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!
The Best Time to Visit Italy
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
The cheapest time to visit Italy is during February and November. These are the cheapest months to fly here, 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
The least busy 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
The worst time to visit Italy is 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.
Italy by Month: Climate & Activities
Still unsure about the best time to visit Italy? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:
Winter temperatures in Italy vary by region. In the north, cities like Milan and Venice may experience temperatures between 32-45°F, providing a chilly atmosphere. It’s an excellent time for winter sports in the nearby Alps or exploring historic architecture.
Similar to January, February maintains cool temperatures between 34-48°F in northern Italy. Visitors can enjoy diverse culinary scenes in cities like Milan, explore local markets, and wander through historic neighborhoods like Venice’s iconic canals.
As spring begins in Italy, temperatures in northern Italy range from 39-53°F. This marks the start of cherry blossoms in some areas, and outdoor activities, such as hiking in nearby parks or exploring waterfronts, become popular.
Spring continues with temperatures between 42-57°F. April is an ideal time for attending festivals, such as the Rosebud Festival or San Efasio Procession. It’s also a great time to witness the emerging greenery in cities.
In May, Italy sees temperatures ranging from 47-63°F. It’s a great month for outdoor exploration across Italy, with blooming flowers in city parks and opportunities for activities like hiking or enjoying coastal regions.
Summer arrives with temperatures between 52-69°F. June offers long days of daylight, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking in the Italian countryside or attending music festivals such as the Festa dei Due Mondi in Spoleto.
In July, Italy maintains mild temperatures from 56-74°F. Summer is in full swing, with outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and water activities in coastal regions attracting locals and tourists alike.
August sees temperatures between 57-75°F. It’s an ideal time for exploring Italy’s islands, like Sicily or Sardinia, and enjoying the country’s parks and natural beauty.
As fall begins in Italy, temperatures in Italy range from 53-68°F. September offers a pleasant transition, with outdoor events, harvest festivals, and opportunities to explore the diverse neighborhoods of cities.
Fall temperatures range from 47-59°F. October is perfect for admiring fall foliage in Italian parks, attending local harvest festivals, and experiencing the vibrant arts and music scenes.
November sees temperatures between 42-52°F. It’s a cozy month for coffee lovers, with plenty of local coffee shops to explore. Indoor activities, like visiting museums and art galleries, become popular.
Winter returns to Italy with temperatures ranging from 37-47°F. December brings holiday festivities across Italy, with cities adorned in lights and decorations. Visitors can enjoy holiday markets, seasonal performances, and the festive atmosphere of Italian towns and cities.
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.
When to Visit Italy: Final Thoughts
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.
Armed with our info on the best time to go and 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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