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The best time to visit Italy: a season-by-season guide to planning the perfect Italian vacation

Jul 26, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

Is there an easier question to answer than, “When is the best time to visit Italy”? Because if you ask us, the best time to go to Italy is anytime. Italy is so geographically and culturally diverse (and not to mention beautiful and delicious and iconic and historic—the adjectives go on) that you can visit any time of the year and have the best experience ever.  

Our Italy tours deliver once-in-a-lifetime adventures in a destination that surpasses expectations no matter when you choose to go. But, there are definitely very good reasons to schedule your trip around specific times of the year. (If beach time is a priority, you’re not going to want to visit in January, right?) So, here’s our season-by-season guide to planning your perfect Italian vacation.

What is the weather like in Italy in each season?

Weather in Italy varies by season and by region. Yes, Italy enjoys a Mediterranean climate, but its boot-shaped terrain is quite long. The further north you go, the more mountainous the country becomes, meaning winters are great for skiing, but you can’t expect the same conditions in Rome, further to the south, where it very rarely snows. And of course, the reverse is true: While the average temperature in Sicily during the summer can be very high, the weather is much milder in the mountains in July and August.

Shoulder seasons can be the best time to travel to Italy’s biggest cities, too, when there are fewer tourists and the weather in Italy is sunny and comfortable. In fact, spring or fall might be the ideal seasons to visit and live like a local in Italy.

a collage of a person covered head to toe in a carnival costume, a women gazing at a plate of shaved truffles, and a cabin in a field with mountains in the background

Winter is the best time to visit Italy to avoid crowds

What’s great about taking our 15-day Grand Tour of Italy in the winter is that you’ll have more of Italy to yourself. Italian winters are generally mild thanks to the country’s Mediterranean climate, which means you can still visit some of history’s most unbelievable architectural and cultural relics without having to jostle through peak-season crowds. But if you’re a winter-sports lover, why not take a trip to the Dolomites, Italy’s dramatically rugged portion of the Alps? And for foodies, unique off-season culinary treats make winter one of the best times to visit Italy.

The winter months are also a great time to travel to Italy for the season's energetic events. Christmastime creates a particularly festive atmosphere in cities like Rome and Florence, where beautiful nativity scenes decorate public piazzas. Or maybe you’d like to head to Venice during Carnival in February? For a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we’d suggest ringing in the new year in Italy on our 11-day New Year’s Eve in Rome: Italy & Greece tour.

Months to experience winter in Italy:
December, January, and February

Winter events in Italy:
The holidays are a busy time of year in Italy, with cities and villages all over the country putting on countless celebratory events. In addition to Christmas and New Year's, there’s also Saint Stephen's Day, which is commemorated on December 26, and the Epiphany, which is celebrated on January 6. In February, Carnival takes place everywhere, too, with the most famous celebration being in Venice. 

Weather in Italy in December, January & February:
Average temperatures are between 39°F and 56°F.

What our travelers say about winter in Italy:
“I wanted to be with a group of people when the clock struck midnight,” traveler Leonell said of our New Year’s Eve in Rome: Italy & Greece tour. “Together, we shared a six-course meal on the top level of an amazing hotel and watched the exploding fireworks go off all across Italy.” 

Spend the holidays in Italy

a collage of grapes on a vine, Michelangelo's sculpture of David, and a vintage Fiat parked on a cobble stone street next to a bike

Spring in Italy is best for fresh flowers and fresh produce

In springtime, the weather in Italy can be absolutely perfect as the chill of winter gives way to sunny, warm days. And, because peak-travel season has yet to arrive, a trip to Italy in the spring means you’ll experience fewer crowds when exploring the country’s most popular historical sights, from the David in Florence to the ruins of Pompeii in the south.

We also love how the change in season revives Italian cities and villages: Cherry blossoms, purple wisterias, irises, azaleas, poppies, and many more flowers come into bloom, transforming the entire country into a colorful garden. 

What is the best time to visit Italy? Well, if you’re like us and you love Italian cuisine, the answer could be spring, when farmers bring their delicious bounties to the local restaurants where you’ll be eating. Experience the freshness when you take our 13-day Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily tour in the spring, where you’ll soak in the energy of the fish markets in Catania, sip unique wines from Mount Etna, and take a cooking class at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Campania. 

Months to experience spring in Italy:
March, April, and May

Spring events in Italy:
Spring in Italy is a busy season as far as events are concerned, making it the best time of year to visit Italy to experience local festivities. Easter weekend is typically a fantastic time to travel to Italy, especially if an Easter Sunday mass with the pope at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is high on your bucket list.

Calendimaggio is a public festival with ancient Roman roots held in Assisi in the month of May, where there will be knights on horseback, opulent costumes, and musical performances. Our Grand Tour of Italy features two nights in Assisi, and if you travel in early May, perhaps you’ll get to experience this unique celebration. 

Weather in Italy in March, April, and May:
Average temperatures are between 43°F and 75°F.

What our travelers say about spring in Italy:
“What a fabulous trip this was! I recommend this trip to anyone who really enjoys food, wine, and going to places that are a bit off the beaten track,” traveler Deb said of our 12-day Food & Wine: Campania, Puglia & the Amalfi Coast tour. “The weather was perfect for April; upper-60s to low-70s, and sunny most of the time.”

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a collage of colorful buildings on the Amalfi Coast, yellow and blue stripped umbrellas and lounge chairs lined up on a beach, and a copper statue of Icarus laying on the ground in front of ruins of the Valley of the Temples

Summer is the best time to enjoy Italy’s beaches

Summer in Italy is unlike any place on earth. This is the season when the entire country seems to come alive. If you love hot weather and fresh, seasonal Italian dishes that seem to taste even better under the Mediterranean sun, the best time to go to Italy is the summertime.

For beach lovers and sun worshippers, June to August is certainly going to be the best time of the year to visit Italy. For a combination of seaside relaxation and exciting sightseeing, look no further than our 12-day Sicily: A Cultural Journey tour. You’ll get to explore Agrigento's ancient Greek ruins and marvel at the prowess of Mount Etna. For some coastal downtime, you’ll get to visit Taormina, the famous filming location of White Lotus. Our 12-day A Week in Italy: Naples, Sorrento & Rome tour offers a similar itinerary, where you’ll get to pair Roman history and Baroque architecture with memorable visits to the beaches of Sorrento.

Alternatively,  if you’d rather see how Italians slow it down, take it easy on our 11-day Lake Como, the Italian Riviera & Venice tour. You can add a sailing trip on Lake Como and then stroll through the lush villages of Cinque Terre to summer in true la dolce vita style. 

Months to experience summer in Italy:
June, July, and August

Summer events in Italy:
June 2 is Republic Day or Festa della Repubblica,  Italy’s version of Independence Day. It commemorates the day Italy became a Republic in 1946. Up and down the boot, and on the islands, the country is in peak celebration mode with parades and processions. 

Weather in Italy in June, July, and August:
Average temperatures are between 58°F and 91°F.

What our travelers say about summer in Italy:
“What an amazing getaway in the summer. I cannot believe the amount of art and delicious food that I was able to enjoy,” traveler Zachary said about our best-selling, nine-day A Week in Italy: Venice, Florence & Rome tour. “At each stop we were able to hear from a local guide about the history of the cities’ most famous landmarks, whether that be the Bridge of Sighs, the Duomo, or the Colosseum.”

Spend the summer in Italy

a collage of the Duomo protruding above Florence's skyline, tables set on the street outside of a pizzeria, and Tuscan vineyard rows

Fall is the perfect time to explore the Italian countryside and vineyards

Italy in the fall is truly a season to pick-your-own-adventure. Depending on when you go and which region of the country you choose to explore, you will be spoiled with a variety of unforgettable travel experiences. In the south, early fall is still prime beach-going season; while the northern countryside in mid-fall is ideal for Food & Wine Tours. This is why fall, for many, is the best time to visit Italy. And if you opt for our two-week Grand Tour of Italy, you can truly see how the season transforms the country region by region.

We also recommend Italy in the fall if you love wine, because it’s harvest season. You’ll get to see the winemaking process in its most active moments if you decide to visit some of Italy’s top wineries with us. Our 12-day Food & Wine: Northern Italy & the Italian Riviera tour includes delicious opportunities to sample two of Italy’s most beloved wine regions: Barolo and Valpolicella. If you are looking for a truly unique experience when traveling to Northern Italy in autumn, partake in a truly hunt on a visit to Alba. Is there anything more iconic than following an expert hunter and a dog through the woods of Piedmont?

We think that fall is one of the best times of the year to visit Italy as a solo traveler. The favorable weather makes it easier to explore with new friends, whether that’s on vineyard visits, city tours, or cooking classes. On a solo (but never alone) trip with us, you can dive deep into old interests and discover new ones. 

Months to experience fall in Italy:
September, October, and November

Fall events in Italy:
If you love truffles, time your trip to Italy during the International Alba White Truffle Fair, which takes place in October. In fact, there are countless food-related celebrations all season long, including olive oil festivals hosted in many towns and villages throughout Tuscany.

Fall is also the best time to travel to Italy if you’re interested in cultural and artistic happenings, like fashion week in Milan, the Rome Film Festival, and the Burano Regatta in Venice. As we said, our fall Italy tours are all about choosing your own adventure.

Weather in Italy in September, October, and November:
Average temperatures are between 43°F and 83°F.

What our travelers say about fall in Italy:
“October was a good time of the year to travel, [with] still comfortable temperatures and less crowds,” said traveler Kelly, who was on our 15-day Grand Tour of Italy.  “We were blessed with sunny, warm weather the entire tour.”

Now that you’ve got the basics down, are you ready to live la dolce vita? Pick your season and start planning your trip to Italy with us now.

About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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