When is it the Best Time to Visit Italy?

The best time to visit Italy is during the off-peak season to avoid the crowds and standing in long queues during the summer to get into museums and festivals when temperatures can sometimes reach 38 degrees celcius.  

In mountain areas winter is ideal for skiing and the summer is ideal for exploring the countryside and beach resorts. However, doing so comes with a price.

Seaside and lake resorts, with their excellent hotel facilities, have an intense tourist season in the summer, while the cities which have a wealth of art treasures seem to attract visitors in spring and autumn. In the north fog can present problems for air and road traffic in autumn.

A trip to Italy in theory can be possible at any time of year, but in practice there are definitely certain months that are better than others for visiting Italy.

Best Time to Visit Italy for Good Weather

The main tourist season runs from mid-April to the end of September. The best months of the year to visit Italy are April, May, June, September and October, when the weather is pleasant and not too hot.

The northern parts of Italy are generally more temperate than the south, which has a Mediterranean climate. June to September is hot and in peak summer, also humid.

The hottest months in Italy are July and August and should really be avoided at all costs. These are months where you can also expected brief afternoon thunderstorms, especially inland. Summer storms can be quite dramatic, but usually only last a couple of hours.

Spring and fall are ideal times to visit cities where the temperatures are a lot milder. Winters can be bitterly cold, especially in the north.

I have been to Sansepolcro in February, known by Italians north of Rome as the "Black Month" as February is one of the coldest months of the year, where my eye-balls have felt as if they have iced-up in my skull it has been so cold.

Frost needs to be scraped off car windows and there are snow falls in Italy during the winter where mountain passes are closed and roads are dangerous, especially if you are unused to driving in Italy under these conditions. You will need to fit chains to your tyres in the mountainous areas where there is heavy snow.

During the winter in other areas, there is also a possibility of a lot of rain.
An Italian Abbey with snow on the ground

An Italian Abbey with snow covering the ground. Not the best time to visit Italy!

Best Time to Visit Italy to Avoid the Crowds

Foreign tourists crowd the major art cities in Easter, when Italians flock to resorts and to the country. From March through to May bus loads of school children are taken on excursions to see towns of artistic importance.

If you can avoid it, August is not the best time to visit Italy. During August the heat can be oppressive, much of the local population is on the move, especially on and around the 15th August which is a huge National Holiday for Italians, Ferragosto.

During August you will find many shops and restaurants shut and even some museums in the smaller towns and villages.  Roads are blocked, and trains and planes are booked months in advance. Even cities like Rome and Milan appear empty as their occupants head for the countryside or seaside for some holiday time.
Italians enjoying the beach during Ferragosto

Italian's enjoying the beach during Ferragosto

And if you think that is just the Italians that crowd the areas during the summer months you would be wrong. Although there are mostly Italians at this beach resort, the thousands of visitors who come to Italy every year clog up sidewalks and streets in many cities, towns and villages as well.
Crowded Venice during the summer in Italy

Crowded Venice Italy in the summer. Not the best time to go, as you can see!

Venice is not the only city that gets over-crowded in summer. Here is a picture below of a very crowded Rome. I think you are finally getting the picture. If you don't mind jostling shoulder to shoulder with fellow tourists, then that's fine - visit Italy in July and August. But if you are like me, and like to have the place relatively to yourself, then it is far better to travel out of peak season.

A crowded Rome at the Trevi Fountains during the peak travel season

At Easter, Rome is also overrun by pilgrims and tourists, and in Venice when it is carnival time the population of Venice is trippled!

Best Time to Visit Italy to avoid finding closed Resorts and Attractions

During the month of October, except for a few resorts like Taormina and some towns on the Italian Riviera, coastal resorts usually close shop from October or November until April due to the cold weather and lack of tourists during this period.
The best time to visit these places in Italy would be either June or September when everything reopens but because it is the shoulder-season you are still avoiding most of the crowds.

As far as hotel rates go, you will not find any cheaper deals in major cities like Rome, Florence or Milan during off-peak travel as these places are still visited be tourists throughout the year. If you ask, however, you may be lucky and get a reduced rate. In Italy, it's a case of "If you don't ask, you don't get!".

Best Time to Visit Italy for Hiking and Skiing

Skiing in the Aosta Valley

For those people who want to visit Italy for hiking in the Alps and the Apennines then
July and September are the best months to go. Walking trails during August are just too crowded and to be avoided at all costs.  Mountain refuges open from late June to the end of September for hikers and at Easter for skiers.

The skiing season extends from
December to late March , although at higher altitudes it could be longer. In the Aosta Valley , for example, you can ski during the summer and the winter. At the Marmolada glacier in Trentino-Alto Adige there is also all-year-round skiing.

In Southern Italy the ski season there is between
January and March . January is always Italy's coldest month.

Best Time to Visit Venice to get cheaper Hotel Rates

One city that you can visit during the off-peak periods and get a good deal is in Venice. We went in November one year, and although the weather was cold, and a little grey at times, it was still a great experience and our hotel room rate at the Locanda Ca' Le Vele , was reduced by 60% and we had a room overlooking a side canal, just behind the Grand Canal. When I think of the crowds in summer, Venice is one of those cities to think carefully about when to visit.

Best Time to Visit Italy for Festivals

 A medieval festival taking place in Anghiari, Tuscany

You may want to plan your travel to Italy to take in a particular festival whether it be a traditional festival or a food fair. And there are so many Italian festivals that it will be difficult to choose between them.

However, from May through to September the calendar is packed with traditional festivals, food fairs, musical festivals and outdoor opera. The musical and operatic festivals are usually held in July and August.

So When is it the Best Time to Visit Italy?

Well, as you can see, if you are not coming for a specific scheduled festival, fair or other event, the best time to visit Italy is from April to June and then September to October when the weather is cooler, the prices are lower and the tourists are fewer.

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