Italy is a year-round destination with an abundance of cultural and historical sights. Explore the colourful beach-side towns of Cinque Terre in the summer, or in winter, head to Florence’s first-class museums filled with Renaissance art and Roman antiquities.
Like much of Europe, Italy is at its best during the shoulder season. The month of May can often hit a sweet spot of good weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds. Similarly, October can be a fantastic month to visit places like Rome and Florence, and further south places like Matera and Sicily remain quite warm.
May is a great shoulder season month to visit Italy as the temperatures are warm but not too hot. Explore Tuscany, or drive along the Amalfi Coast and make the most of the ferry trips starting to open up for the season. June is a great time to visit quieter regions like Puglia and Calabria as the tourist crowds start to get busier.
July and August are the peak tourist season and prices are at a premium. Explore lesser visited areas of Italy like Le Marche and Lombardy, but prepare for lack of air-conditioning and busy roads. It’s also the best time of year to visit Italy’s beaches with warm water temperatures for swimming.
Late September into October can be a fantastic time to visit major attractions, with an increase in rainfall into November. Lots of great deals can be found on accommodation at this time of year, but there may be less in the way of shops and restaurants open in more rural areas.
December can also be a wonderful time to visit Italy with Christmas markets appearing all over the country. Museums like the Vatican Museums and Uffizi Gallery are at their best in winter when queues are low. Accommodation prices are very reasonable outside of the Christmas holidays. It’s also ski and snowboard season in places like the Dolomites, the Val d’Aosta, and the Savoy Alps to the west of Turin.
From March, the weather starts to get a little warmer but there are still few crowds and prices stay low in tourist areas. It’s a good time to visit major cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice. Towards April some areas can be busy around Easter, and some religious sites may be closed for the holiday celebrations.
The hottest month in Italy is July with average temperatures ranging between 24°C and 30°C. Some cities can be uncomfortable to visit in heat waves and there are risks of natural fires in rural areas. June and August can also see high temperatures, and the beaches and mountains are a popular escape for locals from the city.
The coolest month of the year is January with an average temperature of 3°C. Snow is common in the mountains but it doesn’t often settle in the lowlands where temperatures remain above freezing.
Some parts of Southern Italy can be quite dry year-round, whereas parts of the north around the lakes can see more rainfall and snow. The wettest months in general are between October and November, with around 80 - 100 mm of rainfall.
Carnival is the biggest event of the year in Venice and visitors come from all around, filling the narrow streets with colourful Venetian masks and music. The vibrant balls and concerts take place in February and early March, and prices and crowds are at their highest during this time.
Good Friday is celebrated throughout Italy with regional events like the Medieval Palio horse race in Siena. In Florence, Easter Day is celebrated with Lo Scoppio del Carro - a popular and symbolic firework display outside the Duomo just after Mass.
Late summer can be a fantastic time to visit the northern agricultural and wine regions with many local harvest festivals being celebrated. In November you can find olive oil festivals happening all over Italy, a mainstay of Mediterranean cuisine.
Both large and small cities get into the Christmas spirit with huge trees and market stalls lighting up the dark winter streets. It can be a wonderful time to visit Italy with great shopping opportunities and plenty of attractions for visitors.
Like most of Europe, the main cities and tourist hotspots are crowded during the summer months from June through to September. Prices can drop significantly in November due to more rainfall, but February is the cheapest month to visit Italy with great deals on accommodation.
Late January to February can see the least crowds in major cities, but skiing resorts remain popular throughout the season and Carnival can get busy in certain areas. The shoulder seasons of March to April, and October to November can also be good for avoiding the tourist crowds.
Planning a trip to Italy? Read our Italy travel guides.
Last Updated 29 August 2023