Cheapest Time to Travel to Italy

Updated on April 20, 2018
Robie Benve profile image

Robie is an Italian artist who now lives in the US. She loves to share useful vacation tips and first-hand knowledge about Italy.

From North to South, including the islands, Italy is full of amazing destinations and proudly owns some of the most attractive artistic and cultural treasures in the world.

If you are planning to visit Italy and you have the flexibility to choose the period of the year when to go, the ideal choice would be to pick periods when tourism is lower.

Planning to visit Italy during less expensive periods can save you a lot of money. Tips on how to save money during a trip to Italy.
Planning to visit Italy during less expensive periods can save you a lot of money. Tips on how to save money during a trip to Italy. | Source

In Short:

When planning your trip to Italy, you can save money by:

  • Traveling during off peak season.
  • Booking your airplane ticket at east 2-3 months in advance.
  • Avoiding main holidays or city-specific major festivities
  • Not following the masses. Eat, buy, and shop in places away from the main touristic itineraries.

When Is The Low Season In Italy?

Low season can be considered the periods from April to the end of June and the months of September and October. These are also months with wonderful weather, since they are neither during the Italian hot summer or cold winter.

During low season you’ll have better opportunities to:

  • enjoy the cities you are visiting because of smaller crowds
  • see a more realistic Italian life-style, since most of the people around are natives
  • and last but not least, save money.

Saint Mark's Square, Venice - Typical crowd on a weekend at the end of June.
Saint Mark's Square, Venice - Typical crowd on a weekend at the end of June. | Source

Italian Climate and Temperatures

Climate in Italy is generally temperate. Only rarely you can find temperature higher than 40˚C (104˚F) in the summer, or below -10˚C (14˚F) in winter. Season are pretty well defined, winter is generally cold, spring is rainy but with many sunny days, summer is hot and dry, with some thunderstorms, fall is mild, sometimes rainy, but never cold.

The Mediterranean Sea, that surrounds Italy, influences the climate making it milder, especially on the coast, where winters are warmer and summers are less hot.

Due to its geographical configuration, Italy can be divided into three climate zones:

Cividale del Friuli

A view of Cividale del Friuli, a small historical town nestled in the Northern Italian region of Friuli.
A view of Cividale del Friuli, a small historical town nestled in the Northern Italian region of Friuli. | Source

From Sunny and Hot to Cold and Snowy - You Can Find It all in Italy

Climate in the North

The Northern region is the area less mitigated by the sea, and presents a climate that is quite cold during winter, with snow showers during the months of December, January and February, and a very hot and humid summer.

Climate in the Center

Central Italy, between the cities of Bologna and Rome, has a temperate climate with smaller difference between cold and hot seasons, though occasionally you could have a snowy and cold winter and extremely hot summer.

Climate in the South and main Islands (Sicily and Sardinia)

The weather in the South of Italy and Islands is generally dry and warm, with fewer rainfalls and periods of drought. Winter is never too cold and autumn and spring have temperatures close to summer in in the North and center areas.

Climate on Alps and Apennines

An exception must be made for the mountainous areas of Alps and Apennines, where the altitude makes the climate colder.

Locations on the Alps and Apennines are ideal for skiing in winter and excursions and hiking during the summer months.

Italian Pizza

Italian Pizzerias offer a rich menu with several pages of topping choices. One pizza is served for each person - the crust is much thinner and lighter than American pizza.
Italian Pizzerias offer a rich menu with several pages of topping choices. One pizza is served for each person - the crust is much thinner and lighter than American pizza. | Source

Best Months to Visit Different Cities in Italy

April, May, and June are probably the best months to visit Italy, because the climate is moderate everywhere, and the blooming farmland adds wonderful scenarios to the already picturesque landscapes.

September and October are two other favorite months to enjoy great temperatures and low costs.

If you like shopping, then you may want to go to Italy during the sales periods. You may be surprised to hear that sales in Italy are strictly regulated by law, and official calendars are published every year. Typically sales are allowed during change of seasons, i.e. January and July.

"Tuscan Bales" by Robie Benve

painting of a landscape in Tuscany with hay bales.
painting of a landscape in Tuscany with hay bales. | Source

Milan – Milan is a city of business, fashion and has also wonderful sightseeing and museums. The best periods to visit are May, June, September and October.

Venice – the most enjoyable period to visit Venice is from end of March to the end of May, and the months of September and October.

During the carnival season, usually in February - but it changes according to when the Easter Holiday falls each year - Venice becomes the stage for professional and amateurs in costumes of all kinds. It’s quite wonderful to see, but of course it is not the cheapest period to visit.

Venice can be flooded with high tides during the winter months, especially in the months of November and December.

Florence – Autumn is the rainiest period in Florence, with heavy rain storms that can last for days, especially in November. Summer is very hot, with scattered thunderstorms.

Spring and the beginning of autumn are usually the best seasons to visit Florence


Rome, Castel Sant'Angelo, night view
Rome, Castel Sant'Angelo, night view | Source

Rome – The best time to go to Rome is in the spring, from April to June and in the month of September, when skies are blue and the temperature still warm.

Naples – From April to October is the best time to visit Naples, the region of Campania, and all the islands around it. The best months to take the ferries and visit Capri and the other islands are from April-June, and September-October.

Sardinia – The best period to visit Sardinia is from April to June. In April the whole island blooms with flowers, the landscape colors showcase yellows from broom and mimosa bushes, blues of lavender mixes with the wild bushes of white and purple cistus, purple orchids fill the paths, red poppies color the yellow corn fields; the spring landscape is a festival of colors.

Sardinia is best known for its wonderful beaches, where it’s comfortable to bath from May to October. The peak tourist season is in July and August, but September and October are great months to go to the beach.

Sicily – Sicily has a mild and sunny climate all year long, but the best times to visit are during the months of April, May, June, and September.

Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Arno river at sunset.
Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Arno river at sunset. | Source
A
Milan, Italy:
Milan, Italy

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B
Venice, Italy:
Venice, Italy

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C
Florence, Italy:
Florence, Italy

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D
Rome, Italy:
Rome, Italy

get directions

E
Naples, Italy:
Naples, Italy

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F
Sardinia, Italy:
Sardinia, Italy

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Sicily, Italy:
Sicily, Italy

get directions

Airfare Booking Tips:

- Best period to buy the airplane tickets is usually from January – March.

- Buy the tickets at least 2-3 months in advance, this will allow you to find shorter flights (less stop-overs, shorter layover) at competitive prices.

Sunset in Castellamare di Stabia, Naples
Sunset in Castellamare di Stabia, Naples | Source

Most Expensive Periods to Visit Italy

As for every market, the tourism market does not make an exception on the basic rule: the higher the request, the higher the price. In fact, the most expensive periods to visit Italy are related to popular Holidays and vacation periods.

Some holidays are common to the all country, but depending on the city you are visiting, you may find very popular city-specific holidays.

Major Italian National Holidays

New Year's Day, January 1

Easter Sunday, the date varies each year

Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday

Liberation Day, April 25

Labor Day, May 1

Republic Day, June 2

Assumption Day, or Ferragosto, August 15

All Saint's Day, November 1

Immaculate Conception, December 8

Christmas Day, December 25

Saint Stephen's Day, December 26

Avoid Traveling at Ferragosto If You Can

Typically Italians take their vacations in August, especially the weeks around the 15th of August, which is called Ferragosto. That is a major holiday in Italy, with fireworks, parades, air shows, etc.

If you plan to visit during that period, be aware the cities become ghost towns. Most shops and business close, inhabitants go to the beach or travel, to the point that barely no one is around… well, no one but the tourists. Also, since August is the peak vacation period for Italians, reservations get quite costly.

Concordia temple, Agrigento, Sicily
Concordia temple, Agrigento, Sicily | Source

Stay Away from Popular Touristic Itineraries

The best way to save money while on vacation is to spend your money away from the usual touristic itineraries.

Choose a hotel in a less touristic area, look for restaurants and shops used by locals.

Don’t get trapped by shining and fancy tourist shops, you can save lots of money and get better quality for the price if when it’s time to purchase you stir away from the main attractions.

Ask for directions and advice at your hotel front desk, or even to people on the street. The average Italian is very happy to be helpful.

Questions & Answers

  • When planning a trip to Italy, should you go through a travel agent or tour company?

    Shop around and go with the best/most convenient for you.

    I usually plan all our travels myself, but we are all different.

    Maybe asking around you can get tips and ideas and you'll be able to plan the trip by yourself, it depends what standards you are up to.

  • Where is the best place in Italy to fly into from the USA?

    It depends on where you are going. There are direct flights from the USA to several Italian cities. I've flown into Milan, Venice, Rome, and Naples and they all had great airports. I'm sure there are other options as well. Most of the time I fly to Venice because my family is there, but you can look up the airport nearest to your destination as I'm sure there is a way to get there, if not with a direct flight, with a layover from somewhere in Europe.

  • What is the cheapest city to arrive in Italy from DC?

    Well, I have to be honest, my family is in Venice, so I always fly into Venice, and I have never researched what other cities could be cheaper to fly to.

    I guess it depends on the season and demand for each city, sometimes local festivals or events increase drastically the number of tourists, and the price of the ticket goes up. It requires some planning ahead, and some research, probably a travel agent with the right software can answer this very quickly, but I don't have those resources.

    One thing is sure, the Italian public transportation, including the railroad service, connects every corner of the territory, so it would be possible to land in any region and then get to your final destination by railroad or bus. But then you'd have to take into consideration that cost and the extra time traveling.

  • Are there direct flights to Naples, Italy from JFK?

    As far as I know there are no direct flights from JFK to Naples, but I am not a travel agent, so you may want to double check. Also, sometimes direct flights are only seasonal and might only be available in certain periods.

© 2012 Robie Benve

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 months ago from UK

      This is a really useful article. I have only ever passed through the northern part of Italy in the summer en route from the South of France to Austria and that was over 30 years ago. In those days prices were in Lira, which kept being devalued. I would love to return and explore further south, but Italy has the reputation of being more expensive than some other European countries.

    • profile image

      Michael Walker 

      8 months ago

      I have a dilemma I have a family member that passed away recently which is Mike at 95 years of age her husband was from a small town south of Naples call Sereno... province of Avellino —-

      My dear aunt was cremated and wish the part of her ashes be placed with her husband who passed away 30 years ago and was cremated and his ashes were taken to the hometown of Sereno— Which 30 years ago I joined my aunt who speak fluent Italian because her mother was from Sicily and so it was no problem

      now that is just me I’m finding myself extremely challenged on how to do that— I was looking to do this in the next month or so leave March April after Easter ..

      My thoughts were obviously going to Rome and perhaps trying to hire somebody for a couple days they could go with me to be my spokesperson obviously they have to speak English and Italian—

      Any suggestions on how or where I would be able to find such a person like maybe a student or ?

      They would have to be flexible because I know things just don’t happen right away when you were there last time we had some difficulties in the hometown following proper paperwork and procedure so again it will be challenging it’s even difficult to plan flights in and out not knowing how long it’s going to take

      Thank you

      Mike

    • profile image

      Anita Storrs 

      8 months ago

      Hi Robie,

      I don't want you to plan an itinerary for me but could use some advice! This trip is my "biggest Bucket List" item! I am in love with pictures from the Tuscan region. But on a lower end budget. Of course I have visions of renting the gorgeous villa I might see in a picture but doubt that is very realistic! Could you just advise the area in Tuscany where we might rent something (a week or 2) for the best value? I am thinking Florence is not cheap since it is a bigger city. We can drive on day trips to check out other places but don't necessarily want to change lodging every day or 2. Any advice?

      Anita

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      11 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Missy, I am originally from a small town near Venice, so when I go visit I stay with family and mainly eat at home. I write articles about the things I love in Italy, but I don't feel like taking responsibility for organizing other people's vacation. Sorry about that. A couple of things I can tell you though, train is a great way to travel between cities, and public transportation is really great in Europe. Check out the Treni Italia website to see train fairs. There are different rates and options depending on the speed of the train.

    • profile image

      Missy Taylor 

      11 months ago

      Hi Robie,

      Thanks for all your wonderful information. I'd like to plan a trip to see Rome, Florence and Venice Fall 2018. I tpyically use Airbnb when I travel. This will be my first trip to Italy. I'd also like to use the train to move between the different cities. Is this a costly way to travel Rome to Florence and Florence to Venice? I'd like to throw in a 1-2 day trip to Paris at the end. What's the best itinerary to see all these cities? I have about 10-12 days set aside.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Yes Don, Calabria is very hot. I went twice, once in summer (hot, hot, hot) and one at the end of September, beginning of October: AWESOME! I never tried spring, but I guess it's also wonderful. If you want to enjoy the beaches, I would recommend late spring or fall.

    • profile image

      Don 

      12 months ago

      when is the best time to travel to Calabria. our daughter studied abroad in Agregento last summer and said it was very hot

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      12 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Mia H, Rome is beautiful all year long. Keep in mind it's very hot during the summer, and cold, but not unbearably cold, in winter. Here are a few articles that can help you.

      My experience of 24 hours in Rome

      https://hubpages.com/travel/Rome-One-Day

      Getting Around in Rome https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/Getti

      Unique Convent & Monastery Accommodations in Rome, Italy

      https://wanderwisdom.com/lodging/Unique-Accommodat...

      I hope these help.

    • profile image

      Mia H 

      12 months ago

      When is the best time to travel to Rome, winter or summer? What is the best way to get around? Do you recommend any food places or/and a good place to stay?

    • profile image

      Kathleen Bello 

      13 months ago

      Very well explained all types of expenses in Italy, which is necessary for one to get the idea before planning a trip to Italy.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      13 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Saadiya, I've been to Rome in December and it was amazing. The Holiday decorations and lights add an extra layer of charm to the eternal city. Hope you find good weather, but I think it has the potential to be great in any case. Happy trip!

    • profile image

      Saadiya 

      13 months ago

      Hi, we will be going to Rome in December, you think it will be worth it , and i am well little worried about the weather any advice you would like to give. TIA

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      14 months ago from Ohio

      Hi Mark, August is a great month to visit Italy, though the airfares and hotels will probably be more expensive. I have kids in school, and end up going on high-cost times myself. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do... Good luck to you finding good deals. It'll all be worth it at the end. :)

    • profile image

      mark 

      14 months ago

      Were planning a trip to Italy in august 2019. This date was not my choice at all. Seems like that's the only time my daughter and son in-law can go. What is your opinion about the month of august? It will be our first trip to Italy.

    • profile image

      Hi 

      14 months ago

      Oh thank you so much then!! Great website, and I'm so grateful that you've done this!!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      14 months ago from Ohio

      $850 sounds good! :)

    • profile image

      Hi 

      14 months ago

      Sorry to post again, but I should ask if $850 is a good price to go in April? Thank you so much again.

    • profile image

      Hi 

      14 months ago

      Okay, thank you so much then for your response. I sorta found a good deal on delta for $850 for April, so maybe I'll go with that. Thank you so much again Robie!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      14 months ago from Ohio

      Hi, I did not mean you have to wait until January, so thanks for the heads up abuot possible confusion, I need to restate that in the article. The rule of thumb is to buy tickets as soon as you, so you find more options available at lower prices. In general tickets seem to be cheaper when bought in the colder months, but if you find a good deal in August for next April, go ahead and buy it, asolutely.

    • profile image

      Hi 

      14 months ago

      I want to go end of April...but are sure, it's best to wait for Jan. to book for cheaper flights? That seems like cutting it close\/

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Jen, that sounds like a great trip! I'm so jealous :) Sorry but I cannot give you any tips from my personal experience about your trip. I am Italian, but (believe it or not) I have never been to Sicily. I wish I could, believe me - Sicily is a region that I would LOVE to visit. Enjoy your vacation :)

    • profile image

      Jen 

      2 years ago

      I would like to travel to Sicily and hike from town to town and especially to Mount Etna. I would like to keep my cost down. Where is the best place to fly into? Do the many of the villages have cheap places to stay?

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot Glenis Rix. The Earthquake has been devastating and has taken many innocent lives in a split second. Everyone has been thinking "It could have been me, it could have been my family" and this is what has made it even more heart-breaking. In a world that sees bomb attacks every day with hundreds that die in war zones, it's somehow more striking to see a tragedy happening in a peaceful place. I pray for the many families that have lost everything, and for the wonderful people that are helping.

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 

      2 years ago from UK

      Love your painting :) I love Italy and as well as travelling there by plane on several occasions have made the car journey from the UK. So sad to hear the recent news of a devasting earthquake.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Robin, we stayed at a hotel about 5 minute walking distance to the Vatican, of which I can't remember the name right now, other that it was run by priests. However, thought the location was phenomenal, it was very simple, almost bare, and the rooms were small. We liked staying there, but it was a very short stay, and the price did not matter much. You'll find out that Rome is very walkable, and there are a lot of different accommodations you can find. Even if not so close to the Vatican, you can get there easily by walking and/or using public transportation. There is a great bus system in Rome!

    • profile image

      Robin1959 

      2 years ago

      My daughter is getting married in Vatican City 10/2016 ,looking for suggestions hotel stay 3 adults , two 16 year olds . We will be there approx,10-12 days .Thanks

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      aesta1, that sounds wonderful: Sicily in winter is still warm enough to enjoy staying outside and even at the beach. Great choice of timing! Glad to hear it was a very positive experience. :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I agree with you that the best time to travel is during non-peak season. We visited Sicily for 6 weeks in the winter and really enjoyed it. Less crowd so we enjoyed the visits to all the tourist places.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Chris, I agree, it gets very confucing at times. Some years it depends on how the weather has been, other times on special events that are going on in the area. Like if the suppem has been rainy, with frequent thunderstorms and floods, than prices may be much higher in the fall.

    • profile image

      Chris 

      3 years ago

      I'm so confused about the seasons! I'm going back to Florence this Oct and was surprised to find the hotel I stayed in this past Dec double+ the price! No kidding. $68 Dec'14 , Oct'15 $141. While 'shopping' I noticed the August prices lower than Oct. I thought summer was 'high' season- highest prices, most tourists, all Europe on holiday, not to mention students. Just read on Italysource that mid july-Aug hotels drop prices. Sept through Oct is part of high season! (& April- mid July). Guess I thought I was in 'shoulder season' and hotels would be a bit more reasonable. It's really killing me to pay twice the price. Seems the seasons change as a certain time becomes more popular, prices go up. I shouldn't complain too much since fares came down & the exchange rate is now more favorable to the $$.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      3 years ago from Ohio

      Glad you liked the facts The Rawspirit". Thanks & happy summer to you!

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Love the facts.... Thank you.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Hi CelebrateUSA, I'm not sure about the difficulty of touring Italian factories. I'm sure it depends on the factory. Some like car factories may be more open than others to the public visits, but I think that some fashion and shoe factories will also welcome tours. Great idea, I never heard of an Italian factory tour, but it makes a lot of sense! :)

    • CelebrateUSA profile image

      Ken Kline 

      5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      I had never thought about the timetable other than my schedule. Now that my life is more flexible I perhaps take these tips into consideration. I wonder how difficult in off season it would be to tour some of the famous factories? I guess one can always ask?!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks travelholidays, I'm glad you found my tips interesting. Happy travels! :)

    • travelholidays profile image

      travelholidays 

      5 years ago from India

      Great hub! really interesting. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      @ bdegiulio, what a wonderful thing being "addicted to Italy"! Hope you have a great experience in Sicily. I'd love to read about it. :)

      PS love your photo with the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

      Ciao!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Well done Robie, great info for anyone thinking of a trip to Italy. We've always gone in September but it would be nice to go in the Spring when everything is blooming. We are going to Sicily in September so can't wait to report back on that trip.

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      @ poowool5, I love the the Umbrian hills too, there is something magical and timeless about the little towns in Umbria. Io amo bella Umbria too. :)

      @ Crystal, I would be delighted to know that I helped you on your trip planning when you'll go to Italy. How special!

      @ Nare, glad you enjoyed the hub. :)

      Thanks everyone for reading and taking the time to comment and click on feedback.

      Ciao! :)

    • Nare Anthony profile image

      Nare Gevorgyan 

      6 years ago

      Really well covered. Thanks for the great info :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      A very helpful hub. I've never been to Italy, but always wanted to go and I hope some day to make it there. I will hang on to your hub in case I ever need it for reference. Voted up and useful.

    • poowool5 profile image

      poowool5 

      6 years ago from here in my house

      Ah, io amo bella Italia! Spent a couple weeks in the Umbrian hills a few years ago...time to go again, and now I know exactly when!

      Great hub, love all the maps, and climate details. Very thorough. Voted up and useful!

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you all for stopping by and leaving comments, I really appreciate it!

      Tara and Mmargie, hope your dream will come true and you'll get to visit Italy soon, maybe by the next low season? :)

      Horatio and revisorychild, I'm glad you found my hub informative and interesting, and thanks for leaving feedback, too.

      Turtlewoman, I realized that I always check for the seasonal weather before I travel, so I thought it would be a good a good thing to include, I'm happy you like the idea.

      Thank you everyone! :)

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 

      6 years ago from California

      Very useful information! It's good to take in consideration the climate when one travels to a foreign place.

      Voted up!

    • revisoryorchid profile image

      revisoryorchid 

      6 years ago from London, ON

      Great Hub...Informative and interesting...good job

    • Horatio Plot profile image

      Horatio Plot 

      6 years ago from Bedfordshire, England.

      Very interesting hub. clear and nicely laid out. Choc full o'Facts! Voted up.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 

      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      I really enjoyed this hub! Voted up and beautiful! I've always wanted to visit Italy and this will certainly help when the time comes.

    • Tara Miller profile image

      Tara Miller 

      6 years ago from Port Charlotte, FL

      I want to visit italy some day and I will definitely remember what I read in your hub when I plan my trip. Voted up

    • Robie Benve profile imageAUTHOR

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      @ alliemacb: you are a lucky girl, going to Italy frequently, how wonderful. Glad to hear that the content can be useful even for an experienced traveler like you. Thanks! :)

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      Really useful hub. I travel to Italy frequently and it is good to know when the cheapest times to travel are. Voted up and interesting!

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