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When Is the Best Season to Travel to Italy?

Given Italy’s popularity as a world-class tourist destination, timing your trip may prove challenging depending on your travel priorities. The country has something to offer visitors year-round, but major attractions are sure to draw crowds in the thousands during the summer. Meanwhile, other cultural events may have tourists flocking to choice destinations, which may be detrimental to a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of what happens in Italy every year and give you a better idea of what’s in store before you book your flights.

Summer time in Sicily - Italy

Summer Fun for Everyone

Summer is the peak tourist season in Italy. Starting from May, major cities and attractions can be crowded and will continue to be so up until July, when you have to contend not only with fellow tourists, but also with locals going on vacation. Airfare, accommodations and entrance to common draws may be higher than usual, harder to book, and take longer to get into. Rome, in particular, becomes a place where you need to brace yourself for long waits in lines into several of the city’s attractions.

The summer high season peculiarly skips August entirely, as many Italians close up establishments to take their own vacations in the middle of the month during a two-week national holiday called ferragosto. This means that beaches and resorts, as well as mountain destinations, may be more crowded than usual. It all finishes by the end of September.

Notable Events for Tourists

You’ll want to keep a lookout for Easter – there will be events in and around the Vatican as the Christian holiday is celebrated, as well as the Scoppio del Carro in Florence, both of which draw tourists in the hundreds of thousands. Guests will also flock to Venice during Carnevale to take part in the revelries. The dates for these events vary every year as they are set to the liturgical calendar, so you might want to take a peek in order to adjust your travel plans to avoid or attend them. If you do wish to brave the crowds, make sure to book your accommodations well in advance, and put down reservations whenever possible to the sites you wish to visit during your trip.

Visiting Italy during Summer

If a bit of summer heat doesn’t bother you, visiting in August can prove advantageous. The weather will be anything but mild – it’ll probably be more on the side of “punishing” – but the crowd size is much more manageable. Prices will most likely remain as if it’s the peak season still, and a lot of the good, locally-owned trattorias and wine bars might be closed due to their proprietors going on holiday. On the other hand, most major attractions will remain open and won’t be as crowded. The city of Rome has recently launched a campaign to attract more foreigners and guests in August by holding concerts, musical performances, and other events – most of them free of charge.

Winter Time in Italy

Italy’s low tourist season is basically the winter season, which begins sometime in late November, except for the spike in incoming guests during major holidays. It will be cold, but your tradeoff for chilly weather will be lowered hotel prices, cheap flights, and popular tourist attractions being much quieter. You’ll be able to experience places like the Sistine Chapel or the Duomo in Florence at your leisure, without having to contend with hordes of other visitors. Certain places may be closed during New Year’s or the Epiphany (commonly celebrated on the 6th of January) and marks the end of the Christmas season.

castelmezzano italy

It’s best to consult as many resources as you can to plan your itinerary before booking. If your priority for traveling to Italy is to eat well and experience local cuisine, it’s best to time your visit in the springtime when the fresh local produce flood the markets, and autumn, which finds you in the middle of the grape harvest in the countryside.

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By Priscila Siano (264 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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  1. Agnes Leaming
    Posted February 21, 2017 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Looking forward to receiving information on visiting in the spring!

  2. Posted February 21, 2017 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Absolutely! Feel free to fill out this form to set up a free consultation.

    Also, be sure to optin to our newsletter…

  3. Margie
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

    Ill be travelling around the Puglia & the Amalfi coast regions between Sept 17th-Oct 3rd 2017
    Are there any public holidays i need to be mindful of when planning my tours /activities around those dates
    Regards Margie

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