar in September and October with temperatures ranging from 55°-75°F, but a little more likelihood of rain at this time of year. It’s mild, comfortable, and mostly sunny during these periods. Perfect for your visit!
Cheapest Time to Visit Italy
- February, November are the cheapest months to go
- February festivals make it the best time to visit on a budget
- Weather is generally cool, damp, and variable
If you want to save as much as you can on your trip, the best time to visit Italy on a budget is during February and November.
These are the cheapest months to fly to Italy, making your airfare much lower than any other time of year. You’ll also find lower prices on hotels, rental cars, tours and attractions, and food while you’re there at these times of year.
February in Italy is cheap and much less crowded, mostly due to the cold, damp weather. Temperatures struggle to hit highs in the low 60s (southern Italy) and mid-40s (northern Italy) in February.
It’s not the best weather for outdoor sightseeing and activities, but it’s perfect for touring museums, cathedrals, and participating in cold-weather sports. November in Italy is another cheap time to go.
It’s the rainiest month for Italy, so you’ll deal with frequent showers and overcast skies this time of year. The temperatures in November are similar to February but a little warmer – highs around 50°F (north) and 65°F (south) are cool but pleasant.
Since February is the month for festivals like the Venice Carnival, Saint Agatha’s Feast Day, San Remo Song Festival, Almond Blossom Fair, and the Olive & Bruschetta Festival, book your trip for February to have the best Italian experience on a budget.
Least Busy Time to Visit Italy
- November-February see the fewest visitors
- Avoid mid to late December (holiday crowds arrive)
- Better availability & rates on flights, rooms, and rentals
If you want to sidestep the major tourist crowds and slip into Italy during the low season, the best time to visit Italy is from November to February.
This period is Italy’s low season, when it sees the fewest tourists of the year and things calm down considerably. The weather during Italian winter is cold and rainy, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of your plans.
Since November is the rainiest month for all of Italy, it has the lowest number of visitors and is one of the cheapest times to visit. In December, the rainfall takes a major dip and things begin to dry out a bit.
By the time January and February roll around, Italy is experiencing less rainfall than most of the other months of the year – only March and July are drier.
There’s a brief uptick in visitors from mid- to late December, when holiday travelers arrive en masse. Rates on flights and hotels rise as more tourists pour in at the end of the year, but things quickly settle back down in January.
For the most peaceful, least-crowded visit to Italy, plan your stay according to what you want out of the trip.
If you’re trying to plan a less-crowded trip on a budget, go in November or February (the cheapest months to visit). If you want the best weather, go in January or February (much drier than November and December).
If you want the warmest temperatures, go in November (around 65F in southern Italy). Skip the coastal villages and towns during the winter, since many are nearly shut down in the cold weather and due to rougher seas this time of year.
Expect shorter hours for tours and sight-seeing attractions in winter – plan to start your days early if you want to sightsee at this time of year. In northern regions of Italy, snowfall is common and expected in winter, so prepare and pack accordingly.
Worst Time to Visit Italy
- July, August are the worst times to visit
- Hot temperatures and high humidity levels
- Peak visitors mean less room/flight availability, higher prices
If we had to pick the worst time to visit Italy, it would be during July and August. This is the middle of Italy’s peak tourism season and are the hottest months of the year in Italy.
That makes it much less pleasant to stroll through the cities and sightsee. The heat comes along with high humidity levels above 50% that exacerbate and exaggerate the temperatures. On an average July day at 90F and 50% humidity, the temperature feels like a miserable 107F.
The heat is so oppressive that it’s common for native Italians to take the entire month of August as their summer vacation, escaping the hottest inner-city zones to beat the heat.
As a result, many businesses shut down completely during the month of August. You might see a lot of “Closed” signs hanging in business windows this time of year.
But this stifling heat doesn’t stop international travelers from arriving in droves. With so many people in the country in July and August, flights, hotels, and rental car agencies are priced higher and booked up for months in advance.
This makes it harder to plan a last-minute trip to Italy in late summer. Honestly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – it might encourage you to plan your trip for a more pleasant time of year like the winter, spring, or early fall.
More Things to Consider
You know the best time to visit Italy, but what else should you know to make the most of your trip? Here are the tips you didn’t know you needed – this will help make your Italian vacation even more enjoyable!
- Decide which regions to visit. The north and south of Italy are wildly different zones and are good for different types of visits. The northern region seems more European and a little more structured and upscale than the south. In Southern Italy, you’ll find that laid-back Mediterranean coastal vibe. Central Italy has the most famous landmarks and artworks, so if you’re coming to sightsee, you’ll want to make sure you end up here.
- Use the public transport network. Italy’s public transport network winds through the country and makes access to most areas very simple. Instead of renting a car for your stay, consider using these low-cost modes of public transportation (bus, train, and ferry) to see more of Italy and the countryside. You’ll be taken past quaint villages, into all the major cities, and through renowned vineyards and landscapes that add something special to your trip.
- Brush up on your Italian. You don’t need to be fluent in Italian to enjoy Italy to the fullest, but it does make getting around, ordering food, and communicating with locals much easier. Before your trip, start using a language-learning app, study an Italian-English dictionary, and make a point to learn a few key phrases at minimum. You’ll enjoy being able to successfully communicate with locals in such a bellissima – beautiful – language!
- Take a food tour. There’s so much deliciousness in all of Italy’s regions – you’ve gotta try it all! Even if you’re not venturing to every region and island, make a point to taste your way through the country by trying regional specialties. Neapolitan pizza (Naples), Spaghetti Bolognaise (Bologna), rigatoni carbonara (Rome), Caponata and gelato (Sicily) and all the wines (Chianti, Barolo, Brunello, etc.) are worth a taste while you’re there.
- Plan to dine a bit differently. Italians eat dinner – la cena – relatively late in the day, usually between 8:00-10:00PM. Dinner can be much later if you’re eating out or at a friend’s home. Mealtime is never rushed in Italy, and dishes often come out in succession. Order water and wine or beer with your meal to dine like a real Italian, and know that tipping is not expected. If drinking with a group, you’ll toast with the phrase “Salute!” (to health) or “Cin cin” (like the sound of clinking glasses). Be sure to look each person in the eyes as you cheers – not doing so is considered bad luck for 7 years here!
- Attend local festivals and celebrations. Italy is always celebrating something – whether it’s a classic Venetian carnival or an entire festival dedicated to olives and bruschetta. So many different celebrations take place throughout the year here that it’s worth looking ahead to see what’s happening when you plan to visit. You’ll be able to experience more of Italy’s culture and heritage by attending some of these festivals and it’s great to have built-in plans for your itinerary when you’re not sure what to do beyond the typical sightseeing.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Italy?
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, so let’s quickly recap. The overall best time to visit Italy is in the late spring/early summer (May to June) and early fall (September to October).
These are the “bookends” to Italy’s busiest peak season that runs from May to September. By visiting in the earliest and latest parts of the peak season, you deal with fewer crowds, slightly lower prices, and absolutely ideal weather. It’s the perfect time to go.
When to Go on a Budget
If you’re on a tight budget, the best time to visit Italy is during either February or November. These months have the lowest prices on flights for the entire year, and hotels, rental cars, and tours/attractions are usually deeply discounted in February and November.
These months have similar temperatures, but November is much rainier and February has the added bonus of festivals and carnivals that will broaden your Italian experience.
When to Go to Avoid Crowds
If you’re trying to avoid the biggest crowds, the best time to visit Italy is during the late fall and winter (November to February). It’s cooler, rainier (especially in November), and much less crowded during this part of the year.
While there’s a brief uptick in visitors during the middle and end of December, things are relatively calm in Italy’s winter months. It’s perfect for a laid-back vacation, especially if you’re visiting north Italy for cold-weather sports.
The Best Overall Time to Go
Overall, the worst time to visit Italy is during July and August. This is the center of the peak busy season and also the hottest part of the year throughout Italy. The high humidity levels make it feel even hotter (over 100F).
Little rainfall occurs to cool things down, and many businesses are closed as the owners take vacation to avoid the stifling heat.
With some of the world’s most famous artwork, landmarks, monuments, landscapes, and dishes, Italy is nothing short of a treat for any traveler. It’s a bucket list destination and if you have the means to go, you should.
Armed with info on the best time to visit Italy (and the worst) along with helpful travel tips to make the most of your stay, you’re going to have a grandioso time here – buon viaggio (happy travels)!
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