Italy Vacations: When is the best time to go?
With its picturesque villages nestled into seaside cliffs, its Old World love of laughter and culture, and food that makes your soul stand up and sing; there's really never a bad time to go to Italy. Except maybe during the month of August.
Most travel agents will suggest you avoid planning that Italian vacation in August. It's generally baking in the summer heat, and most cities practically shut down around Ferr-Agosto (August 15th), which is the peak of the Italian holiday season.
But the real joy of visiting Italy is that there are so many distinct regions, each with its own personality and highlights, so you can create a memorable trip no matter when you go.
Spring and fall for the seaside
The busiest tourist season in Italy is from June to September, but the best times to visit are in the spring and fall.
If your heart is set on spending time in a stunning seaside town such as Portofino, Capri or San Remo, it's best to go in late May or June. You'll have the beach to yourself, the weather is already warm enough for a tan, and the resorts and restaurants are starting to open for the season. You'll find the same lovely weather and lack of crowds in September, but you're also more likely to find places shutting down for the winter.
Spring and fall for the cities
April, May, September or October are perfect for visiting the cities, including Venice, Rome, and Florence.
You can visit Florence in the summer, but it's going to be hot and very crowded. If you're not tied to a summer vacation schedule, you'll find that spring and fall are more pleasant.
These months are also stunning in the countryside. In the spring, the rolling hills are covered in a carpet of bright red, yellow and purple flowers.
In the fall, those same fields are different shades of deep red, and the vineyards are celebrating as the grapes are harvested.
Italy in the winter
Of course this doesn't mean you should rule out a winter vacation to Italy. That's the perfect time to plan a ski trip to the Italian Alps. It's also still mild in the south, so why not soak in the wild beauty of Calabria or the history of Sicily?
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, Italy is a life changing experience. It's called Il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country) for a reason. From history to food, from beaches to mountains, from vibrant cities to quiet countryside, Italy has spent centuries perfecting the sweet life, and now it's waiting to share it with you.
Italy in the summer
Take August for example. Yes, it's hot, which is why Italians shut down their cities and flock to the beach en masse. It is a bad time to try to book a seaside vacation. And Yes, it's crowded. Hotels are crammed, and you're unlikely to find a spot on the beach big enough to lay a hand towel. But if you're stuck traveling in summer due to school or work schedules, then take a page from the locals and live La Dolce Vita. Sleep away the sweltering midday sun, spend your late afternoon in an air conditioned museum, and then stay out until the wee hours of the morning at a lovely outdoor table at a trattoria, talking and laughing over wine and tiramisu.
Books about Italy
- What to do in Sicily, Italy
- Italy Vacation: 10 Favorite Things to See and Do in Italy
- Italian cities to see before you die
- What to do in Rome, Italy
- What to do in Venice, Italy
- What to do in Florence, Italy
- Tuscany in the spring
- Travel Tips: 5 Secrets to Sleeping on a Plane
- Italy Travel Information, Tips and Advice
- Volcanoes to Swine Flu - Does Travel Insurance Cover It?
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