when's the best time to visit italy - positano

When Is the Best Time to Visit Italy?

Every season in Italy has its charms, but when is the best time to visit Italy for the ideal mix of good weather, value and elbow room (that’s “spazio di manovra,” in Italian)?

Get ready to trade in your pumpkin spice latte for some caffe amaretto because you don’t want to miss Italy in the fall.

Italians call their home “bel paese” – the beautiful country – and it’s especially true when the heat of summer gives way to the sunny days and cooler nights of October.

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The Best Time to Visit Italy for the Weather

Set your sights on Italy in October to explore Rome, Venice, the Amalfi Coast and beyond, without melting into a puddle of molten lava.

“Air conditioning is not as much of a thing in Italy as it is in the U.S., so that can be an issue for some when it’s very hot,” said AAA travel advisor Jennifer Della Pena, who suggests both early spring and fall for those who who prefer cooler temperatures.

There is a caveat, however. “If you are going to Southern Italy and Sicily, that climate is very different than if you’re doing the Dolomites on the border of Switzerland,” Della Pena added. The former is generally warmer than the latter.

For example, the weather in Italy in October can still be pleasant enough to hit the beaches of the Italian Riviera, particularly earlier in the month. The Rome climate is moderate, averaging pleasant, 72-degree highs during the day. But the mercury dips to an average of 58 degrees in Lake Como, and even chillier in the Italian Alps.

Keep in mind that this time of year is also considered the start of rainy season in Italy, so be sure to pack a raincoat, just in case.

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The Best Time to Visit Italy to Avoid Crowds

Summer is peak season in Italy, so try to plan around those months if you can. “If you really want fewer crowds then you have to go off-season like March and November or full-on winter months,” Della Pena said.

Both October and November are the best months to visit Italy to tour Rome, Pompeii and other historic cities if you want to avoid large swarms of tourists and have good weather.

Going off-season will also generally save you some money, which is certainly another perk.

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The Best Places to Visit in Italy in Fall

Now that you know the best time to visit Italy, here’s where you’ll want to go while you’re there.

Rome

We’re not saying you’ll have popular Roman attractions like the Trevi Fountain, the Forum and the Colosseum all to yourself if you visit Rome in the fall, but once the summer crowds thin out, the experience can be more like a vacation and less like gladiatorial combat.

Borghese Park is a great place to enjoy fall colors, and more moderate temperatures make this time of year perfect for exploring ancient Rome’s version of a superhighway, the Appian Way, via bicycle.

Experience Rome and more on the Italy Bellisimo tour from Trafalgar.

The Amalfi Coast

The ruggedly beautiful southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula isn’t just a magnet for visiting tourists – Italians love it, too. By October, however, popular destinations like the towns of Positano, Salerno, Amalfi and Ravello are less crowded as summer visitors go home and Italians go back to work, making fall truly the best time to visit the Amalfi Coast.

Most attractions, hotels and restaurants remain open, and less traffic on the fabled Amalfi Drive means more time to explore other nearby sights like Pompeii, the island of Capri and Naples, famous not only for more than 4,000 years of history but also as the birthplace of pizza.

The Lakes Region

Italians have been fleeing the summer heat for the cooler lakes region in the north since before an emperor sat in Rome, but destinations like Lake Como, with its famous villas, and Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore remain attractive options through the month of October, when roads and restaurants are less crowded, resort room rates are less stratospheric and amenities, like ferries, continue to operate, albeit on a reduced schedule.

Visiting in November is a bit trickier. Although fewer attractions are open when the weather turns wintery, snowfall in the lake valleys brings its own unique beauty and charm.

Piedmont

The annual Alba Truffle Fair is a savory highlight of fall in Italy’s Piedmont region, which sits at the base of the Alps, along the border with France and Switzerland. But truffles aren’t the only fall food celebrated here. Piedmont is famous for a bevy of other culinary delights, including walnuts, chestnuts and hazelnuts, autumn vegetables dipped in “bagna cauda” – a hot sauce made with anchovies, olive oil and garlic – and sampling chocolate in the region where Nutella was born.

Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily is ringed with beaches that can be enjoyed for swimming and sunbathing well into October. Visiting the largely shadeless Valley of the Temples in Agrigento is far more pleasant in the fall than in the baking Sicilian summer. If temperatures do get a little chilly during your stay, you can always warm up with a hike to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe.

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Milan

Vibrant and cosmopolitan, Milan’s famous shopping, events, museums and nightlife hum along year-round. Opera season begins in November, with performances at the legendary La Scala opera house; it’s also the month when the city hosts its annual Jazz Festival. And, of course, attractions like the Duomo cathedral, shopping in the glass-roofed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and museums celebrating Milan’s most famous inhabitant, Leonardo da Vinci, are open throughout the fall months.

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Hint: An ancient temple in the heart of Rome.

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What parts of Italy do you dream of visiting? Tell us in the comments.

One Thought on “When Is the Best Time to Visit Italy?

  1. For those in this area, I’d say March or April are the best months as the weather is much better than New England where “spring” is very reluctant but falls are nice. April not only has all the cheerful flowers and blooms, it also has more daylight than October when early darkness can limit sightseeing time

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