WHEN ARE THE BEST MONTHS TO VISIT ITALY
Everyone seems to have a time to avoid travel to Italy. Of course the best time in general would be Spring or Fall but which month or week when there is perfect weather. In the last few years no one can really tell you exactly. We are only being conditioned to travel during the spring and fall because the powers that be wanted to take advantage of those markets windows. Just like we are conditioned to be off on Sunday and maybe Saturday and week starts on Monday, we tend to follow patterns set for us. You can travel at anytime during the year but if you plan on spending your time visiting sites each day and hanging out on the beach, you would not want to be here in Trieste during December (if you were visiting southern Sicily you might catch a warm front is coming through that allows you to meet your goal).
Italy relies on tourism and each year the services they are offering is getting better organized. It may still seem like uncontrolled madness to you but trust me it is getting better. During the holiday periods (state and world holiday) the major cities are now organizing concerts and special opening of museums for travels and the local population that can no longer take off each year. The worst thing about the holiday periods and peak periods is that most places will inflate their prices. (Example during the big church event in Roma this year they showed how hotels had made their cost 4 times the normal, or each May here in Vicenza when they have the gold fair rooms triple.) This is just one of those Italian things, they know they are taking advantage of you but if you are silly enough to pay they do not feel bad about it. Look at the listing of Italian holidays when you are planning, and understand while here things just happen to change sometimes without advance notice, the further south the more frequent.
When is the best time to travel to Italy?
Actually. this is 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 & accomodations. 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.
TRAVEL IN ITALY DURING THE SPRING MONTHS: MARCH/APRIL/MAY:
As the season crosses from Winter to Spring, the weather can be quite unpredictable, usually between the low 50’s and 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 (i.e.: everything’s closed): Easter Sunday and Monday - Pasqua & Lunedi dell’Angelo (also called “Pasquetta”) Worth Seeing: Easter in Florence – “Lo Scoppio del Carro” (if the mechanical dove lits the Carro, it will be a good year for crops). Liberation Day “Festa della Liberazione” – April 25th Labor Day/Annunciation Day “Festa del Lavoro/Annunciazione” – May 1st
TRAVEL IN ITALY DURING THE SUMMER: JUNE/JULY/AUGUST:
The weather can sometimes become unbearably hot, remeber 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 infact 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 to avoid Venice during this time, as a bad odor can rise from the water and make the experience quite unpleasant. National Holidays (i.e.: everything’s closed): August 15th – “Ferragosto”, also the “Festa dell’Assunta” (Assumption Day – Christian Holiday). Worth Seeing: The “Palio” takes place in Siena, a medieval horse race among the old districts of the Tuscan city. Sales events beginning in July in stores all over Italy, great time to shop!!
TRAVEL IN ITALY IN THE FALL: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER/NOVEMBER:
September and October are excellent months to go as far as weather is concerned, but for this 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 (i.e.: everything’s closed): All Saints’ Day “Ognissanti” – Nov. 1st (you’ll see many people dressed in black to visit their loved ones who passed-away in cemetaries all over Italy) Worth Seeing: Regata storica – Venice, Veneto – historic boats and gondola race 1st weekend in September. Miracolo di San Gennaro – Sept. 19th Naples’ most important event celebrating their patron saint.
TRAVEL TO ITALY IN THE WINTER: DECEMBER/JANUARY/FEBRUARY:
During the winter months days are short, usually rainy and cold. 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. 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.
National Holidays (i.e.: everything’s closed) Immaculate Conception “Festa dell’Immacolata” – Dec. 8th Christmas “Natale” – Dec. 25th - Midnight Mass on the 24th: all churches in Italy have mass at midnight. On the 25th: mass in Piazza San Pietro in Rome with blessing from the Pope. Santo Stefano – Dec.26th – Italians rest and recuperate 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 “Capodanno” – Jan. 1st Epiphany “Befana” – Jan. 6th - national holiday - Huge sales events after this day begin. Worth Seeing: Carnevale – Venice, Veneto – beautiful parade of highly crafted costumes and masks through the misty canals of Venice.