The best months for traveling in much of Italy are from April to June and mid-September to October: Temperatures are usually comfortable, rural colors are rich, and the crowds aren’t too intense (except around Easter). From July through early September the country’s holiday spots teem with visitors. Easter, May, and June usually see the highest hotel prices in Rome and Florence.
August is the worst month in many places: Not only does it get uncomfortably hot and muggy, but seemingly the entire country goes on vacation for at least two weeks (many Italians take off the entire month). Plenty of family-run hotels, restaurants, and shops are closed, except at the spas, beaches, and islands, where most Italians head. Paradoxically, you will have many urban places almost to yourself if you visit in August—Turin and Milan in particular can seem virtual ghost towns, and even excellent hotels there are heavily discounted. (Florence and Rome are no longer as quiet as they once were.) Just be aware that many fashionable restaurants and nightspots are closed for the whole month.
From late October to Easter, many attractions operate on shorter winter hours, and some hotels are closed for renovation or redecoration, although inconvenience is much less likely if you are visiting a city. Many family-run restaurants take a week or two off sometime between November and February; spa and beach destinations become padlocked ghost towns.
It’s warm all over Italy in summer; it can be very hot in the south, and almost anywhere inland. Landlocked cities in Tuscany and Umbria, and on the plains of Veneto, Lombardy, and Emilia-Romagna, feel stifling during a July or August hot spell. The higher temperatures (measured in Italy in degrees Celsius) usually begin everywhere in May, often lasting until sometime in October. Winters in the north of Italy are cold, with rain and snow. A biting wind whistles over the mountains into Milan, Turin, and Venice. Likewise in Florence, though less regularly. In Rome and the south the weather is warm (or at least, warm-ish) almost all year, averaging 10° C (50° F) in winter. But even here, cold snaps are possible.
The rainiest months pretty much everywhere are usually October and November.
Holidays: Offices, government buildings (though not usually tourist offices), and shops in Italy are generally closed on: January 1 (Capodanno, or New Year), January 6 (La Befana, or Epiphany), Easter Sunday (Pasqua), Easter Monday (Pasquetta), April 25 (Liberation Day), May 1 (Festa del Lavoro, or Labor Day), June 2 (Festa della Repubblica, or Republic Day), August 15 (Ferragosto, or the Assumption of the Virgin), November 1 (All Saints’ Day), December 8 (L’Immacolata, or the Immaculate Conception), December 25 (Natale, Christmas Day), and December 26 (Santo Stefano, or St. Stephen’s Day).
Additionally, you’ll often find businesses closed for the annual daylong celebration dedicated to the local saint (for example, on January 31 in San Gimignano, Tuscany).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.