Italy really is a country for all seasons. With a mediterranean climate it is hard to find a month with truly unbearable weather, though some places during summer really aren’t suited for much more than sunbathing. Moreover, every single one of its regions is a holiday destination in its own right. The only decision that remains is where to go in Italy and when.
In the north, you will find more modern cities, famous lakes and of course the impressive alps. This is home to Venice, Padua, Milan, Brescia, Lake Como and Lake Garda. In a more central region of Italy you find the rolling landscapes of Tuscany and Umbria. You can also discover the student city of Bologna and Italy’s breathtaking capital, Rome. Further south and you will arrive at Ancient ruins of Pompeii and Paestum. It is also home to the characteristic Naples and Calabria. On the other side of the peninsula you can find the uniquely beautiful Puglia. And in addition to this, you have the many islands surrounding the Italian peninsula, the most famous being Sardinia and Sicily.
Unfortunately, this makes it hard to decide where exactly to go. Almost as important is which season to go in to get the most out of each place. As a general rule of thumb, cities are best avoided during August. Everything slowly grinds to a halt as many Italians take a month-long holiday. Just like many cities become nothing more than tourist hubs filled with sightseeing crowds. Some might say that it would be a mistake to head to secluded areas come winter since stormy weather and bad conditions could make them difficult to reach and even more isolated.
Why go now?
Fall is in some ways the perfect time to come to Italy. Though you may dismiss this season at first, this is actually the time when you will find the widest array of temperatures throughout Italy. This means you can tailor your holiday exactly to what you want. What is more, Fall is the season of harvest, and harvest in Italy means many festivals and days dedicated to feasting. Many of the country’s areas will have their particular sagre festivals which celebrate anything from nuts to wine, truffles and potatoes. These lively celebrations aren’t just for foodies but often involve the whole village or town, adding a certain warmth to the ambiance.
Another reason to visit Italy in this season is there won’t be as large crowds as in Spring and Summer. With high season in the past, a city break is a great idea at this time so as to avoid painstakingly-long queues to main attractions and museums. This also means that you can enjoy streets that have more Italians than tourists on them, which is not always the case in major cities! What is more, the sunsets come earlier in this season. This means you can enjoy some of the most breathtaking lighting around over an early dinner or drink.
Where to go
To enjoy a beach holiday without the large and oppressive crowds, head to the heel of Italy’s boot: Puglia. This unique region is famous for its white towns which crown many of its hilltops, as well as its stunning sandy beaches, given that it is in itself a peninsula. In Fall you can enjoy the white trulli towns without the glare of the sun, whilst still benefiting from temperatures of around 77°f+ in September, given its southern position. In addition to this, balmy temperatures still allow you to go for dips in the sea or romantic strolls along the beach. Alternatively, you could even spend days sunbathing in the less-intense sun.
Another place to visit whilst temperatures are more manageable is Sicily. This island is, of course, a great place to come in summer for its beaches and hot weather. However, Sicily also has an unbelievable amount of culture to soak up too. Of course, with culture comes lots of exploring. What is more, this is often on foot, or public transport that often lacks air conditioning. So, instead of missing out on the cultural side of the island because of the heat, come in early autumn. It will still be hot enough to enjoy the beach life, but will also be bearable for some city breaks.
On the island you can visit places such as the melting pot that is Palermo. Alternatively, head to areas such as Siracusa, which date back all the way to Ancient Greek times. The island is a medley of cultures and heritages, from Norman, to Byzantine, Roman, Greek, and Arab. From here you can also take boats out to the Aeolian and Egadi Islands off the Sicilian coast. Browse our range of Puglia and Sicily villas for a perfect place to spend next Fall.
To find a great sagra, you can go to almost any place in Italy. That said, an area that is particularly nice this time of year, and is a center for culture and gastronomy as it is, is Umbria’s capital, Perugia. Here you will find a few sagre, which change from year to year. In the past, however, these have included snails, wines, and of course its annual hosting of the Eurochocolate festival!
Finally, Fall is one of the quietest and most enjoyable times to visit Rome, Italy’s capital. As previously mentioned, the crowds will have substantially thinned come mid-September, and the temperatures will not reach the ridiculous 40°c as they might in July and August. Thus, you can experience the Eternal as it should, by strolling around on foot, rather than escaping into tourist-trap cafés and metro stations at any given opportunity in order to escape the heat!
Why go now?
Italy may be famous as a land of sea and sun, but it also holds its own during the winter months. In fact, some areas are even more atmospheric and characteristic come Winter. What is more, all throughout the peninsula you will find a festive atmosphere in the run up to Christmas and New Year’s (San Silvestro in Italy). These are probably two of the most important festivals of the Italian year. With earlier evenings and festive decorations, wandering around Italian cities can be a truly magical experience at this time of year!
Of course, with temperatures ranging from cold to mild, exploring new places is much easier than in hotter months. This is a great time to go on a city break, as everything will be quieter and yet everything will also be running, save of course on the holidays themselves. In fact, it may be best to avoid the most popular areas on the holidays themselves as many tourists will come to enjoy it. That said, the atmosphere is in the air long before the festivities themselves begin. Christmas markets and concerts or held throughout the months leading up to it.
Finally, this is the start of ski season. With a range of great slopes, this is the best season to start the new year with a ski break in some of Italy’s mountains towards the north, or even as far south as Tuscany. Find your ideal alpine chalet amongst our Alps Ski Resorts properties.
Where to go
When it comes to the Italian Dolomites, some of the best ski resorts include Cortina d’Ampezzo, Kronplatz, Alta Badia and Bormio. There are many others dotted around the northern borders of Italy, given that the Alps come all the way into Italy. There are resorts for all types of skiers. Cortina d’Ampezzo is great for those looking for a classier affair, with beautiful and luxurious chalets populating its borders. Alternatively Bormio is slightly more affordable. Wherever you go, however, the majority of these resorts are suited for everyone from absolute beginner to very advanced, with a range of piste difficulties.
For a city break, it can be nice to head to hubs such as Turin. This city is extremely pleasant come Christmastime, with extensive decorations and a buzzing atmosphere. For example, every year this city is home to the Luci d’Artista exhibitions. This consists of striking light installations that illuminate the city in memorable and atmospheric ways. What is more, Turin is the Italian capital of chocolate, being the birthplace of rich delights such as gianduia. What better time to enjoy this exquisite treats than at Christmas? There are also markets selling other traditional Northern Italian baked treats, much of which is reminiscent of the famous German, Swiss and Austrian bakery come this time of year. This is definitely the time of year to taste the best of Turin’s sweet treats!
For a great New Year’s Eve why not head towards a student city like Bologna? This city is beautiful in itself, lying in Emilia Romagna, but it is also famous for its lively student scene. This means you are sure to find a thriving atmosphere come the New Year’s period. A particular festivity that cannot be missed out on here on New Year’s Eve is the Rogo del Vecchione. During this celebration, a large structure built to look like a man is burned. New Year’s Eve also sees parades and concerts take place. Throughout the night and the time leading up to it, Bologna has an infectious and exciting atmosphere as everyone prepares for the welcoming of the new year.
Why go now?
Spring is the freshest of all seasons. Plants are starting to bloom, people are preparing for summer and shaking off the cobwebs of winter. Italy is beautiful at this time of year, with temperatures staying largely warm but not oppressive. Moreover, most areas of the peninsula won’t yet be suffering from the great crowds of tourists. Of course, it may be best to avoid the capital, Rome. Around Eastertime, the Vatican will fill with pilgrims and faithful who come to hear the Pope give mass.
What is more, spring is the perfect time for a weekend city break. The weather will allow you to pack in as much as possible and there is nothing like an Italian mini-break to rejuvenate and recharge once you find yourself a couple of months into the New Year!
Where to go
Tuscany is beautiful in Spring. There is nothing more breathtaking than watching a sunset over Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo whilst it is in bloom, sipping on some Chianti wine and munching on brindisi. This is the perfect season for a road trip through the Tuscan valleys. Here you can explore its rolling hills, stopping off at vineyards and olive groves to breathe in the air, and even taste some of the product and chat to the local farmers. Stop at the important towns on the way: Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena, Pisa and Florence are all must-sees. Finish your drive off with a trip to the coast, for example to Forte dei Marmi, Cala Violina or Alberese.
Of course, you cannot miss out on the Venice Carnevale. This takes place in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, the Catholic holy day marking the beginning of Lent. The carnival is famous for the extravagant costumes and mysterious masks. These days, however, the carnival has much more to offer. If you’re lucky you will get invited to an exclusive masked ball. If not, you can still enjoy the gondola parade down the grand canal. Even just wandering the streets you will see dedicated locals dressed up to the nines. Interestingly, each of their traditional costumes comes with its own mask. With other events such as concerts and recitals taking place, Venice during carnival season is unforgettable and quite simply can’t be missed!
Why not head a little further south to the enchanting city of Sorrento. A beautiful coastal town, perched on some cliffs, this is the birthplace of limoncello! It is also the perfect base from which to visit attractions such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. Here you can taste some delicious seafood meals in the Marina Grande, go on a hunt for the most authentic limoncello and wander its quaint street markets. What is more, you can soak up the history of the town with its gorges, churches and palazzi, before taking the train through to the Ancient ruins nearby.
Pompeii almost needs no introduction, its reputation preceding it all over the world. It is easy to get to these ruins by public transport from Sorrento. It may be quicker to visit them from somewhere like Naples, however Sorrento is also very close to the Amalfi Coast. As such, from here you can get the best of both worlds! Spring is the best time to come here because it won’t be quite as busy as in summer. Moreover, the temperatures are very pleasant, even by March, given the city’s southern position.
Late spring is also the best time to visit places extremely popular in summer, just beating the crowds to it! For example, heading to some of the glorious beaches in Sardinia, you will be able to profit from balmy temperatures and reliable weather. More importantly, you can still avoid the incredible mass of exclusive tourists that flock here from June onwards.
Why go now?
You probably need little convincing that summer is one of the most beautiful times to be in Italy. With unbeatable sunsets, sandy beaches and the all-important aperitivo, Italy is undoubtedly one of the warmest places to stay in Europe. And not just in terms of weather – the people are amongst the friendliest! The tradition amongst Italians is to flee from their cities to the seaside. This does not, however, mean the cities empty, they simply fill up with tourists rather than locals!
Summer is the time to gather with friends in a large villa overlooking Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards. Alternatively, run away with a lover to a secluded island, or take a trip into one of the many cities. It has to be said, the best idea for summer is to base yourself outside of a city itself. This is purely because the heat in a concrete jungle can become overwhelming. Instead, based in the countryside, you can easily drive or train into places for daytrips. At the same time, you can escape back into the comfort of a private space whenever you want.
Where to go
This is the perfect time to go to some of Italy’s more secluded destinations. Islands such as Filicudi and seafront towns such as Pisciotta are the ideal place to escape the intense crowds that stream towards the cities during high season. That said, the majority of Italians will all evacuate their cities during August, transferring to the seaside for the month. However, with a little research into the beaches you should be able to avoid the unbearably busy coastal areas. For example, Ostia will be absolutely flooded with Romans who escape their already touristy city during August if not all of high season. As a general rule of thumb, the harder it is to reach the place, the more tranquil it will be. Escape to one of our Aeolian Island villas for the perfect summer getaway or even a picture perfect wedding destination!
Though famous for their ski opportunities, the Italian Alps and Dolomites are also stunning come summer. Head to one of the ski resorts, benefit from reduced chalet rental prices, and enjoy the incredible hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and other summer activities available in these areas. Some of the best-loved of these include Val Gardena, Alta Badia. The latter is in South Tyrol on the Austrian border. Depending on where you stay, you would even be forgiven for thinking you’d left Italy! Lederhosen are commonplace, as is the Austrian cuisine and even language – in some places German is more widely spoken than Italian!
Finally, this is a great time to head towards the Italian lakes. The most famous is probably Lago di Como, though this is perhaps prettiest in Autumn colors. Alternatively, head towards the beautiful Lago d’Iseo. Of course, much like its more popular siblings of Lago di Garda, Lago Trasimeno and Lago Maggiore, Lago d’Iseo is not without tourists at this time of year. That said, unlike the crowds of Germans that flock to Garda, Iseo’s visitors tend to be Italian. Thus its has fewer facilities aimed at tourists, and retains more of its authentic character. Finally, there is nothing nicer than wandering down from your lakeside residence to take a dip in the cool waters. On a lazy late afternoon, wander into a nearby village for an aperitivo and traditional local meal!