Italy is a beautiful country with unique cities, rolling countryside vineyards and rugged mountains. Surrounded by the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean seas, there are stunning coastal towns and beaches, as well as cities including Rome, Venice and Milan that attract millions of tourists from across the globe each year.
The famous lakes; Lake Garda and Lake Como, are equally popular, offering luxurious lakeside vacations. Plus, there’s the awe-inspiring Amalfi Coast. It’s no wonder Italy is such a popular holiday destination.
Deciding on the best time to visit Italy can come down to your preference on what weather you want and if you wish to embrace or avoid the tourist crowds. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to decide where and when to go to Italy.
Table of Contents
- Italy’s seasonal temperatures
- The best time to visit Northern Italy
- The best time to visit Central Italy
- The best time to visit Southern Italy
- So, when is the best time to visit Italy?
- Useful tips for traveling in Italy
- Final thoughts
Italy’s seasonal temperatures
Summer is the most popular time for tourists to get away and enjoy the warm weather however, Italy’s temperatures in July and August can be unbearably hot for some people. Average summertime temperatures in Northern Italy are between 32–35 °C, with Central Italy temperatures between 25-33°C and Southern Italy averaging between 38–42 °C.
On the other hand, August is when many Italians go on their summer holidays which tends to lead to the big cities being quieter and you may even be able to get cheaper hotel room deals. On the contrary, the beach and mountain resorts will be very busy, with expensive hotel rates.
If you can handle the heat of Italy in the summer then a city break could work for you and most hotels will have good air conditioning to keep you cool at night. We would recommend avoiding beach and mountain breaks during the summer months though.
In Autumn, daily temperatures are much more variable across the Italian regions. September and October are still warm across the country, making it a great time to visit anywhere. Temperatures in Northern Italy average 13-24°C. Central Italy averages temperatures of 18-27°C and you can expect average temperatures of 21-27°C in Southern Italy.
But, November and December are much colder, which keeps tourists at bay. The benefits of this are that you’ll be able to enjoy sightseeing without large swathes of people. Plus, flights and accommodation will be much cheaper too.
Italy experiences cold winters so it’s not the best time to travel for the weather but just like late Autumn it will be a quieter time to visit if you’re looking to avoid tourist crowds. You might also like to experience the Italian culture around Christmas. You’ll be able to explore the open-air Christmas Markets, skate on the outdoor ice rinks and huddle around the outdoor heaters at the cafés and bars.
You can also indulge in some traditional Italian desserts. In December, shops and markets throughout Italy sell traditional Italian dessert breads; panettone and pandoro. Traditionally from Verona, Pandoro translates as ‘bread of gold’, due to its golden brown appearance once cut into. Panettone originates from Milan and is a loaf filled with dried fruit. Both are traditional Italian Chritsmas time breads which you have to sample when in Italy.
April and May are great months for visiting Italy with average temperatures in the north of 10-21°C, Central Italy 13-21°C and Southern Italy 16-24°C. Around this time of year the tourist crowds pick up slightly but you can move around comfortably in the warm temperatures. You’ll still avoid the summer crowds and scorching temperatures that July and August bring and you’ll have longer daylight hours to give you even more time to explore and visit outdoor attractions before dusk.
The best time to visit Northern Italy
Popular destinations: Milan, Venice, Verona, Turin, Lake Como & Lake Garda
Northern Italy is known for its stunning scenery, with the Alps farthest north, you can go skiing or visit some of the charming mountainside towns. There’s the bustling cities of Milan and Turin with endless historical and cultural sites to explore. And on the east, there’s the enchanting city on water that is Venice. There’s also the two beautiful lakes of Lake Como and Lake Garda to be explored.
Northern Italy is great to visit from April to June and September to October. You’ll have nice warm weather coupled with moderate tourist crowds.
Unmissable places to see in Northern Italy
- Duomo di Milano
- Sforzesco Castle
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
- Da Vinci’s The Last Supper painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie
- Saint Mark’s Basilica and Saint Mark’s Square
- Doge’s Palace
- Rialto Bridge and The Bridge of Sighs
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- Verona Arena
- Castelvecchio Museum
- Piazza delle Erbe
- Ponte Scaligero
- Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
- Catedral de Verona
- Castel San Pietro
- Basilica of Superga
- Egyptian Museum
- Mole Antonelliana
- Parco del Valentino
- Piazza San Carlo
- Royal Palace of Turin
- Piazza Castello
- Peschiera del Garda
- Scaligero Castle
- Grotte di Catullo
- Limonaia del Castèl
- Castello Scaligero
- Cascata del Varone
- Villa Olmo
- Duomo di Como
- Como-Brunate funicular
The best time to visit Central Italy
Popular destinations: Rome, Florence, Pisa, Siena
Central Italy is home to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Rome drawing in over 10.3 million visitors each year. In fact, the crowds can be so bad in Rome that you might feel like your experience there is ruined by the overcrowding so it’s important to plan your visit for the right time.
Also located in Central Italy is the gorgeous region of Tuscany. Within Tuscany are the stunning cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena. These cities are also hugely popular places to visit so you’ll need to consider when you travel carefully.
Visiting Central Italy from April to June and September to October is wise. If you can brave the heat of summer then you can benefit from slightly cheaper hotel rooms due to many Italians going on holiday in the summer too. Although, the tourist crowds are still plentiful in the summer.
However, Rome, Florence, Pisa and Siena all have a wonderful wintertime charm to them, so if warm weather isn’t a priority for you, then you should consider visiting in the winter.
Unmissable places to see in Central Italy
- Trevi Fountain
- Sistine Chapel
- Roman Forum
- St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City)
- Spanish Steps
- Altar of the Fatherland
- Villa Borghese
- Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
- Uffizi Gallery
- Piazzale Michelangelo
- Ponte Vecchio
- Basilica of Santa Croce
- Pitti Palace
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Cattedrale di Pisa
- Piazza del Duomo
- Port of Pisa
- Iglesia de Santa Maria della Spina
- The Botanical Garden and Museum
- Duomo di Siena
- Piazza del Campo
- Tower of Mangia
- Sanctuary of Saint Catherine
- Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico
- Piccolomini Library
The best time to visit Southern Italy
Popular destinations: Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Bari, Sicily
Southern Italy is where tourists flock for the best beaches and unbeatable weather. If you’re a sun worshipper then you’ll love visiting Southern Italy either in Spring, Summer or early Autumn. There are stunning coastal cities, towns and villages from historic Naples to the beauty of Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, Bari and Sicily.
During the summer the coastal towns and villages are packed with holidaymakers both visiting from abroad and also with Italians who are escaping the cities for their own summer vacations. We’d recommend avoiding these peak tourist times but if you love the sun you probably won’t want to pass up summers in Southern Italy.
Unmissable places to see in Southern Italy
- Ovo Castle
- Castel Nuovo
- Piazza del Plebiscito
- Royal Palace of Naples
- Basilica Reale Pontificia San Francesco da Paola
- Galleria Umberto I
- Catedral de Nápoles
- Mount Vesuvius (14 miles from Naples)
- Pompeii (16 miles from Naples)
- Basilica Sant’Antonino
- Villa Comunale di Sorrento
- Bagni Regina Giovanna
- Piazza Tasso
- Ferry to Capri Island
- Basilica San Nicola
- Basilica Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale San Sabino
- Teatro Petruzzelli
- Direzione regionale Musei
- Piazza Mercantile
- Cattedrale di Palermo
- Teatro Antico di Taormina
- Massimo Theater
- Valley of the Temples
- Norman Palace
- Mount Etna
- Temple of Segesta
So, when is the best time to visit Italy?
So, as you can see, deciding when is the best time to visit Italy just depends on what you’re after from your holiday. The best time to visit Italy for nice weather would be in Spring from May to June and in Autumn from September to October. These months are relatively busy with tourists but you will benefit from the best weather. You’ll be able to enjoy warm days that are pleasant for sightseeing and enjoying the outdoors, without being stiflingly hot.
But, if you don’t mind what kind of weather you get in Italy then choose to travel in the late Autumn, Winter and early Spring when you’ll get to explore the sights at your own leisurely and uninterrupted pace. Plus, you’ll be able to secure some cheap flights and accommodation.
Useful tips for traveling in Italy
What is the currency of Italy?
Italy uses the Euro as its currency.
Can you drink tap water in Italy?
Tap water is safe to drink almost everywhere in Italy. In any exceptional circumstances where the water isn’t safe to drink it will be clearly sign-posted.
The language of Italy:
Italian is spoken across Italy and some of the most common useful phrases to know are:
- Hello / Goodbye – Ciao!
- Yes – Si
- No – No
- Please – Per favore
- Thank you – Grazie
- You’re welcome – Prego
- Cheers! – Salute!
- Excuse me (for attention) – Scusi
Is Italy safe?
Italy’s big cities such as Rome, Venice, Milan, Naples and Turin do have some petty crime. You should be mindful of pickpockets and bag snatchers in busy tourist areas. Other areas of Italy such as Lakes Garda and Como, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are considered very safe and not known for petty crime. But you should always be mindful of your personal belongings whenever you are in any tourist region.
Italy is an alluring country and is worth visiting at any time of the year, but you can make the most out of your holiday by visiting when the weather is warm, avoiding the scorching hot summers and freezing cold winters. However, the best thing about Italy is that it offers something for everyone, any time of the year. Its beauty is there 365 days a year, so whatever time of year you choose to visit Italy, you won’t regret it.
For more Italy inspiration check out our Ultimate 2 Week Italy Itinerary: Exploring The Entire Country.