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What's the Best Time to Travel to Italy?

Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love the excitement of seeing new places and the thrill of experiencing different cultures.

Congratulations, you are considering a trip to Italy and wondering when the ideal time to visit might be? If weather and crowds are not a concern to you, then there really isn't a bad time for a trip to Italy. But, if you are not a fan of crowds and don’t like the heat and humidity of summer, or the cold and damp weather of winter, then you should give some thought to the timing of your trip. The travel year in Italy is generally divided into three seasons: peak season (mid-June through August), shoulder season (April through mid-June and September through October), and the off-season (November through March). Each has its pros and cons.

Roman Colosseum

Roman Colosseum

Peak Season

If you are traveling with school-age children then you are somewhat limited as to when you can go and most likely late June through August is your window of opportunity. The summer months are generally considered to be the peak season in Italy and in addition to high temperatures you will also find higher rates for accommodations. Airline fares also tend to be higher during the summer as the demand for seats to Italy and other European destinations increases.

Be advised that the month of August is not only the hottest and most humid time in Italy but many Italians head out of town for the two-week national holiday in mid-August, and many small stores and family-owned restaurants close. Many Italians wind up taking the entire month of August off and with many of them staying in Italy for their holiday it only adds to the crowds.

The summer rush actually begins in late June as schools and universities end their term and families and college students head onto their summer vacations. Many of the most famous attractions in Italy can be virtually overrun with crowds during the summer.

Another consideration to take into account is that many of the accommodations in Italy do not have air conditioning, although this is slowly changing. If you must go during the summer months do yourself a favor and make sure the places you are staying at have air conditioning.

An advantage of going to Italy during the summer is that this is the driest time of the year with very little rainfall, which makes for great beach weather. Also, the days are longer giving you more daylight hours for touring. To beat the heat plan your days with activities in the mornings and early evenings.

Summer in Italy.  Beach season.

Summer in Italy. Beach season.

Shoulder Season

If you have some flexibility then traveling during what is known as the shoulder season is a great time to travel to Italy. This period generally refers to the months of April through mid-June, and September through October, although many places in Italy now consider early September as peak season. This may be due to the Labor Day holiday in the United States when many people are still traveling internationally. During this time the crowds can be less and the weather moderates although you can still get some fairly hot temperatures in late June and early September.

With generally comfortable daytime temperatures and fewer crowds, this period makes for an ideal time for a visit with an additional benefit of lower hotel rates (except around the Easter Holiday). The spring season brings with it the added bonus of hillsides of blooming wildflowers along with blossoming trees and gardens while the fall season brings the grape harvest and a landscape painted in golden hues. This is a great time to visit the beautiful rolling landscape of Tuscany.

The shoulder season provides the best of both worlds as it is still warm enough for the beach, especially in the south, while not being too hot to be touring the great cities of Italy. Keep in mind that Italy stretches for over 730 miles from north to south so you can experience various climates depending on where you are visiting. Certainly, common sense applies that the farther north you go the cooler it may be while heading south will likely bring warmer temperatures.

Tuscany in September

Tuscany in September

Off-Season

The off-season usually refers to the period from November through March. During this time period, it generally comes down to luck as to what the weather brings. You can experience downright awful weather with cold and rainy conditions or it may be pleasant and dry.

During this time period the farther south you go the better the chance that you will have moderate weather conditions. We've all seen the pictures of snow in Florence and even the occasional snowfall in Rome so traveling during the late fall and winter months can bring just about any weather conditions.

If you are looking for winter outdoor activities then certainly this is the time to visit as the Alps and the Dolomites get an abundance of snow. The off-season also brings with it many deals on hotels and accommodations except of course around the Christmas Holiday. This is a great time for visiting some of the more famous tourist attractions and museums as the crowds have largely disappeared. Airlines will also typically lower their airfares during the winter months as an enticement to draw visitors to Italy during its off-season.

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Winter in Florence

Winter in Florence

So, the verdict is? Going to Italy at any time is certain to be a wonderful experience. But, the truly best time to go to experience the ideal combination of moderate weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodation rates is most certainly late spring (April through early June) or early fall (September through October). We've been to Italy three times in the month of September and once in October and the weather has always been wonderful with moderately warm days and very little rain. I hope this helps you find your perfect time of year to travel to Italy. Enjoy your visit to magical Italy.

Ciao for now.

Average High & Low Temps and Precipitation for Rome, Italy

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best-time-to-travel-to-italy
Italy

Italy

Questions & Answers

Question: How far is Florence, Italy from Rome, Italy?

Answer: Florence is about 270 kilometers, or 168 miles from Rome. It’s about a 3-hour drive depending on traffic. The hi-speed train can make the trip in about an hour and 20-minutes.

Question: Is there a good time to go to Italy when they do not charge such high tourist taxes?

Answer: In some communities the tourist tax varies by season and is lower during winter months. The downside is the weather is not as nice. The tourist tax also varies by community and the level of your accommodations. The highest tourist taxes are found in the popular cities that get a lot of tourists such as Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence.

Question: How far is Venice to Florence, and can we take a high-speed train?

Answer: Yes, there is a high-speed train service from Venice to Florence. The trip will take about 2 hours. If you opt for the slow train the trip will take about 4 hours.

Question: How far is Capri from Rome?

Answer: To get to Capri you need to first get to Naples or Sorrento. It’s about 225 km from Rome to Naples, which will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes if driving. The ferry will take another 50 to 80 minutes depending on which ferry you take.

Question: How do you get from Venice to Lake Como?

Answer: You can take the train from the Santa Lucia train station in Venice to the San Giovanni train station in Como. The shortest trip is about 3 and a half hours and makes a transfer in Milan. You can rent a car and drive, but many visitors to Italy do not feel comfortable driving in a foreign country. You can also take a bus from Venice to Como, which takes over 4 hours. I would opt for the train, it's easy and the cost is minimal.

Question: How far is Turin from Milan?

Answer: It is approximately 145 kilometers from Turin to Milan. The main driving route between the two cities is the A4 autostrada. The drive in good conditions will take about an hour and 45 minutes.

© 2012 Bill De Giulio

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