The Best and Worst Times to Visit Italy
When you think of an Italian vacation, what comes to mind? Perhaps you picture Rome's historic attractions Tuscany's vineyards, or maybe you prefer the picture-perfect Amalfi Coast or the iconic Venetian canals. Deciding where to travel in Italy — and when — comes down to taste. Weather, crowd levels, and your travel budget can all influence your plans, and travelers should also take into consideration national holidays and other factors that can impact crowds and prices.
Here, we break down the worst and best times to visit Italy for every type of vacation so you can start planning your next Italian getaway. Of course, Italy has recently reopened to American travelers and tourism is just beginning to bounce back, so high season crowds (and prices!) might not be back to 2019 levels yet.
Related: More travel tips
Best Time to Visit Italy
Best Times to Visit the Italian Coast
Spring, summer, and autumn are heralded as the best times to visit Italy. The problem with late spring and summer, however, is that everyone has the same idea (including Italians with second homes by the sea). Umbrella and beach chair rental prices are exorbitant, and the beaches can get crowded and noisy. Look instead to smaller villages near the sea, like Terlizzi in Puglia, where the water remains warm through late October and nearby beaches are quiet.
Best Times to Visit Italy for Wine
Early spring and early fall can be ideal times to visit Italy if you hope to explore the wine regions. The grape harvest occurs each September and October (exact dates vary from year to year), so this can be a fun time for wine lovers.
Best Times to Visit the Dolomites
If you dream of visiting the stunning Dolomites in northeastern Italy, we have good news. The destination is worth visiting year-round, depending on your interests. Hit the ski slopes in winter, or spend spring and summer days hiking and taking in the mountain views.
Most Affordable Times to Visit Italy
Like any destination, there are peak, shoulder, and low tourist seasons in Italy. Summer months (typically May through September) are the peak tourist season, so if you hope to score a deal on flights or hotel rooms, aim for a less popular time of year.
Popular cities like Rome and Florence are usually inundated with tourists almost any time of year, except winter. This is a lovely time to visit, despite the occasional rain storm, as the city's attractions are not busy.
Of course, there are other ways to save money on your Italian vacation. Keep an eye out for flight deals, or check out Scott's Cheap Flights to find less expensive tickets. And consider traveling off the beaten path to small towns and quaint villages often overlooked by most tourists.
Worst Times to Visit Italy
Italy is a beautiful destination year-round, but if you want to avoid tour buses filled with visitors, long museum lines, and very hot weather, you probably don't want to plan a summer getaway to Rome, Venice, or Florence.
Avoid Venice during Carnival if you abhor crowds. Hotels are at a premium, and the city's bridges, boats, and attractions lose their charm, blocked by hoards of mask-wearing revelers. For a real taste of Venice, the northern lagoon in either March or November is sublime.
Tuscany is also on most travelers' radars, especially in the summer and autumn. That means that places like Florence, Siena, and medieval hilltop towns like San Gimignano can be packed with other tourists.
And before you plan your trip, take note of any major local holidays. For example, Christmas can be a lovely time to visit, thanks to charming holiday markets and festive decor, but some shops and attractions will be closed or have restricted hours around the holiday.