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When is the best time to travel to Italy?

15 April 2019

When is the best time to travel to Italy?


Well, that's an easy question to answer! ANYTIME!! The weather is unpredictable anyway, so why delay? Spring and Fall have replaced Summer in being the highest travel season, and consequently, the most expensive in flights & accommodations. As the Summer months can be uncomfortably hot as far as temperature is concerned, more and more people are avoiding travel during July and August. This can translate into an opportunity to get discounted rates on hotels and other services. The same thing goes for Winter (except for the period between Christmas and New Year's), as the weather can be rainy and cold in the low 40's and 50's, this is a great time for discounts, but alas, not a great time to be outside walking... You should keep this in mind when planning a trip to Italia: you will mostly be spending your time outside exploring the city streets so pack in accordance with the average weather guidelines.

Keep in mind that Italy is not a large country, especially compared to the USA: about the size of the states of Georgia and Florida combined. This means that the weather doesn't change dramatically from North to South, but there are differences still determined by the actual topography. For instance, the Alps are the highest mountain complex in Europe and the run like a wall from East to West at the Northern border of Italy. This so-called wall protects Italy from a variety of storms and cold-fronts coming from Northern Europe, giving it a mild climate throughout the year. The Appenini mountains run from North to South of Italy, kind of like a backbone, also preventing storms coming from the East to make it to the Western part of the country, and vice-versa.

* SPRING: MARCH / APRIL / MAY:

The weather can be quite unpredictable, usually between the 50's and mid-70's, and can be rainy, especially in the Northern & Central regions. This is the time that most schools have field trips. The landscape turns luscious green, can be quite beautiful. mid-70's, can be rainy, especially in the Northern & Central regions. This is the time that most schools have field trips, so expect to see a lot of students around. The landscape turns luscious green, can be quite beautiful with fields covered in spring flowers in bloom.

National Holidays (ie: everything's closed):

  • Easter Sunday and Monday - Easter & Easter Monday 
  • Worth Seeing: Easter in Florence 'The Scoppio del Carro' (if the mechanical where lits the Carro, it will be a good year for crops).
  • Liberation Day 'Liberation Day' April 25th
  • Labor Day / Annunciation Day 'Labor Day / Annunciation' May 1st


* SUMMER: JUNE / JULY / AUGUST:

The weather can sometimes become unbearably hot, remember that most Italian homes do not have air conditioning! This is the time that Italians (and many other Europeans) go on their own vacation. Where? At the beach, of course! So, the beaches are very crowded, but the cities are in fact deserted. So if you can stand the heat, this is the best time to visit the big cities: no lines in museums, hardly any traffic, quiet and peaceful piazzas that would otherwise be hectic and chaotic during the rest of the year. I would advise avoiding Venice during this time, as a bad odor can rise from the water and make the experience quite unpleasant.

National Holidays (ie: everything's closed):

  • August 15th 'Ferragosto', also the 'Festa dell'Assunta'  (Assumption Day Christian Holiday).
  • Worth Seeing: The 'Palioâ takes place in Siena, a medieval horse race in the old city.
  • Sales events beginning in July in stores all over Italy, a great time to shop !!


* FALL: SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER / NOVEMBER:

If you are counting on September and October are excellent, you can count on going this time of year. If you are planning on staying in the countryside, September is the month of the grape-harvest, I know a unique time to be in the areas such as Tuscany. November is the beginning of the rainy season, which is very humid, cold, and uncomfortable. reason prices can be very high overall, and services book up very quickly, so make sure you give yourself several months to plan your trip if you are counting on going this time of year. If you are planning on staying in the countryside, September is the month of the grape-harvest, so a unique time to be in areas such as Tuscany. November instead is the beginning of the rainy season, which is very humid, cold, and uncomfortable.

National Holidays (ie: everything's closed):

  • All Saints' Day 'All Saints' Nov. 1st (you'll see many people in cemeteries all over Italy)
  • Worth Seeing: Historical regatta Venice, Veneto historic boats and gondola race 1st weekend in September.
  • Miracle of San Gennaro Sept. 19th Naples' most important event celebrating their patron saint.


* WINTER: DECEMBER / JANUARY / FEBRUARY:

During the winter months, days are short, usually rainy and cold, kind of like a 'Portland” type of weather. Still, the past couple of years haven't followed the usual average temperatures, so what I'm saying is that you should fly over with your fingers crossed. The good thing about this season is that hotels, as well as airlines,  offer great discounts.. gee, I wonder why? It may seem like the perfect time to explore Southern Italy, where the weather is very mild and sunny even in the Winter. But wait! BECAUSE it is not a tourist season, this is the WORST time to go to the South, as most services (ferries, trains, tours, hotels, etc.) are not open!!! Oh well...

National Holidays (ie: everything's closed)

  • Immaculate Conception 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception' Dec. 8th
  • Christmas 'Christmas' Dec. 25th - Midnight Mass on the 24th: all churches in Italy have mass at midnight. On the 25th: mass in St. Peter's Square in Rome with blessing from the Pope.
  • Santo Stefano Dec. 26th Italians rest and recover from all the food they've eaten on Christmas day.
  • December 31st- huge celebrations in the main cities, live bands, fireworks, etc.
  • New Year's Day 'New Year' Jan. 1st
  • Epiphany 'Befana' Jan. 6th - a national holiday - Huge sales events after this day begin.
  • Worth Seeing: Venice Carnival, Veneto beautiful parade of highly crafted costumes and masks through the misty canals of Venice.