Best time to visit Italy
The best time to visit Italy is from April to mid-June and late-September to October, when temperatures are mild, the days sunny and crowds less intense.
Summer starts from mid-June through to mid-September. August is probably the worst month to visit during the annual Italian holiday season. Many hotels, restaurants and shops are closed (except those at the main beach resorts).
Winters in the north of Italy are typically cold, with rain and snow, but in the south the weather is generally warm year round, averaging 10°C (50°F) in winter.
Dominated by Mont Blanc in the Alps, most of Northern Italy is snow covered all year round, with temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F) in winter. The Alpine climate of the mountains sees cold winters, while summers are warm in the regions below 1500m.
Away from the mountains, northern Italy enjoys a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Milan, Turin and Venice experience average summer highs of 28°C (82°F) and winter lows of -2°C (28°F).
The regional climate is Mediterranean, characterised by warm summers and mild winters. The east coast is generally drier than the west, although rain can fall at any time of year, with average winter lows of 2°C (35°F) and summer highs of 29°C (84°F).
This region also enjoys a Mediterranean climate, although it is wetter than the east coast and has warmer winter temperatures. Genoa sees winter lows of 5°C and summer highs around 28°C.
The Apennines dominate the interior of the Italian peninsula, with cold temperatures in winter and snowfall between December and January. Rome, which lies in the centre of the country on the western side of the mountain range, sees temperatures ranging from a low of 2°C in January to a high of 31°C in August. Autumn and winter see the most rainfall.
Sicily, Sardinia and the far south
These regions enjoy the least rain and the highest hours of sunshine in the country. Summer highs reach an average of 34°C. Coastal Sicily enjoys the mildest winters of anywhere in the country. However, the mountainous regions are generally cooler: at more than 3000m above sea level, Mt Etna receives snowfall each year.
High season: From June to early-September, with July and August two months to avoid – the most expensive and crowded time to travel in Italy. The winter ski season in the Alps.
Shoulder season: From April to May, early-September to October, and from mid-December to 24 December.
Low season: From November to mid-December and 25 December to 30 March.
Many hotels and restaurants close down for a month or two between November and February.