FAQ, Italy, Seasons, travel
Daily I talk to prospective visitors looking for an apartment rental in Rome. Actually, one of my favourite parts of running our apartments in Rome is helping visitors plan their trips before they arrive. One of the most popular questions we get is ‘What is the best month to visit Italy?’ And, I always have to tell guests – it depends on what you want!
Are you looking to save money and stay on budget? Want to experience the best of luxury Italy travel? Or, are you looking to avoid crowds?
What is the best month to visit Italy?
Italy on a Budget
At first, guests can be really hesitant to tell me that they have the ‘B’ word – budget. But once I tell them it’s possible to do Italy on a budget they open right up! There’s nothing shameful about wanting to save money while travelling in Italy (or anywhere else).
If you are looking to save money, you’ll find accommodation in Rome, Florence, Milan and the other big cities at off-season prices from November until just before Christmas (when prices soar), mid-January through March, and prices hit rock bottom in July and August.
Why? Probably a combination of weather extremes (hot/cold), they fall during the rainy seasons, and aren’t the typical periods that American’s take vacations (holidays, spring break, etc.).
I won’t lie – that rock bottom July/August period can be unbearably hot – however, streets, museums, etc. are empty. It’ll feel like the city is yours. Or, go on up to the mountains in Northern Italy – not only will prices be low, but you’ll also have the fresh mountain air.
I find it surprising that Italy’s visitors don’t take advantage of the beautiful tail-end of fall in early November. For Florence and south, the weather is usual quite mild even until mid-December. Of course more north, winter does arrive earlier. Regardless, if you’re willing to bundle up a bit, you’ll find thinned crowds and lower costing accommodation.
After the extreme prices of a Christmas in Italy, prices dive. But, I can’t suggest January through March unless you’re here to ski. Rain can plague Italy – from North to South – and it’s miserable. I’m not talking one day – I’m taking days of endless grey and rain.
Madaline Recommends: Best Months To Visit Italy On A Budget – November and December
Luxury Italy Travel
Spring is the season to drive the winding and quiet country roads that weave throughout Italy, explore vineyards which are just starting to bloom, see the pinks of the peach and cherry trees, and sip an icy aperitif at a street-side café.
Or, enjoy the last warm day’s of the year on Italy’s Central and Southern beaches. Walk the long lines of a vineyard and see fat grapes just waiting to be picked. Eat a fresh meal harvested that morning. You’ll wake up to crisp fall morning, and be warmed by the long sunny days.
Whether you choose the countryside or one of Italy’s beloved cities – you’ll be able to enjoy everything Italy offers in Spring and Fall.
If you’re looking to travel Italy and experience the best of the best you’re probably not exploring the sites by foot – and if you are you probably will arrange private tours and avoid lines.
Experiencing the real Dolce Vita, you probably won’t worry about costs too much but you would like to experience beautiful weather and the Italian sun.
Spring arrives in Southern and Central Italy in April and lasts through the early days of June. The weather is sunny and warm, but rarely too hot as is the case in Summer. The same goes for fall – both seasons enjoy long, sunny days. Of course in Northern Italy spring may arrive later, and fall may end earlier, however these seasons are equally as beautiful in the mountains of the North.
Madaline Recommends: Best Time To Experience Luxury Italy – Fall.
The best seasons in Italy are unquestionably – Spring and Fall. That being said, if you want to bask in the Italian sun on a warm Mediterranean beach, explore a vineyard just before the harvest, and have temperatures that are warm without being too hot, fall is the time to visit. September can be extremely warm, and it’s usually in October when temperatures are at their best. You may need a light jacket after the sun disappears for the day, but the days are warm. Unfortunately Fall is very popular with tourists – and accommodation prices soar.
Skip The Crowds
The first time I visited Florence was for one month in November years ago. I walked into the Uffizi and pondered Birth of Venus, strolled past the David in the Accademia Gallery, and was enthralled with my above Florence view after hiking up the steep steps at the Duomo. And I never waited in one line. Then I went to Rome and was slightly unimpressed by the Vatican Museum, in silence at the Colosseum, and again I never waited in one line.
Moral of the story: Pick the right time to visit Italy and you’ll have Italy to yourself.
So which mythical months should you choose to avoid crowds and long lines? Well, off-season of course. November and December, which are also two of the cheapest months, are the perfect time to explore Rome without being inhibited by shoulder to shoulder crowds.
Or, you can try the summer months. While it is sweltering hot, tourism rates drop greatly in July and August. Again, not only are these months cheap, but you’ll find few tourists and locals in cities. During the hot summer months locals vacate the cities and hid for the country or beach. And while this might not give you the full picture of Italy, you will have your choice of museums and restaurants – without waiting.
Madaline Recommends: Italy Without the Crowds – November
On paper July and August look like the best months to visit Italy. But – it can be hot. So hot, that even if you don’t have to wait in line, you’ll be miserable.
November on the other hand is such a sweet time in Italy. Typically the weather is only beginning to get chilly and days will still be long and sunny. There is certain quietness to November – after the heavy months of September and October’s tourism settles down. In mid-November tourism is at a low point and apartment rental costs are equally as low.
IMPORTANT: Italy is a country with diverse climates. If you view Italy in three sections: North, Central and Southern, you’ll see that climates blend into each other and mimic American climates. The North, located near the Alp’s is colder, sees a later Spring, a summer that ends earlier, and the arrival of winter long before Central or Southern Italy. Central Italy and Southern Italy are generally warmer and have more moderate temperatures.
BUT. Tourism, follows the same rhythm from North to South. The months I have mentioned for high and low tourism are generally accepted throughout Italy – baring two exceptions. The beach and the mountains. Just like in the rest of the world – prices at the beach are high in the summer no mater the month. Prices in alpine skiing areas during the winter are high no mater the months (of course there are deals, but generally speaking).