Best time to visit Italy

Updated: 11th June 2019

Tuscany in summer - Best time to visit Italy - On The Go Tours
Summer is considered the best time to visit Italy and the Tuscany region

Seasons and Weather

Thanks to its location in Europe, Italy enjoys a Mediterranean climate characterised by hot and dry summers, and cool and wet winters. It's a country that experiences four distinct seasons, though the summer months are considered the best time to visit with sunny days perfect for sightseeing. Spring and autumn are also considered great times to visit due to pleasant temperatures.

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.

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Climate in Venice

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C4791418232524211395
Temp Max °C91115212329323229201411
Rainfall (mm)342156594163198531089390772

Climate in Naples

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C111212182026302824191511
Temp Max °C141616222328323228241915
Rainfall (mm)901541006311346101510014512316

Upcoming events

To help plan your visit to Italy here's an overview of the next year's festivals and events:

2020:

January 6th - Epiphany (countrywide)
February 8th - 25th - Carnival (Venice)
April 12th - Easter (countrywide)
June 2nd - Republic Day (countrywide)
August 15th - Ferragosto (countrywide)

There's also a number of national holidays in Italy and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

Venice Carnival - Best time to visit Italy - On The Go Tours
Time your visit to Venice with the popular and colourful Carnival

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 Epiphany?

This national holiday in Italy is based on the story of the three wise men offering Jesus gifts of frankincense, myrtle and gold. It also commemorates when John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the river Jordan. The feast for Epiphany is part of the Christmas festivities in Italy, and for many it marks the official end of the Christmas. It’s also a night known to most children, as the friendly witch called Befana brings chocolates and sweets to those who have been good and coal to those who have not.

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.

What is Ferragosto?

Another national holiday, Ferragosto celebrates the assumption of Virgin Mary into heaven. It’s basically the day that Catholics believe Mary ascended to heaven, marking the end of her life on our planet. As it’s a bank holiday most things are closed as families take the weekend to spend some time with their families or spend a weekend away. Cultural sites and museums generally stay open which makes for some less crowded viewing for tourists.

Want to know more about Italy? Check out our latest blog posts

See Also

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

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