For being such a historic and versatile country, Italy, where cultures and dialects differ significantly between the North and the South, can be challenging for ambitious travellers wanting to visit the country thoroughly. There are many great periods of time during the year to visit certain worth-see cities. Choosing the perfect vacation time to take your work holidays should be based on the weather, the local events, and most importantly your preferences. Below I will briefly go through what you need to know about and when to visit Italy, to help you choose the best time!
February - celebrate one of the best Italian carnivals in Venice
If you like to have fun with costumes, intensive parties, and extreme crowds, February is the perfect month to be in Italy. One of the country’s biggest carnivals is held in Venice. There are limitless locals on the street wearing dozens of different kinds of masks and costumes, endless open-air and indoor parties, parades, and fireworks during the opening and closing of the carnival. The Venetians run a costume competition and awards the winner based on his or her best costumes. The whole city is filled with both international and local people, street music, and an amazing vibe. During this month, another unknown festival - Battle of the Oranges also take place in a small city in Northern Italy called Ivrea. This includes a tradition of throwing oranges between organized groups.
From March until May - come visit Tuscany
Italy’s weather during this period of time is one of the best throughout the year. For wine lovers, April is a brilliant time to visit the city of Romeo and Juliet - Verona. A wine festival (Vinitaly) will be organized here during this period. Stop at the nearby Tuscan capital, Florence, too with the Gelato Festival happening around April.
June - a get-away along the seaside
June is the perfect month to stay along the coastline of Italy, especially in Genova (Genoa). There are dozens of things to do under water in this hidden port city: from swimming and snorkelling to taking a boat to the small surrounding villages. The city is also known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus and the famous Italian pesto sauce. From Genova you can reach the famous Cinque Terre by train within about 30 minutes. This is definitely the place to be for those who love hiking trails. A big world festival will take place every June here, attracting thousands of international people to the city.
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July - experience the open-air cinema in Bologna
If you love exploring small unknown cities in Italy, come to Bologna during July. This is when the biggest open-air cinema of the city takes place in the central square Piazza Maggiore. Here, thousands of people sit together to watch classic movies and share incredible moments in an open space together without even knowing each other. The Bologna Film Festival creates this special opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together. Bologna is also well-known for its famous Bolognese pasta sauce.
August - the busiest month of the year
If you ask any local what the worst month to visit Italy is, they would probably end up complaining about the crazily high number of tourists during August. This is the highest peak of the summer season, when almost every travel accommodation in the touristy cities is fully booked! You end up standing in the lines for hours in front of the San Marco Basilica in Venice, the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence, or the famous Colosseum of Rome. It’s normal to either bump into tourists at a bar or hear English on the street. Thus, August is not ideal for travellers to be exposed to the local life, but rather to enjoy their vacation with friends and family. Small cities, such as Bergamo, Siena, Lucca, etc. are better to visit during this time.
September and October - head to Rome
Like March and April, September and October is when you’ll find the best weather in Italy. Though the Southern part of Italy is mostly always warm and sunny, the Northern cities may be a bit windy. This is the ideal time to visit beautiful Southern cities like Rome, Napoli (Naples), and the Sicilian Islands. In most towns in the north of Rome, you can find the Chestnut Festival.
December and January - the Christmas and New Year’s Eve experience
There’s also several Christmas markets in Italy (e.g. Milan) though the size and celebration culture is not as big as in Germany. Northern Italy can be rainy and freezing at this time, so keep in mind not to go hiking up north or visit the famous Como Lake if you hate the cold. The New Year’s Eve celebration and the local nightlife, with a typical outdoor drinking culture, are worth experiencing.
So when is the best time?
Visiting Italy can be totally different based on timing. Now that you know what to expect, pick the best time to visit and plan ahead! Choosing quality low-budget accommodation in Italy can be challenging as the hostel business here is not well organised. I highly recommend booking a bed and breakfast or a backpackers’ hotel. There are several hotel-quality hostels that offer amazing deals, which is also a brand new concept in the hospitality business.
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