Italy at a Glance: Best Time to Visit
Recommended time to visit: Although summer from June - August sees the hottest temperatures, it is crowded and more expensive at this time. For pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, head to to Italy in spring from March - May and autumn from September - November.
Less popular time to visit: Winter from December - February is the off-season, when many attractions close (especially in the south). But prices are low and there are great skiing opportunities in the Alps during this time.
Best time for beaches: Italy's beach season lasts for a long time, from May - September, especially in the south where temperatures remain warmer for longer.
Best time for a city break in Rome, Venice or Florence: If you're exploring Italy's charismatic cities then avoid the summer months when temperatures are sweltering and crowds are filling up the attractions. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are much better times to visit.
What's spring like in Italy?
The shoulder season of spring is a delight in most places in Europe, and Italy is no exception. Flowers are blooming, coastal towns are beginning to awake from the winter, the sun is starting to come out and everything is cheaper than the peak summer months. March, April and May are particularly ideal months to visit although Easter can be extremely busy. March and April still see a little rain but there is definitely a lot of mild sunny days as well. From April to mid-June it’s a lot less crowded in both major cities and coastal areas but the weather is still very pleasant. In coastal areas during spring, flowers are starting to come out and Italians are setting up for the season that lies ahead.
What's summer like in Italy?
While things certainly get a lot busier in June, the height of high season is really July and August. Crowds descend on popular destinations, which means high season prices, but spirits are also high and so are the temperatures. It's the perfect time for a visit to Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast although undoubtedly the most expensive time to go. The temperatures get hotter so make sure you are prepared for it with loose clothing and water, especially when sightseeing.
What's autumn like in Italy?
September and October can also be great months to visit - the crowds ease off and the weather is still nice but there are fewer tourists and accommodation prices start to drop. Popular tourist spots such as Rome, Venice and Florence still see crowds in autumn with many people booking a weekend city break.
What's winter like in Italy?
The months of November to January are low season in Italy, discounting the Christmas period, which can still be very busy with weekend visitors. Temperatures do drop though coastal spots are still mild. In the north, winter means snow, which means skiing, with dozens of ski resorts attracting visitors. In the popular cities crowds are much thinner during the colder months, great if you don't like queues.
Climate in Venice
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Climate in Rome
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Climate in Palermo
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Festivals and Events
Italy’s festivals are extremely historic and culturally significant – think religious traditions, family times and epic parades. Attracting people from all over the world, prices for accommodation and transport can often surge at these times. Festivals take place in practically every town and city in Italy but some are much bigger than others.
What is the Carnevale di Venezia?
The annual Carnival in Venice falls on Shrove Tuesday and marks the end of the Christian celebration of lent. It’s famous across the world because of the elaborate masks people wear. One of the most important events at Carnival is the contest for the most beautiful mask - this is judged by a panel of costume and fashion designers that hail from various countries.
What's Easter like in Italy?
In the week leading up to Easter Sunday, people from all over the world flock to Italy, especially to the Vatican City and Rome. This is primarily to witness the events that are led by the Pope during the week. Easter week starts with a special mass led by the Pope in Vatican City on Palm Sunday and there are a number of other traditional events during the week.
What is Republic Day?
Italy's Republic Day celebrates when the Italians voted to become a republic and abolish the monarchy in 1946. The parade is a feature of the day and it sees a laurel wreath placed at the tomb of an unknown soldier inside the Altare della Patria in Rome. A military parade also takes place, which is in the presence of the highest offices of state.
Check out our handy Travel Guide resources to help plan your trip to Italy:
Best Places to Visit - 10 of Italy's must-see destinations
Tourist Visas - what you need to know about visas for Italy
Top Travel Tips - useful info on money, health, food and more