december trip to italy

Traveling to Italy in December: What You Need to Know

Snow in Emilia-Romagna hills || creative commons photo by Andrea

Not everyone dreams of visiting Italy in the summer. If you’re among the rare breed of tourist who actually prefers traveling in the off-season, then let me tell you about December in Italy. It’s actually not as “off” an off-season as you might think, but it’s got some festivities that are pretty cool to see.

While most of winter in Italy is the low season in terms of tourism, the Christmas holidays drive a little spike in things like prices and crowds. But even if the holidays are responsible for a slight uptick in the cost of a trip, they’re also responsible for turning December into a month full of twinkling lights, brightly-wrapped packages, and festive moods. Here’s what you need to know about traveling in Italy in December, including what to expect from the weather and what’s on the calendar.

Weather in Italy in December

December isn’t always Italy’s coldest month, but it’s close. Snow is common in many parts of the country, particularly in the mountains and at higher elevations, and even sometimes at sea level (snow falling in Venice is one of the most beautiful winter scenes you’ll see in Italy). And where it’s not snowing, it’s likely to be raining.

Italy’s southern regions are almost always warmer than their northern counterparts, but December still brings cold temperatures to the south. The crowds that flocked to the beaches in August are headed into the mountains to go skiing or snowboarding by December. Whether you’re planning a ski trip or not, you might look into visiting a ski resort town in December – many are also natural hot springs, with spas that will warm you to the core no matter what the weather is outside.

The thing is, it might be sunny at one point and snowing the next. This sunny picture was snapped in Milan in early December of 2009, and this slushy one a few weeks later. No matter where your itinerary takes you, you’d be smart to bring clothing to keep you warm, a small umbrella, and water resistant shoes.

Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy are:

  • Northern Italy: 25-45°F (-4-5°C)
  • Central Italy: 40-55°F (5-13°C)
  • Southern Italy: 55-60°F (13-16°C)

And, as always, check the current extended forecast for where you’re actually going just before you leave – when you’re packing is the perfect time – so you can find out in advance if it’s unseasonably cold or warm.

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in December

The first major holiday in Italy in December is the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, but December’s main holiday is Christmas. It’s one of the more important dates on the Italian holiday calendar, although the most important holiday of the Christmas season is actually Epiphany on January 6th. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many Italians spend time with family, but you can join in on Christmas Mass said in churches throughout the country. There are also often religious processions and bonfires, as well as Christmas markets set up in piazzas. Because Italians give gifts on January 6th as well as December 25th, those markets are also typically up and doing a brisk trade through the entire month of December. Learn more about the celebrations in my article about Christmas in Italy .

The day after Chrismas is St. Stephen’s Day in Italy, which is a less important (but still national) holiday. There are also regional festivals and holidays in December that might be extremely important in one town and not the next – such as Milan’s patron saint’s feast day on December 7th. Browse my (never-going-to-be-comprehensive) list of Italian holidays to get an idea of what might be going on where you’re traveling, and when you arrive in any town ask at the tourist information office if there are any festivals going on while you’re there.

Why should you go to Italy in December?

December is an odd mix of not ideal (at least not to most travelers) weather without the usual perk of bargains and thin crowds. But then, of course, there’s Christmas. For many visitors, being in Italy – specifically Vatican City – for Christmas is a lifelong dream, and then no other month will do for a trip. Just remember that lots of people from all over the world have the same lifelong dream, so in order to get the best deal on a hotel room (or, heck, in order to get a room at all) you’d be clever to plan and book your trip many months in advance. Oh, and if you’ve got your heart set on seeing Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, then plan even further ahead – you can get tickets directly from the Vatican for free (learn more here ), but just because you request one doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get one. People who don’t plan ahead (or who head for the Vatican on the spur of the moment) can watch the entire Mass broadcast live on giant screens in St. Peter’s Square.

If you’re not headed to Italy specifically for Christmas, should you skip it? Not necessarily. There are some great treats that only come out in cold weather, many of which are sold at Christmas markets. Vendors roast chestnuts at their carts and sell them in small paper bags. Holiday markets often have people selling vin brule , hot spiced wine. And cafes bring their cioccolata calda machines out to start churning that delectable pudding-like Italian hot chocolate . These are all tasty ways to warm yourself from the inside out. Just keep in mind that beach-centric destinations like the Amalfi Coast or hiking-centric spots like the Cinque Terre may not be the best places to go in the winter, even if you like solitude. Plenty of the locals shut down operations of restaurants, shops, and hotels when the weather gets cold, too.

And, truth be told, many of the attractions you’ve likely got on your must-see list in Italy are indoors – churches, museums, art galleries – so that it doesn’t much matter whether it’s sunny or snowing outside. Snow will change your experience at the Roman Forum or Pompeii, to be sure, but your photos will most certainly not look like everyone else’s.

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Italy in December – Reasons to Visit and What to Expect

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If you’re considering visiting Italy in December, you can expect festive celebrations, sparkling Christmas lights, and snowy mountain slopes. The country sees a nose dive in the number of tourists during this month, making for a chilly yet tranquil Italian getaway.

Italy’s weather in December varies according to where you are in the country. Northern Italy sees more cold weather due to its higher elevations, while Southern Italy is much warmer. As the start of winter (off-season), December offers fewer tourists, holiday cheer, and lower prices.

This gives you the usual opportunity to experience the best of both worlds: a serene trip to Italy and a winter wonderland. That’s why December could well be the best time to visit Italy .

Article contents

Weather in Italy in December

Is Italy cold in December? This depends on where in the country you visit. Northern Italy typically has cold temperatures, ranging from 32°F to 50°F (0°C to 10°C), while Central Italy is milder, with average temperatures ranging from 43°F to 55°F (6°C to 13°C).

Southern Italy also boasts moderate weather. Daytime temperatures range from 46°F to 57°F (8°C to 14°C). So when you visit Italy, don’t expect Venice to feel the same as Sicily. Weather in Italy in December can also get quite wet, with the country experiencing seven to ten rainy days.

What is the weather like in Italy in December? Here’s a closer look:

  • Rome Weather in December: Located in Central Italy, the capital experiences mild temperatures that fluctuate from cloudy and gray to sunny and warm. Average daytime temperatures range from lows of 40°F (4°C) to highs of 55°F (13°C). Rome can get quite wet in December, with about eight days of expected monthly rainfall.
  • Florence Weather in December: The birthplace of the Renaissance is just a few hundred miles north of Rome, so average temperatures here are cooler. Average lows hit 37°F (3°C) while the highs reach up to 52°F (11°C). Florence only gets about nine hours of sunlight in December, which is the least compared to other months. 
  • Venice Weather in December: The Floating City is chilly but not freezing. Daily temperatures range from lows of 33°F (1°C) to highs of 46°F (8°C). Six days of the month are expected to bring rainfall, but don’t look forward to snow falling.
  • Tuscany Weather in December: Similar to its capital, Florence, this region experiences mild temperatures in December. Average daytime temperatures range from lows of 46°F (8°C) to highs of 54°F (12°C). It gets a decent amount of rain through about 10 days.
  • Amalfi Coast Weather in December: Hugging south of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Amalfi Coast tends to be warmer than its northern counterparts. The region experiences lows of 48°F (9°C) and highs of 58°F (14°C). It’s warmer but wetter, with over 14 days of rain.
  • Italian Lakes Weather in December: The Italian Lakes District experiences cold temperatures in December. The lakes rarely freeze over, so ferries are still available. In Lake Como or Lake Garda , you’ll enjoy Christmas markets surrounded by snowy peaks. Expect conditions to range from 32°F (0°C) to 45°F (7°C) throughout the low season.
  • Cinque Terre Weather in December: This region along the Italian Riviera is quite lucky, as despite being in northwest Italy, it experiences warm December weather. Cinque Terre has daytime temperatures ranging between 42°F (6°C) and 53°F (12°C). Days are still short, though, with only nine hours of daylight to get all your sightseeing done.
  • Sicily Weather in December: The heart of the Mediterranean gets warm during midday but cools down throughout the evening. Sicily experiences daily temperatures ranging from 50°F (10°C) to 59°F (15°C). Expect about eight to nine days of rainfall in December. 

Best Places to Visit in Italy in December

Visiting Italy in December has its perks: open-air markets, the Christmas spirit, and lower prices. But where should you go when you visit Italy in December? These are some of the best picks.

Milan is often chilly and can be foggy or cloudy, with a chance of light snow in December. But if you’re keen on capitalizing on holiday sales, then you’ll surely want to visit one of the world’s fashion capitals for the perfect winter coat. Temperatures range from 36°F (2°C) to 45°F (7°C).

There are plenty of things to do in Milan in December besides shopping, but if you’re a sucker for Christmas bargains, there’s no better place than Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II . Otherwise, stroll through famous Christmas markets like the Oh Bej! Oh Bej! near Sforzesco Castle.

Holiday festivities officially kick off on the 7th of December when locals celebrate and honor the city’s patron saint, Sant’Ambrogio. But you can still see Milan’s best attractions via a guided walking tour and Last Supper visit or a Duomo and rooftop tour for a vantage point of the city.

TIP: Take a trip from Milan to Lake Como to enjoy a quieter atmosphere and lower prices.

The Dolomites

You can’t visit Italy in December without skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding amidst snowy mountains, and that’s where the Dolomites come in. Temperatures are freezing, ranging from 14°F (-10°C) to 23°F (-5°C). But there are lots of thrilling winter activities to keep you warm.

Winter sports aren’t the only things on offer in the Dolomites in December, but considering the number of nearby resorts, it will be hard to stay away from them. Val Gardena is one of the most famous skiing areas, but there are eleven other ski slopes within the Dolomiti Superski region.  

Otherwise, opt for a helicopter tour over the mountain range or visit some of the best towns in the Dolomites . Stroll through a Christmas market under the festive lights in Bolzano, sipping mulled wine. Or meet the 5,000-year-old iceman Ötzi at the Museum of Archaeology Bolzano. 

LISTEN: To our podcast on the Christmas Markets of South Tyrol .

Chilly and often misty, the fog adds a mystical charm to the canals, making Venice in December a dreamy vacation destination. Sometimes, the fog makes it look like the buildings are floating on the clouds, but visiting Venice in December is not all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s serene.

Temperatures range from 33°F (1°C) to 46°F (8°C), so the cold weather keeps tourists away. Enjoy a ride on the Grand Canal without interruption, explore local Christmas markets like the “Natale in Laguna” in Campo Santo Stefano, or keep it simple with a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica .

If you’re keen on a day trip from Venice , consider visiting Murano Island for the Natale di Vetro (Christmas of Glass), where you can see a 20-foot-tall glass Christmas tree. These December festivities kick off with Festa di San Niccolò—a celebration of Venice’s patron saint.

The highlight of this festival is the Regatta di San Niccolò, featuring a water procession organized by the glass-workers from Murano Island.

NOTE: The city has a new law called the Venice Tourist Tax that requires a €5 ($5.41) entry fee for all-day visitors. This law came into effect in April 2024 .

Typically frosty and sometimes thinly dusted with snow, December brings a festive atmosphere to Bologna. The Italian food capital often experiences cooler weather than the southern regions, seeing conditions range from 36°F (2°C) to 44°F (7°C) throughout the off-season.

Stroll through festive open-air markets, like the Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia (Ancient Fair of Saint Lucia) set underneath the city’s historic porticoes. This is a historic market, dating back to the 16th century. It’s the perfect place to eat the local food while walking beneath twinkling lights.

Try the most popular delights, like tagliatelle al ragù, lasagna bolognese, and tortellini in brodo. Otherwise, take a Bologna food tour or dedicate the whole day to a behind-the-scenes look at cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar production with these factory tours .

Your Bologna itinerary shouldn’t end with just tasting delicious food. Take day trips from Bologna to nearby towns like Modena and Parma, or book a Ferrari VIP experience with a test drive.

Mildly chilly but with mostly clear skies and occasional rain, Rome in December is the perfect time to explore the Italian capital. Rome’s rich history and religious significance make it a popular destination throughout the year, but it gets fewer tourists during the off-season.

LISTEN: To our podcast on Christmas in Rome and Italy .

Rome’s weather in December ranges between 40°F (4°C) and 55°F (13°C). Although brisk, the conditions still allow you to explore top attractions like the Pantheon , Colosseum, and Vatican Museums . But December is about Christmas decorations, Nativity scenes, and ice skating.

Head to the Vatican for the Pope’s Christmas Mass, or visit the Piazza Navona Christmas Market, where you can buy holiday gifts, from leather goods to books, toys, and food items. Every church has a Nativity scene, and Christmas trees are in every piazza. Don’t miss out on the Christmas tree lighting in St. Peter’s Square, a grand and enduring tradition.

NOTE: Some notable sites like the Colosseum operate limited hours during this time, so arrive early. You must also book tickets far in advance to hear the Pope’s message at the mass.

With moderate winter sun and occasional rain, Naples is a fantastic place to spend December in Italy. You won’t get beach weather, but indoor activities are available, like visiting museums, strolling through art galleries, and enjoying hearty cuisine under the sparkling Christmas lights.

Naples  experiences weather conditions that range from 44°F (6°C) to 58°F (14°C). The holiday season brings a festive atmosphere along Via San Gregorio Armeno (or Christmas Alley), where artisans line the street with handcrafted wooden figurines representing Nativity scenes.

Locals traditionally eat fish for dinner on Christmas Eve, so a visit to the Porta Nolana Fish Market is a must. This market is open all night on Christmas Eve, and strolling through it is a great way to spend one of your December nights in Naples.

Alternatively (and if you can brace the weather), take a day trip to Pompeii or visit the Amalfi Coast. Keep in mind that many tourist organizations operating on the Amalfi Coast usually close down during the holiday season, but that only allows you to experience the local’s everyday lives.

DISCOVER: The Best places to stay on your trip to Naples .

Brisk but often sunny, Bari has pleasant weather in December. The city is not unseasonably cold so you can admire its historical charm via a walking tour , segway, or bike. Indulge in the best meals with a street food walking tour, or opt for a pasta-making and tasting experience .

December brings temperatures ranging from 42°F (6°C) to 56°F (14°C) to Bari. You’ll enjoy local Christmas markets, stroll through the Christmas lights garden, or marvel at the nearly 46-foot-tall illuminated Christmas tree at Piazza del Ferrarese.

The festive lights and celebrations kick off on the day of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Bari. There are other fun things to do in Bari during your December visit. Visit Alberobello’s UNESCO World Heritage Site to marvel at its ancient conical roof-shaped stone huts. Or go on a shopping spree for local treats in Bari Vecchia—home of the famous Piazza Mercantile.

Situated at the southernmost tip of Italy, Sicily is an excellent winter destination. Although it may not provide beach-going weather like in the summer months, Sicily in December allows you to be outdoors and explore its magical small towns like Catania, Taormina, and Noto.

Expect conditions to range from 50°F (10°C) to 59°F (15°C). This mild and generally sunny weather is best enjoyed hopping from one historical site to another. Visit Palermo , the largest city on the island, to explore its UNESCO-recognized Arab-Norman heritage.

Sticking to the holiday spirit, stroll through a lively Sicilian Christmas market, indulge in the Mediterranean-inspired traditional food, or sample wine cultivated on the island. The Feast of Santa Lucia in Syracuse is a big celebration featuring a grand procession and fireworks.

TIP: Need help figuring out where to go? These places to visit in Sicily should be at the top of your list.

Festivities and Public Holidays in Italy in December

From holiday-inspired decorations to Christmas Day parades, Italy in December presents a unique opportunity to experience attractions, major cities, and small towns with festive cheer.

But that’s not where it ends – the country also has a range of national holidays that you may enjoy. Here are the most important holidays celebrated across Italy in December:

  • 6th of December – Feast of Saint Nicholas: Celebrated in Bari with religious processions and festivities honoring Saint Nicholas, the city’s patron saint.
  • 7th of December – Feast of Saint Ambrose: Milan honors its patron saint with special church services across the city. Don’t miss out on the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Cathedral Square.
  • 8th of December – Feast of the Immaculate Conception: This is a national holiday marking the start of the holiday season, with masses, parades, and fireworks. This day ushers in the Christmas lights, trees, and decorations.
  • 13th of December – Feast of Saint Lucy: Celebrated in the southern regions, particularly Sicily, this feast is marked by parades and processions. In Syracuse, the saint’s statue is moved from its chapel to the high altar of her cathedral.
  • 24th of December – Christmas Eve: Locals prepare for Christmas with festive meals and attend Midnight Mass. In Naples, families enjoy a fish meal as per tradition, while the fish market stays open later than usual for last-minute shopping.
  • 25th of December – Christmas Day: This is a national holiday celebrating the birth of baby Jesus at family gatherings and church services. Many banks and restaurants close on this day.
  • 26th of December – Saint Stephen’s Day: This day honors the first martyr recorded in Christian theology and allows families to extend their Christmas celebrations.
  • 31st of December – New Year’s Eve: Like the rest of the world, Italians celebrate this day with festive meals, parties, fireworks, and public gatherings to welcome the New Year.

What to Wear in Italy in December

Now that you’re all caught up on the December festivities at hand, it’s time to pack your bags. If you’re wondering how to pack for Italy in December; here’s a list of all the necessary items:

  • Layered clothing – Italy in December is brisk, but southern regions are less cold than those in the north. Nonetheless, pack several clothes that can be layered under a big winter coat. This way, you can adjust your clothing to each region’s weather.
  • Waterproof shoes – While December is colder and November rainier, this month does get its fair share of wet weather. A pair of waterproof shoes will come in handy on wet days.
  • Rain jacket or coat – Brace yourself for occasional showers throughout December. A rain jacket or coat will help you keep warm while exploring the quieter streets of Italy.
  • Beanies, scarves, and gloves – You may not need these in Sicily , but you will in Milan. Pack several beanies, scarves, and gloves to keep warm in northern Italy.
  • Umbrella – If the weather forecast deceives you, this nifty accessory will be your saving grace when the heavens suddenly start coming down.

Is December a Good Time to Visit Italy?

Absolutely! Italy in December offers tranquil strolls along quieter streets, shorter queues at top attractions, and a festive atmosphere marked by sparkling lights. Whether you’re looking to explore small towns or want to stick to the big cities, December has something for everyone.

Keep in mind that the month is quiet at first but gets busier as the holiday season arrives. Christmas markets, holiday processions, and parades attract many locals and tourists.

Generally speaking, Italy in December offers a mixed bag; from snowy peaks to quieter cities.

READ: Want to avoid the cold weather? Consider visiting Italy in September .

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Italy in december: christmas tree in Rome

Italy in December: all you need to know to plan the perfect trip

Italy in December: all you need to know to plan the perfect trip. What to expect from the weather, crowds, what to book in advance and the best places to visit in December in Italy with kids (and without!) – Updated Oct. 2023.

A December trip to Italy can be a wonderful way to spend the holiday season.

Traveling to Italy at this time, you should expect cold weather, the occasional rainy day and even snow, in parts of Italy (The Alps).

However, you will also find beautiful Christmas traditions , great opportunities for sightseeing and plenty of chances to warm up in cozy interiors with delicious food and wine!

December in Italy however looks very different depending on where you go.

I am from Rome and always try and make the most of the winter festivities to explore my beautiful country with my children.

This is my guide to visiting Italy in December and my best tips for Christmas in Italy with kids (and without!).

In this article you will find:

  • December in Italy weather overview
  • Festivities and celebrations in Italy in December you need to know about

The best places to visit in Italy in December

  • Italy in December with kids
  • What to book in advance for December in Italy

Please note :  this is a seasonal travel guide about Italy in November, meant to help you decide the best time of the year for your visit. For official information and travel advisory that may affect your trip, please refer to your Government travel advisory. Check here for official info if traveling from  US ,  Canada ,  UK ,  Ireland ,  Australia ,  New Zealand .

Please note: this post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we might make a small commission.

December in Italy: weather overview

December is winter in Italy.

Despite differences in regions and areas, when traveling to Italy in December you should expect cold weather, short daylight hours and the occasional rainy day.

In terms of clothing, you can expect to wear warm coats, scarves, hats and boots. Unless you are going to the mountains, usually you do not need thermal layers.

In several parts of the country and at higher altitudes, snow is also possible.

To give you an idea of the average temperatures, this is a historical overview of localities in different parts of Italy:

  • Milan: Max 7C Min 2C Rain: 5 days
  • Bolzano (Dolomites): Max 7C Min -3C (snow possible)
  • Rome: Max 13C Min 4C Rain: 8 days
  • Palermo: Max 16C Min 11C Rain: 9 days

Good to know: while we have indoor heating, indoor temperatures are never as warm to allow being in t-shirt in the middle of winter. While you won’t be cold inside, do expect to be wearing your seater even when the heating is on and to want to wear warm socks and slippers when at your accommodation.

December in Italy: important celebrations and festivities

Several important festivities happen during this month in Italy and they will impact your plans both in terms of closures of museums and attractions, crowds and transport.

The main festivities in Italy in December are:

  • 8 December : immaculate conception, National Holiday. On this day, people are off and this means you may find restaurants and museums busier than usual.
  • 24 December : Christmas Eve. While not a National Holiday, shops close early to allow people to get ready for the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. If eating out at dinner on this day, I recommend you book as not everywhere will be open and places may only offer set menus rather than full a-la-carte options.
  • 25 December : Christmas Day, a National Holiday, many attractions and restaurants close, pre-booking a meal out is essential. Do expect some restaurants to only operate on a set-menu offering on this day, especially outside of bigger cities.
  • 26 December , St Stephen’s Day, some attractions stay closed on this day. Not all attractions close: check individual websites before making plans.
  • 3 1 December, New Years’ Eve : not a National Holiday but a day that impacts on dinners out. Restaurants tend to close for the night or offer special New Year’s Eve packages: booking highly recommended.

Our favorite places to visit in Italy at Christmas are:

Bolzano, Merano and their Christmas markets

If you love Christmas markets, then the best places to experience them are the towns of Merano, Bolzano and, more in general, the cities on the slopes of the Dolomites.

This part of Italy has a strong Germanic influence and is the one with the best and most authentic Christmas markets.

Wrap up well as this area is pretty cold at this time!

If you like skiing, this is a great time to experience the Dolomites, which offer wonderful slopes. As a family, we adore the area of San Candido for a longer stay.

For a special treat close to Bolzano, the family hotel Cavallino Bianco in Val Gardena is special for kids!

Find my selection of the best Christmas markets in Italy here

Italy in December: Christmas market in Bolzano

Rome and the Vatican in December

It is hard to beat the impression Rome in December leaves on the visitor.

When the Colosseum and the Vatican don their Christmas trees, they are even more magical and considering how beautiful they are in normal times, you can imagine how special they truly are at this time!

Rome is cold in December however, don’t expect it to be a quiet time.

The weekend close to the 8th of December and the full Christmas week are high tourism season and pre-booking of accommodation and attractions is mandatory.

As well as the traditional sightseeing places, Rome in December is an extravaganza of shops, lights and even Christmas markets: while they cannot compete with those in Germany, the backdrop of Baroque Rome makes the simple markets we have here rather unique!

Kids will love the many indoor attractions (Children Museum, Ikono Rome, Museum of Illusions etc) that help break up sightseeing and offer refuge in case of rain!

You can find my full guide to Rome in December here

And here >>> my complete guide to Rome with kids

vatican during the christmas festivities

Venice in December

Venice is cold and grey in December but it is also charming, romantic and atmospheric.

In this season, you can enjoy all of Venice’s beautiful museums, you can make the most of the cozy atmosphere of Venice’s bacari (wine bars) and you can still enjoy the lagoon, taking trips to the islands of Burano and Murano.

Kids will love the ice rinks that pop up in the city and the fairytale atmosphere of this city on water, with the lights twinkling on the canals.

Your main issue in Venice in December is humidity: make sure you plan indoor activities to regularly take a break from the weather.

You can find here >>> my guide to Venice in winter .

And here >>> our guide to Venice with kids

Milan in December

If you are looking for shopping opportunities and elegant atmospheres, then Milan at Christmas is the place for you!

The festive decorations in Piazza Duomo and Galleria and the stunning windows at Quadrilatero della Moda are a treat for the eye and a fantastic place to get a special present for someone you love (or, why not, yourself!).

Close to Milan you also find Lake Como: while December is not a great time on the lake, due to cold and limited access to water, the town of Como is wonderful at Christmas and offers a lovely day trip option to get a taste for this famous lake.

You can find our travel guide to Milan here .

Naples is one of the cities in Italy if not THE city with the strongest Christmas tradition, especially when it comes to Nativity Scenes and figurines.

The city is famous for them and there is no better time to experience what this tradition is all about than going during the holidays.

The place to go for figurines is Via Gregorio Armeno but do take the opportunity to also visit all the other marvels this city has to offer and do indulge in the local food.

In Naples in December you simply cannot miss struffoli, roccocò , cuoppo and mostaccioli as well as, of course, Naples’ all seasons staple: pizza!

Nativity scenes in a shop in Naples, Italy

Pompeii and Sorrento (side trips from Naples)

Both Pompeii and Sorrento are lovely side trips from Naples you can take in December.

Pompeii is rather cold in winter, as the archaeological site is quite exposed to wind and rain: however, it can be quiet and lovely at this time, something that can make up for the less-than-ideal weather!

Herculaneum is a little more protected and also works very well at this time.

If thinking of bringing children to Pompeii, I recommend you read hear >>> our guide to visiting Pompeii with kids .

Sorrento goes all out for Christmas with wonderful Christmas decorations and a festive atmosphere.

While I don’t recommend visiting the Amalfi coast at this time (see below), Sorrento is a bit of an exception: if you are in the Naples area, a Christmas day trip here can be lovely – I recommend you consider a food tour with the Gourmet Girls Sorrento as a way to see the town and tap into the local wonderful food tradition (a great way to warm up too!)

Sfogliatella sweet from Naples

Bologna and the Motor Valley

A beautiful part of Italy I love visiting in December is Bologna and the nearby Modena area.

This part of Italy is famous for its glorious food, especially of the warming kind (Tortellini in bone broth! Lasagna!) and also offers wonderful indoor attractions that can help fill colder days.

Among my favorites for kids and adults, are the Ferrari Museum in Maranello , Fico Food Park, The Gelato Museum and, of course, the wonderful Bologna museums such as the Archiginnasio.

december trip to italy

Florence and Tuscany in December

It is always a good time to visit Florence and Tuscany and December is no exception.

At this time, you won’t be able to enjoy much of the Tuscan countryside (it is not al fresco dining time) however, you can visit all the beautiful small towns of Tuscany, admire their holiday decorations and of course make the most of Florence museums and shopping opportunities.

Many Tuscany towns light up at Christmas with wonderful small markets and nativity scenes: Arezzo, Siena , Lucca and Montepulciano are among the best known.

If planning on visiting Tuscany with kids in December, I recommend you plan most of the time in Florence, that can offer entertainment in case of bad weather.

Read here >>> how to plan a trip to Tuscany with kids in winter

Piazza della Signoria in Florence, last November

Other destinations in Italy in December

Manarola (cinque terre).

December is not a great time to visit Cinque Terre as the weather makes hard the main activities the area is known for: hiking and swimming.

However, Manarola at Christmas is special as it lights up to be a living nativity scene!

The living crib lights up on the 8th of December. You can find our guide to visiting Cinque Terre with kids here.

Amalfi Coast in December: what to expect

The Amalfi Coast is beautiful no matter the time of the year and December is no exception.

However, it is important to know that it is low season at this time and visiting the Amalfi Coast in December will be more about sipping coffee watching the sea than going anywhere near it.

If you don’t mind or even like the atmosphere of the coast in winter, this can be a good time to visit.

You can expect lovely food as always and, overall, lower prices, crowds and traffic and you may be lucky with the weather and get lovely sunny days too!

I do not recommend visiting this area in December with small kids as they may find it rather limiting in terms of available entertainment. If visiting with little ones, I recommend Sorrento or Naples.

You can find our travel guide to the Amalfi Coast here: Amalfi Coast towns | Amalfi town | Guide to Maiori | Guide to Minori | How to visit the Amalfi Coast with kids | Capri with kids

Southern Italy in December

Southern Italy can be a real treat in December.

The weather tends to be milder here than in other parts of the country (with exceptions, don’t expect it to be beach weather!) and the small towns of this part of Italy dress up becoming picture perfect holiday landscapes.

Places I love at this time are:

  • Locorotondo , Alberobello , Trani , Martina Franca and Puglia in general
  • Matera (Basilicata)
  • Sicily (The whole of it!)
  • Paestum (Campania)

December in Italy with kids

December can be a special time for kids in Italy however, very little ones may find the bad weather frustrating.

In December, you will still be able to have time in the park on dry days but they will be limited in their outdoor pursuits by the frequent rain and the short hours of daylight. Setting expectations is key!

Good places to visit in Italy with kids in December are:

The Dolomites – with the lovely Christmas markets and the ski slopes, many suitable for families and newbie skiers. You can find our guide to the best places in the Dolomites with kids here.

Florence – full of lovely child-friendly museums perfect to escape the rain, should it strike. You can find our guide to visiting Florence with kids here .

Rome – and its large piazzas, stunning Christmas trees, parks and child-friendly museums. You can find our guide to Rome with kids here.

Bologna – with its gelato museum (yes, it’s ok in winter too!), FICO food theme park and hte Ferrari Museums, the area of Bologna is lovely for kids. Read here >>> our guide to Bologna with kids

What to book in advance to visit Italy in December

December is busy in Italy, especially around the 8th of December and during Christmas week.

It is paramount to book in advance:

  • The Last supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie (Milan)
  • The Colosseum (Rome) – tickets come out 30 days before and go fast! Read here >>> how to get tickets to the Colosseum
  • The Vatican Museums (Vatican City, Rome) – Tickets come out in batches, some months before, some 60 to 90 days in advance. Read here >> How to get tickets to the Vatican Museums
  • Christmas Eve dinner (anywhere),
  • New Years’ Eve dinner (Anywhere)
  • High speed train tickets. You can read here >>> all about train travel in Italy.
  • Accommodation (anywhere)

My go-to website for booking are:

GetYourGuide , excellent ticket provider for attractions and tours, with very flexible cancellation options (many up to 24hour before the tour)

Booking.com for both hotels and apartments

Trenitalia.com for train travel (it is the official railway system site and has the best prices, despite a rather annoying interface)

If you are planning to visit Italy in December, make sure you also familiarize yourself first with the most common Italian Christmas traditions and Italy Christmas foods .

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of Italy in December and gave you good ideas for your trip. Safe travel planning!

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Marta Correale

Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.

Italian Christmas Eve dinner table with fish and seafood dishes

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Italy in December: Complete Guide for Planning Your Winter Trip!

Thinking about traveling to Italy in December?

Spoiler alert: Italy is a year-round destination! As a professed Italophile with a house in northern Italy, I’ve traveled around and stayed in Italy in winter, spring, summer, and fall. And while December in Italy does come with winter-like temperatures throughout much of the country, it also means fewer visitors, cheaper prices, and a much more local experience overall!

So to help you plan your visit to Italy in December, this guide explains:

  • Italy weather in December
  • Pros and cons of visiting Italy in December
  • Italy holidays in December
  • Best places to visit in Italy in December
  • Best things to do in Italy in December
  • What to Pack for Italy in December

Ready to discover what awaits when you visit the Bel Paese in December? Andiamo!

Italy in December

Sant' Angelo Bridge and Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, Italy

Specifically visiting Italy in December, you’ll find beautiful Christmas traditions and decorations on full display around the country, with twinkling lights making every place magical. From north to south, Christmas in Italy is a wonderfully festive time to visit!

On top of this, Italy’s museums and historical sites are open and can be visited at a much more enjoyable pace without the crowds and long lines. And as always in Italy, you can warm up with delicious food and wine no matter where you are!

Weather in December in Italy

Naturally, one of the most commonly asked questions when planning to visit Italy in December is what the weather will be like.

Depending on where you are, the weather can vary. But the great news is that most of Italy is quite moderate in terms of winter temperatures and rarely plunges into a prolonged deep freeze. And in my opinion, the weather in December in Italy is much more comfortable for city sightseeing than during the peak and very hot summer season!

To compare the differences in weather, let’s break Italy up into different sections.

Northern Italy

Northern Italy can be cold, and snow will fall at medium elevations. In places like Milan, Turin, and Venice, average temperatures will range between the upper 30s to the upper 40s. Genoa sits along the Ligurian coast and experiences average temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. If you head up in elevation to ski in the Dolomites or the Val d’Aosta mountain temperatures will naturally be colder.

And whereas Milan, Venice, Genoa, and Turin get surprisingly little snow (if any) given their northern locations, Italy’s Dolomites or the Courmayeur area have some of the best skiing conditions in all of Europe.

Central Italy

Central Italy also tends to have cool winters with some rainy days possible. Temperatures in places like Florence and Tuscany can hover around 50 degrees. Further south in Rome , temperatures are around the mid-50s with about 8 days of the month recording a measurable amount of rain. Again, snow mostly falls in the Apennine Mountains that straddle the borders of Umbria, Marche, and Abruzzo.

So while it’s not impossible for Florence or Tuscany or even Rome to experience snowfall, it’s an incredibly rare thing to happen.

Southern Italy & Sicily

Southern Italy and Sicily are typically the warmest parts of Italy all year, and December is no exception. Temperatures tend to stay around the upper 50s and could even reach 60 degrees. In southern Italy, particularly, rainfall is light.

Places like Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii , the Amalfi Coast, Matera, and the region of Puglia can make for an amazing winter trip to Italy. While you won’t have beach weather, moderate temperatures and fewer people are the perfect combination to sightsee and admire the coastal views from a cozy cafe or restaurant.

And because inclement weather is extremely rare, you might even plan a road trip to Lecce , also known as Italy’s “Florence of the South,” without the typical summer heat and crowds.

Sicily also sees a good amount of winter sun throughout December, but you should pack a raincoat because some rainy days are possible. Still, given the extreme heat of Sicily in summer, this is a much more comfortable time to explore places like Taormina, Palermo, and the Valley of Temples in Agrigento.

Pros and Cons of Italy in December

december trip to italy

Let’s be honest: Italy is a wonderful country. Is there really ever a downside to traveling to Italy at any time of the year?!?! If there is, I can’t think of it.

However, I understand everyone’s travel goals are different. So, to make sure that visiting Italy in December is a good choice for you, let’s look at some possible pros and cons.

The biggest upside to December in Italy is the lack of other travelers. Cities like Rome and Florence are fantastic to enjoy without tourists everywhere! You can take your time to enjoy Italy’s museums, history, and art all without long lines, and in some cases, time restrictions that are meant to keep people moving to accommodate everyone who wants to visit.

Less Demand = Lower Costs

Depending on where you travel, you can find great deals. December is the low season in cities such as Florence, Venice, Rome, and Turin, as well as in coastal areas like Puglia. This means that hotels, restaurants, and activities will cost less.

The exception to this (and not a true con given the nature of the areas) would be in Trentino Alto-Adige and parts of the Valle d’Aosta. December can be an expensive time to visit these areas because of their incredible skiing! It is their high season after all so it makes sense that hotels, restaurants, and activities are at their peak pricing.

Also, keep in mind, if you want to spend Christmas in Italy, this specific period of days will cost a bit more for hotels and flights. Although, it’s still relatively low compared to peak summer season prices.

An added bonus to visiting Italy in December is the holiday spirit! From Christmas lights and trees adorning piazzas big and small to Christmas markets and ice skating rinks, December is a magical time to visit.

Just remember, though, that almost everything is closed on December 25th, including museums and archeological sites. Some shops and local businesses may also close early on December 24th or be closed on December 26th. This also includes famous sights in the Vatican like the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel .

If you’re dreaming of a trip to Italy that includes beach time or enjoying the cinematic vibe of dining under the Tuscan sun, then the weather isn’t right for you in December. It is possible to explore coastal areas outside of their beach offerings, but you might find a few places closed for the season.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about the beach and you’re looking for a more local experience in places like the Amalfi Coast or Puglia, it’s a great time to explore the towns and villages in these areas for a more cultural experience without the masses of people that arrive in summer.

If you’re hoping to visit famous sights and explore Italy’s cities and towns, I’d argue December is a great time to visit. While I might sound a bit dramatic, the heat in summer can be downright sweltering and oppressive with temperatures in the 90s and higher. This can drastically impact sightseeing, walking around cities, and even coastal areas. (Who wants to climb 450+ steps to the top of Florence’s Duomo or hike the Cinque Terre trails when it’s 95 degrees outside?!?)

I’ve been in Italy during particularly hot stretches of nearly 100-degree temperatures and from Venice to Florence to the Cinque Terre, it’s nearly impossible to do anything else but escape the daytime sun and, if possible, cool off in the sea.

Special Holidays in Italy in December

Christmas tree near Santa Maria del Fiore, the main church of Florence.

December is a special month in Italy: there are more national holidays than any other month. And Italians celebrate the holidays in different ways, depending on their family’s specific traditions and the region they are from.

The important festivities in December can impact your vacation plans, especially when it comes to opening hours for places like museums and restaurants. So it’s important to plan ahead, especially when it comes to things like restaurant reservations and transportation.

The main festivities in Italy in December are Immaculate Conception Day (December 8th), Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Santo Stefano Day (December 26th), and New Year’s Eve.

Immaculate Conception Day

Immaculate Conception Day (“Immacolata Concezione” in Italian) is on December 8th. This is traditionally a religious holiday, the celebration of the birth of the Virgin Mary who was granted life without sin according to the Catholic faith.

Nowadays, December 8th is also the day when Italians come together with their families and decorate the Christmas tree. It marks the official beginning of the holiday season. Holiday festivals and markets open and the Christmas trees in the main squares of cities and towns are officially lit.

Everything remains open, but museums or attractions with a religious tie will be closed, like the gorgeous Vatican Museum in Rome.

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

December 24th is the Vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve). Schools are closed, and shops and other workplaces close early. However, museums, archaeological sites, and other top attractions are open. Even the Vatican sights remain open.

The Italian Christmas Eve tradition differs from family to family: some people reunite with their loved ones and have a big dinner together while unwrapping gifts.

From North to South, locals attend Midnight Mass in the local church. If you want to attend Mass in the Vatican on Christmas Eve, you need tickets often reserved months beforehand. Complete and follow the direction on this form to have a chance at tickets.

If you are in Italy on Christmas Eve, make sure to reserve restaurants in advance.

Christmas Day is a National Holiday, and most museums and attractions are closed. December 25 is the day most people spend with their families, eating and unwrapping gifts. Restaurants are usually open, and pre-booking is essential. Also, public transportation is very limited on this day. It’s best to be where you want to be before Christmas Day.

Bernini Fountain at St Peters Basilica. St Peters Square, Vatican.

Santo Stefano Day

December 26th is Santo Stefano Day, and some religiously affiliated attractions and restaurants close on this day. However, popular places like the Uffizi Gallery or the Pompeii ruins are open. Italians’ main activity on Santo Stefano Day is gathering and eating the leftovers from the massive Christmas lunch and dinner!

New Year’s Eve

The last special holiday happening in December in Italy is New Year’s Eve, on the 31st.

Italians celebrate by having the traditional “Cenone di Capodanno” (a huge dinner in restaurants where everyone sits together at a long table) and watching fireworks at midnight to welcome the new year. The typical food served is “lenticchie e cotechino” or lentils with sausage.

Most restaurants offer special New Year” Eve packages for the “Cenone,” and availability runs out pretty fast. So, make restaurant reservations as soon as you know your plans.

ProTip: New Year’s Day is a National Holiday and a day when most sights and museums are closed.

Best Places to Visit in Italy in December

Italy is a fantastic country to visit all year round. December is a great month to travel to Italy if you love the Christmas atmosphere, winter activities, immersing yourself in local food, culture, and history, and sightseeing with fewer tourists.

Outside of true snow and ski trips, Italy’s cities and small towns shine during December.

The Dolomites

St. Magdalena or Santa Maddalena with its characteristic church in front of the Geisler or Odle dolomites mountain peaks in the Val di Funes (Villnosstal) in Italy in winter.

Italy in winter is the perfect destination for a snowy escape. There are plenty of places you can visit if you love mountains – but the best one is the Dolomites, in the Italian Alps.

Here, countless ski resorts are open from December to April, and there are activities for everyone to enjoy: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice skating – you name it! And when you are done having fun in the snow, you can visit a picturesque town in the heart of the mountains, taste local foods, and explore Christmas markets.

If you’re looking for a village to spend your December holidays in, you should consider San Cassiano in the Alta Badia area (in the Trentino Alto-Adige region).

San Cassiano is the perfect spot for sports lovers, with over 130 km of skiing slopes. In addition, the people from this town are part of the Ladin culture, which has its own particular language and costumes.

Other popular areas include the world-famous Cortina d’Ampezzo, with luxury resorts, restaurants, and boutiques, and the stunning Val Gardena.

Christmas market in Bolzano with lights and decorations

Also located in the Trentino Alto-Adige region, Bolzano is a fantastic place to visit in Italy in December.

It’s located near the Austrian border and it takes the prize for Christmas spirit! The town is famous everywhere in Italy for its Mercatino di Natale (Christmas market). The Austrian influence is quite strong, and you will notice it in Bolzano’s gastronomy and other traditions. The city is also close to the Dolomites, so get ready for some snowy action! Bolzano is also just 1 1/2 hours from Verona and 2 1/2 hours from Venice.

Bolzano has something for everyone – if you are a museum enthusiast, don’t miss a visit to the Archaeology Museum with Otzi the Iceman, a naturally preserved man who likely lived more than 5,000 years ago.

ProTip: Want to continue the Christmas market fun? Just 30 minutes north of Bolzano, visit the town of Merano for its magical Christmas market as well!

Aosta Valley

The Aosta Valley is Italy’s smallest region and is a true paradise in winter! Situated along the border of France, Aosta Valley houses iconic mountains: Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, and the Gran Paradiso.

Visiting Aosta Valley in December is a fantastic idea if you love snow, nature, and winter sports. The region is home to six incredible ski resorts, including Courmayeur and La Thuile.

Snowshoeing and sledding are other great activities you can enjoy while in Aosta Valley in December. In addition, the Gran Paradiso National Park offers splendid views and mountain retreats where you can taste local delicacies such as polenta concia.

Turin is a beautiful city surrounded by the jagged peaks of the snowcapped Alps in northern Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s the region’s capital city and also was the first capital of Italy.

The city’s Piazza Castello and Piazza San Carlo are the main squares adorned with 16th and 17th-century buildings including the UNESCO World Heritage Palazzo Reale, the Palazzo Madama, and the twin churches of Santa Christina and San Carlo Borromeo.

Turin is also home to numerous museums including the iconic Mole Antonelliana, the impressive National Museum of the Automobile, and one of the world’s most famous Egyptian museums.

Stroll under Turin’s beautiful covered porticos connecting the city’s shopping district, decorated with lights during the month of December. When hunger strikes, enjoy a cozy dish of agnolotti or truffled risotto with a glass of the region’s famous Barolo red wine.

big Christmas tree in front of the cathedral of milan in italy

If you’re a shopaholic or you’re looking for a chic spot to do your Christmas shopping, then Milan is the place to be! All the city’s main shopping areas are decorated to make you feel the Christmas atmosphere: be sure to check out Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Della Spiga, and Via Monte Napoleone.

Milan also has a Christmas Market in the Piazza Duomo where you can buy handmade crafts and traditional ornaments and sample local food and wine. Of course, all of this is within view of the Duomo and the piazza’s Christmas tree.

If shopping is not for you, Milan offers many other things. If it’s open with heat lamps and blankets, have an aperitivo in Terrazza Aperol to admire the spectacular Piazza Duomo with the giant Christmas tree. Or take advantage of the low season to score tickets to see an opera at La Scala Theater or Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper .

This is how to plan a perfect 2 days in Milan!

Foggy (misty) Venice. Canal (channel), historical, old houses and boats in thick fog. Scenic cityscape view. Venice, Italy

Venice is a magical city to visit, even in December. You might need to deal with cold temperatures and the occasional high waters, but there is nothing better than strolling around the calle (the typical Venetian alleyways), taking a gondola ride, or visiting the Doge’s Palace without millions of other tourists.

The stillness that settles over Venice in December, together with the Christmas lights and seasonal fog, creates a glamorous, yet mysterious atmosphere.

Venice in December comes with a chill in the air, but there are plenty of activities to do inside! Museums and historical palaces are the perfect way to spend time in Venice in winter. Afterward, head to a bacaro (Venetian wine bar) to snack on some Cicchetti, small local bites from meatballs to fish to crostini that are cultural Venetian mainstays.

December is a perfect month to enjoy Florence, given that the city is cooler and less busy than other times of the year. Not to mention, those pesky Florentine mosquitoes of summer have retreated!

Take a walk along Via Tornabuoni, in Piazza della Repubblica, and across Ponte Vecchio, all made gorgeous by the Christmas lights of the Florence Light Festival. During the festival, monuments around the city are the backdrop for holiday-themed light projections. The Piazza Santa Croce is home to Florence’s largest Christmas market.

Florence in December is a must-visit if you love culture and sightseeing, too! World-famous spots like the Uffizi Gallery , the Palazzo Vecchio , and the Accademia Gallery with Michaelangelo’s famed David sculpture are uncrowded and extra pleasant to visit.

Bologna, the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region, is a great place to visit in December. With its historic towers, basilicas, museums, and art galleries, there are plenty of places to immerse yourself in this underrated Italian gem. The stunning “portici” (porticoes) protect you from any rain (and the occasional snow) as you stroll through the city.

And when you need to warm up, take a seat at the numerous osterie where you can have tortellini with broth and hearty tagliatelle with a classic Bolognese ragu.

The city is also a great base for day-tripping to nearby cities like Modena, Parma, and Ravenna. The region is well-connected by train with many trains running on regular (non-holiday) days.

Another great reason to travel to Bologna in December is for the special New Year’s Eve tradition. On December 31, a dummy known as the Vecchione (“the old man”) is set on fire in Piazza Maggiore, the city’s central square, at midnight.

The bonfire is a symbolic way to say arrivederci to the old year and start the new year with a clean slate. The burning happens after a free concert with many Italian musicians. If you are in Bologna for the event, arrive early to take the best spots towards the center of the square!

The Iconic, the legendary Colosseum of Rome, Italy on christmas

Rome is always a spectacular travel destination, and the month of December will allow you to enjoy the city in a relaxed way. There are still tourists around, but the city looks almost empty compared to other times of the year. The only super busy days are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when worshippers arrive in the city to attend the Pope’s Midnight Mass and his Christmas blessings.

Rome is magical thanks to the Christmas atmosphere created by the lights around the city and the giant Christmas trees that decorate Rome’s most iconic spots, like Saint Peter’s Square and the Colosseum . Not to mention, you can visit these places, as well as popular sights like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Roman Forum without feeling as if you are part of a herd.

Naples and Vesuvius panoramic view at night, Italy,

When thinking about a vacation in Italy in winter, the southern part of the country is usually not considered. However, the milder temperature and the off-season months make southern Italy a perfect winter destination!

Naples is the capital city of Campania and sits along the curving Bay of Naples with Mount Vesuvius everpresent on the horizon. The city’s incredible archaeological history is visible both above and below ground and ready to be explored.

The magnificent 13th-century Castel Nuovo and the city’s main square, Piazza del Plebiscito, are must-sees! Not to mention, Naples is the birthplace of pizza and there’s never a bad time of year to eat pizza!

From Naples, you can also easily visit the ruins of Pompeii and take a day trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Naples also has one of the strangest Christmas traditions you will find in Italy. Naples is especially famous for its “presepe” tradition, the figurines representing the Nativity scene.

The place to see and shop for these figurines is Via Gregorio Armeno, also known as the Christmas Alley, where you can admire the wide variety of handmade mini-statues from baby Jesus to famous figurines of today’s celebrities.

Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is probably one of the most popular summer destinations on the Italian peninsula. But this area is beautiful in December as well. Although you can’t enjoy the gorgeous beaches, the Amalfi Coast is full of seaside cafes and restaurants that will serve you delicious food for lower prices.

In addition to no crowds or traffic like you’ll find the region overrun with most other times of the year, towns like Positano and Sorrento get in the festive spirit with lights, decorations, and concerts, while deliciously sweet smells coming from the area’s pasticceria lure you inside when you’re ready to warm up!

Puglia is another southern Italian destination that is incredibly popular during the high season with visitors and locals alike. Puglia is opposite the Amalfi Coast in the “heel of the boot.” It’s a magical place to visit during December, particularly the city of Otranto.

During the month of December, Otranto has an event called “Alba dei Popoli” (Dawn of the People). It’s an Apulian-style festival with live music and art exhibitions.

Why is the “Alba Dei Popoli” festival so special? Otranto is the most eastern town in Italy, and as such, it is the first Italian city to see the dawn of the new year! The people of Otranto celebrate their unique position with this month-long festival that every visitor will surely enjoy!

Locorotondo & Alberobello

Christmas atmosphere in the little town Locorotondo in Puglia, Italy

Two other perfect December destinations are the villages of Locorotondo and Alberobello in Puglia. Not only does December bring Christmas cheer but Puglia in winter also comes with a focus on culture, history, and local food.

The whitewashed houses of Locorotondo become the ideal background for Christmas decorations! Locorotondo is one of Italy’s most beautiful villages any time of year, but Locorotondo in December becomes a real fairytale-style village, with lights strung in almost all the alleyways of the historic center.

If you decide to travel to Locorotondo in December, check the dates for the local presepe vivente (living nativity scenes).

Another incredible Apulian town turned into pure magic by the Christmas lights is Alberobello, famous for the traditional concial-roofed trulli. In summer, Alberobello is overrun with visitors and tour buses. But in winter, you’ll be able to explore this unique village and get lots of photos of trulli without the hassles of dealing with big crowds.

If you visit Alberobello in December, try the “olio nuovo” (the new oil) that is freshly pressed in November or do an olive oil tasting to learn more about Puglia’s process for growing olives and making olive oil.

Sicily’s mild winter makes it ideal for anyone who doesn’t like cold weather but loves history and culture. December is the perfect month to visit the many cities that populate the island!

From the big cities of Palermo and Siracusa to the dramatic and ancient Taormina to the Valle dei Templi in Agrigento , Sicily is one of the best places to sightsee outdoors on a trip to Italy in December.

Need another reason to visit Sicily in December?

The chance to ski on an active volcano! Yep, you heard me right! December is the perfect month to ski on Mount Etna, whose high altitude allows it to be covered by snow. Where else can you ski on an active volcano with views of the sea?!?

What about the Cinque Terre in December?

Manarola Italy Cinque Terre Christmas Nativity scene

The Cinque Terre is famous for its breathtaking scenery and brightly colored homes on cliffs overlooking the blue sea. It goes without saying that Cinque Terre (and this secret 6th hidden gem town ) is mostly visited during the summer months.

However, traveling to Cinque Terre in winter – especially in December – can be quite an experience! When the tourist season ends, the streets of the five towns are almost totally empty and some hotels and restaurants will be closed. However, you’ll be able to explore the 5 villages completely on your own for a truly surreal feeling. Perhaps you’ll even make a few local friends!

The water will be way too cold to swim in, but the beautiful views of the Cinque Terre are still incredible. In December, weather permitting, you can hike the National Park trails connecting the five towns of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore at your own pace and without needing to pay for a Cinque Terre Card.

ProTip: Some Cinque Terre trails are still being rebuilt after landslides and are expected to reopen in 2024. This guide has more Cinque Terre tips to help you plan whenever you decide to visit.

If you are in Cinque Terre anytime between December 8th and the end of January, make sure to stop in Manarola. You’ll find the world’s largest Nativity scene, created in 1960 by artist Mario Andreoli, who had the brilliant idea to lay out a presepe (nativity scene) down the town’s cliffs.

What to Wear in Italy in December

Tourist looking at panoramic view of Torino (Turin, Italy) from balcony above. Winter time, snowcapped Alps in the background.

While you should always check the weather forecast before you pack and depart for your December trip to Italy, there are a few tried and true things you’ll want to bring to ensure you’re comfortable, yet still fashionable.

Generally speaking, December is winter in Italy. Wearing layers is a smart strategy. You can adjust to shifting temperatures and heated indoor spaces.

You also want thin layers that offer outstanding warmth so you can walk around without feeling like a marshmallow! This is honestly one of my greatest travel hacks for packing in winter but also during shoulder season when the temperatures can be up one day and down the next.

Next, you’ll need a winter coat. If you are mainly staying in northern Italy, this winter coat is super warm, stylish, and not at all bulky. For milder days or trips to more southern locations, a blended wool peacoat is fashionable and will keep you from feeling the chill.

If you’re primarily staying in Sicily or see mild temps and rain in your trip forecast, I recommend bringing a raincoat and a travel-friendly umbrella .

Scarves , gloves , and a hat are also must-haves! Whether you’re packing for NYC in winter or Italy in winter, these essentials will make all the difference in city strolling and city sightseeing.

Be sure to pack your favorite pair of jeans because they are always fashionable in Italy. Fleece-lined leggings and a long sweater are also perfect for days of winter sightseeing.

And because Italy gets little to no snow in December except way up in the mountains, your focus should be on footwear that keeps you warm and dry in the event of rain. I’ve worn these boots in Italy, Ireland, NYC, and plenty of other places when I wanted comfort, warmth, and protection against any possible wet elements.

These boots are another option for grippy, waterproof shoes that you can walk hours in and easily dress up or down.

December in Italy Bottom Line

Visiting Italy in December is an excellent idea if you want a vacation that encompasses holiday cheer, cultural activities, mouth-watering food, and some of the most beautiful cities and landscapes anywhere in the world.

Italy in December FAQs

Find out if December in Italy is the right time for you to visit!

Is December a good time to visit Italy?

December is a great time to visit Italy if you’re hoping to sightsee, visit museums and archaeological sites, like Pompeii, enjoy delicious food, and be amazed by some of the most beautiful landscapes and cities in the world!

Is Italy too cold in December?

December is winter in Italy. However, the country rarely plunges into a deep freeze, with northern cities like Turin, Milan, and Venice hovering in the 40s. Points further south like Florence, Rome, and Naples tend to be in the 50s. The only exception is up in the mountains of the Valle d’Aosta and the Dolomites where the skiing conditions are excellent.

Does it snow in Italy in December?

Rarely, except for the higher mountain elevations where there’s some of the best skiing in all of Europe. Snow in Florence, Rome, and points further south is incredibly rare. Northern cities like Milan and Turin could get a dusting to a couple of inches but even this is unusual.

Places & Things to Do

Which part of italy is best in december.

That depends! If you’re hoping to ski, then book your trip to the Dolomites or the Valle d’Aosta. City sightseeing from Milan, Turin, and Venice to Florence, Bologna, Rome, and Naples is perfect for anyone looking for art, history, culture, and great food. Southern locations like Naples, Pompeii, Puglia, Matera, and Sicily have moderate temperatures and endless things to see and do…all without the crowds and extreme heat that comes with the summer!

What is there to do in Italy in December?

December is a great month to visit any of Italy’s amazing cities, museums, and archeological sites. With fewer tourists around, you can enjoy sites like the Colosseum and the ruins of Pompeii without crowds. Regardless of what you want to see and do, you’re unlikely to find long lines or popular tours that are sold out.

You can enjoy the Christmas atmosphere! From lights and decorations to nativity scenes and Christmas markets, December in Italy is all about Christmas cheer.

The northern Italian mountains are the perfect getaway for winter sports lovers! Downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding are all activities you can enjoy while visiting Italy in December. And when the day on the slopes is done, soak in thermal baths like those you’ll find in the Dolomites.

So, what questions do you have about visiting Italy in December?

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Italy Trip Planning

Italy in winter: 10 reasons to visit + 11 best places to visit in Italy in December

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Ingrid & Alex

Are you considering visiting Italy in winter ? If yes, you should read this article, because I will tell you everything you need to know: from useful tips and tricks, things worth knowing when you travel to Italy, to the reasons why you should visit Italy in December, and all the best places to visit in Italy in December. 

My first encounter with Italy was during winter, when, on a cold January day, I moved to Trieste. Years later, I spent some winter months in Rome and visited Sicily during winter . 

While the weather differs greatly in the northern and southern parts of Italy, both areas are worth visiting during the cold season for different reasons. 

This post contains affiliate links to products and services that I may be compensated for, at no extra cost to you. Read more about this on our  disclosure page here .

Table of Contents

Important things to know & travel tips for when you visit Italy in winter

I will try to include some tools I always find useful when traveling to Italy, together with some information about the weather in Italy in December or any other month of winter. 

How is the weather in Italy in winter? How cold is it in Italy in the winter?

While temperatures start dropping in December, you must remember Italy is long, and seasons differ from the North to the South. 

You can expect colder days in places like Venice , Milan, or Florence , with average temperatures of around 7-11 degrees Celcius in December. However, as you move to the south, and get to places like Rome, Naples, Sicily, or Sardinia , average temperatures will be anywhere between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius. 

How long does winter last in Italy?

Like in most European countries, winter officially debuted in December and lasts until the end of February. 

At least that’s the official calendar, but with the current climate changes, you never really know what to expect. In the past years, December hasn’t been so cold, and it is not that common to see snowfalls during this month, but if you are a snow lover, you can head to the Italian Alps and Apennines.  

On the other hand, that means that winters are even milder in Sicily or Sardinia, where you can run for some winter sun. 

How to get around Italy in winter?

The best way to get around Italy is always the same, no matter the season.

Depending on your budget, the area you choose for your vacation, and how much time you prefer to spend on the road, you have a few options: 

Traveling by train

This is my favorite way of traveling in the northern and central parts of Italy. With great connections, fast trains, and cheaper options, it couldn’t be easier to move from one place to another. Just remember to validate your ticket before you get on the train.

Bookaway is your getaway to trains, buses, and flights – all in one place.

Calculate your train fare here!

Renting a car

There are certain areas where I strongly suggest renting a car because it will make your life easier, and you can focus on the itinerary and not on how to move around. You can definitely drive on the Amalfi Coast, get around in Puglia, wander around Tuscany, and see the best of Sicily. However, I wouldn’t suggest renting a car for Venice or the Cinque Terre.

My go-to car rental company is always  Discover Cars.  It can help you save money, and they have a flexible cancellation policy.  Get your best offers here!

Other things worth knowing when you rent a car: 

  • make sure you have a credit card
  • the name on the credit card needs to match the person with the driver’s license
  • opt for insurance, especially in Italy

Is it worth going to Italy in winter?

Italy in winter? Absolutely! The scenery transforms into a literal winter wonderland, particularly in the northern regions where the snow-covered Alps provide a breathtaking backdrop.

Cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice become less crowded, allowing you to enjoy museums, historical sites, and local cuisines without the usual tourist hustle.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the world-class skiing resorts!

To top it all off, you’ll find some phenomenal deals on accommodations during this season.

What to pack for Italy in winter

Venice Carnival

Packing for an Italian winter requires careful consideration to ensure comfort while exploring these beautiful cities.

Start with a warm winter coat and a few layers underneath, such as thermal tops and bottoms. Consider packing a few versatile items like sweaters or long-sleeve shirts that can be mixed and matched.

Jeans are also a staple, as they’re perfect for strolling around cities and blending in with the local fashion.

Don’t forget your accessories. A beanie or a hat, gloves, and a scarf are essential for those chillier days and nights.

Waterproof, comfortable walking shoes are a must for those cobblestone streets, and maybe an extra pair for evenings out.

Lastly, an umbrella or a raincoat is necessary for those unpredictable rains, especially in Venice. Remember, Italian winter is all about layering.

Other things worth knowing

Because the winter season is not so long in some areas of Italy, and because temperatures aren’t so low, it is worth knowing that houses might not have heating or such great insulation.

Older buildings have wooden windows, and even in Trieste, where I used to live, during the strongest winds (also known as Bora), we could feel the wind blowing inside with the windows and the shutters closed. 

You will need heavy jackets only if you visit the mountains, or go skiing. 

In certain destinations, such as Positano or even the smaller towns of Puglia, some important restaurants and hotel s might not be open during the winter months . Furthermore, ferries might not function during this time, and bus schedules might be stretched. 

10 reasons to visit Italy in December

Christmas markets and other celebrations.

winter in Italy

While the Christmas Markets in Italy don’t compare to the ones in Germany , Austria, or even France, they still have a special vibe. The many nativity scenes on display, especially in towns of Southern Italy like Naples, will make you understand that Italy is a Catholic country. Here, Christmas is a holiday spent with your family.

Also, the main streets and squares in larger cities are covered in lights, a Christmas tree is set, and you can taste different delicious seasonal treats. 

Even on the smaller hidden streets of towns like Alberobello or Locorotondo, you will find beautiful Christmas decorations and flowers. 

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas Market experience in Italy, forget about Milan, Rome, or Venice and head for the small mountain villages in South Tyrol, close to the border with Austria. 

During wintertime, many other world-renowned festivals take place all over Italy. If you don’t feel like joining the crowds at the Venice Carnival, head to less popular destinations such as Taormina in Sicily or Muggia, close to Slovenia’s borde r, for charming and entertaining costumed carnivals.  

Tasty seasonal sweets

Every country has its own traditions and traditional food for the holidays. And Italy is no different, with its famous and delicious panettone , typically eaten as a dessert for Christmas. 

A sweet bread filled with dried fruit originating from Milan, panettone is worth tasting in winter in Italy. 

Another traditional sweet is the pandoro – a Veronese sweet bread without the added fruit and nuts of the panettone. 

Don’t leave without trying panforte – a rich, chewy cake, packed with almonds and nuts. 

prettiest towns in Tuscany

While many people head to Italy during summer or warmer seasons, winter is perfect for those who want to skip the crowds and have some of the most popular Italian towns all to themselves. 

Important tourist attractions won’t have lines of people gathering to buy tickets, and you can explore the Uffizi or the Vatican Museums at your own pace. 

Another important advantage is the prices, which are not so high in low seasons. That means that you can choose to stay in the heart of the city, without breaking the bank. 

Do some shopping and hunt for the winter sales!

The winter sales period in Italy varies from region to region, but if you plan carefully, you can get some pretty nice discounts. 

However, you will have to travel during January or February, and I strongly suggest visiting towns with outlet stores nearby. 

Serravalle Outlet Village is located near Genoa . It is one of the largest outlets in Europe, with brands such as Fendi, Gucci, and even Prada. 

Further south, in Puglia, not far from Bari, you can stop at the Puglia Outlet Village or drive for less than an hour from Florence to the Outlet of Barberino. 

A great destination for winter sports

Italy in December

Italy in winter is also a great destination for sports lovers. With countless ski resorts operating from December all the way to April, it is easy to find a place that you will like. 

The Dolomiti Superski (with Corina D’Ampezzo as one of the most popular resorts) covers 1200 km of slopes and is the place where you can find something for anyone. 

Val Gardena is another great option in South Tyrol, with 400 kilometers of slopes, while Alta Badia is popular for families and beginners. 

Additionally, the region has plenty of SPAs and thermal waters , offering the best options for relaxing in the cold after a day on the slopes. 

Some of these hotels are stunning and can easily get on anyone’s Italy bucket list :

  • Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti . It is an exceptional hotel offering a heated infinity pool, SPA center, sauna, and jacuzzi. See more here!
  • Castel Hörtenberg is a 5-star hotel in a castle with a heated outdoor pool. See more here!
  • Gloriette Guesthouse . This place rarely has available rooms due to its popularity. It is within easy reach of the sports activities. See more here!
  • Abano Grand Hotel is located in Abano Terme, a historic thermal village in the Padua area less than one hour from Venice. See more here!
  • Terme di Saturnia Natural Spa & Golf Resort – The Leading Hotels of the World . It is one of the most popular sights in Tuscany. I’m sure you have seen the above picture of this place at least once. See more here!

You can live like a local

And understand how Italians really live, when the crowds of tourists are not around. 

Wake up, go for breakfast at the bar on the corner of the street, have your strong coffee and your cornetto standing at the bar (al banco), and simply enjoy the slow life in Italy’s countryside. 

Enjoy the mild weather of the south

Even though northern Italy is cold and windy, you can visit the southern part and enjoy mild, sunny days.

Lower prices

Winter is off-season, which means better deals on hotels and vacation rentals.

Winter Festivals

Experience Italy’s rich traditions by participating in unique winter festivals such as the Venice Carnival.

Winter food

Try some hearty Italian winter dishes like pasta e fagioli , or polenta .

What to visit in Italy in winter: 10 best places to visit in Italy in December

Siracusa, Sicily

I visited Sicily in February, and I think it was the perfect time to go!

Flights and accommodation were cheap, the weather was nice, and the places we visited weren’t crowded. We also had the chance to enjoy some great events, such as the Carnival in Taormina.

Read my One Week in Sicily post for more details.

Amalfi Coast itinerary - day 1 Naples

Italians consider Naples to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. While I am not convinced, the area surrounding the city is incredibly beautiful, indeed.

Apart from the fact that you will be set close to the Amalfi Coast and the islands of Ischia, Procida, and Capri, the archeological sites of Pompei and Herculaneum are just a short train ride away.

Naples’s winter temperatures are just right, and in my opinion, it is much better to visit the area during the cold season than during summer.

Italy Bucket list _ Rome Italy

Rome was my home in my younger days when I worked for a famous Italian company.

Vibrant and packed with tourist attractions, the Eternal City is definitely one of the best places to visit in Italy in winter. 

Even if you are not one of the people who comes to the Vatican for Christmas mass, you can still take advantage of the low season and enjoy staying in stunning hotels for less and skipping the crowds at the Vatican Museums, or at the Colosseum and the Imperial Forum. 

From Rome , you can easily go on countless day trips and even spend some time by the sea at Ostia Antica.

Venice

Unlike its bustling summer months, Venice in winter presents a calm and enchanting experience. The city, shrouded in a misty allure, takes on a poetic charm that is as captivating as it is serene.

As you traverse the city’s winding canals and narrow paths, you’ll find fewer tourists and more opportunities to engage with the local culture.

If you want to live like the locals, visit during one of the many events and celebrations that take place in Venice in winter. Of course, you will have the chance to experience Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Venice in December, as well as the famous La Befana, where an entertaining boat race takes place on the Canal Grande.

Let’s not forget that February hosts the world-famous Venice Carnival.

Read my 2 Days in Venice article for more details.

Bologna from above

Italy’s food capital, Bologna, is also known as “The Red, The Fat, The Wise” because of its delicious food, the red buildings, and the fact that it hosts one of the older universities in Italy. 

Located less than 2 hours away from Venice, Bologna has milder weather, and when I visited in February, cherry trees were in bloom! 

Spend at least one day in Bologna , make your way to the Santuario San Luca, eat your heart out, and go on a day trip to one of the most popular destinations in Italy.

Florence in a day

One of the most charming towns in Italy, Florence is packed with history and one of the perfect destinations for a honeymoon in Italy. 

I spent a long weekend exploring Tuscany’s capital in sunny November, and while it wasn’t winter yet, I think December could be as perfect. 

Also, in winter, Florence hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Italy, making it the right place to go when you want to feel the winter spirit.

4 days in Puglia

No matter if you only spend one weekend in Puglia , winter might be the perfect time to head down south. The region is becoming one of Italy’s top destinations, not only for locals, and you must jump on the train fast if you want to catch it without the crow ds.  

Temperatures in winter are mild in Puglia, and while many tourist spots might be closed, you can live the authentic life in the region and blend in with the locals. 

Bari is the most important town, and the place with the largest airport in Puglia, but I suggest you look for accommodation in some of the smaller cities like Alberobello , Locorotondo , or even Martina Franca . 

Italy virtual tours

One of the perfect places to run to during the cold months, Sardinia has plenty to offer in winter. 

With winter temperatures between 14 and 15.5 degrees Celsius, you might not head directly to the beach, but I still believe this might be the perfect weather to stroll around Cagliari and deep dive into the island’s rich history. 

If you don’t like the cold, avoid the mountains and Tempio Pausania. These are the places that get the coldest during winter and where snow can be found. 

Rent a car and drive around the island, explore Cagliari, Bosa, Alghero, and much more with this perfect one-week in Sardinia itinerary . 

Cinque Terre

Airbnb Cinque Terre

I’ve been to the Cinque Terre in early May and while it was not as crowded as during the peak season, some places were still crazy packed. 

Head to the colorful small towns of Liguria during winter, and you can still enjoy the stunning sights, go hiking, and eat delicious food without having to worry about the crowds. 

In addition, during December, in Manarola, you can see the largest nativity scene and enjoy fireworks once the night falls. 

Plan your trip for the end of February and come prepared for Carnival. Keep your camera ready, and admire the colorful costumes.

Plan your perfect Cinque Terre itinerary with my guide!

Cortina D’Ampezzo

This is the right destination for active people, looking to enjoy nature and winter sports. 

Of course, you can mix an active vacation with sightseeing, when you rent a car and drive around Belluno, a region neighboring Friuli Venezia Giulia. 

december trip to italy

Even though Milan reminds me of Central Europe rather than Italy, visiting the fashion capital during the cold season can be nice.

Visit the Duomo on a guided tour , admire the stunning Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II with its high-end stores perfectly decorated for winter, indulge in some discounted shopping, take part in the Ambrosiano Carnival if Venice is too crowded for you, and simply go on a stroll if you are lucky to see the snow in Milan.

PIN FOR LATER!

Italy during winter: why to visit Italy in December and best places to visit in Italy in December

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Italy in December – A Guide to the Best Holiday Experiences

Italy in December – A Guide to the Best Holiday Experiences

  • Post author: angelo
  • Post published: November 30, 2023
  • Post category: Italy

Italy in December offers a magical and enchanting experience with its twinkling holiday lights, seasonal foods, and fewer tourists. It’s the perfect time to explore this captivating country without the crowds. From sightseeing and skiing to immersing yourself in holiday festivals and traditional Italian celebrations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The weather varies across Italy in December , with colder temperatures in the north and milder temperatures in the south. It’s important to dress appropriately and pack accordingly. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the delicious regional holiday delicacies that Italy has to offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Italy in December offers a magical and enchanting experience.
  • With fewer tourists, it’s the perfect time for sightseeing and exploring famous museums.
  • The weather varies across the country, so dress appropriately for the temperatures.
  • Enjoy Christmas markets, holiday festivals, and traditional Italian celebrations.
  • Don’t forget to try the delicious regional holiday delicacies.

Should You Visit Italy in December?

December may not be the first month that comes to mind when planning a trip to Italy, but it offers several advantages. The crowds are significantly reduced, allowing you to experience popular cities like Rome and Florence like a local. Italy has incredible ski resorts, making it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Additionally, December is the perfect time to explore lesser-known sides of popular destinations. Italy celebrates several holidays in December, and you can plan your itinerary to include holiday festivals, Christmas markets, and religious celebrations. It’s important to research and plan your activities in advance and dress appropriately for the winter weather.

If you’re still uncertain about visiting Italy in December , consider the following factors. The reduced crowds allow you to appreciate the beauty of famous landmarks with less hustle and bustle. You can take your time exploring historical sites, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican , without feeling overwhelmed. Italy’s ski resorts offer world-class slopes and breathtaking mountain scenery, perfect for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Additionally, December in Italy is filled with festive holiday traditions and celebrations, giving you a unique cultural experience.

On the other hand, it’s important to be aware of some potential drawbacks. Some beach towns and amusement parks may be closed for the winter season, so it’s best to research and plan accordingly. The weather in Italy in December can be cold and rainy, especially in the northern and central regions. It’s advisable to pack warm clothing and be prepared for fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. Additionally, some attractions and restaurants may have limited opening hours during the holiday season, so it’s important to check their schedules and make reservations in advance.

rome

Whether you decide to visit Italy in December or not, it’s essential to plan ahead and consider your preferences and priorities. December offers a unique opportunity to experience Italy from a different perspective, away from the tourist crowds. With proper research and preparation, a trip to Italy in December can be a memorable and rewarding experience.

6 Reasons You Should Visit Italy in December

Italy in December offers a wealth of attractions and holiday destinations that are sure to capture your heart. Here are six compelling reasons why you should plan your winter getaway to Italy:

  • Reduced Crowds : One of the biggest advantages of visiting Italy in December is the significantly reduced crowds. Popular cities like Rome and Florence are much more enjoyable to explore when you can leisurely stroll through the streets and visit famous landmarks without feeling overwhelmed by tourists.
  • Winter Attractions: Italy is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. The country boasts incredible ski resorts where you can hit the slopes and enjoy breathtaking mountain views. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a beginner, Italy offers a range of resorts suitable for all skill levels.
  • Discover Hidden Gems : December is the perfect time to discover lesser-known attractions and sides of popular destinations. With fewer tourists around, you can delve deeper into Italy’s rich history, culture, and local traditions.
  • Festive Atmosphere : Italy embraces the holiday season with gusto, and December is full of lights, decorations, Christmas tree lightings, markets, and festivals. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere by strolling through charming Christmas markets and indulging in traditional Italian delicacies.
  • Family-Friendly : If you’re traveling with kids, Italy in December is ideal. Many locals do not leave the country during the short school winter break, so it’s a great time to meet Italian families and experience authentic traditions. Create lasting memories by exploring holiday celebrations together.
  • Affordability : December is considered the low season in several cities, which means you can find great deals on accommodations and activities. Take advantage of the lower prices to experience Italy’s beauty without breaking the bank.

With its reduced crowds, winter attractions, festive atmosphere, family-friendly environment, and affordability, Italy in December offers a unique and enchanting experience. Whether you’re a ski enthusiast, a culture lover, or simply seeking a magical holiday getaway, Italy has something for everyone.

6 Reasons You May Not Want To Visit Italy in December

While there are many advantages to visiting Italy in December , there are also some drawbacks to consider. Some beach towns, amusement parks, and restaurants in small towns may be closed for the winter season. The weather in Italy in December can be cold and rainy, especially in the northern and central regions. Ski resorts and popular winter destinations can be more expensive due to high season rates. There are fewer daylight hours, but this allows for a more magical experience of the Christmas lights. If you’re looking for shopping bargains, it’s best to wait for the January sales period. However, despite these minor inconveniences, Italy in December can still offer a unique and memorable experience.

Despite these minor inconveniences, Italy in December can still offer a unique and memorable experience. Embrace the festive atmosphere, enjoy the holiday traditions, and explore the country’s rich culture and history. Just be prepared for the colder weather, plan your activities accordingly, and make the most of the reduced crowds and lower prices.

Weather in Italy in December

When planning a trip to Italy in December, it’s important to consider the weather conditions to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Italy’s weather in December varies across the country, with colder temperatures in the north and milder temperatures in the south. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Northern Italy

In cities like Milan and Venice , December brings cold temperatures with average highs ranging from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F) and lows dropping to 0°C (32°F) or below. Snowfall is possible, especially in the mountainous regions such as the Dolomites. It’s essential to pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, hat, gloves, and scarf.

Central Italy

In cities like Florence and Rome , December is generally cooler, with average highs around 12°C to 14°C (54°F to 57°F) and lows around 5°C to 6°C (41°F to 43°F). Rainfall is common, so packing a waterproof jacket or umbrella is advisable. The humidity in these regions can make the temperatures feel colder, so layering your clothing is a good idea.

Southern Italy

Southern Italy experiences milder winters compared to the north. In cities like Naples and Palermo , temperatures range from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F) during the day, with lows around 6°C to 9°C (43°F to 48°F) at night. While the temperatures are generally milder, it’s still important to bring a light jacket and warm clothing for cooler evenings.

It’s worth noting that weather conditions can vary, and unexpected variations can occur. Checking the weather forecast before your trip will help you prepare accordingly and make the most of your time in Italy.

Florence

“December is a beautiful time to visit Italy, but be prepared for the varying weather conditions. Pack layers, bring a waterproof jacket or umbrella, and don’t forget to check the forecast before you head out!”

Holidays in Italy in December

December is a month filled with holidays and festive traditions in Italy. Italians eagerly celebrate the holiday season, creating a vibrant and joyful atmosphere throughout the country. One of the major holidays celebrated in December is the Festa della Concezione Immacolata on December 8th. This national holiday commemorates the birth of the Virgin Mary without original sin. Italians spend this day with their families, putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, attending city tree lightings, and enjoying the start of holiday festivals and markets.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are also widely celebrated in Italy. Families come together for special dinners, often consisting of traditional Italian dishes like panettone and tortellini. Midnight mass is a significant part of the Christmas tradition, where both locals and tourists gather in churches across the country to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Gift-giving is also an important aspect of Christmas in Italy , with children eagerly awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) or La Befana, a witch who delivers gifts on the night of January 5th and 6th.

Italy in December offers a unique opportunity to witness and participate in these holiday traditions. From the beautiful decorations adorning streets and buildings to the enchanting Christmas markets selling local crafts and delicacies, the festive spirit is palpable. It’s important to note that many attractions and restaurants may be closed on national holidays, so it’s recommended to plan and book in advance to ensure a memorable holiday experience in Italy.

December Festivities and Celebrations in Italy

Italy comes alive with festive celebrations in December. Cities and towns are decorated with lights and ornaments, creating a magical atmosphere. Christmas markets spring up all over the country, offering unique gifts, crafts, and local delicacies. Key attractions, such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Vatican museums , hold special events and displays during the holiday season. Italians also celebrate their own unique traditions, such as the lighting of the Yule log on Christmas Eve . Exploring the local festivities and participating in events is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

One of the most beloved traditions in Italy is the Christmas market. These markets are a delightful feast for the senses, filled with the aroma of roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and freshly baked pastries. The stalls are decorated with twinkling lights and offer a wide variety of goods, including handmade crafts, ornaments, and traditional Italian food products. It’s a perfect opportunity to find unique gifts for loved ones and experience the local culture.

Another highlight of December in Italy is the special events and exhibitions held at popular attractions and museums. For example, the Colosseum in Rome may host a Christmas-themed light show, highlighting the ancient architecture and history of the iconic structure. The Vatican museums may display nativity scenes from different regions of Italy, showcasing the diverse artistic traditions of the country. These events add an extra layer of magic and beauty to the already impressive landmarks and cultural sites.

Some popular December festivities in Italy include:

  • Festa della Concezione Immacolata : On December 8th, Italians celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary with religious processions, parades, and street festivals.
  • La Befana : On the night of January 5th, a witch-like figure called La Befana visits children’s homes, filling their stockings with gifts or coal, depending on their behavior throughout the year.
  • Presepe Vivente : Many towns and villages set up live nativity scenes, where actors reenact the birth of Jesus Christ. These displays often include animals, music, and traditional costumes.

Overall, December in Italy is a time of joy, celebration, and tradition. Whether you’re wandering through a Christmas market , admiring the festive decorations, or witnessing a centuries-old custom, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty and charm of Italy during the holiday season.

Best Places to Visit in Italy in December

Italy offers a multitude of stunning destinations to explore during the winter season. From iconic cities to scenic landscapes, there’s something for everyone looking to experience the charm of Italy in December. Here are some of the best places to visit:

Rome, the eternal city, is a must-visit destination in December. Explore historical landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Vatican City while being immersed in the festive atmosphere. Don’t miss the vibrant Christmas markets and the stunning decorations that adorn the city.

Famous for its art and architecture, Florence is a cultural hub that shines even brighter during the holiday season. Admire works by Michelangelo at the Uffizi Gallery, stroll along the Ponte Vecchio, and indulge in delicious Tuscan cuisine while taking in the city’s enchanting Christmas lights.

Known as the “city of canals,” Venice offers a unique and romantic experience in December. Take a gondola ride along the canals, visit the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, and explore the charming Christmas markets. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland, offering a magical atmosphere.

The Dolomites

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, the Dolomites in Northern Italy are the perfect destination. With picturesque mountain landscapes and excellent ski resorts, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. The stunning scenery and cozy alpine villages add to the charm of this winter wonderland.

These are just a few of the many incredible destinations to consider when planning your Italy itinerary in December. Each region has its own unique attractions and experiences to offer, ensuring a memorable and enchanting winter vacation.

Dolomites

Italy in December with Kids

Traveling to Italy in December with kids can be a memorable experience. The country embraces the holiday season, creating a festive atmosphere that children will love. From visiting Christmas markets and ice skating rinks to enjoying traditional Italian holiday treats, there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained. Many attractions and museums have special events and exhibitions tailored for families. Additionally, December offers a great opportunity to interact with Italian families, as most locals do not travel during the short school winter break. It’s important to plan your itinerary in advance and keep in mind the holiday closures of certain attractions and restaurants.

Here are some fun holiday activities for families traveling to Italy in December:

  • Visit Christmas markets : Explore the festive markets where you can find unique gifts, crafts, and delicious food.
  • Go ice skating : Many cities have temporary ice skating rinks set up during the holiday season, providing hours of fun for kids.
  • Attend holiday performances : Check out local theaters for special holiday-themed shows and performances suitable for children.
  • Take part in cooking classes : Learn how to make traditional Italian holiday treats like panettone or biscotti.
  • Discover Christmas traditions : Join in on local traditions such as the lighting of the Yule log or participating in a nativity scene.
“Traveling to Italy in December with kids can be a magical experience. The country is filled with holiday cheer, and there are plenty of activities to keep children entertained. From exploring Christmas markets to trying traditional Italian treats, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.”

Family-friendly Attractions in Italy

Italy is home to numerous family-friendly attractions that kids will love. Here are some recommendations:

Traveling to Italy in December with kids can be a magical experience. The country is filled with holiday cheer, and there are plenty of activities to keep children entertained. From exploring Christmas markets to trying traditional Italian treats, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Make sure to plan your itinerary in advance, check the schedules of attractions and events, and embrace the holiday spirit during your visit to Italy in December.

What to Pack for Italy in December

When traveling to Italy in December, it’s important to pack appropriately for the weather conditions. The winter season brings colder temperatures and the possibility of rain, so layering your clothing is essential. Here are some key items to consider packing for your trip:

Warm Coats and Outerwear

Be sure to pack a warm coat or jacket that will keep you comfortable in the colder regions of Italy. Opt for a waterproof or water-resistant option to stay dry if it rains. Additionally, bring a few sweaters or cardigans that can be layered underneath for added warmth.

Scarves, Gloves, and Hats

Accessorize with scarves, gloves, and hats to protect yourself from the cold temperatures. These items are not only practical but also add a stylish touch to your winter outfits. Choose materials that provide both warmth and comfort.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant Shoes

Invest in a pair of waterproof or water-resistant shoes to keep your feet dry in case of rain or snow. Comfortable walking boots or sturdy sneakers are ideal for exploring the cities and towns of Italy. Remember to pack thick socks to keep your feet warm.

Umbrella and Layered Clothing

Carry a compact umbrella in your bag to stay prepared for unexpected rain showers. Additionally, dress in layers to adapt to the fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. This way, you can add or remove clothing as needed when transitioning between indoor and outdoor environments.

By packing these essential items, you’ll be ready to experience the charms of Italy in December while staying comfortable and stylish. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before your trip to make any necessary adjustments to your packing list.

Venice

Getting Around Italy in December

Getting around Italy in December is a breeze thanks to the country’s well-developed transportation system. Whether you’re exploring the bustling cities or venturing into the scenic countryside, there are various options to suit your travel preferences. Trains and buses connect major cities and towns, providing convenient and efficient means of transportation. It is advisable to book train tickets in advance, particularly during the holiday season when there may be increased demand.

If you prefer more flexibility and independence, renting a car is a great option. It allows you to explore smaller towns and rural areas at your own pace, offering a unique and immersive experience. However, keep in mind that December can be a busy time for travel, so it’s important to stay updated on any schedule changes or delays that may occur. Planning your routes in advance and using reliable navigation apps can help ensure a smooth journey.

For those looking for a unique and picturesque way to get around, consider taking a boat or ferry ride in coastal areas or on the stunning Italian lakes. These scenic journeys provide breathtaking views and a memorable travel experience. Furthermore, walking is an excellent way to explore the charming streets of Italian cities and towns, allowing you to stumble upon hidden gems and soak in the local atmosphere.

In summary, transportation options in Italy during December are plentiful, allowing you to navigate the country with ease. Whether you choose to travel by train, bus, car, or boat, each mode of transportation offers its own advantages and allows you to experience Italy’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Italy in December offers a unique and enchanting experience for those seeking a winter vacation. From its festive traditions to beautiful decorations and seasonal activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring the iconic cities, hitting the slopes in the Dolomites, or immersing yourself in local holiday celebrations, Italy has it all.

One of the advantages of visiting Italy in December is the reduced crowds and lower prices. You can experience popular destinations like Rome and Florence without feeling overwhelmed by tourists. The winter weather adds a touch of magic to the overall experience, making it a truly memorable trip.

When planning your visit, it’s important to book in advance and dress appropriately for the weather. Layering your clothing and packing warm coats, scarves, gloves, and hats will keep you comfortable, especially in the colder regions. Don’t forget to explore the local festivities and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

So, whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, a culture aficionado, or simply looking for a unique holiday experience, Italy in December is the perfect destination. Plan your trip, embrace the festive atmosphere, and create unforgettable memories in the enchanting country of Italy.

Is December a good time to visit Italy?

Yes, December is a great time to visit Italy. With fewer tourists, festive decorations, and seasonal activities, it offers a magical experience.

What is the weather like in Italy in December?

The weather in Italy in December varies across the country. The north is colder, while the south is milder. It’s important to check the weather forecast before your trip.

What are the holidays and celebrations in Italy in December?

Italy celebrates several holidays in December, including Festa della Concezione Immacolata and Christmas. There are also Christmas markets and festivals to enjoy.

What are the best places to visit in Italy in December?

Popular destinations in December include Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Dolomites. Each region offers unique attractions and festivities during the winter season.

What should I pack for Italy in December?

It’s important to pack warm clothing like coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. Waterproof shoes and an umbrella are also recommended for rainy days.

How can I get around Italy in December?

Italy has a well-developed transportation system, including trains and buses. It’s advisable to book train tickets in advance, especially during the holiday season.

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Italy in December: Where to Go, What to Do, the Weather & More

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Christmas season in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy

December is a festive time in which to visit Italy. The summer crowds have returned home and cities and towns across the country decorate for the holidays.

Historic piazzas shine with shimmering lights, nativity scenes demonstrate seasonal Christmas charm, and the scent of roasting chestnuts fills the air. December also means cooler weather and snow in the north, especially in the popular ski regions of the Alps and Dolomites.

From Rome to Venice, Florence to Palermo, or Milan to Bari, you can find information on where to go, what to do, the weather, and more as you look forward to your trip to Italy in December.

Weather in Italy in December

Where to go in italy in december, what to do in italy in december, plan your trip to italy in december.

Woman luxuriating in the thermal hot springs at Saturnia during winter in Italy

Thermal Springs in Saturnia, Italy

Average Temperatures in Rome, Italy: 55°F High • 40°F Low

December ushers in cooler temperatures across Italy, but the climate varies greatly by region. In the northern mountains and cities like Milan, December brings chilly highs of around 45°F, with nights that drop to near freezing.

Locals bundle up in wool coats and colorful scarves, while the southern coasts provide milder highs of around 60°F. Snow often dusts the tallest alpine peaks as ski resorts open and cities start decorating, resulting in the best Christmas markets in Italy .

The farther south you travel, the better the odds of bright and sunny, yet brisk days for exploring ancient ruins or lounging in relaxing thermal baths. Dressing in layers is your secret for enjoying an Italy vacation in December .

Expert Tips for Discerning Travelers

View of Taormina, Mt Etna and the Ionian sea in Sicily, Italy.

Taormina in Sicily, Italy

Sicily • Best Place for Great Weather

Sicily is a sensational place to visit in Italy in December and is often used as a jumping-off point for exploring the Aeolian Islands or as a destination for trekking the rich landscapes of Mount Etna. Journeying to the island region in December removes the summer crowds, turning this iconic destination into a quiet Mediterranean escape brimming with historic charm for an unforgettable Italy Christmas tour .

While not ideal for lounging on the sand, Sicily and its surrounding isles offer consistent and comfortable weather in which you can embrace the museums, walk the cobblestone streets of villages like Modica, visit fabled communities like Taormina, trek the countryside amid surprising Greek ruins, or bask in seasonal festivities celebrating Christmas.

It’s easy to spend a morning wandering Greek and Roman ruins and then devote the afternoon to exploring a vineyard and tasting wines known for ripe fruit flavors.

Learn more: Sicily Tours & Vacation Packages • Sicily Travel Guide

Rome • Best Place for Families with Children

Rome dazzles families during the lively holiday season. Tour the Colosseum without battling summertime crowds and participate in costumed gladiatorial games during a lesson at gladiator school. Stand in awe below the Pantheon’s massive columns before enjoying a rich hot chocolate from a cafe overlooking the piazza.

Kids and adults can marvel at the Christmas market decorating Piazza Navona, where vendors fill the air with the winter scent of spiced wine. You can add to the list of the best Christmas markets in Italy as you further explore Rome.

Saint Peter’s Square hosts a larger-than-life tree, and life-sized nativity displays add to Rome’s ambiance as it welcomes the winter spirit. With so many kid-friendly attractions, the city quickly shares the beauty of the holiday season, demonstrating why you can visit Rome as a family to find something everyone can enjoy.

Learn more: Rome Travel Guide • Italy Family Vacations

Cortina d’Ampezzo • Best Place for Romantic Scenery

Cortina d’Ampezzo transforms into a winter wonderland once the snowflakes start falling across the jagged Dolomite peaks. Journeying to this popular alpine resort area means trading summer’s crowds for pristine blankets of snow for a romantic Italian retreat.

The tiny town has built a reputation as a world-class ski resort, but non-skiers can relax with views of the breathtaking vistas or enjoy wintry hikes through the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Snowshoe through silent forests for time alone in nature or cuddle close as horse-drawn sleighs glide between the opulent chalets.

Clear nights reveal some of Italy’s best stargazing, and couples can while away their time looking at the glittering sky or embrace tradition with a romantic passeggiata under the glow of the holiday lights. From mountain majesty to old-world ambiance, Cortina d’Ampezzo offers immersive Italian romance.

Learn more: Northern Italy Itineraries & Tours • Northern Italy Travel Guide

Verona • Best Place to Avoid the Crowds

Verona holds old-world charm that shines brightest in December, without the large crowds of summer sightseers. Chilly, and with a high probability of drizzle in the winter, the weather makes the city’s cobblestone lanes glimmer, which only enhances the allure of exploring the castle courtyards and scenic bridges spanning the Adige River at an unhurried pace.

Linger inside small boutiques to uncover unique Christmas gifts or warm up in cozy osterias with a hearty traditional stew and Amarone wine. Admire the Roman ruins or Renaissance palaces, or witness one of Italy’s most famous art forms during the opera season.

While famous as the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a marvelous place to discover local, regional, and national heritage in December.

Christmas market in Merano, Italy

Merano, Italy

Discover Different Holiday Celebrations

Italy has timeless Christmas charm, with festive lights shining in the north and solstice-inspired traditions in the south. Embrace the journey across regional traditions, from wandering through the lively holiday markets from Milan to Florence, to soaking in nativity scenes along Naples’s Spaccanapoli street or catching folksy costume parades winding through ancient alleyways.

From the Feast of the Seven Fishes along the Amalfi Coast to bonfire parties lighting up the Sicilian coastline, you can find a stunning variety of holiday celebrations. Seek out age-old winter traditions still thriving in the Italian countryside or embrace cosmopolitan cities known for their glimmering piazzas as you discover what makes the Italian holiday season unique.

Enjoy the Seasonal Cuisine

Italy's culinary heritage shines in wintertime with seasonal ingredients, from black truffles and wild mushrooms to renowned roasted chestnuts. Embrace the journey across regional traditions by sampling white Alba truffles over handmade pasta in Piedmont, seeking out mushroom-focused dishes in Rome, or watching street vendors skillfully roast chestnuts over open fires.

From chestnut-flour cakes stuffed with chocolate to seafood variations on the traditional Feast of Seven Fishes, you can find seasonal specialties that are ancient and timeless. Indulge in the year's final harvest of olives and artichokes, or discover which hearty winter wine pairs best with your preferred cozy dish. During your December Italy trip, you can savor what makes Italian winter cuisine special.

Experience the Italian Mountains in Winter

The jagged snowcapped peaks of the Italian mountains transform into a majestic kingdom blanketed in white along the Alps, Dolomites, and Apennine mountains, or even at the top of volcanic Mount Etna. Embrace the rugged alpine landscapes as you hike through silent forests dusted with frost, gaze over glacial valleys from serene mountain rifugios , or relax in the warm waters of steaming hot springs.

Seek out regional winter sports like ice skating or sample heartwarming mountain cuisine beside a golden fire. From world-class skiing and snowboarding to sleigh rides connecting remote villages, you can embrace the thrills of a mountain adventure when visiting Italy in December.

Mountain ski resort and village in the Dolomites on northern Italy

Val Gardena in the Dolomites

Italy in December hosts cool temperatures, cities colored with light, and authentic heritage displayed along the streets and in private kitchens. Whether eager to visit the Colosseum without the typical crowds or interested in the wonderland of an alpine ski resort, you can indulge in your preferences, interests, and travel goals on an Italy tour in December.

Explore more ideas and start planning your trip with helpful tips, advice, and information found in our Italy travel guide and Italy tours .

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december trip to italy

Italy in December: Weather Info & Best Places to Travel (2024)

  • March 26, 2024
  • by Jenoa Matthes

Christmas Market Stand in Verona, Italy in December

Are you planning a trip to Italy in December?

December may not be everyone’s ideal time to visit Italy. It’s cold, cloudy, and the days are shorter. However, there are a few perks to visiting during the winter instead of the high season.

For starters, December is low season, which means fewer tourists, less crowds, and cheaper prices. Visiting during this time gives you the chance to experience Italy with the locals and without the high costs.

Additionally, Italians know how to celebrate the holiday season. The streets are decorated with Christmas trees and lights, and you can explore Christmas Markets in both small towns and big cities.

We have traveled to Italy throughout all 4 seasons, including December, and it’s a great time to visit if you want a more relaxing and authentic trip.

In this guide, we are sharing all you need to know about visiting Italy in December. This includes an overview of the best places to visit, the weather, holidays, and tips on how to pack for your trip.

December Italy Weather

Map of weather throughout Italy in December

December is the second coldest month in Italy, after January. Be prepared for potential rain (or snow) and cooler days.

During our trip to northern Italy in December, we layered up with coats, sweaters, hats, and scarves. The humidity makes the air feel extra chilly.

Of course, the farther south you go, the warmer it’ll be. Take a look at the average temperatures throughout Italy below to get an idea of what to expect for your trip.

Average Temperature in Italy in December

  • Northern Italy: Average high temperatures between 44°F – 47°F (7°C – 8°C)
  • Central Italy: Average high temperature between 53°F – 56°F (12°C – 13°C)
  • Southern Italy: Average high temperatures between 57°F – 61°F (14°C – 16°C)

Here’s an overview of the weather throughout Italy in December:

Our Experience:

We visited northern Italy in December, including Milan, Venice, and Verona. The cold weather didn’t stop us from getting out and exploring the cities all day.

Luckily, there are plenty of indoor activities in Italy’s cities, such as museums, palaces, cafes, and restaurants. We used the cold weather as an excuse to eat a lot. What better time to eat risotto, handmade tortellini, and Cotoletta (fried veal)?

The best part of it all was the absence of the huge crowds. Visiting Italy in December makes it so much easier to get into major sites.

We booked The Last Supper in Milan days before our visit (instead of months before), got to see Juliet’s Balcony in Verona without the lines, and enjoy St. Mark’s Square in Venice without being pushed around.

The Christmas Markets in Italy were a delightful surprise for us. Verona has an incredible market filled with delicious food, seasonal crafts, and other goodies. Make sure to walk around at night to enjoy the lights and festive decorations!

If you’re on the fence about visiting in December, here’s our hot take. Go if you want to see the cities, enjoy authentic Italy, avoid the crowds, and don’t mind the cold weather.

Don’t go if you’re hoping for a sunny and warm Italian experience where you dine outside for every meal and walk around in linen pants or a sundress. If that’s the case, then May or September might be a better time.

Advantages of Visiting Italy in December

december trip to italy

  • Affordable prices: Since it’s the low season, hotels, rental cars, and flights are cheaper overall compared to peak summer season.
  • Fewer crowds: While many travelers visit Italy during the holiday season, the crowds are much smaller and less overwhelming in December.
  • Christmas markets: Holiday markets pop up all over Italy throughout the month of December. Verona’s market is one of our favorites.
  • Winter sports: If you enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, Italy is a great place to do just that! From the Italian alps to the Dolomites, you have plenty of resort options to choose from.

Disadvantages of Visiting Italy in December

View of the Basilica di San Petronio in the PIazza Maggiore in Bologna

  • Cold weather: Expect cooler temperatures and grey skies throughout Italy in December.
  • Closures: In resort towns, such as the Amalfi Coast, many shops, restaurants, and tour operators close for the off season. During the Christmas holidays, particularly on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas, expect most things to be closed.
  • Potential rain and snow: Expect rain and snow, especially in the central and northern regions.
  • Shorter days: With the winter solstice, December has the shortest days of the year, which means less daylight for sightseeing.

9 Best Places to Visit in Italy in December

1. venice in december.

buildings along the Grand Canal in Venice

Venice has a lively and festive atmosphere in December. There is a market that pops up in Campo Santo Stefano, a small square just 10 minutes from Piazza San Marco. You’ll find locals selling Venetian crafts, from masks to glass, and other seasonal foods.

Christmas trees light up the main squares and streets and twinkling lights are strewn above the canals. It’s quite a magical time to visit, and it’s much less busy than during the other seasons.

Venice weather in December

Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, Venice is humid and cold in December. Temperatures range from 47°F (8°C) highs to 35°F(2°C) lows. Make sure to bundle up to stay warm!

Things to do in Venice in December

  • Visit the Christmas market in Campo Santo Stefano
  • Explore the islands – Murano, Burano, and the Lido.
  • Take a gondola ride.
  • Visit the main sites, such as the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square, and Doge’s Palace.
  • Take a vaparetto ride (water taxi) along the Grand Canal – the cheapest way to see it!

2. Rome in December

december trip to italy

Rome lights up for the holiday season. Walk around the city and you’ll see nativity scenes, ice skating rinks, Christmas Markets , and other festivities happening.

This is wonderful time to visit Rome if you want to experience it like a local and without all the tourists. It’s important to note that some of the sites, such as the Colosseum, have limited hours in December.

Additionally, most of main attractions are closed on Christmas Day, December 25th.

Rome weather in December

The weather in Rome is much warmer on average than northern Italy. Expect 56°F (13°C) highs and 40°F (4°C) lows. There is a high chance of rain, as it is one of the rainiest months in Rome.

Things to do in Rome in December

  • Visit the ancient Roman sites, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon.
  • Explore the holiday markets.
  • See the Trevi Fountain.
  • Visit Vatican City and see the Vatican museums.
  • Climb the Spanish steps and enjoy the views from Pincian Hill.
  • Wander around the Trastevere neighborhood.
  • Eat at Testaccio market, one of the best indoor food markets in Rome.

3. Florence in December

the Duomo in Florence, Italy

Florence is a fantastic place to visit in December with holiday decorations and celebrations throughout the month.

Piazza Santa Croce is home to the largest Christmas market in Florence and is open for the first 3 weeks of December. You can taste everything from German bratwursts to Austrian pastries at the market.

The Florence Green Line festival lights up the city with projections on the Ponte Vecchio and other buildings around the city.

Of course, the Duomo and Renaissance art museums are open throughout the month. This is the perfect time to explore the city’s museums while it’s chilly outside.

Florence weather in December

Florence is cold and rainy in December. High temperatures reach 53°F (12°C) during the day and the evenings get down to 38°F (3°C).

Things to do in Florence in December

  • Explore the Duomo, baptistry, and bell tower.
  • Visit the Uffizi Galleries.
  • Wander across Ponte Vecchio.
  • See Michelangelo’s “David” at the Accademia Gallery.
  • Explore the holiday festivals, from the Christmas market to the light festival.

4. Bologna in December

View of Bologna from the Asinelli Tower during 3 days in Bologna itinerary

It may be chilly in December, but it’s actually a great time to visit Bologna . The city feels like a warm hug with its red and orange hued buildings and rich cuisine.

Bologna is famous for its food – lasagna, tagliatelle al ragu, tortellini in brodo – and these hearty dishes are best eaten on a cold day.

Take yourself on a food tour to some of Bologna’s top restaurants, or book our favorite food tour with a local guide to try some of the regional specialties.

Additionally, there are Christmas markets and decorations scattered around the city. There is a large Christmas tree and holiday fair in Piazza Maggiore, a French Market in Piazza Minghetti, and the Santa Lucia Fair underneath historic porticoes.

The Emilia Romagna region is also worth exploring in December. Here are a few places to visit:

  • Parma – home to Parmigiano Reggiano and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the region.
  • Modena – home to Balsamic Vinegar and the Ferrari Museum.
  • Ravenna – home to incredible must-see Byzantine Mosaics.
  • Dozza – a small village with beautiful outdoor art murals and a fantastic regional wine shop.
  • Brisighella – a medieval village with gorgeous scenery and a lot of delicious olive oil and local wines

Bologna weather in December

Bundle up because the highs on average are 46°F (8°C) and lows are 34°F (1°C) in Bologna in December. It’s crisp but the holiday spirit warms you right up!

Things to do in Bologna in December

  • Go on a  Bologna Food Tour .
  • Enjoy the views from the Asinelli Tower.
  • Appreciate the medieval architecture in Piazza Maggiore.
  • Explore the oldest university in the world – University of Bologna.
  • Visit the Christmas markets.

Check out our one , two , and three-day Bologna itineraries to help plan your stay.

5. Verona in December

View of the Verona Christmas Market from the main piazza

Verona is one of our favorite Italian cities to visit during the winter! The streets are covered with Christmas lights and decorations.

Trees and wreaths line the shops along Corso Porta Borsari, one of the main shopping streets, and the squares like Piazza delle Erbe.

We spent a month living in Verona in November and December, and we visited the Christmas markets in the city on a daily basis.

Christmas Tree in Verona, Italy

The main Christmas market is located in Piazza dei Signori and Mercato Vecchio. Here you can eat delicious foods, like bratwursts, smoked pizzas, and Italian donuts.

One of Italy’s famous holiday desserts is the Pandoro cake, which was invented in Verona in the late 19th century. You can get your own cake at one of the many delicatessens throughout the city or try a slice at the market.

Finally, throughout the month of December, Verona hosts the International Nativity Scene Festival inside of the ancient Verona Arena. Collectors and creators come from all over the world to show off their nativity scenes.

Verona weather in December

Like most of Northern Italy, Verona is cloudy and cold in December. Average highs are 46°F (8°C) and lows are 32°F (0°C).

Things to do in Verona in December

  • Visit the city’s main sites, such as the Roman Arena, Piazza delle Erbe, and Juliet’s Balcony.
  • Enjoy the views from the top of Torre dei Lamberti and Castel San Pietro.
  • Visit Verona’s 4 churches.
  • Explore the Christmas Markets in the historic center.

READ ALSO: One Day in Verona & Two Days in Verona Itinerary

6. Milan in December

Milan Duomo

December is a fantastic time to experience Milan without all of the tourists. We got last-minute tickets to The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci during our visit in December, and there weren’t any lines to get into the Duomo.

The holiday festivities kick off on December 7th during the celebration of Milan’s patron saint – Sant’Ambrogio. The main event is the Fiera degli Obei Obei, which is a huge Christmas market that takes place over the course of 3-4 days near the Sforzesca Castle.

galleria vittorio emanuele ii in milan in december

In the Piazza del Duomo, you can visit the traditional Christmas market and shop for seasonal treats and crafts. It’s a pretty small market, so don’t expect anything huge or too fancy.

There is also a large tree lit up in the piazza, as well as in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milan weather in December

December definitely feels a bit dreary in Milan with the cloudy and shorter days. The weather ranges from 34°F (1°C) lows to 46°F (8°C) highs on average throughout the month.

Things to do in Milan in December

  • See The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Visit the Duomo and get tickets to the rooftop terraces.
  • Shop at the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II.
  • Enjoy aperitivo by the Navigli Canals.
  • Visit the stunning Church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore.
  • Visit the Christmas markets around the city.

7. Naples in December

"Christmas Alley" in Naples, Italy in December

Naples is often associated with warm weather and sunshine, as it’s a popular summer holiday destination. However, it’s one of Italy’s more unique Christmassy destinations that’s worth a visit.

During the holiday season, Naples is famous for its nativity scenes. Along Via San Gregorio Armeno, also known as “Christmas Alley”, you’ll find dozens of artisans who craft up a variety of nativities and other wooden figurines.

There is also a market that is spread throughout the city that starts around the first week of December.

Pompeii is also worth visiting this time of year, as the weather is nice and the tourists are practically non-existent.

Naples weather in December

December is the 2nd rainiest month in Naples with average rainfall of 4″. Cloudy days and cooler temperatures are to be expected. The weather forecast ranges from 43°F (6°C) lows to 58°F (14°C) highs on average.

Things to do in Naples in December

  • Explore “Christmas Alley”.
  • Visit the local holiday markets.
  • Take a day trip to Pompeii.
  • Check out the main attractions, such as Museo Cappella Sansevero, Galleria Borbonica, and the Archaeological Museum.

8. Turin in December

A view of the outside of the Royal Palace of Turin

Turin is located in the very northwest of Italy, and it’s a wonderful, cozy city to visit during the winter months. With its elegant cafes, beautiful baroque buildings, historic museums, and delicious food, there is plenty to do to keep you busy both indoors and outdoors here.

Make sure to try one of our favorite chocolate drinks called bicerin. It’s a local specialty that’s made with espresso, hot chocolate, and cream. Yum!

During the month of December, Turin’s streets, buildings, and piazzas are illuminated by light installations and projections. Luci d’Artista is a public event, and the best way to experience it is by wandering around the streets after sunset.

Of course, an Italian Christmas wouldn’t be complete without holiday markets. The main market in Turin is called the Borgo Dora market.

Finally, Turin is located at the base of the Italian Alps and there are some incredible ski resorts nearby within a 1.5-hour drive. Visiting Turin on a winter trip gives you the option to enjoy both the city and mountains.

Turin weather in December

Turin is one of the coldest places in Italy during December. With highs around 43°F (6°C) and lows of 35°F (2°C), bundle up and stay warm!

Things to do in Turin in December

  • Visit the oldest Egyptian Museum in the world – Museo Egizio.
  • Enjoy the view of the city and the alps from the Basilica of Superga.
  • Wander around the Piazza San Carlo.
  • Visit the Mole Antonelliana and the Cinema Museum.
  • Taste Gianduja chocolate from Caffarel.
  • Explore the city’s holiday festivities.

READ ALSO: One Day in Turin Itinerary

9. Bolzano & Dolomites in December

Bolzano Christmas Market in Decemer

Bolzano is a magical city located in the Dolomites. This charming town hosts a wonderful Christmas market every year from the end of November to the beginning of January.

If you’re looking for a Christmas mountain escape, then head to Bolzano. Try some local foods, drink some mulled wine, and enjoy some holiday cheer.

Bolzano isn’t too far from ski resorts, like the world famous Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is where the 2026 Winter Olympics will be held.

Bolzano weather in December

Expect snow and chilly weather, as December is one of the coldest months here. Daytime highs average at 44°F (7°C) and evenings are around 27°F (-3°C). Pack your coat and other winter gear!

Things to do in the Dolomites in December

  • Enjoy the Christmas market in Bolzano.
  • See the 5,000 year old Iceman named Ötzi.
  • Take a road trip to some other towns and villages in the Dolomites.
  • Go skiing at one of the nearby resorts.

Christmas Markets in Italy

Bretzel from Verona Christmas Market

Are there Christmas markets in December in Italy? Yes!

If you read the section on the best places to visit, then you’ll know that every place we listed in this article has a Christmas market during the month of December.

Every market starts and ends at different times, so it’s best to check the local city website for accurate dates, locations, and hours.

Cost to Visit Italy in December

Since December is in the middle of the low season, prices are much lower all around. It’s a great time to visit Italy if you’re traveling on a budget and hoping to to save money on hotel and transportation expenses.

The only exception to this is that some cities may be a little pricier than others due to holiday events. For example, Verona is a popular destination for its Nativity Scene Festival and markets.

Hotels tend to be slightly more expensive in December than in November for this reason.

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in December

Star at the Verona ampitheater

If you’re planning a December trip to Italy, it’s important to make note of any public holidays and closures. Below, we’re listing some holidays and festivals to know about:

  • Feast of Saint Ambrose: On December 7th, the city of Milan takes the day off and celebrates its patron saint, Saint Ambrose. Some shops and restaurants will remain open throughout the day but most locals have the day off, since it is a public holiday. This also marks the official start of the Christmas season in Milan.
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Held annually on December 8th, this is a public national holiday. You’ll find many celebrations and events happening throughout the country. Many restaurants and shops are closed; however, major attractions in big cities remain open.
  • Christmas: December 25th is another public holiday, so expect most restaurants, shops, and main attractions to be closed.
  • St. Stephen’s Day: December 26th, the day after Christmas, is a national public holiday. Most people gather with friends and family to celebrate on this day. Shops and restaurants are closed.

What to wear in Italy in December

Trying to figure what to pack for your winter trip to Italy? Here are a few of our packing tips:

  • Bring a coat: With cold temperatures throughout Italy this time of year, pack a coat that will keep you warm enough for temps as low as 25°F (-4°C) in the evenings.
  • Pack winter gear: Bring a beanie, gloves, scarves, and boots. It may be wet and rainy, so we recommend waterproof boots if possible.
  • Layer up: Much of Italy is quite humid, which makes the air feel even colder than it is. We recommend layering up with sweaters and jackets.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes: There is always a lot of walking involved on any trip to Italy. Wear shoes that you can walk in all day.

Getting around Italy

Bologna Centrale Platforms

Whether you rent a car, take the train, or take a flight, Italy is easy to travel around. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way around:

  • Train travel in Italy: Taking the train is one of the best and most convenient ways to get around for your trip to Italy. Book your tickets online in advance via Trenitalia.com , the official website for booking train tickets. Download the app for the easiest use. For high-speed trains, try to reserve your tickets at least 3-weeks ahead of time for the best prices.
  • Renting a car in Italy: We have rented a car more times than we can count in Italy and it’s one of the best ways to explore some of the more hidden gems in Italy. Rent your car through Discover Cars , our go-to rental car site for Europe, to get the best prices.
  • Traveling by air in Italy: There are plenty of airports to get you around Italy. If you’re planning to visit both northern (Venice or Milan) and southern (Sicily or Puglia) Italy on the same trip, then flying is the quickest way to get around.

Travel Tips for visiting Italy in December

december trip to italy

  • Visit the Christmas Markets: Don’t miss the charming Christmas markets throughout Italy. You’ll find markets in major cities, such as Rome, Florence, Turin, and Milan, and even in smaller towns like Verona and Bolzano. The best time to visit is during the evening hours after sunset.
  • Be Mindful of Holiday Closures: There are quite a few national holidays during the month of December, which we have listed out in the Holidays & Festivals Section. Most restaurants, shops, and businesses are closed on these days, so it’s important to plan ahead, such as grocery shopping, if needed.
  • Reserve restaurants: Even during the low season, popular restaurants book out. Reserve your table at least a few days in advance, especially if you have a specific place that you want to eat at.
  • Pack accordingly: Winters in Italy are cold, wet, and dark. Be prepared with proper clothing, such as waterproof shoes, warm layers, and a coat.
  • Book in advance: No matter what time of year you go to Italy, we always suggest booking hotels and popular touristy sites in advance. This way you never have to wait in line or miss out on places you really want to stay at.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is december a good time to visit italy.

Overall, December is a good time to go to Italy. Although, it really depends on the type of vacation you want.

If you’re looking for warmer weather, blue skies, and dining al fresco, December is not the best time to go. However, if you are looking for a more laid back experience, with less crowds, and mainly want to visit the big cities, then it’s a fantastic time to visit.

Which part of Italy to visit in December?

All of the major cities in Italy and mountain destinations are worth visiting in December. We recommend Rome, Florence, Turin, Milan, Verona, Bologna, Venice, Bolzano, and Naples for your trip.

What is the best city in Italy to spend Christmas?

For a ski trip or mountain escape, head to the Dolomites for Christmas. For the ultimate Christmas experience, go to Rome. Florence, Verona, and Turin are also good options.

Is December a good month to visit Rome?

Yes! December is a great month to visit Rome. Not only is the city less crowded but there are many holiday festivities and events happening throughout the city.

More Information for your Trip to Italy

  • Italy in April
  • Italy in May
  • Italy in June
  • Italy in July
  • Italy in August
  • Italy in September
  • Italy in October
  • Italy in November

FRANCE TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE France Travel Insurance  – Should you get travel insurance for France? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out  Travel Insurance Master  to find the best plan for you. France Rental Cars  – We’ve rented a car in France many times, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through  Discover Cars  (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling. France Phone Plans –  If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in France, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used  Airalo  during our trip to France, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed. France Hotels –  Wondering where to book your accommodations for France? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through  Booking  for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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Italy4Real

Italy in December – The Best Things to See & Do

Home > Blog > Italy in December – The Best Things to See & Do

december trip to italy

December isn’t usually the first month that comes to mind when  making plans to visit Italy . However, there are plenty of great reasons to make the trip during this winter month.

Winter tends to be the low season for tourists in Italy, but it doesn’t make it a bad time to explore the country. With fewer crowds, cheaper prices, and festive celebrations, Italy in December is a treat. Here are a few reasons why you might prefer to visit in December…

THE WINTER SCENERY

Italy is surprisingly beautiful when it snows. If you look at photos of  Venice  in December, you’ll be likely to find scenes that look like a winter wonderland. In fact, even the locals trade the beaches for the ski resorts during the winter.

december trip to italy

SHOPPING IN MILAN

December is a hot spot for shopping in  Milan , one of the fashion capitals of the world. As the designer shops and boutiques gear up for the holidays, the sales and window displays gear up as well. Milan hosts a Christmas market in the center of town, an antiques fair, a candy market, and church ceremonies throughout the month.

TO CELEBRATE THE LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Italy takes their winter holidays pretty seriously. Celebrations around Christmas go on all throughout December and January. And, anyone who visits will get to witness some of the local traditions. Expect to see  Christmas markets , bonfires, and colorful celebrations all throughout your visit.

december trip to italy

TO VISIT TUSCANY

The rolling hills of  Tuscany  look just as beautiful covered in snow as they do with the sun. From old, stone farmhouses to barren vineyards, the wintery scene here is alarmingly beautiful. Known as a foodie paradise, visitors to Tuscany in December can enjoy hearty soups and stews that make a seasonal appearance.

TO TAKE A SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING TRIP

Since December is the season for skiing, you won’t find low season prices. However, the slopes and scenery are top notch, making it worth the prices. If you love skiing and the mountain culture that goes along with it, you’ll love the experience of winter sports in Italy.

december trip to italy

TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOW SEASON

Travel in Italy can get a little expensive. However, if you visit during December, you can take advantage of the low season prices. Tickets to attractions, airfare, and hotels will typically be offered at discounts so that you can stretch your money further and make the most of your trip. Plus, there won’t be as many crowds so you won’t have to wait in long lines. Braving just a little bit of cold weather can make your trip cheaper and more enjoyable.

ATTENDING THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS IN FLORENCE

Throughout the month of December,  Florence  hosts Christmas markets and festive parades. There is also the Noel Festival which brings celebrations and elaborate decorations along with it.

december trip to italy

Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:

  • The best things to see and do in Italy in January
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in February
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in March
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in April
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in May
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in June
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in July
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in August
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in September
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in October
  • The best things to see and do in Italy in November

About the Author

december trip to italy

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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Is it worth going to Italy in winter? 7 Best Places To Visit In Italy In December: Embracing Winter Magic

Is it worth going to Italy in winter? Yes, Italy in winter is worth experiencing, with its festive atmosphere, cultural events, and the opportunity to explore the country’s beauty without the summer crowds.

Italy In December: Whatever time of year you’re traveling, Italy is a beautiful place to fly to. Yet in winter, the nation takes on its unique beauty.

In its wonderful places, you can enjoy comfortable break time and also spend your evenings in nice and comfortable wine bars or have an excursion on its magnificent snow-capped mountains and interesting mountain ski runners.

And if you tour Italy in December , recognize the season with enthusiasm like the Italians and discover its many tourist destinations with full energy, go shopping with style, and also fulfill your sense of taste with meals flavored with the seasonal harvests!

What Is The Weather In Italy In December?

3. turin (torino), 5. amalfi coast, 6. florence, what should i pack for a december trip to italy, festivals in italy in december, main festivals and holidays in italy in december, q. what is the weather like in italy in december, q. which is the best place to travel in italy in december, q. what to do in italy in december, q. what to wear in italy in december, q. which are the major festivals celebrated in italy in december, q. is it a good time to visit italy in december, q. how cold is it in italy in december, q.  is december a good time to visit rome, q. what is the cheapest month to go to italy, q. where is the warmest place in italy in winter, q. where in italy is best in december, q. will it snow in italy in december, q. is december a good time to visit italy, q. are there special events in italy during december, q. is italy crowded in december, tell us in the comments about one of  your favourite things in italy in december..

Best Places To Visit In Italy In December

Italy’s weather in December marks one of Italy’s coldest seasons. During this season it’s also a little humid. While it may be a little cold the crowd is slightly less which makes more exploration for travelers. Hotel and travel prices may also drop a little. Italy’s temperature in December would be very nice.

Different parts temperatures in Italy in December are as follows:

  • Northern Italy: -4-5 ° C (-25-45 ° F)
  • Central Italy: from 5-13 ° C (40-55 ° F)
  • Southern Italy: From 13-16 ° C (55-60 ° F) 

List of 7 Best Places To Stay In Italy In December

Having said that, while traveling to Italy in December, take a look at these seven best places to visit which are a must for every traveler. Make sure you miss none! We have tried to answer the question of where to go in Italy in December

Sicily Italy in December

Palermo, the capital of Sicily is a nice starting point for your island tour and an amazing place to visit in Italy during the wintertime.

Exploring the city in December and also early January is a great experience, as you will find numerous religious symbols as well as Christmas markets – all adding to the elegance of Palermo.

You can also travel to Cefalu, a breathtaking views coastal town in South Italy in December , for ancient knowledge and a spectacular beach.

If you are searching for assured winter sun and temperate climate in Italy in December, you should surely be traveling to Sicily.

Also, the Average Weather in Sicily Italy in December would be between around 14°c – 17°c.

Must Enjoy In December: Take a 30-minute ride from Palermo to Termini Imerese, enjoy the city’s Christmas performance on the roads, shop in the glittering Christmas markets, and more.

Also Read: 13 Best Souvenirs And Places Help You In What To Buy In Prague, Czech Republic?

Venice Italy In December

If you want to know where to go in Italy in December , then you definitely should consider Venice in December. Another beautiful spot to travel to during the winter season.

The air is cleaner, and the sights and activities are better while the crowd can distract from the scenery than during the summer.

Moreover, Venice provides everything from breathtaking baroque designs to gondola rides and fantastic food and wine.

If nothing else, in St. Mark’s Square you can also sit and drink a cup of coffee, and enjoy as you watch the world go by in genuine Italian style!

Also, the Average Weather in Venice Italy in December would be around the maximum of 8°c  and a minimum of 1°c.

Must Enjoy In December: Even during the fog, if you’re in Venice, a gondola ride is a must and one of the things to do in Italy in December . The environment gets more magical in winter, and you don’t have to think too hard about crowding.

Also Read: Place To Visit In Austria

Torino Italy in December

If you’re making plans to go skiing in Italy in December , you surely should first make a trip to Turin, the northern city that offers a platform to the mountains.

The town is where many skiers come for their ski trip before heading to the mountains. Yet, in itself, Turin is like a paradise.

The yearly Luci d’Artista is the main attraction, an event that glorifies art through light and you also will see the city illuminated in various creative and innovative ways.

Moreover, if you love food, you’ll fall in love with Turin as this is the location of the original ‘Early’ store, which displays the finest Italian food.

Also, Do not even forget to check out the booming dining scene where chefs blend Italian classics with a distinctly alpine flavor.

Also, the Average Weather in Turin Italy in December would be around the maximum of 9°c  and a minimum of 4°c.

Must enjoy in December: Visit Caffe Al Bicerin to experience Bicerin, a classical Italian drink. Add the chocolate, coffee, and cream to this decadent concoction.

Also Read: Top 10 Places To Visit In Greece

Rome Italy in December

In winter Italy’s beautiful capital is quieter but indeed spectacular. Rome is truly one of the most important places to visit in December in Italy.

You can love visiting tourist destinations like the Vatican Museums as well as the Roman Forum at a relaxed pace, with fewer crowds to deal with.

Rome is renowned for its many fashion shops but in the city’s small, winding streets you’ll also find plenty of art and design opportunities.

Then after a long day of sightseeing, in one of its many restaurants and bars, you can enjoy a meal and drink that is just as lively and vibrant in winter as any other time of the year.

Also, the Average Weather in Rome Italy in December would be around the maximum of 13°c  and a minimum of 4°c. It’s one of the best places to travel in December. Must Enjoy In December: Go shopping! You will cash in on the incredible holiday sales in shops around the city when you visit Rome in the wintertime.

Also Read: Places To Visit In Scotland

Amalfi Coast Italy in December

The weather in Southern Italy in December is nice, with a cool climate, rendering it a perfect place to visit during your holiday.

On the Amalfi Coast, situated in the province of Salerno, you can also have a beautiful seafront view.

If the area has fewer people and also is nicer you can probably go on a road trip along the coast. Also, you can experience whatever the Amalfi Coast has to give at your rate.

You can go on hiking adventures and start exploring the towns and villages as they come alive with winter holiday celebrations.

Also, the Average weather in Amalfi Coast Italy in December would be around the maximum of 14° c and a minimum of 9°c.

Must Enjoy In December : Explore Pansa Pasticceria at Piazza del Duomo in Amalfi and also look for it. Over two decades, it has been baking exquisite pastries as well as sweets, rendering it as historic as the nearby cathedral.

Please ensure you only get a taste of the local-specific desserts available during the festive season and their renowned panettone. You can also enjoy some good music in concerts happening in winter all over Amalfi.

Also Read: 14 Unique Places To Visit In Switzerland

Florence Italy in December

Apart from being a home to Italy’s vibrant culture portrayed via its artwork as well as design, Florence is also recognized as the Middle Ages or Athens.

Going to play an essential role in the fashion world, this town is also known to rank among the world’s top 15 fashion capitals.

A visit to this capital of Tuscany will surely amaze you and you’ll keep returning for more. However, tourists from all across the world come to this city to appreciate the tall historical works of art of architectural origin mostly a place for history buffs.

Also, the Average weather in Florence Italy in December would be around the maximum of 11° c and a minimum of 3°c.

Must enjoy in December: Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia as well as Ponte Vecchio. Also one of the best places to visit in Italy in December.

Also Read: 20 Places To Visit In Germany

Naples Italy in December

The capital city of Campania, Naples, is also the third-largest city in Southern Italy. Also, Naples had a bit of a dodgy reputation for years. My family visited and loved it, years ago.

They had POTATOES pizza on it which made their year (Irish people love potatoes). Foodies, listen up, Naples food is some of the best that you’ll find in the world.

From Naples, you can also visit the stunning and LEGENDARY volcano Mount Vesuvius which destroyed Pompeii more than 2000 years ago.

Pompeii is more like a time capsule, and for history lovers it is great. You can also catch the Capri ferry where you will find ruins, hiking trails, and much more to explore.

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale, the Royal Palace of Naples, Castel Nuovo, and also the Naples Underground Geothermal Zone are a few other places worth visiting.

Also, if you are traveling with family members, Villa Comunale is a seaside park with fountains, sculptures, children’s play area. It is also a must-visit place in Italy in December .

Also, the Average weather in Florence Italy in December would be around the maximum of 14° c and a minimum of 6°c.

Also Read: 10 Wonderful Places To Visit In Austria Which Will Make Your Vacation Memorable.

Pack layers, waterproof gear, cozy accessories, and festive attire to prepare for varying weather conditions and holiday celebrations.

What To Wear In Italy? 11 Outfit Ideas To Stay Fashionable and Cozy While Travelling

Several festivals in Italy have been celebrated this season. One of the largest of all is Christmas. Here are some festivals in Italy which are a must-visit.

  • Christmas market in Merano enjoying a festive mood from mid-November to the first week of January. Merano has lots of events and activities to enjoy for the whole family.
  • The Vert Noël Marché: A Christmas market concept, let’s shine over to Aosta, where they enjoy Marché Vert Noël.
  • City of Toys in Como: A fantastic town of Toys is being designed as children and their families rush to Città dei Balocchi

Also Read: What To Wear In Italy?

FAQs About Italy in December

There are a lot of questions that come to our mind while planning for an Italy trip some of the commonly asked questions are answered below.

A. December marks one of Italy’s coldest seasons Some mean temperature ranges for different parts of Italy in December are as follows: Northern Italy: -4-5 ° C (-25-45 ° F) Central Italy: from 5-13 ° C (40-55 ° F) Southern Italy: From 13-16 ° C (55-60 ° F)

A. Sicily, Venice, Turin, Amalfi Coast, and Rome are amongst the best places to travel in Italy in December.

A. Such fun things to do in Italy In December are: 1. Enjoy Italy’s oldest Fairs, OH Bej! Bej, Oh. You can find festive meals and decor, books, and local crafts here. 2. Have a nice time skiing in Sicily. 3. View Florence from a different perspective every evening as part of the Florence Light Festival from 8th December to 7th January. 4. Be part of a wonderful Christmas.

1. Warm waterproof winter jacket 2. Scarf, hat, gloves 3. Short and long-sleeve tops for layering 4. Cardigan 5. Warmer jumper 4. Long trousers/skirts and winter tights

1. Saint Ambrogio Day 2. Christmas 3. Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception 4. Saint Stephen’s Day 5. Saint Lucia Day

A. There are, however, many convincing reasons to visit during this winter season. The low season for tourists in Italy is winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to visit. Italy in December is a treat, with fewer crowds, lower prices, and festive festivals.

A. 13°C Averages December in Italy has an average temperature of 13°C, making it one of the coldest months of the year. In the winter, however, you’ll still get nine hours of sunshine every day, with an average humidity of 75%.

A. Don’t miss out on the scenery of Rome! December, and the winter season in general, is an excellent time to visit Rome. Lines are shorter, museums and monuments are less crowded, and there are many exciting deals and things to do in Rome in December. 

A. While September is a popular but relatively affordable month to visit, the colder months are by far the most affordable. In February or November, Hopper found tickets to Milan for as little as $513 roundtrip.

A. Sicily In the winter, where Italy is the warmest? Sicily is a great area to visit in the winter if you’re looking for a warm destination in Italy. It is extremely warm in the winter and has a vibrant culture all year.

A. Charming towns and villages, as well as iconic cities like Rome and Florence, showcase their unique allure in December, making them ideal destinations for a winter getaway.

A. Yes, Italy experiences snowfall in December, especially in regions like the Italian Alps, creating a picturesque winter wonderland.

A. December is an enchanting time to visit Italy, offering festive celebrations, snow-covered landscapes, and a unique cultural experience.

A. Yes, Italy hosts numerous special events in December, including Christmas markets, festivals, and traditional celebrations that add to the festive atmosphere.

A. December is considered the off-peak season, making it a perfect time to visit Italy without the usual crowds. You can enjoy popular attractions with a more intimate atmosphere.

Italy in December offers a magical and immersive experience that goes beyond the ordinary. From festive celebrations to snow-covered landscapes, every aspect of this winter getaway is infused with charm and uniqueness. Plan your visit to discover the enchanting side of Italy during the most wonderful time of the year.

Also, don’t forget to book your personalized holiday package with  Fiery Trippers . Let us make your vacation a romantic as well as a dreamy getaway.

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Rahul Siddharth

He is a dedicated travel writer with a wealth of 10 Years + experience that enriches his narratives. He holds a degree in Hospitality and Hotel Administration from IHM Dehradun, which he couples with hands-on expertise in the field. Drawing from his diverse experiences, Rahul's writings offer readers a captivating glimpse into the world of travel. Embark on a journey of exploration and inspiration with Rahul as your guide. Read More

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Italofile

December in Italy: Weather, Holidays & Festivals

people walking on the street beside Christmas tree

December (Dicembre) is a popular month to travel in Italy for both Italians and foreign tourists, thanks to Christmas festivities and markets. Rome is especially busy at this time, as pilgrims flock to the city to attend special masses on Christmas Eve , Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

What is the Weather in Italy in December?

December is decidedly cold throughout Italy, with days getting even colder as January approaches. The month also sees a high chance of precipitation—mostly rain, but snow in the north around the foothills and peaks of the Alps, Dolomites, and the Apennines.

Despite the chill, December can be very nice and cozy, thanks to the (psychologically) warming glow of Christmas lights. Italians typically start decorating for the Christmas season around December 8, the holiday known as the Immaculate Conception.

Average high temperatures in northern Italy in December are in the low 40s °F (5-6 °C), with lows around freezing. Venice often sees high tides ( acqua alta ) in early December. Low, dense fog is also common in the Po Delta area in December.

Central Italy is likewise cold in December, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s °F (6-10°C) and lows in the upper 30s to low 40s °F (1-6°C). The risk of rainfall in Florence and Rome during December is slightly lower than it is in November (one of the wettest months). But sunny days are usually crisp and blue.

Southern Italy, including Naples, Cagliari, and Palermo, is also cold and wet in December, with highs in the upper 50s °F (12-15°C) and lows in the low 40s °F (5-8°C). Though on good days, the temperatures can reach the low 60s. The region averages about 7-10 days per rain during December.

December Average Temperatures

December in italy: holidays, festivals, and other events, december 7 – festa di sant’ambrogio and oh bej oh bej christmas market, milan.

Milan’s patron saint is celebrated on December 7 with a mass at the basilica of Sant’Ambrogio . It is also a local holiday in Milan, so all businesses and schools are closed.

Milan’s annual contribution to the Christmas landscape, the “Oh Bej! Oh Bej” Festival, coincides with Saint Ambrose Day and lasts several days. Essentially, Oh Bej!, which means “Oh nice!” in Milanese, is a traditional Christmas market selling artisanal crafts and local fare that the whole city comes out for. It is held annually at the  Castello Sforzesco .

December 7 – Lighting of the World’s Biggest Christmas Tree in Gubbio, Umbria

The Umbrian city of Gubbio takes the spotlight each year on December 7 as it lights the World’s Biggest Christmas Tree . The tree, an arrangement of lights on Mount Ingino, is viewable for miles around from December 7 until approximately January 10.

December 8 – Day of the Immaculate Conception

This holiday kicks off the Christmas season in Italy. Traditionally, this is the day when many families and businesses put up their Christmas trees and/or decorations. It is also when most churches put their presepi , or nativity scenes, on display.

The day is an important day on the Catholic calendar, especially in Rome. Immaculate Conception marks the day when the Virgin Mary was born and it is celebrated in Rome with a visit by the Pope to the church of Trinità dei Monti, aka the church at the top of the Spanish Steps.

December 24 – Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the most important day of the Christmas season in Italy. Most neighborhood churches will have Midnight Mass services on Christmas Eve, with the largest mass taking place at, of course, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The evening, also known as La Vigilia (the vigil), is celebrated in homes with the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Note that while many stores and restaurants will be open during the day on Christmas Eve, most businesses will shutter by afternoon.

December 25 – Christmas Day

Christmas Day sees another large mass at St. Peter’s Basilica as well as at other churches throughout the country. Morning mass is typically followed by a big meal, the cenone .

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Italy and you can expect everything to be closed, even museums.

December 26 – Santo Stefano (Saint Stephen’s Day)

St. Stephen’s Day, aka Boxing Day, is also a day off for most Italians. But stores, restaurants, and museums will be open. It is a good day for visiting friends and extended family, taking a stroll in the piazza, and resting after the big meals of the previous two days.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is known by two names in Italy. Most commonly is Capodanno, “the end of the year.” It is also known as San Silvestro after the saint that is venerated on this day.

Most cities–Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples, Turin, and Venice–have fireworks celebrations accompanied by live music and other entertainment on Capodanno. But many smaller cities organize something, too. The fireworks display over the Castello Estense in Ferrara is particularly lovely on New Year’s Eve.

Throughout December – Christmas Markets

The largest and best Christmas markets tend to appear in northern Italy, in cities like Trento and Bolzano. Florence and Milan also hold lovely Christmas markets, where you can purchase artisan crafts, including ornaments, gourmet foodstuffs, and vin brulé.

Italy Magazine’s Top 10 Christmas Markets in Italy is a reliable resource for Christmas market ideas. Note, however, that Rome’s Christmas Market in Piazza Navona has, unfortunately, been inconsistent or nonexistent for the last several years.

December Calendar: Italy Anniversaries and Events

  • Death of Lorenzo Ghiberti (1455)
  • Republic of Venice annexes Treviso (1338)
  • Death of Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici (1469)
  • Birth of Gianni Versace (1946)
  • Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier
  • Death of Diocletian (311)
  • Torino Football Club (Toro) founded in Turin (1906)
  • Feast Day of St. Barbara
  • Dario Fo stages “Accidental Death of an Anarchist ” for the first time (1970)
  • Feast Day of St. Ambrogio / Holiday in Milan
  • Cicero assassinated (43 B.C.)
  • Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception
  • Roman poet Horace born (68 B.C.)
  • Kingdom of Naples and Kingdom of Sicily combine to form Kingdom of Two Sicilies (1860)
  • Pope Francis I begins Extraordinary Jubilee ( il Giubileo straordinario della misericordia) (2015)
  • Discovery of the tomb of the Athlete di Taranto (Atleta di Taranto (1959), a 5th-century B.C. participant in sports competitions in Magno Grecia

December 10

  • Feast Day of Madonna of Loreto
  • Death of Paolo Uccello (1475)
  • Death of Luigi Pirandello (1936)

December 11

  • Birth of Carlo Ponti (1912)

December 13

  • Death of Donatello (1466)

December 15

  • Birth of Nero (37)
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens to the public after 11 years of closure for repairs (2001)

December 16

  • Milan Football & Cricket Club, aka AC Milan, founded (1899)

December 17

  • First Saturnalia celebrated in Rome (497 B.C.)
  • Birth of composer Domenico Cimarosa (1749)

December 18

  • Death of Antonio Stradivari (1737)

December 19

  • Birth of Italo Svevo (1861)
  • Birth of Alberto Tomba (1966)
  • Death of Marcello Mastroianni (1996)
  • High-speed train line between Rome and Naples is inaugurated (2005), a huge leap for transportation in Italy

December 21

  • Vespasian declared emperor of Rome, the last in the  Year of the Four Emperors (69)
  • Death of Thomas the Apostle aka “Doubting Thomas” (72), whose finger fragment relic is in the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome
  • Death of Giovanni Boccaccio (1375)
  • Birth of Masaccio (1401)

December 22

  • Death of Guercino (1666)
  • Birth of Giacomo Puccini (1858)

December 23

  • Death of Peggy Guggenheim (1979), whose namesake museum in Venice is one of Italy’s most important centers for modern art

December 24

  • Christmas Eve
  • Death of Rossano Brazzi (1994), star of Three Coins in the Fountain, a classic film set around the Trevi Fountain

December 25

  • Christmas Day

December 26

  • Feast Day of St. Stephen (Santo Stefano)

December 27

  • Galileo Galilei observes Neptune for the first time (1612)
  • Molise becomes 20th Italian region (1963)

December 28

  • Tiber River overflows and floods Rome (1870)
  • 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocks Messina (1908)

December 30

  • Birth of Titus (39)

December 31

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Feast Day of San Silvestro

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Life in Italy, Italian Language, Italian Culture, Italy News, Tourism News, Italian Food

italy in december

Italy in December

italy in december

Most tourists coming to Italy choose the summer months for their trip, but in truth, December can be an amazingly charming time of the year to visit. For some more holidays ideas, make sure to check our  Holidays in Italy Section .

The majority of tourist destinations are open throughout the month of December: you may want to take a note of this, for the 25th and 26th, so when you visit you won’t find yourself without nothing to do. Make sure, however, to check opening times for those days, as most likely they’ll be shorter than usual. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your chosen destination and make sure to be there on time not to be disappointed.

Weather in December

December is one of the chilliest months in Italy, as winter is cold in most of the country. Days are at their shortest, so don’t expect the sun to shine high long after 4 in the afternoon. Even though tourists may not be as numerous as during the summer, keep in mind that Italians tend to travel during the Christmas holidays and that ski resorts and art cities will get pretty busy over Christmas day and New Year’s .

If you’re going to the North, expect temperatures similar to what you’d get in NY city or upstate, so come prepared. At the same time, the cold is a small price to pay when the Alps are covered in snow and you can enjoy them while sipping a nice, creamy hot chocolate. If you like that idea, you should definitely go for a skiing holiday on the Italian northern mountains: there are great skiing opportunities! 

Central Italy tends to be cold and wet in December, too, although temperatures are mellower than in the north. If certainly enjoying the mildest temperatures in the country, southern Italy is not immune to winter cold, as even the beautiful mediterranean coast experiences some rainy days. Even by the sea, nights are definitely quite chilly in the month of December, so be sure to pack warm clothes.

italy in december

The North in December 

Northern Italy is definitely the coldest part of Italy in December. In Milan, and in most major cities, the average temperature ranges from -3 to 7 degrees Celsius (26 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit). The closer you get to the hills and the Alps, the colder the temperature will get. In December, nights can be quite harsh and cold, and the days filled with snow on the hills and mountains, with rain on the Pianura Padana.

italy in december

The Centre in December

In Central Italy,  including cities like Rome, the temperature is at its coldest at this time of the year, and ranges approximately between 6 and 14 degrees Celsius (42 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit). In December, be ready for really cold nights and some of the wettest days of the year. Still, you may get lucky and get some pleasantly warm day at around 65F, just don’t count on it too much!

The South in December

In Southern Italy and in Sicily, temperatures drop considerably as the days get shorter. If you visit in December, you can expect them to be between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius (54 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit). Mild, if compared to the average of places like Milan and Turin, but definitely colder than the rest of the year.

In December, precipitations reach their peak: the northern regions are prone to get quite a lot of snow, especially in the Alpine areas.

italy in december

What to Visit in December

Rome and Vatican City would be really crowded in December, especially around Christmas, since people from all over the country and the world travel to listen to the Pope addressing the crowds. For this reason, unless you have a spiritual interest in spending Christmas in the Holy City and wish to get the Pope’s blessing, you may prefer to avoid these locations.

italy in december

Ultimately, the best places to visit in December are the Alps and their marvellous ski resorts and villages. In Trentino Alto Adige there are the best Christmas markets  of the country and they can be visited since the beginning of the month.

December Festivals

In Italy, the month of December is not only and exclusively the month of Christmas: there are plenty more festivals and celebrations to enjoy, and we remand you to our  Holidays in Italy  section to learn more about it. Christmas celebrations include Christmas Eve, Day and St. Stephen’s Day, as well as, of course, New Year’s Eve, on the  31 st  of December.

Each and every city in the country tends to organize special events dedicated to Christmas .  Florence Noël,  for instance, is a family event that takes places at the beginning of December in the beautiful city of Florence. It is mainly addressed to families and children, with loads of fun activities to enjoy together, including the ubiquitous presence of Babbo Natale , Santa Claus. You will also find nativity villages, chocolate stands, loads of music and delicious food. Straight afterward, always in Florence, you can enjoy the Christmas market of Heidelberg, until the 21 st  of the month.

The Sagra del Cinghiale  takes place in the medieval Tuscany city of Suvereto, which is in the province of Livorno . The Sagra this year begins on the 24 th of November and   continues until the 8 th  of December. It revolves around the gastronomic tradition related to wild boar. Beside wild boar based delicious dishes, you’ll also be able to enjoy fine wines, honey and olive oil from the area. During this festival people wear medieval outfits and take part in medieval competitions which makes the event more exciting and interesting.

italy in december

Saint Barbara Day  festival takes place on  Mount Etna ‘s slopes and is celebrated on the 4 th  of December, in the Sicilian city of Paternò. During this celebration, a parade and an impressive nativity scene take centre stage. Saint Barbara is the city’s patron saint and is considered the protector of fire work makers and firemen. She has been considered for centuries a protective force against the eruptions of the Etna .

Images from last year’s festival of Santa Barbara at Paternò

The celebrations for  San Nicolo’ (or Nicola) take place on the 6 th day of December and are particularly common in many areas of the Abruzzo and of course, in Bari . It is also present in northern areas of the country, such as Liguria . People celebrate this day with taralli , firm round biscuits which are often consumed along with wine and loaves of bread.

Sant’Ambrogio ‘s festival is a characteristic festivity of Milan, celebrated on the 7 th  of December. Saint Ambrogio is Milan’ s patron saint, celebrated in the city with a festive market selling foods, drinks and artisanal objects.

The Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception  is observed as a national holiday, on the 8 th of December. You will find celebrations across Italy. Music, parades and feasts are common occurences all over the country. In the region of Abruzzo people celebrate this day by singing traditional songs and lighting bonfires. Rome celebrates with flower wreaths and the Pope celebrates mass at the Spanish Steps. As this is a national holiday banks and offices will remain closed, however most of the stores will be open for holiday shopping.

Santa Lucia Day : This day is celebrated on the 13 th day of December in various Italian cities. Sicily has one of the biggest celebrations, in Siracusa, where a statue of the saint is carried to the Church of Santa Lucia on a golden coffin. On the 20 th  of December another celebration takes place to take her back to her tomb.

italy in december

Christmas in Italy is taken very seriously and is a very important holiday for Italians. Christmas in Italy is a truly special moment, in a way shared by not many other countries. Natale, Christmas for we Italians, is still a a holy day, where the millennial tradition of presepi , nativity scenes and midnight masses are still more prevalent and loved than the red and white figure of Santa Claus. Basically the whole month of December in Italy revolves around this holiday.

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Is December a good time to visit Italy? Where to go and tips!

December in Italy is wonderful, especially if you want to have a festive and affordable vacation. The weather in Italy in December tends to be nice with less rain.

Last Update: December 9, 2023

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Yes, December is perfect to visit Italy. December is a wonderful season to visit Italy, especially if you want to have a festive and affordable vacation. The weather tends to be nice with temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit on average. In addition, there is less rain than in other months, and the sky are frequently clear and sunny.

Is December a good time to visit Italy?

Absolutely. Italy’s timeless beauty intertwines with the season’s magic, allowing one to experience the country’s serene and contemplative side. As winter’s embrace unfolds, so do the advantages of exploring Italy in December.

The dwindling crowds reveal a more intimate connection with renowned attractions, allowing travellers to absorb the historical and artistic riches with a sense of serenity.

The magic of Christmas in Italy transforms cities into enchanting landscapes adorned with meticulous decorations. From the grandeur of Rome to the intimate charm of Tuscan villages, each corner resonates with the joyous spirit of the season.

Catania, Mount Etna - Most beautiful places in Italy - A fantastic image of Sicily in December - Italy in winter travel guide

Things you must know about Italy in December

Central Italy experiences cold weather conditions in December, with temperatures ranging between the upper 40s to low 50s °F (6-10°C). The temperature drops during the night to the upper 30s to low 40s °F (1-6°C). The rainfall probability in Florence and Rome is slightly lower in December compared to November. Although December is one of the wettest months, there are usually several crisp, sunny days with blue skies.

Is Italy worth going to in December?

December is an excellent time to visit Italy, especially if you’re interested in sightseeing, exploring museums, and visiting archaeological sites like Pompeii. You’ll have the chance to indulge in delicious Italian cuisine and marvel at some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and cities.

Is December a good time to go to Rome?

If you enjoy cooler temperatures, then this is the best time to visit Rome . Although the winter weather in Rome may not be as severe as in the northern regions, you can still expect some cold days from late December through most of February. What makes this season even more special is the city’s festive atmosphere, which adds to the overall experience of your trip.

Is December a good time to visit Venice?

December is typically one of the coldest months to visit Venice , but don’t let the chilly temperatures discourage you. In fact, Venice is a wonderful destination to visit during December, with plenty of festive decorations lining the streets and a warm and welcoming atmosphere around every corner.

How rainy is Italy in December?

Winter in Italy has a unique charm that is worth experiencing. It is a great time to visit as the crowds are smaller and the weather is cooler. You can take a leisurely break in the country’s beautiful cities and enjoy your evenings in warm, cosy wine bars.

Is December the rainy season in Italy?

The weather in Italy during December typically brings colder temperatures and increased rainfall. In the northern regions of Milan and Venice, temperatures can range from 3°C to 10°C (37°F to 50°F) during the day.

Is Italy sunny in December?

December weather is a mix of sunshine and clouds in Italy, with an average of 6mm rainfall. There’s a 57% chance of a perfect sunny day and a 43% chance of sun with occasional rain.

Is Florence worth visiting in December?

Although it is cold in December in Florence, there are many indoor attractions for travellers to enjoy Renaissance art and architecture properly. The Florence Duomo, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Vecchio, Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, Museo del Bargello, and Medici Chapels are less crowded in December.

Is Naples worth visiting in December?

Yes, Naples is worth a visit in December . Even if you plan only a day trip to Naples, on a winter visit, you may see castles such as Castel Nuovo, Castel Dell’Ovo, Castel Sant’Elmo, and palaces such as the Royal Palace of Naples . The temperature is ideal for enjoying the sights without sweating from the scorching heat, and the cloudy skies provide beautiful shots of the historic structures. Also, consider planning day trips from Naples such as, Pompeii and Herculaneum , a fantastic hike on the Vesuvius, or pleasant stay in Sorrento and one day in Positano.

Is Rome cheap in December?

Yes, Rome is cheaper in December compared to other busier months. December is unquestionably the best month to visit Rome. There are several reasons to come, but the primary ones include fewer crowds, lower rates, Christmas celebrations, and good weather!

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10 reasons to spend December in Italy

Have you ever thought of visiting Italy in December? We consider  December in Italy the ideal time to visit the most popular destinations like Venice and the Amalfi Coast, or even Rome and Florence without the crowds.

As the calendar flips to the year’s final chapter, Italy unveils a magical tapestry of experiences that redefine the holiday season .

In the heart of Christmas celebrations, Italy’s streets transform into an illuminated spectacle adorned with meticulous decorations. From grand cathedrals to charming village squares, every corner exudes a festive spirit, inviting travellers to bask in the joyous atmosphere.

One of the hidden gems of this season is the allure of fewer crowds in December in Italy. Tourist hotspots like Rome’s Colosseum or Florence’s Uffizi Gallery offer a more intimate experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the historical riches without the usual hustle and bustle. Let’s dive into some of the best reasons we recommend Italy in December. Those are 10 good reasons to consider visiting Italy this December.

  • Best weather in Europe

December is all in the festive mood.

Foodies find heaven in italy..

  • Christmas Markets

Take advantage of lower crowds.

  • Budget Friendly opportunity to visit Italy
  • Plenty of indoor things to do in December
  • Photography opportunities
  • Winter sports
  • Winter Sales

Naples gulf view at blue hour

December Weather in Italy

Thanks to its fantastic geographical position, Italy experiences a diverse climate in December, ranging from the snow-covered landscapes of the North to the milder, temperate charm in the southern regions. This climatic variation adds a touch of unpredictability, creating an exciting backdrop for winter exploration.

From the Alps to the coastlines, the temperature varies significantly. While the northern regions embrace the chill, with temperatures often below freezing, the southern parts offer a more moderate climate, making for a pleasant winter escapade.

Also, consider that December sees sporadic rainfall, adding a dramatic flair to the scenery. Sunshine peeks through the clouds, casting a golden glow on the historic architecture and picturesque landscapes, creating postcard-worthy moments.

READ MORE: – Best time to visit Rome, pros and cons of summer and winter. – When to go to Alberobello? Season by season the best time! – Things to know about Naples! From safety, to where to stay and places to go!

Italy takes Christmas seriously, with cities adorned in dazzling lights and decorations. The meticulous preparations transform every corner into a festive spectacle, from grand cathedrals to charming village squares.

From North to South, visiting Italy in the last part of the year means immersing yourself in the richness of Italian traditions during the holiday season. Witness the unique celebration of La Festa di San Nicola in Bari or the grandeur of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in Rome, blending religious and cultural customs. Also, make space to experience the nativity streets of Naples.

So, exploring the festive markets and street celebrations is a must. From the enchanting Christmas markets in Florence to the lively street processions in Naples, each city showcases its distinctive way of celebrating the season.

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December brings a feast for the senses, with seasonal Italian cuisine taking centre stage. Indulge in hearty dishes like panettone and pandoro, symbolizing the season’s spirit.

Savour the special culinary offerings during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Every meal is a celebration, from the delectable Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve to the traditional lentils and cotechino sausage on New Year’s.

Even if you visit Italy in the first part of December, you will delight in the regional flavours and treats that vary across the country. Whether the Tuscan Christmas cake, Buccellato, or the sweet struffoli in Naples , each region adds its unique touch to the festive table.

READ MORE: – B est cooking class in Florence – Learn how to make the perfect pizza in Naples, Italy – Looking for the traditional festive food in Naples? Check this guide! – Explore Puglia through it’s flavours – Your Apulia food guide!

Even though it seems that December is a busy period for Italy, stats demonstrate that it’s only half as full as summer . So enjoy the space to breathe and absorb the cultural richness without the bustling crowds. Italy’s iconic landmarks, from the Colosseum to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, unveil their stories in a more personal setting during December.

December in Italy is Budget-Friendly

We know that when talking about Italy, you might get crazy about budgeting; well, December is perfect if you are tight at the moment. Optimize your budget with cost-saving strategies tailored for December travel. Take advantage of off-peak rates, explore free or discounted activities, and savour local street food for a delicious and economical culinary experience.

Places and cities to explore in Italy in December

Discover the must-visit attractions that define December in Italy. Explore the timeless beauty of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery or stroll through the historic charm of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, each site adorned with seasonal magic. Here’s a curated list of places that shine even brighter during winter.

1. Colosseum, Rome:

Marvel at the iconic Colosseum in the crisp winter air . The absence of large crowds allows you to absorb the grandeur of this ancient amphitheatre, imagining the gladiatorial contests that once echoed within its walls.

2. Uffizi Gallery, Florence:

Escape the chill in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Renaissance artists. The quieter atmosphere in winter enhances the experience, allowing you to linger before works like Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” without the usual bustling crowds.

3. Venice Canals and St. Mark’s Square:

Navigate the winding canals of Venice in a serene gondola ride. St. Mark’s Square takes on a magical aura, with the misty winter air adding a dreamlike quality to the historic architecture. Venice in winter is incredible beautiful , and you will have more pleasure as is less crowded compared to the rest of the year.

4. Cinque Terre Coastal Villages:

Discover the charm of Cinque Terre’s coastal villages draped in winter tranquillity. The colourful houses against the backdrop of the Ligurian Sea create a picturesque scene, and hiking the coastal trails offers breathtaking views without the summer crowds.

5. Amalfi Coast:

The Amalfi Coast’s cliffside villages, including Positano and Ravello, exude a serene beauty in winter. Enjoy the coastal panoramas, relish local cuisine without the queues, and explore the region’s rich cultural heritage.

6. Explore the snowy Dolomites

For winter sports enthusiasts, the Dolomites offer unparalleled skiing and snowboarding opportunities. The snow-covered peaks and charming alpine villages create a winter wonderland perfect for both adventure and relaxation.

Read our Dolomites one week itinerary

7. Pompeii Archaeological Site:

Winter unveils Pompeii’s ancient ruins in a different light. Roam the streets of this archaeological site with a sense of solitude, allowing you to absorb the haunting history of the city frozen in time.

Looking for an alternative to Pompeii? Read our guide Pompeii vs Herculaneum and make your choice.

8. Milan’s Cathedral (Duomo di Milano):

Experience the grandeur of Milan’s Duomo without the bustling crowds. The winter months provide a quieter setting to appreciate the intricate details of this Gothic masterpiece and ascend to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city. Read our guide about Milan in winter.

9. Sistine Chapel, Vatican City:

Journey to Vatican City and observe Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring frescoes in the Sistine Chapel . The winter ambience adds a contemplative touch to this sacred space, allowing for a more intimate encounter with artistic genius.

10. Sicilian Temples, Agrigento:

Explore the ancient Greek temples of Agrigento in Sicily against a mild winter climate. The UNESCO World Heritage site showcases its archaeological wonders with a serene ambience, inviting reflection on the island’s rich history.

Italy in winter is a captivating tableau of history, art, and natural beauty. Embrace the season’s tranquillity as you meander through these attractions, discovering a side of Italy that reveals itself in the quietness of the colder months.

Things to do in December in Italy

Explore the christmas markets.

Italy’s Christmas markets are a treasure trove of festive delights. Dive into an overview of these markets, where the aromas of roasted chestnuts and the melodies of carolers create an atmosphere of joy and merriment.

From the artisanal crafts of Milan’s Mercatino di Natale to the medieval charm of Siena’s Piazza del Campo market, each market offers a unique experience.

Best Christmas Markets in Italy:

  • Rome Christmas Market at Piazza Navona (Mercato di Natale Piazza Navona – Rome)
  • Bologna Christmas Market (Mercato di Natale Bologna)
  • Trento Christmas Market (Trento)
  • Verona Christmas Market (Verona)
  • Bolzano Christmas Market
  • Florence Noel (Florence)

Take advantage of winter sales

Apart from souvenirs and Christmas gifts, visiting Italy in December across the festivities opens you to the sales wonderland. In fact, in the immediate days after Xmas, shops apply huge discounts toward January, perfect for hurling your wardrobe and pushing some proper Italian trendy style!

From handmade crafts to local delicacies, D ecember in Italy presents an opportunity to find treasures that carry the season’s essence.

Winter Sports and Activities

For winter enthusiasts, December unveils skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the scenic Alps. Traverse the powdery slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo or experience the thrill of the Dolomites , where the snow becomes a playground for adventure.

Within December you can also plan to participate in winter festivals and sporting events that dot the December calendar. From the exhilarating ice-skating competitions to the elegance of alpine skiing events, Italy’s winter landscape transforms into a stage for athletic prowess.

Cozy indoor activities for chilly days

A nice cuppa of hot chocolate can make a difference during chilly days. Italy is magical in December , and you can take advantage of the fantastic warmth of indoor activities.

Unwind in spa retreats nestled in the snow-clad mountains or attend cultural events that thrive indoors, creating a perfect balance for those seeking adventure and relaxation.

Explore Snow-Covered Landscapes in the North ; December drapes the landscapes in a pristine blanket of snow. The Alps become a winter wonderland, inviting travellers to witness the breathtaking beauty of snow-covered peaks and frozen lakes.

If you are not fun of cold weather, like Ale, embrace the sunshine of southern Italy. Coastal areas like the Amalfi Coast offer a temperate escape , where the winter sun casts a gentle glow on historic architecture and the azure waters of the Mediterranean.

Perfect for Photography enthusiasts

We couldn’t miss vouch for Italy in December if you are into photography like us. Capture the picturesque views that December unfolds.

From the snow-capped beauty of the Apennines to the charming villages of Cinque Terre , every corner of Italy becomes a canvas for stunning photographs and lasting memories.

Travel Tips for December

What to pack for italy in december.

  • Rent a car or public transport
  • Best places to stay
  • Get a travel insurance

Pack wisely for an Italian winter adventure. Essentials include:

  • Layers for varying temperatures. Consider thermal shirts!
  • Waterproof footwear for snowy walks.
  • A camera to capture the memories.

Transportation tips

If you decide to rent a car or travel more sustainably using only public transport, December might have some problems. We suggest you secure your rental car in advance , as it is busy. Most of the operators only work during the high summer season and might have limited cars in December.

Also, if you are considering trains or buses while travelling in Italy, you must be aware of delays due to bad weather, snow, or problems on the line. The best way to get around in December in Italy is by renting your own vehicle. We suggest comparing Rental Cars or Discover Cars prices to find the most suitable and affordable vehicles for you.

Accommodation choices and availability

Select accommodations that complement the winter experience. From cosy boutique hotels with fireplace charm to the warmth of Airbnb and Bed-and-Breakfast options , ensure your stay mirrors the comfort and style of your Italian adventure. We suggest staying close to the slopes in the North North , as they have the most essential services; remote villages often lack transportation or minimum groceries. The seaside towns are perfect for a retreat if you explore southern Italy in December . You will benefit from a slow lifestyle, fewer cars and no tourists.

However, you might need a car to get basic stuff or reach bigger cities. Exploring Bari in Puglia or staying in Sorrento as a base for exploring the Amalfi Coast might do the trick, and don’t feel lonely.

Safety Precautions in Italy in winter

Prioritize safety with winter travel precautions. From dressing warmly to being mindful of slippery surfaces, adopt measures that ensure a secure and enjoyable December exploration of Italy. We suggest getting travel insurance before your trip to avoid problems and get prompt support in case of needs.

Read also our guides:

  • Why is it necessary to have insurance when travelling?
  • Get a discount for your next Travel Insurance with HeyMondo
  • Is Naples safe for tourists?

Compare the insurance offers

Wrap-up | Why visit Italy in December?

We hope you have given enough reasons to visit Italy in December. The southern European country is unique and offers a blend of activities that is difficult to find elsewhere. You can even plan an entire month’s itinerary experiencing snow activities in the North and sunshine in the South in December. This is how wildly diverse Italy is in winter.

Prices are lower than other months, making it perfect for the other two categories of travellers: remote workers and families. It is easy to find resorts welcoming families for a fraction of the prices, longer length of stay and more services. If you are travelling to Italy in December , don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section and tell us how it goes.

Italian Trip Abroad Bio

Hi travellers! Welcome to Italian Trip Abroad, an award-winning travel blog that guides you to the best destinations in Italy and around the world. From secret places to well-known popular destinations through inspiring stories. We love to offer deep guides with the use of photos and videos.  Read our story and how we got here!

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Award-winning Travel Blog

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Meet the Authors: Toti and Ale

We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Italian Trip Abroad and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way . You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross Italy and get on the most insane adventures. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

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The Best Time to Visit Italy – Complete Month-by-Month Guide (2024)

Finding the best time to visit Italy is one of the toughest decisions to make. Ironically, having a specific holiday calendar makes this part of planning easier, even though sometimes you might prefer traveling in a different season. The best time to visit Italy is spring for many reasons, but it all comes down to your personal preferences.

Every month and every season, in fact, has a different experience to offer. Do you want to be part of the Yule spirit in Italy? December is a magical month to plan your trip. Are you a beach enthusiast? Plenty of beautiful beaches in Italian regions like Sicily, Puglia, and Sardinia.

Our guide is a handy starting point for planning when to travel to Italy as we tell you what to expect in the country month by month.

Table of Contents

When to visit Italy – Step-by-step guide

January – the best time to visit italy for crowd-free landmarks.

January is a cold winter month and the best time to visit Italy if you are looking for quieter landmarks and cheaper flights and hotels. This better applies after January 7th, when the Christmas festivities are completely over and the streets are much less crowded.

Usually, this is a month we expect rain but it’s already been a few years since we had quite dry January. From Rome south, the temperatures are cold but totally bearable and if you are wearing your winter jacket you won’t have any problem. In the northern regions of Italy , from Florence up north, you will definitely find colder temperatures and in fact, this is the highest season for the ski resorts in Trentino-Alto Adige , Valle d’Aosta, and Veneto.

Click here for our full guide to visiting Italy in January

February – The month of Carnival in Italy

There are mainly two reasons for you to be wanting to visit Italy in February: Carnival and fewer crowds.

Colorful and exciting Carnival parties and celebrations take place all over Italy with the most famous being in Venice , Viareggio and Ivrea, but not the only ones worth visiting. Lovers of offbeat travel will certainly enjoy heading to Sardinia for the Sartiglia in Oristano or Mamoiada’s Mamuthones , or see the Carnival of Ronciglione near Rome.

Check out our full guide to February in Italy

March – When to visit Italy for a quiet vibe

March marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring in Italy. While the weather is a bit unstable with unexpected temperature drops and occasional showers, the low tourist season makes it possible to enjoy a more authentic experience across the country, including big draws like Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Together with fewer crowds, in March like in February you can expect lower rates, especially for flights and hotels. Everything will be open, from historic sites to restaurants, and you will have a better experience than when the huge spring and summer crowds hit the country.

Check out our full guide to March in Italy

April – When to visit Italy for Easter

In April, the weather starts being warmer and sunnier. Since it’s not very hot yet, wandering around the cities and towns is much more pleasant than in summer. Plus, April is when in Italy we celebrate Easter, a very heartfelt religious commemoration at the end of Lent.

April is also when Italians start getting out more often. In fact, on Easter Monday we like to enjoy a day out in nature and set ourselves up for a relaxing picnic, and this is pretty much how we kick off the “outdoors season”.

Check out our full guide to April in Italy

May – The best time to visit Italy for perfect weather

May is probably the best time to visit Italy overall because the weather is perfect: the temperatures are very pleasant, the winter cold is gone and the summer heat is not here yet. So the days are warm enough for a nice stroll but not enough to make you sweat.

This, however, is far from being a secret and you are likely to find crowds pretty much everywhere. In Rome , the May crowds are bigger than in August. Every location is perfect to visit in May because walking is pleasant in big cities, smaller towns, and obviously hiking paths and routes . May, for example, is the best time to hike the Gorropu canyon in Sardinia.

Check out our full guide to May in Italy

June – The beginning of summer in Italy

Warmer than May, June is the last month of spring and when summer starts. It is also a pleasant month to travel to Italy because it’s still not as hot as July. Depending on where you go, you will find large crowds. The big draws like Rome, Florence, and Venice, will be quite packed, but not so much the beach destinations.

In fact, I think June is a great time to hit the beach in Italy because of the great weather and the fewer crowds than July and August. In June, especially at the beginning of the month,

July – Italy’s hottest month weather-wise

July is the central month of summer in Italy and in my opinion the hottest. You are likely to find hot days also in June and definitely in August, but around mid-August the weather starts being whimsical, while July is usually always hot.

The beaches across the country will start being crowded and tourists will start withdrawing from the largest cities due to the heat. Famous beach destinations like Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia , and the Adriatic Coast will start being very crowded even though still less than August.

In July, you can find also local festivals such as food fairs or religious celebrations like the Ardia horse race in Sardinia.

August – The crowdest month on the Italian beaches

This is the month most Italians go on holiday so beach destinations will be very crowded, especially on the week around August 15th, a religious anniversary that translates into beach parties and many activities shut down for almost a week.

The weather is still very hot because summer is at full tilt but towards mid-August, it starts getting spoiled and you might find occasional rain, wind, and clouds. August is a true holiday month and everything is slower and more relaxed in Italy.

September – The best time to visit Italy for quiet beach time

September is the last month of summer and even though fall starts on the 21st, sometimes the weather is better than in August. For sure, you should expect warm temperatures in September, too, and since Italians are back to work and students are back to school, fewer crowds on the beach.

Inside the cities, however, is where most tourists will gather again, and even though not as much as in spring, landmarks and piazzas are definitely going to be busy.

Check out our full guide to traveling to Italy in September

October – When to travel to Italy for pleasant city walks

This is the first full month of fall but temperatures are mild and very pleasant since the stifling heat is gone. Rains start to appear from time to time but not so often and if there are some storms, they don’t last long.

October is always less busy than May but the weather is quite similar. I can’t say that you are not going to find any crowds because it won’t be true. In fact, in Rome, this year fall has been one of the busiest seasons right after spring. Beach and mountain destinations will be less busy.

November – When to enjoy the fall in Italy

November is often one of the wettest months in Italy but since I don’t mind the rain, fall is when I would plan my trip. The only festivity in November is Toussaint and the Day of the Dead at the beginning of the month and usually, these are the days that mark a sharp change in the weather, fully welcoming the fall.

Click here for our guide to visiting Italy in November

December – To experience the Christmas vibe in Italy

December is a beautiful time to travel to Italy because the Christmas spirit lasts for the whole month with all the preparations and decorations. Tourist-wise, it’s not very busy but you will find the historic centers very crowded with locals on the lookout for gifts and to enjoy the themed events.

If you are religious, if you like shopping, or simply if you enjoy the festive spirit and don’t mind some cold weather, December is definitely the best time to visit Italy.

Click here for our complete guide to Italy in December

The best time to visit Italy for the best weather: May-June

The last months of spring are perfect weather-wise because the winter cold is gone and the summer heat hasn’t arrived yet. These are also some of the busiest months in landmark-packed cities where taking a stroll is a fantastic experience.

The beaches will still be quiet even though especially in June, the weather allows for some sunbathing and swimming. Although, keep in mind that the summer is just at the beginning and the sea water is not warm yet.

If you are hitting the coast, head to the beach in the warmest hours of the day and enjoy the remaining hours with some cultural sightseeing that in Italy is possible pretty much everywhere.

The best time to visit Italy for the beaches: June to September

From June through September is the best time to hit the beach in Italy. July and August will be hot and very crowded while June and September much less crowded.

The whole month of September is usually hotter than June. Keep in mind that summer starts only on June 21st so for the first three weeks it’s still spring and the water might not be warm enough to swim, while in September it’s perfect.

The best time to go to Italy for photography: Fall

I love fall and I think this is the best time to visit Italy to take incredible pictures. Fall offers a beautiful light and the falling leaves come in with a kaleidoscope of orange, red, purple, and brown, adding to the romance of the skies.

In fall, you are likely to find rain but you know what they say, right after a good rainfall, photographers grab their cameras and go out and about to catch beautiful light and reflections. Rome’s streets are quite full of potholes that become pools after the rain and when historic sights reflect on them, you can snap fantastic shots!

The best time to visit Italy for fewer crowds: January to March

January through March are the least busy months in the big cities like Rome but obviously more crowded in ski resorts across the country, especially in the northern regions. If you want to enjoy popular landmarks in peace and silence without being surrounded by crowds, winter is the best time to travel to Italy.

This is also the coldest season so even if you are not going skiing, keep in mind to pack winter clothes also for the other destinations.

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3 thoughts on “The Best Time to Visit Italy – Complete Month-by-Month Guide (2024)”

So many people I know have gone there lately. Reading this makes me want to go even more!

Wow is this post thorough..love the breakdown by season and month..sounds like several trips to Italy are needed 🙂

Thanks, Jennifer! Italy deserves many trips indeed 😉

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A first-time guide to Italy

Duncan Garwood

Feb 28, 2024 • 8 min read

december trip to italy

One of the best things to do in Italy? Spend time on the water (coast, lake or canal) © Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

With its iconic monuments, timeless landscapes and irresistible food,  Italy is one of Europe’s most alluring destinations. Its historic cities promise thrilling art and architecture at every turn while its varied coastlines and Alpine heights provide a stunning outdoor playground.

In fact, the country is so packed with possibilities that it can seem almost overwhelming. Where should I go? How do I get there? How much will it cost? This planning guide tackles these questions and provides clear practical advice on how to get the most out of your first Italian trip.

Cloud swirl round craggy Peaks of the dolomites in Italy as forests run down the hillside turning from green into yellows reds and oranges in the autumnal glow with a Russian-style church, Church St. Johann in Ranui, stood at the bottom of the field

When should I go to Italy?

The short answer is anytime. Spring and fall are best for sightseeing , touring and seasonal food. It’s warm without being stifling and nature is in full color. But with the glorious blue-sky weather come crowds and high-season prices in the main cities.

Summer sees cities empty as holidaymakers head to the coast. Prices skyrocket in popular areas, peaking in mid-August when beaches are packed and resorts full. Meanwhile, the festival season swings into gear with high-profile events such as Il Palio di Siena, featuring a wild bareback horse race around Siena 's Piazza del Campo , and Spoleto’s Festival dei Due Mondi , with musicians, artists and actors performing to passionate throngs.

Winter is generally quiet – except in ski resorts – and it can be wet and cold. But low season rates and empty museums make it a decent option for a city break.

How much time do I need to visit Italy?

Realistically, you’ll need at least two or three days in top cities such as Rome , Florence and Venice . That won’t give you enough time to cover everything, but it will allow you to get a feel for the place and explore some of the headline attractions.

If you’re happy to move fast, you could cover Italy’s highlights on a whistle-stop 10-day tour. That would give you a couple of days each in Venice and Florence, a day in Bologna , Pisa and Naples , and three days in Rome. Alternatively, you could focus on a particular area. For example, with a week you could explore southern Tuscany and parts of neighboring Umbria , or cut a swathe through Sicily’s baroque southeast .

Train station on the coast in the small village of Manarola with colorful houses on cliff overlooking sea.

Is it easy to get in and around Italy?

Italy is well served by air with flights from across the world. Major airports include Rome Fiumicino (officially Leonardo da Vinci) and Milan Malpensa , the two main intercontinental gateways, Venice Marco Polo , Pisa International (for Florence and Tuscany), Naples International  and Catania (Sicily’s busiest airport). There are also excellent rail and bus links, especially to northern Italy, and ferries to Italian ports from across the Mediterranean.

Once in Italy, you've got transport options . Trains are best between major cities and along the coasts, while buses are better for the mountains and hilly inland areas. For more remote parts you’ll really need your own wheels. Most major cities have decent public transport, though you can often cover their historic centers on foot.

Young woman tourist fashion white dress with spritz cocktail in front of panoramic view of Rome cityscape from campidoglio terrace at sunset. Landmarks, domes of Rome, Italy.

Top things to do in Italy

Tour rome’s greatest hits.

First port of call for many travelers is Rome, Italy’s charismatic capital. You’ll never be able to cover all of its monuments and masterpieces, but there are some you won’t want to miss. The Colosseum and Pantheon are obvious highlights, along with the Roman Forum and Palatino . Then there’s the Vatican where you’ll find St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel (in the Vatican Museums ). And, of course, you’ll want to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure you return to the Eternal City.

For a taste of authentic Roman cuisine, try a slice of pizza from Forno Roscioli or a pasta carbonara at Flavio al Velavevodetto in the Testaccio neighborhood.

Marvel at masterpieces in Florence

One and a half hours north of Rome by train, Florence is the second of Italy’s ‘big three’ (Venice completes the trio). Visitors have been rhapsodizing about the city for centuries and still today it thrills with its Renaissance palazzi (palaces), frescoed churches and artworks such as Michelangelo's David at the Galleria dell'Accademia , Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Galleria degli Uffizi , and Brunelleschi’s red dome atop the landmark Duomo . Art apart, there are markets and boutiques to explore and Negroni cocktails to be sampled, including at the historic Caffè Rivoire .

With more time, you could add a day-trip to Siena or a tour of the Chianti wine country .

Several gondolas offer their tourist services very early in a new day of the beautiful city of Venice as they punt beneath the Bridge of Sighs

Get lost in Venice’s backstreets

As soon as you set foot in Venice you know it’s special. And confusing. To get your bearings take vaporetto (water bus) No 1 along the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco where you’ll find several landmark sights. Chief among these are the Basilica di San Marco and the Gothic Palazzo Ducale , former residence of the ruling Doge. Elsewhere, you can catch modern art at the world-class Peggy Guggenheim Collection and browse colorful produce at the centuries-old Rialto Market .

To fuel your wanderings, Venice is famous for its cicchetti (bar snacks). A top spot for these is the canal-side Bracaro ae Bricoe bar in the Cannaregio sestiere (neighborhood).

Feast on pizza, art and street life in Naples

With Mt Vesuvius brooding on the horizon, Naples is sprawling, loud, sometimes edgy and often magnificent. Its Dickensian backstreets are a joy to explore and its regal palaces showcase world-class collections of Greco-Roman antiquities and baroque art – check out the Museo Nazionale Archeologico and Cappella Sansevero for a glimpse. Then, of course, there’s the city’s revered pizza, served at historic pizzerias such as Da Michele .

Beyond the city, Pompeii is an easy day trip and the Amalfi Coast is within striking distance via the sunny resort town of Sorrento .

A woman in a flowery dress admiring sunset over Lake Como and Bellagio old town in Italy

Cruise the Italian Lakes

Ringed by brooding Alpine summits and steep wooded slopes, the Italian Lakes have been a popular holiday spot since ancient times. At Lake Maggiore , you can explore the Isole Borromee with their ornate palaces and lavish gardens, while further east you can go celeb-spotting on Lake Como , cruising around its exquisite villas and villages.

To reach the lakes you’ll often have to pass through Milan , Italy’s northern powerhouse. A day here would be enough to take in some of its signature sights: Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper , the fairy-tale Duomo , the Quadrilatero d’Oro shopping district.

My favorite thing to do in Italy

Italy’s obvious beauty and blockbuster sights abound, but what I love are its simple pleasures: a leisurely lunch in a favorite trattoria, the sight of pine trees towering over Roman ruins, a glass of prosecco on a Venetian canal-side.

I also love wandering around Rome and seeing how its life plays out against a backdrop of ancient monuments and historic palazzi . There’s always something going on and even without trying I usually come across something special, an amazing baroque fountain or a teeming market in a medieval square. The city’s streets really are an experience in themselves. I mean where else can you wait for a tram just yards from where Julius Caesar was stabbed?

Diverse young women friends eating italian take away pizza in city street - Multiracial female having fun together on summer vacation

How much money do I need for Italy?

Italy isn’t cheap. Accommodation rates vary enormously between places and seasons but prices are universally high in popular destinations. That said, you can still find deals if you book early and avoid peak periods. Sightseeing can also add up with top sites charging top dollar. On the plus side, eating out doesn’t have to cost the earth, especially if you stick to pizza and gelato.

Some average daily costs:

  • Double room in an agriturismo (farm stay) €40-80
  • B&B room €60-140
  • Coffee (standing at a bar) €1.10
  • Midrange meal €25-35
  • Glass of wine €5-8
  • Museum admission €10-20
  • Public transport ticket (Rome) €1.50 for 100 minutes unlimited travel (but only one metro ride)
  • High-speed train ticket Rome to Florence €55

Frequently asked questions

This is italy, so do i have to dress up all the time.

In a word, no. When sightseeing go for comfort, especially when it comes to shoes – you’ll be walking a lot and cobbled streets can be murder on the feet. Note also that major religious sights often enforce dress codes, so make sure you can cover your shoulders, torso and thighs. For going out in the evening, smart casual is the way to go.

What’s the score with tipping?

Tipping is not strictly necessary in restaurants as most places add servizio (service) to the bill. If they don’t or if you want to leave something, a few euros is fine in pizzerias and trattorias; 5% to 10% in smarter restaurants.

What’s this about not drinking a cappuccino after 11am?

Italy has a whole (unwritten) rule book on the dos and don’ts of drinking. As a foreign visitor you’ll get a pass if you order the wrong drink at the wrong time, but it helps to know that Italians regard cappuccinos as breakfast drinks, call an espresso un caffè , and drink beer with pizza.

What’s the card vs cash situation?

Businesses are legally obliged to accept digital payments but it’s always best to have some cash on you. You probably won’t have any problems but it’s not unheard of for payment machines to be mysteriously broken in smaller bars, shops, museums or restaurants. Major credit cards are widely accepted (Amex less so).

This article was first published May 24, 2019 and updated Feb 28, 2024.

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Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Italy Travel Guide

Last Updated: June 3, 2024

A beautiful view overlooking the city of Florence, Italy, with its stunning red roofs and mountains in the background

Italy is one of Europe’s most iconic and popular destinations. Home to incredible food, fabulous wine, tons of ancient ruins, undying romance, and picturesque landscapes, it should come as no surprise that this is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.

I’ve been visiting since 2006 and I never tire of it.

The vineyards in Tuscany, history in Florence , ancient streets of Rome , gorgeous views and hills Cinque Terre , romantic canals in Venice — I love it all.

Italy is best experienced slowly so pace yourself. Soak in the atmosphere and way of life as you explore. Italians move slowly and enjoy la dolce vita and so should you! Relax, take in the scenery, enjoy a cappuccino or a glass of wine. The slower you go, the better you’ll be able to appreciate the charms and nuance of this iconic southern European gem.

This travel guide to Italy can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time here.

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Italy

Click Here for City Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in italy.

View over colorful town in the Cinque Terre along the coast in Italy.

1. Explore Venice

While crowded, Venice is an astounding place to visit. I love the city’s iconic architecture and picturesque canals. Don’t miss the Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, the Basilica San Marco, and the city’s countless museums. Moreover, be sure to head to the old Jewish Ghetto for hip bars and cheap drinks (the English word ghetto comes from this area of Venice). Venice is also home to several world-class festivals. In late winter, the epic Carnival takes place here and, in August, the prestigious Venice Film Festival takes over the nearby island of Lido. If you have time, be sure to explore the neighboring islands on a day tour. They are charming in their own right.

2. Wander Rome

Rome has so much to see and do that you’ll need to make several trips to even scratch the surface. Besides obvious highlights like the Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, and Trevi Fountain, make sure you explore the Trastevere neighborhood. It’s my favorite area in Rome and feels almost like a village inside a big city. Trastevere offers delicious food, funky bars, and ancient winding streets. I love the family pizzerias and cafes here for people-watching and the gelato. Vatican City, the smallest independent city-state in the world, is nestled within the heart of Rome and is home to the Pope, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and many fantastic museums. You can fill an endless amount of time here so don’t try to rush your visit!

3. Tour Pompeii

Located a 20-40-minute train ride from Naples , Pompeii is an ancient city that was destroyed by a volcano, preserving it in a blanket of ash still frozen in time. Walk around the Roman city as it stood the day that Mount Vesuvius exploded in 79 CE, moving in and out of homes, villas, baths, and businesses where pots and vases still lay. What really struck me was entering the houses and seeing that the fountains and most of the beautiful frescoes are still intact. Admission is 22 EUR while a guided tour with a professional archeologist is 55 EUR. It’s a huge site and will take a full day to visit in depth.

4. Hike the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre consists of five colorful coastal villages on the west coast of Italy, backed by steep vineyards and mountains. These small towns are by no means undiscovered by tourists but still absolutely beautiful and teeming with great shops and cafes. Each village has its own unique charm and personality so be sure to visit all of them. I absolutely love the fun hikes in the stunning hills high above the sea between the villages that range in difficulty. The Cinque Terre express train makes it super easy to pop around to the different villages if you don’t want to hike between the towns. Trail #7 is my favorite.

5. Relax on the Amalfi Coast

Other things to see and do in italy, 1. party at the venice carnival.

Carnival is ten days of masquerade madness every February leading up to Mardi Gras. The tradition goes back centuries, starting in the 12th century and reaching the height of popularity in the 18th century. Today, it’s one of the biggest festivals in Italy, with millions of people attending every year. Though it’s too crowded for my taste, the iconic and diverse masks are a central part of the festivities and every year there is a contest for the most beautiful mask. If you want to splash out, you can even attend a traditional masquerade ball! Just be sure to book your accommodation early as the city fills up months in advance.

2. Explore Milan

Milan is the fashion capital of Italy. Spend some time taking in the glamor but don’t spend more than a day or two here unless you’re looking to splash out. While you’re here, don’t miss the beautiful Milan Cathedral, which boasts 3,500 statues, 135 spires, and five bronze doors. Sforzesco Castle, a 15th-century castle that houses Michelangelo’s last sculpture, is also worth a visit. There’s also Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper , located inside Santa Maria delle Grazie church (which is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site) as well as Leonardo’s Horse, one of the largest equine statues in the world. To get away from the crowds, spend some time relaxing in Parco Sempione, Milan’s most famous city park. It’s a vast oasis of green space and perfect for a picnic when the weather is nice.

3. See the Leaning Tower in Pisa

The entire city of Pisa is focused on taking photos of this famed tower. Started in 1173 and finished in 1399, it’s the bell tower of Pisa’s cathedral, located next door. Although it was meant to be perfectly vertical, the tower started leaning during construction due to the weight of the building on an unstable foundation. Most people come for the tower, but I find the entire complex to be stunning! The white marble buildings of the Baptistry and the Duomo are equally impressive but don’t get the same attention as the tower. They’re worth a visit. Admission to the top is 20 EUR or 27 EUR for a ticket that includes all the monuments in the complex. DiscoveryPisa runs a guided tour of all three sites for 40 EUR if you want a more in-depth experience.

4. Visit Siena

Everyone who visits Siena walks away loving it. Located in Tuscany, it’s one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Italy and boasts a labyrinth of lanes gathered around the arena of Piazza del Campo. Spend a few days admiring this charming city and exploring one of Italy’s most popular and famous regions. The main draw to the city is the stunning Siena Cathedral, which was constructed with white and black marble and is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the country (the interior is massive and ornately decorated and lined by huge columns). Be sure to also visit the Torre del Mangia, a narrow 14th-century tower that offers stunning views of the area, as well as the 14th-century Fonte Gaia fountain, which is decorated by centuries-old marble panels.

5. Wander Naples

Naples , made famous as the birthplace of pizza, is a gritty city home to a wealth of historical treasures. There’s the medieval Naples Cathedral, the 18th-century Villa Comunale Park, and nearby Naples , Pompeii , one of the most amazing and important sites to visit in the country. The Archaeological Museum of Naples is also worth a visit, and if you enjoy hiking you can climb up the iconic Mount Vesuvius. Naples is the gateway to the south so you’re very likely to come here if you’re crisscrossing the country. Its location near Pompeii, Capri, and Sorrento makes it the perfect starting point for exploring the region. Best of all, it’s a foodie city like no other; I ate my weight in pizza during my visit!

6. Explore Florence

There’s no real need to explain why one should visit Florence — the city speaks for itself. Everything people say about it is true: great food, amazing museums, ancient buildings, small streets, awesome gelato. The city has it all. Be sure to visit The Uffizi, which holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art (including the The Birth of Venus and La Primavera by Botticelli, Bacchus by Caravaggio, and Doni Tondo by Michelangelo). The famous David statue is also in Florence, housed in the Galleria dell’Accademia. It’s one of the most impressive sculptures in the world and at 5.17 meters (17 feet) tall, it’s a lot bigger and more detailed than you think it would be! While here, make sure you take a few wine tours throughout the region to get a feel for the verdant countryside. Don’t miss the view from the highest point in the Piazzale Michelangelo. It was my favorite and well worth the hike to get there.

7. Drive around “the Heel”

Few travelers ever visit the southern heel of the Italian “boot.” But, if you have time, it’s worth the trip. This is where most of the fruits and vegetables in Italy come from so a trip down here will give you the best glimpse into rustic Italian life far from the maddening crowds of Rome and Italy’s other tourist hotspots. Don’t miss the picturesque Polignano a Mare, with its rugged cliffs and white-washed houses. Gallipoli, with its labyrinth of narrow lanes and historic port, is also worth visiting. There are tons of amazing beaches in this part of the country too, including Marina di Pescoluse (Salento), Cala Porto (Polignano a Mare), and Torre Guaceto (Brindisi).

8. Eat your way around Sicily

There’s Italian culture and then there’s Sicily. Sicily has its own unique cooking style, traditions, and customs. It’s unlike the rest of Italy. Be sure to spend some time in Taormina and Palermo (the capital of Sicily). The UNESCO Valley of the Temples is also in Sicily, a national park home to incredible Greek ruins that are over 2,000 years old. Don’t miss the stunning Mount Etna , an active volcano that you can ski on it in the winter or take a tour of the top in the summer.

9. Stroll through Sorrento

Sorrento is a small city in southwestern Italy surrounded by a dreamy landscape of rolling hills, deep valleys, and the Lattari Mountains. There’s not a lot to do in the town itself but Sorrento makes an ideal starting point for numerous excursions to nearby cities and islands around the famous Amalfi Coast, like Capri and Ischia. I especially love driving along the winding coastal roads overlooking the sea. Don’t miss a visit to the nearby Blue Grotto .

10. Attend Settimana Santa (Holy Week)

This is the last week of Lent, known as Holy Week. During this time, there are several processions throughout Italy, drawing crowds of thousands. Throughout the week, there are various gatherings in Puglia, Abruzzo, and Sicily but the major event occurs on Easter Sunday and is led by the Pope himself. It’s an amazing time to visit, but expect huge crowds and for accommodation to sell out months in advance.

11. Visit Alberobello

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is an interesting and picturesque little town just south of Bari (a port city on the Adriatic Sea) known for its unusual white cone-shaped houses (they’re super peculiar). It’s well worth a visit between the months of November and April (to avoid the flocks of tourists) as there are a couple of museums to peruse, in addition to some great restaurants, bars, and markets.

12. Tour the Vatican Museums

Founded in the early 16th century, it is a complex of museums spanning over 12 acres. There are so many priceless highlights, including Michelangelo’s works in the Sistine Chapel. You could easily spend hours here so don’t rush your visit. Consider getting a guide to make the museum come to life and give you some context and history of what you are seeing. Admission is 20 EUR and skip-the-line guided tours with Get Your Guide start around 40 EUR.

13. See Chiesa di Sant’Efisio

When you find yourself in Cagliari on Sardinia, wander over to the Stampace quarter to see this church. Dedicated to the patron Saint Ephisius, this is the most important church in the city. The original building dates to the 13th century, though it was rebuilt and expanded in the 16th century and then again in the 18th century, this time in the Baroque style. Admission is free.

14. Take a cooking class

Italy is a dream destination for foodies and the best way to learn about this amazing cuisine is to take a cooking class . You’ll get to visit a local market, learn about the history of some of the country’s best dishes, and then learn how to make them yourself so you can impress friends and family back home. You can find cooking classes all over the country. They are very common. Prices vary depending on what city you take a class in, but most cost at least 40 EUR and last a few hours.

15. Take a walking tour

Walks of Italy offers incredible, detailed tours all around the country. They are my favorite tour company in the country. And they are relatively inexpensive and you definitely get your money’s worth. If you are big into history, culture, or architecture these tours are for you. You’ll walk away with a much richer understanding of the country. Don’t miss them.

For information on specific cities in Italy, check out these city guides:

  • Cinque Terre Travel Guide
  • Florence Travel Guide
  • Milan Travel Guide
  • Naples Travel Guide
  • Pisa Travel Guide
  • Rome Travel Guide
  • Sorrento Travel Guide
  • Venice Travel Guide

Italy Travel Costs

Colorful buildings along the canal in Burano, an island near Venice, Italy.

Hostel prices – Hostel dorms average 30-70 EUR per night for rooms with 6-8 beds. Private rooms are usually between 100-140 EUR per night. Free Wi-Fi is standard and most hostels also have self-catering facilities and include breakfast. During the summer months, expect prices to double. In Rome and Florence, prices throughout the year are about 20% higher than anywhere else.

For those traveling with a tent, campgrounds are available around the country, usually costing between 15-40 EUR per night for a basic plot for two people.

Budget hotel prices – A night in a two-star budget hotel ranges between 70-125 EUR per night. Expect basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, TV, AC, and occasionally free breakfast. Prices are on the higher end in cities like Rome and Venice and also double during the summer.

On Airbnb, private rooms start around 45-90 EUR, while entire apartments usually start around 70-150 EUR. Expect prices on the higher end in hotspots like Rome and Venice. Prices can also double (or triple) when not booked in advance. Additionally, expect even higher prices in the busy summer months.

Food – Italian cuisine is beloved around the world, though every region in Italy offers its own distinct flavor. Tomatoes, pasta, olives, and olive oil form the backbone of most dishes, with meat, fish and various cheeses rounding out the menu. Gelato and pizza, of course, are also super popular. Some traditional dishes include bigoli in salsa (pasta in anchovy sauce), risotto al nero di seppia (risotto with cuttlefish ink), gnocchi alla Sorrentina (potato gnocchi), cassoeula (a meat and cabbage stew), and tagliatelle funghi porcini e tartufo (pasta with mushrooms and truffles).

A casual restaurant meal of pizza or pasta usually costs 15-25 EUR. In tourist hot spots, add 5-10 EUR to that.

Quick eats like pizza by the slice, paninis, and light snacks cost between 3-8 EUR. Snacks like croissants are less than 2 EUR.

Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 10-12 EUR for a combo meal while Chinese, Thai, or Indian food is 10-12 EUR for a main dish. Dessert is usually around 4-8 EUR for something like tiramisu.

Your average restaurant meal costs around 30 EUR with a drink. Most main dishes cost around 15-20 EUR while a pizza is around 10-15 EUR. For higher-end meals, expect to spend about 70 EUR for a three-course meal with a drink.

Beer costs around 4-5 EUR while a glass of wine costs 4-8 EUR. For non-alcoholic drinks, a latte or cappuccino is around 1.50 EUR and bottled water is 1 EUR.

If you plan on cooking your own groceries, expect to spend 50-65 EUR per week. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal produce, and some meat or fish.

Backpacking Italy Suggested Budgets

If you’re backpacking Italy, my suggested budget is 65 EUR per day. This assumes you’re staying in a hostel, cooking all your meals, limiting your drinking, taking public transportation to get around, and sticking to mostly free activities like hiking, free walking tours, and the beaches. If you plan on drinking a lot, add at least 15 EUR to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of 140 EUR per day, you can stay in an Airbnb or budget hotel, eat out for a couple of meals, enjoy a few drinks, take the occasional taxi, and do more paid activities like touring the Colosseum or exploring Pompeii.

On an upscale budget of 255 EUR or more per day, you can stay in a budget hotel, eat out for all your meals, drink as much as you want, rent a car, and do whatever tours and activities you want. This isn’t a real luxury budget but it’s a budget that affords you the ability to do anything you want. If you want real luxury, you’ll need to read a different blog for that!

Italy Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Italy is one of the most expensive Eurozone countries. It’s very easy to break the bank in Italy, owing to all the historic sites, expensive accommodation, and delicious but pricey restaurants. You’re going to be spending a lot on a visit here. However, there are still lots of ways to reduce your expenses. Here are some tips to help you save money in Italy:

  • Skip the bread – Many restaurants offer you bread when you sit down — but they don’t mention that it’s not free. If you’re on a budget, decline the bread and save a few Euros each dining experience.
  • Picnic – Head to the store or one of the many markets in the country and grab food for a picnic. It’s cheaper than eating out and you can lounge in one of the many parks to watch the day go by. Food markets are a good place to try things, get fresh cheese and cold cuts, pasta, and snacks like ‘arancini,’ a super-filling rice ball stuffed with meat or cheese.
  • Drink the tap water – When out at a restaurant, ask for tap water or you will automatically get expensive bottled water included on your bill. Since the tap water is safe to drink, bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
  • Buy wine at the store – You can buy a great bottle of wine for 6-10 EUR at the store. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar. Take it outdoors and sit around and enjoy the day/evening or skip expensive nightlife and go out for a long dinner and just drink it at the hostel. Just make sure you have a travel corkscrew on you if you’re going to sit outside somewhere!
  • Take the bus – Budget bus companies like Flixbus can take you across the country for cheap. It isn’t glamorous, but with tickets starting at 6 EUR you really can’t complain! (And it’s cheaper than the train.) Taking the bus in town inside big cities instead of taking taxis everywhere or renting a car will save you lots of money.
  • Redeem hotel points – If you sign up for hotel credit cards, you can use those points when you travel. It’s always nice to have free accommodations and most cards offer at least 1-2 nights free when you sign up, which can save you a lot. Use this post can to get started with the basics so you can start earning points now and have some built up for your trip.
  • Take a free walking tour – Most cities in Italy offer free walking tours that cover all the main highlights. It’s the best budget-friendly way to explore and also a great way to meet other travelers if you’re alone. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Stay with a local – Accommodation is expensive in Italy, even in the hostels. Use Couchsurfing to stay with locals who have extra beds or couches for free. It’s the best way to save money and meet people. Just be sure to send your requests early (especially in the summer). Also, it’s a good idea to research the area you’re staying in first so you’re not so far away from the city center (or city!) that you need to spend a lot of time/money getting into town to see the sites.
  • Get a city tourist card – Many tourism offices offer tourist cards that provide free or discounted entry to the main attractions. Some even include restaurant discounts and free transportation. If you plan on sightseeing a lot, these cards can cut your costs drastically. Check the local tourism board in each city for info when you arrive.
  • Rideshare – If you’re flexible in your schedule, use the ridesharing service BlaBlaCar to catch rides with locals between cities. I used this service and not only did I save money, I got to meet interesting people and learn more about life in Italy. This is a good option to book a few days in advance. Just make sure to pick someone who has good ratings because newer drivers can have a tendency to be unreliable or cancel at the last minute.

Where to Stay in Italy

There’s a lot of hostels and hotels in Italy to choose from. Check out my city guides for a more complete list of favorites but, below, are some of my top recommended hostels and budget hotels in Italy:

  • Loly Boutique Hotel (Rome)
  • The Beehive (Rome)
  • Hotel Montecarlo (Venice)
  • Generator (Venice)
  • Hostel of the Sun (Naples)
  • Ulisse Deluxe (Sorrento)
  • Hotel Bologna (Pisa)
  • Hostel Pisa Tower (Pisa)

How to Get Around Italy

High speed train in Italy.

Public transportation – Public transportation is available in all the major cities in Italy (many of which have comprehensive metro systems). Tickets usually cost between 1-2 EUR for a single journey. Some cities also have day passes that offer unlimited travel. In Rome, you can purchase a one-day pass for unlimited travel for 7 EUR. A three-day pass costs 18 EUR, for example. While public transportation is generally reliable, traffic can be a nightmare — especially in Rome.

Train – The best way to get around Italy is via their extensive train network. Prices are affordable too, with most trips costing just 10-30 EUR. Rome to Florence takes just 90 minutes (on the fast train) with tickets starting at 25 EUR. Rome to Venice takes around 4 hours with tickets starting around 45 EUR. Rome to Naples is just over one hour and costs around 20 EUR.

Italo and Trenitalia are the two main rail systems. Tickets on Trenitalia are often a standard price, while Italo’s ticket prices fluctuate more widely.

To find routes and prices for trains around Italy (and Europe), use Trainline .

Bus – The bus is slower than the train but cheaper, with prices on FlixBus starting as low as 6 EUR. This isn’t the most convenient or fastest way to travel, but the buses are comfortable and good for short and medium journeys. Most buses come with outlets and free Wi-Fi too.

The 4-hour trip from Rome to Florence costs around 3-12 EUR, while a longer trip like Venice to Naples takes 10-15 hours and costs just 7-26 EUR.

Flying – If you’re pressed for time and are looking to jump from one city to the next, a budget airline might be the way to go. Prices can be incredibly low on airlines like Ryanair.

That said, when you factor in the time spent at airports, you’re likely not going to save much time when compared to high-speed trains. Also, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights and you usually need to print your boarding pass out too (or pay a fee).

Ferry – If you want to visit some of Italy’s amazing islands, you’ll have to book a ferry. Ferries are frequent and you don’t need to book too far in advance, but during peak season it’s a good idea to book at least a few weeks ahead. You can use FerryHopper to find routes and prices. The popular one-hour ferry from Naples to Capri starts from 27 EUR.

Car rental – Car rentals are generally quite affordable here, usually starting around 25-35 EUR per day for a multi-day rental. Just make sure you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) as it’s required before you rent a car. Also, keep in mind that Italian drivers can be on the aggressive side so drive cautiously. For the best rental car deals, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Italy

There’s no wrong time to visit Italy. Historically, the peak season has been July and August, but post-COVID cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice are busy pretty much year-round.

There’s a huge variation in climate across the country. Temperatures can soar as high as 36°C (98°F) during the summer in the southern part of the country, and popular cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence experience a huge influx of visitors. I’d try to avoid visiting these cities in the summer if you can as it’s just too crowded, too hot, and prices increase during this time as well. However, if you want to visit the Alps in the northern part of the country, near Milan, summer is when the weather is best. Temperatures are around 24°C (76°F), but you’ll have to deal with the crowds.

Personally, I think the best time to visit Italy is during the shoulder season (March-May and September-October). It’s still warm in the south but the crowds have thinned and prices are lower. This is a particularly great time to hang out in the Mediterranean. Expect daily highs around 22°C (72°F). It’s still nice in the northern part of the country too. Average temperatures are around 14°C (57°F), so you’ll want layers for the cool mornings and evenings. If you want to get into the higher elevations, plan on colder temperatures and the possibility of snow.

Winter is from November to February. It gets cold, and tourist crowds thin out considerably. Temperatures vary quite a bit from north to south, with it sometimes dropping to 2°C (36°F) in Milan and 4°C (39°F) in Rome. In the south, near Sorrento and Naples, average temperatures are closer to 12°C (54°F) and you won’t have to worry about snow. On the other hand, November to December is fantastic — you’ll find Christmas markets and festivals galore!

How to Stay Safe in Italy

Italy is a safe country to travel as violent crime against tourists is very rare. However, scams and pickpocketing are incredibly common, especially around high-traffic tourist sites in places like Rome and Venice. Always keep your valuables secure and out of sight on public transportation and when out and about. The biggest things to watch out for are pickpockets on public transportation and in crowds. Don’t leave your bag open or put your mobile phone in loose jacket pockets on the tram or subway.

Be wary of people selling discounted tickets on the street. Chances are they are fake so always buy tickets from reputable sellers only. If you take a taxi somewhere, make sure the driver uses the meter so you don’t get ripped off.

You can read about other common travel scams to avoid here.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe in Italy. However, the standard safety precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). Catcalling is not uncommon in Italy. Also, on public transport be mindful of groping on public transport. For specific tips, check out one of the many solo female travel blogs on the country as they will have better advice for you.

If you rent a car, make sure you drive carefully and also have extra insurance. The roads in much of the country are very winding and narrow and drivers here are on the aggressive side.

Natural disasters here are uncommon, but since there are several active volcanoes in the country they can occur. Venice is also prone to flooding, so always be mindful of the weather while you’re here and heed any warnings or advisories.

If you experience an emergency, dial 113 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Italy Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!
  • Walks of Italy – This walking tour company provides inside access to attractions and places you can’t get elsewhere. Their guides rock and they have some of the best and most insightful tours in all of Italy.
  • BlaBlaCar – BlaBlaCar is a ridesharing website that lets you share rides with vetted local drivers by pitching in for gas. You simply request a seat, they approve, and off you go! It’s a cheaper and more interesting way to travel than by bus or train!

Italy Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Italy and continue planning your trip:

The Best Walking Tours in Bologna

The Best Walking Tours in Bologna

The 6 Best Hotels in Florence

The 6 Best Hotels in Florence

Where to Stay in Florence: The Best Neighborhoods For Your Visit

Where to Stay in Florence: The Best Neighborhoods For Your Visit

Where to Stay in Milan: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

Where to Stay in Milan: The Best Neighborhoods for Your Visit

The 6 Best Hotels in Milan

The 6 Best Hotels in Milan

The Best Walking Tours in Florence

The Best Walking Tours in Florence

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Carlo DeSando

Wonderful Time in Italy We were covered from the moment we landed in Rome. The drivers were great, the connections were flawless, and it was well-planned a...

The weather in Italy in December casts a magical spell over Italy as the country embraces the festive spirit of Christmas. Amidst twinkling lights and festive decorations, Italy's historic towns come alive with holiday markets and nativity scenes. Whether wandering through the Christmas markets of Florence or attending the religious festivities in Assisi, December offers a magical journey through Italy's winter wonderland, celebrating its traditions, and cherishing the joyous spirit of the season. Snow arrives in the north as well, offering plenty of skiing and snowboarding amongst the Alps.

What is the weather like in Italy in December?

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Experience the hit TV show 'The White Lotus' in Sicily

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Enchanting Italian Lakes

Enchanting Italian Lakes

Experience the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy, including Lake Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore; explore the charming Borromean Islands – former favourites of Ernest Hemingway – and stroll the romantic streets of Verona and Milan. All of this, and much more, with this self-drive trip!

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

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Florence: A Trip Back In Time

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Stay at a beautiful hotel in San Gimignano, a medieval hill town half way between Florence and Siena. Tuscany is known for its wines and food and that's what you'll be exploring on this itinerary - several wine and food pairings await. All hand-picked by your local travel specialist.

As December unfolds, Italy embraces the cold charms of winter as ski resorts open in the Alps and the Dolomites with heavy snowfall higher up the mountains. Even the likes of Sicily and Naples can start to feel the (relative) chill as temperatures head toward single digits.

The days are short but December is a magical time to visit Italy, as the festive spirit comes alive with Christmas markets, nativity scenes, and twinkling lights adorning most major towns. If you don't mind the cold weather and an occasional shower, December can be a great time.

Rough Guides tip: make sure to read all about the best time to visit Italy .

Italy can be moderately warm in December, especially in the southern regions. Generally, the average temperature in the southern coastal areas is around 12-16°C (37°F to 50°F). However, in the northern regions, it's cooler at around 3-10°C (37-45°F). Expect a variety of weather conditions, including some rainy days.

December marks a shift towards cooler weather during the onset of winter, bringing a sharp change in temperatures with it. The weather in Italy in December brings colder temperatures and more rain.

In northern regions like Milan and Venice , temperatures can range from 3°C to 10°C (37°F to 50°F) during the day. Central areas, including Florence and Rome , experience slightly milder weather, with temperatures ranging from 6°C to 13°C (43°F to 55°F). Southern areas, like Sicily and Naples, maintain relatively milder temperatures, hovering between 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).

As the days grow shorter, December in Italy offers about 4 to 6 hours of sunshine per day. While the warmth of summer is long gone, it's still possible to explore Italy's cultural treasures and rolling countryside with ease.

Rough Guides tip: a trip to Italy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Check our Italy itineraries .

dolomite-italy-shutterstock_164175596

Dolomite, Italy © Shutterstock

December can be a good time to visit Italy, especially for winter sports as the Alps and Dolomites usually get a good dollop of snow. Rome comes alive with dazzling Christmas markets and elaborate nativity scenes in Turin , Florence and Verona are matched by light displays that illuminate ancient architecture in Venice, Lecce , Milan and others.

Although the weather tends to be cooler, especially in the northern regions, and occasional rain showers can occur countrywide, there are plenty of upsides. The weather in Italy in December provides good opportunities to sample Alto Adige’s wine during the Törggelen season.

This roughly coincides with the arrival of the Neuien – the first bottles of new, young wine – from about the end of September to the beginning of December. It traditionally marks the passage of the year, celebrating a golden time of clear autumnal weather before winter sets in.

Do note that by December, some tourist attractions may have reduced hours or be closed completely for the winter.

This exciting tailor-made journey through the treasures of Italy: Venice, Florence and Rome can be personalised to suit the winter and our local experts will do their best to make your winter holiday in Italy an unforgettable experience.

December brings varying levels of average rainfall across Italy. As the late autumn transitions into winter the northern regions, such as Milan and Venice, see slightly higher average rainfall levels, ranging from 60 mm to 100 mm.

Central areas, including Florence and Rome, experience moderate rainfall, with averages ranging from 40 mm to 80 mm. In the south, destinations like Sicily and Naples, receive relatively lower average rainfall, typically between 40 mm to 60 mm.

While December is not the wettest month in Italy, occasional rain showers are common, especially in the northern and central regions. Note that sleet and snow occur regularly as well, especially in mountainous regions.

turin-piedmont-shutterstock_692991079

Turin, Piedmont © Shutterstock

Whether religious, traditional or cultural, there are literally thousands of festivals in Italy and sometimes the best are those that you come across unexpectedly in smaller towns. Some of the highlights for December are listed below:

  • Festa di Sant’Agata (Feb 3–5). Riotous religious procession in Catania, Sicily that honours Saint Agatha, the patron saint of the city.
  • Carnevale (weekend before Lent). Carnival festivities in Venice, plus many towns throughout Italy. when for four consecutive Sundays it stages an amazing parade of floats, or carri – colossal, lavishly designed papier-mâché models of politicians and celebrities

Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

  • Supercars in the Heart of Northern Italy (12 days): Embark on a luxury automotive experience in Italy's Bologna and Modena, where you'll uncover the world's finest sports cars. Explore the captivating cities of Venice and Florence, and indulge in visits to the prestigious Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati factories and museums. As a highlight, rev up your excitement by taking a Ferrari out for an unforgettable ride.
  • Exploring Vatican City and Assisi (6 days): Experience the wonders of Ancient Rome on this captivating week-long trip, immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring sights of the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and St. Peter's Basilica. Afterwards, venture to the sacred abode of St. Francis of Assisi, Eremo delle Carceri, for a journey filled with spiritual significance.
  • Or discover more Italy itineraries .

The Rough Guides to Italy and related travel guides

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Piazza San Marco in Venice with Gondola

written by Ties Lagraauw

updated 31.01.2024

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Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform Reis-Expert.nl , Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

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Italy Tours in December 2024

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243 Italy trips in December 2024

The Italian Dream Tour

Explorer Family Historical Christmas & New Year +1

The Italian Dream

"Good overall experience as expected." Borislav, traveled in May 2024

Classical Italy Tour

Classical Italy

"Well organized, very quick pace." Edward, traveled in March 2024

Deluxe Italian Escape with picturesque Cinque Terre Tour

Explorer Family Sightseeing Historical Christmas & New Year +2

Deluxe Italian Escape with picturesque Cinque Terre

"They are with you from start to finish. They chose really good hotels, that are convenient and comfortable." Jorge, traveled in March 2023

Italy from North to South Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Explorer Coach / Bus Christmas & New Year +3

Italy from North to South

"I would recommend it to my friends." Ronaldo, traveled in October 2023

Discover Italy end Milan Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Historical Christmas & New Year +2

Discover Italy end Milan

"I loved every bit of this trip. The guides and transportation were able to get every beautiful piece in just the right amount time." Paige, traveled in December 2022

UNESCO Jewels: Best of Italy - Rome, Florence, Venice in 8 days Tour

In-depth Cultural Explorer Historical +1

UNESCO Jewels: Best of Italy - Rome, Florence, Venice in 8 days

"I like tours that I feel like I am very well taken care of. This tour didn't do that." Cheryl, traveled in May 2024

UNESCO Jewels: Best of Italy - Rome, Florence, Venice in 5 days Tour

In-depth Cultural Family Explorer +1

UNESCO Jewels: Best of Italy - Rome, Florence, Venice in 5 days

"The tour stops were great. The guides in the city tours were excellent." Karen, traveled in September 2019

Italian Holiday (7 Days) Tour

Italian Holiday (7 Days)

"Lots to see but they had lots of breaks too. Would def do again." Larry, traveled in May 2023
  • €100 deposit on some dates

Italian Treasures Tour

Italian Treasures

"The accommodations were not needed in Venice, but our stays in Roma and Amalfi were lovely." Jonathan, traveled in March 2024

Taste of Italy (11 destinations) Tour

Taste of Italy (11 destinations)

"The tour was excellent, very organized and informed." Lyman, traveled in June 2023
  • 10% deposit on some dates

What people love about Italy Tours in December

This was a wonderful unrushed small tour with a knowledgeable English tour guide very fun that I extended my tour. The hotels were very nice close to city centers and meals were flavorful delights. I loved the tuscany part of the tour. I would recommend this company.
The tour was comfortable and on time and our guide was lovely
TourRadar was excellent. The tours they scheduled were well-run by knowledgeable and amiable guides. Of course, the Italy locations were superb. The office staff kept in constant contact, but unobtrusive. And when I changed plans on the fly, the staff was responsive and thorough. I definitely cannot wait to book my next adventure with TourRadar!

Destinations

  • South Italy December 2024 (79)
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AFAR

14 Must-Read Books Before Your Next Trip to Italy

Posted: December 20, 2023 | Last updated: December 20, 2023

<p>A selection of titles to tide you over until your next Italian trip</p><p>Photo by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock</p><p><a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/travel-guides/italy/guide" rel="noopener">Italy</a> and its wonders have been the stuff of legend since before the poet Virgil wrote the <i>Aeneid </i>more than 2,000 years ago<i>.</i> Although we suspect you don’t need much additional inspiration to get you dreaming of everyone’s favorite boot-shaped country, here are 14 books, including a few classics, just in case. </p>

A selection of titles to tide you over until your next Italian trip

Photo by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Italy and its wonders have been the stuff of legend since before the poet Virgil wrote the Aeneid more than 2,000 years ago . Although we suspect you don’t need much additional inspiration to get you dreaming of everyone’s favorite boot-shaped country, here are 14 books, including a few classics, just in case.

<p><a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/travel-guides/italy/guide" rel="noopener">Italy</a> and its wonders have been the stuff of legend since before the poet Virgil wrote the <i>Aeneid </i>more than 2,000 years ago<i>.</i> Although we suspect you don’t need much additional inspiration to get you dreaming of everyone’s favorite boot-shaped country, here are 14 books, including a few classics, just in case. </p> <h2>“Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails From Milan to Palermo” by Tim Parks (2013)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/italian-ways-on-and-off-the-rails-from-milan-to-palermo-tim-parks/11174571?ean=9780393348828" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>Parks, a British novelist, has long lived in and written about Italy. In this travelogue by train, he makes pungent and entertaining observations from the perspective of someone who is not a native but loves his adopted home. It is partly a casual guide to using the Trenitalia national rail system, part personal memoir of a keen observer.</p>

“Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails From Milan to Palermo” by Tim Parks (2013)

  • Buy now : bookshop.org

Parks, a British novelist, has long lived in and written about Italy. In this travelogue by train, he makes pungent and entertaining observations from the perspective of someone who is not a native but loves his adopted home. It is partly a casual guide to using the Trenitalia national rail system, part personal memoir of a keen observer.

<h2>“Tuscany: Simple Meals & Fabulous Feasts From Italy” by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li> <b>Buy now:</b> <a class="Link" href="https://amzn.to/485Vd6Z" rel="noopener">amazon.com</a></li>  </ul> <p>Married couple Giancarlo (an Italian restaurateur) and Katie Caldesi (a British artist) bring Tuscan cooking to life in this collaboration. Master the fundamentals, like how to make a great <i>soffritto</i> or tomato sauce, or get more complex by attempting your own filled ravioli. The colorful pages and tasty recipes, culled from the pair’s years of expertise honed in their own restaurants and cooking schools, are as enticing as a panna cotta on a summer day in Pisa.</p> <h2>“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter (2012)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/beautiful-ruins-jess-walter/9038753?ean=9780061928178" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>This novel is set in a fictional town—Porto Vergogna—near the famed Cinque Terre, in the early 1960s. Porto Vergogna hopes to expand the Cinque Terre from five to six; alas, it only has proximity going for it. Walters is a novelist always worth reading, but this is his only novel set in Italy. OK, partly set in Italy. It jumps back and forth in time and place with “recent” Los Angeles and a few other places. However, once you encounter the aspirational Hotel Adequate View and its Italian owner in the first chapter, you will want to read it all. </p>

“Tuscany: Simple Meals & Fabulous Feasts From Italy” by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi (2018)

“tuscany: simple meals & fabulous feasts from italy” by katie & giancarlo caldesi (2018).

  • Buy now: amazon.com

Married couple Giancarlo (an Italian restaurateur) and Katie Caldesi (a British artist) bring Tuscan cooking to life in this collaboration. Master the fundamentals, like how to make a great soffritto or tomato sauce, or get more complex by attempting your own filled ravioli. The colorful pages and tasty recipes, culled from the pair’s years of expertise honed in their own restaurants and cooking schools, are as enticing as a panna cotta on a summer day in Pisa.

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter (2012)

This novel is set in a fictional town—Porto Vergogna—near the famed Cinque Terre, in the early 1960s. Porto Vergogna hopes to expand the Cinque Terre from five to six; alas, it only has proximity going for it. Walters is a novelist always worth reading, but this is his only novel set in Italy. OK, partly set in Italy. It jumps back and forth in time and place with “recent” Los Angeles and a few other places. However, once you encounter the aspirational Hotel Adequate View and its Italian owner in the first chapter, you will want to read it all.

<h2>“The Eight Mountains” by Paolo Cognetti (2017)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-eight-mountains-paolo-cognetti/6772929?ean=9781501169892" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>The 2017 winner of Italy’s esteemed Strega Prize for fiction gets an English translation here. The first-person novel revolves around Pietro, a boy from <a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/travel-guides/italy/milan/guide" rel="noopener">Milan</a>, and the friendship he develops with Bruno, a boy whom he meets while trekking in the Dolomites with his family. But it’s also a coming-of-age narrative that grapples with Pietro’s relationship with his father and the mountains they both love.</p> <h2>“Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna” by Ramie Targoff (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/renaissance-woman-the-life-of-vittoria-colonna/18925026?ean=9780374538224" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p> In this biography of Italian poet and noblewoman Vittoria Colonna, Dr. Ramie Targoff, professor of English at Brandeis University, peers into the life of one of the most remarkable women from the Renaissance. Targoff draws readers into the world of 16th-century Italy, exploring how Colonna became a sonneteer and befriended popes and artists alike (her most notable friendship was with Michelangelo himself).</p> <h2>“Everyone in Their Place” by Maurizio de Giovanni (2013)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/everyone-in-their-place-the-summer-of-commissario-ricciardi-maurizio-de-giovanni/11309624?ean=9781609451431" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>This is the third of the “four seasons” series of mysteries featuring Commissario Ricciardi. The setting is early 1930s Naples. An impending visit by Benito Mussolini adds urgency to solving the murder of a duchess linked to the local social and fascist elite. The author, a native of Naples, uses his knowledge of the city to bring it to life.</p>

“The Eight Mountains” by Paolo Cognetti (2017)

The 2017 winner of Italy’s esteemed Strega Prize for fiction gets an English translation here. The first-person novel revolves around Pietro, a boy from Milan , and the friendship he develops with Bruno, a boy whom he meets while trekking in the Dolomites with his family. But it’s also a coming-of-age narrative that grapples with Pietro’s relationship with his father and the mountains they both love.

“Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna” by Ramie Targoff (2018)

In this biography of Italian poet and noblewoman Vittoria Colonna, Dr. Ramie Targoff, professor of English at Brandeis University, peers into the life of one of the most remarkable women from the Renaissance. Targoff draws readers into the world of 16th-century Italy, exploring how Colonna became a sonneteer and befriended popes and artists alike (her most notable friendship was with Michelangelo himself).

“Everyone in Their Place” by Maurizio de Giovanni (2013)

This is the third of the “four seasons” series of mysteries featuring Commissario Ricciardi. The setting is early 1930s Naples. An impending visit by Benito Mussolini adds urgency to solving the murder of a duchess linked to the local social and fascist elite. The author, a native of Naples, uses his knowledge of the city to bring it to life.

<h2>“Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way” by Kamin Mohammadi (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/bella-figura-how-to-live-love-and-eat-the-italian-way-kamin-mohammadi/8632794?ean=9780804173292" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>Ten years ago, Kamin Mohammadi was laid off her job as an editor in <a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/travel-guides/united-kingdom/london/guide" rel="noopener">London</a>. A friend offered her use of an apartment in Florence, and so she went to Tuscany. <i>Bella Figura </i>takes readers along for that first year of Italian living, in which Mohammadi learns the value in living life at a slower pace. The story is intimate, with stories about falling in love with the place but also heartbreak. Chapters are divided by month and begin with a nice little inventory: In January, the scent of the city is woodsmoke; her new Italian word of the month is <i>salve</i>. At the end of each chapter are recipes.</p> <h2>“Eating My Way Through Italy: Heading Off the Main Roads to Discover the Hidden Treasures of the Italian Table” by Elizabeth Minchilli (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/eating-my-way-through-italy-heading-off-the-main-roads-to-discover-the-hidden-treasures-of-the-italian-table-elizabeth-minchilli/8524522?ean=9781250133045" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>A resident of Italy for 30 years, Elizabeth Minchilli has become an expert on the country’s cuisine. In <i>Eating My Way Through Italy</i>, she provides the tools for readers to get off the beaten path, as the book’s subtitle suggests. Divided geographically, written conversationally, and even including tips for where to stay, Minchilli’s book reminds readers how distinct—and delicious—Italy’s regional cuisines are.</p>  <h2>“Memoirs of Hadrian” by Marguerite Yourcenar (1951)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/memoirs-of-hadrian-marguerite-yourcenar/10393155?ean=9780374529260" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>This absorbing historical novel is an “autobiographical letter” written by Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, as Hadrian recalls his life and his love for handsome young Antinous. If all you know about this emperor of ancient Rome is Hadrian’s Wall (begun in 122 C.E. after Hadrian visited Britain), you will want to learn more about him and his era. </p>

“Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way” by Kamin Mohammadi (2018)

Ten years ago, Kamin Mohammadi was laid off her job as an editor in London . A friend offered her use of an apartment in Florence, and so she went to Tuscany. Bella Figura takes readers along for that first year of Italian living, in which Mohammadi learns the value in living life at a slower pace. The story is intimate, with stories about falling in love with the place but also heartbreak. Chapters are divided by month and begin with a nice little inventory: In January, the scent of the city is woodsmoke; her new Italian word of the month is salve . At the end of each chapter are recipes.

“Eating My Way Through Italy: Heading Off the Main Roads to Discover the Hidden Treasures of the Italian Table” by Elizabeth Minchilli (2018)

A resident of Italy for 30 years, Elizabeth Minchilli has become an expert on the country’s cuisine. In Eating My Way Through Italy , she provides the tools for readers to get off the beaten path, as the book’s subtitle suggests. Divided geographically, written conversationally, and even including tips for where to stay, Minchilli’s book reminds readers how distinct—and delicious—Italy’s regional cuisines are.

“Memoirs of Hadrian” by Marguerite Yourcenar (1951)

This absorbing historical novel is an “autobiographical letter” written by Emperor Hadrian to his successor, Marcus Aurelius, as Hadrian recalls his life and his love for handsome young Antinous. If all you know about this emperor of ancient Rome is Hadrian’s Wall (begun in 122 C.E. after Hadrian visited Britain), you will want to learn more about him and his era.

<h2>“Venice Stories” edited by Jonathan Keates (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/venice-stories-jonathan-keates/8586169?ean=9781101908068" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>Short stories and excerpts from longer works about Venice make up this addition to the Everyman’s Library Pocket Classic Series. From the 18th-century writings of the one-and-only Casanova to a vignette set in Venice during the Napoleonic era, written by Lambda Literary Award–winner Jeanette Winterson, the collection crafts a masterful portrait of the floating city. Another plus: the spooky “Don’t Look Now” story by Daphne du Maurier, which inspired the atmospheric 1973 movie of the same name.</p> <h2>“SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome” by Mary Beard (2015)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://amzn.to/3v3pCEp" rel="noopener">amazon.com</a></li>  </ul> <p>One of the most acclaimed works by popular British historian Mary Beard, <i>SPQR</i> takes its title from an abbreviation for <i>Senatus Populusque Romanus</i>, meaning the senate and people of Rome. Beard covers more than 900 years of Roman history, which could be a trudge in the hands of a lesser writer. While noted figures like Augustus and Caligula appear, her focus is more on the lives of Rome’s ordinary residents. Prefer to focus on the rulers? See her latest book, <i>Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World</i> (2023), or read her illustrated art history <i>Twelve Caesars: Images of Power From the Ancient World to the Modern </i>(2021). This former Cambridge classics professor has a talent for making ancient history accessible and engaging for general readers.</p> <h2>“Sicilian Splendors: Discovering the Secret Places That Speak to the Heart” by John Keahey (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://amzn.to/4arnyX2" rel="noopener">amazon.com</a></li>  </ul> <p>Consummate traveler John Keahey, who has roamed Italy for decades and penned books about Tuscany and Venice, turns his inquisitive eye to <a class="Link" href="https://www.afar.com/magazine/where-to-go-in-sicily-if-you-liked-the-white-lotus" rel="noopener">Sicily</a>. In a travelogue that’s both personal and historical, even a quest for procuring new shoelaces in a small town teaches about local legend and hospitality. Keahey encounters enthusiastic and welcoming characters everywhere, and readers get a glimpse of Tyrrhenian coasts they may have never seen before. He also contextualizes the island’s rich and complex history and sees beyond Sicily’s mafia-laden stereotypes to reveal its warm heart. </p>

“Venice Stories” edited by Jonathan Keates (2018)

Short stories and excerpts from longer works about Venice make up this addition to the Everyman’s Library Pocket Classic Series. From the 18th-century writings of the one-and-only Casanova to a vignette set in Venice during the Napoleonic era, written by Lambda Literary Award–winner Jeanette Winterson, the collection crafts a masterful portrait of the floating city. Another plus: the spooky “Don’t Look Now” story by Daphne du Maurier, which inspired the atmospheric 1973 movie of the same name.

“SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome” by Mary Beard (2015)

  • Buy now : amazon.com

One of the most acclaimed works by popular British historian Mary Beard, SPQR takes its title from an abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus , meaning the senate and people of Rome. Beard covers more than 900 years of Roman history, which could be a trudge in the hands of a lesser writer. While noted figures like Augustus and Caligula appear, her focus is more on the lives of Rome’s ordinary residents. Prefer to focus on the rulers? See her latest book, Emperor of Rome: Ruling the Ancient Roman World (2023), or read her illustrated art history Twelve Caesars: Images of Power From the Ancient World to the Modern (2021). This former Cambridge classics professor has a talent for making ancient history accessible and engaging for general readers.

“Sicilian Splendors: Discovering the Secret Places That Speak to the Heart” by John Keahey (2018)

Consummate traveler John Keahey, who has roamed Italy for decades and penned books about Tuscany and Venice, turns his inquisitive eye to Sicily . In a travelogue that’s both personal and historical, even a quest for procuring new shoelaces in a small town teaches about local legend and hospitality. Keahey encounters enthusiastic and welcoming characters everywhere, and readers get a glimpse of Tyrrhenian coasts they may have never seen before. He also contextualizes the island’s rich and complex history and sees beyond Sicily’s mafia-laden stereotypes to reveal its warm heart.

<h2>“Abandoned Italy” by Robin Brinaert (2018)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://amzn.to/3toM6PF" rel="noopener">amazon.com</a></li>  </ul> <p>For eight years, Robin Brinaert has traveled Italy seeking abandoned places, the skeletons of buildings much more modern than the Colosseum. This photo book showcases the results of this quest, revealing places throughout Italy—a duchess’s hunting lodge, an old <i>Pinocchio</i> film set, a former asylum—and uncovering backstories that allow readers to see Italian ruins through a different lens.</p> <h2>“The Stones of Florence” by Mary McCarthy (1959)</h2> <ul>   <li><b>Buy now</b>: <a class="Link" href="https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-stones-of-florence-mary-mccarthy/6683930?ean=9780156027632" rel="noopener nofollow sponsored">bookshop.org</a></li>  </ul> <p>This singular history is not a new book, but its subject is timeless. And you may well wish you had visited the city some 60 years ago before it became overrun by tourists. Not that Florence has ever lacked for admiring visitors. Try to get a hold of the illustrated edition published later. <i>Stones of Florence</i> began as a long essay in <i>The New Yorker</i>; it has gone on to become a classic of insight about its famous city.</p> <p><i>This article was originally published in 2018 and most recently updated on December 19, 2023, with current information.</i></p>

“Abandoned Italy” by Robin Brinaert (2018)

For eight years, Robin Brinaert has traveled Italy seeking abandoned places, the skeletons of buildings much more modern than the Colosseum. This photo book showcases the results of this quest, revealing places throughout Italy—a duchess’s hunting lodge, an old Pinocchio film set, a former asylum—and uncovering backstories that allow readers to see Italian ruins through a different lens.

“The Stones of Florence” by Mary McCarthy (1959)

This singular history is not a new book, but its subject is timeless. And you may well wish you had visited the city some 60 years ago before it became overrun by tourists. Not that Florence has ever lacked for admiring visitors. Try to get a hold of the illustrated edition published later. Stones of Florence began as a long essay in The New Yorker ; it has gone on to become a classic of insight about its famous city.

This article was originally published in 2018 and most recently updated on December 19, 2023, with current information.

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IMAGES

  1. December Festivals and Holidays in Italy

    december trip to italy

  2. Italy In December

    december trip to italy

  3. December Festivals and Holiday Events in Italy

    december trip to italy

  4. December in Venice, Italy: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

    december trip to italy

  5. Rome In December: The Ultimate Guide To Visiting The Eternal City

    december trip to italy

  6. How to Spend December In Rome!

    december trip to italy

COMMENTS

  1. Traveling to Italy in December: What You Need to Know

    The first major holiday in Italy in December is the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, but December's main holiday is Christmas. It's one of the more important dates on the Italian holiday calendar, although the most important holiday of the Christmas season is actually Epiphany on January 6th. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many ...

  2. Italy in December

    Weather in Italy in December. Is Italy cold in December? This depends on where in the country you visit. Northern Italy typically has cold temperatures, ranging from 32°F to 50°F (0°C to 10°C), while Central Italy is milder, with average temperatures ranging from 43°F to 55°F (6°C to 13°C). Southern Italy also boasts moderate weather.

  3. Italy in December: all you need to know to plan the perfect trip

    To give you an idea of the average temperatures, this is a historical overview of localities in different parts of Italy: Milan: Max 7C Min 2C Rain: 5 days. Bolzano (Dolomites): Max 7C Min -3C (snow possible) Rome: Max 13C Min 4C Rain: 8 days. Palermo: Max 16C Min 11C Rain: 9 days. Good to know: while we have indoor heating, indoor temperatures ...

  4. Traveling to Italy in December: What You Need to Know

    Let's break down all the best places to visit in Italy in December so you can pick the perfect option for you! 1. Dolomites. The Dolomites are one of the best places to visit in Italy in December for two reasons. First, the ski season will be in full swing by December with lots of snow for skiing and snowboarding.

  5. Italy in December: Complete Guide for Planning Your Winter Trip!

    Southern Italy & Sicily. Southern Italy and Sicily are typically the warmest parts of Italy all year, and December is no exception. Temperatures tend to stay around the upper 50s and could even reach 60 degrees. In southern Italy, particularly, rainfall is light. Places like Naples, Sorrento, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Matera, and the region of ...

  6. Italy in December

    Italy in December - An Easy Guide to Plan an Italy Winter Trip (2023 Edition) November 25, 2023 by Angela Corrias. I love Italy in December. Even though summer is the big holiday and beach time, fall and winter are my favorite seasons and, striding between the two, I think December in Italy is just magical. The diversity of the regions of ...

  7. Italy in winter: A complete guide + 10 destinations you must see!

    You can expect colder days in places like Venice, Milan, or Florence, with average temperatures of around 7-11 degrees Celcius in December. However, as you move to the south, and get to places like Rome, Naples, Sicily, or Sardinia, average temperatures will be anywhere between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius.

  8. Your 2024 Complete Guide from Someone Who Lives Here

    Weather in Italy in December. Italy isn't a large country, but the weather in December in Italy varies quite a bit depending on where you are. Northern Italy can be very cold and sees snow at higher elevations. Temperatures hover around the 5 Celsius degree mark (41 degrees Fahrenheit).

  9. Italy in December

    angelo. November 30, 2023. Italy. Italy in December offers a magical and enchanting experience with its twinkling holiday lights, seasonal foods, and fewer tourists. It's the perfect time to explore this captivating country without the crowds. From sightseeing and skiing to immersing yourself in holiday festivals and traditional Italian ...

  10. Italy in December: Best Places to Visit, Things to Do + Weather

    Your December trip might look a little different than a July or August trip, but it will be amazing all the same! In this guide, we will share tips, weather insight, and things to do in December in Italy. Italy in winter, has its own beauty and activities. With fewer tourists and cheaper prices, you can't go wrong with a winter trip.

  11. Italy in December: Where to Go, What to Do, the Weather & More

    Weather in Italy in December. Thermal Springs in Saturnia, Italy. Average Temperatures in Rome, Italy: 55°F High • 40°F Low. December ushers in cooler temperatures across Italy, but the climate varies greatly by region. In the northern mountains and cities like Milan, December brings chilly highs of around 45°F, with nights that drop to ...

  12. Italy in December: Weather Info & Best Places to Travel (2024)

    Rome weather in December. The weather in Rome is much warmer on average than northern Italy. Expect 56°F (13°C) highs and 40°F (4°C) lows. There is a high chance of rain, as it is one of the rainiest months in Rome.

  13. Italy in December

    December isn't usually the first month that comes to mind when making plans to visit Italy. However, there are plenty of great reasons to make the trip during this winter month. Winter tends to be the low season for tourists in Italy, but it doesn't make it a bad time to explore the country.

  14. 07 Best Places To Visit In Italy In December [2024] Photos

    3. Turin (Torino) Image Source - Google | Image By - Diabosik. If you're making plans to go skiing in Italy in December, you surely should first make a trip to Turin, the northern city that offers a platform to the mountains. The town is where many skiers come for their ski trip before heading to the mountains.

  15. Italy in December: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

    Weather. December in Italy may not be as cold as it is in January, but that isn't saying much. For example, if you're arriving in Rome, expect the average temperature to be 50°F/10°C. Of course, temps fluctuate depending on the region, but you can expect ranges of between 25-45°F/-4-5°C in the north, 40-55°F/5-13°C in Central Italy, and ...

  16. December in Italy: Weather, Holidays & Festivals

    Average high temperatures in northern Italy in December are in the low 40s °F (5-6 °C), with lows around freezing. Venice often sees high tides ( acqua alta) in early December. Low, dense fog is also common in the Po Delta area in December. Central Italy is likewise cold in December, with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s °F (6-10°C) and ...

  17. Italy in December

    Most tourists coming to Italy choose the summer months for their trip, but in truth, December can be an amazingly charming time of the year to visit. For some more holidays ideas, make sure to check our Holidays in Italy Section.. The majority of tourist destinations are open throughout the month of December: you may want to take a note of this, for the 25th and 26th, so when you visit you won ...

  18. December In Italy

    Central Italy experiences cold weather conditions in December, with temperatures ranging between the upper 40s to low 50s °F (6-10°C). The temperature drops during the night to the upper 30s to low 40s °F (1-6°C). The rainfall probability in Florence and Rome is slightly lower in December compared to November.

  19. Best Time to Visit Italy

    February - The month of Carnival in Italy. March - When to visit Italy for a quiet vibe. April - When to visit Italy for Easter. May - The best time to visit Italy for perfect weather. June - The beginning of summer in Italy. July - Italy's hottest month weather-wise. August - The crowdest month on the Italian beaches.

  20. A first-time guide to Italy

    Public transport ticket (Rome) €1.50 for 100 minutes unlimited travel (but only one metro ride) High-speed train ticket Rome to Florence €55; Frequently asked questions This is Italy, so do I have to dress up all the time? In a word, no.

  21. Italy Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Italy Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips. ... On the other hand, November to December is fantastic — you'll find Christmas markets and festivals galore! How to Stay Safe in Italy. Italy is a safe country to travel as violent crime against tourists is very rare. However, scams and pickpocketing are incredibly common, especially around high ...

  22. Italy Weather in December

    This site is owned by Apa Digital AG, Bahnhofplatz 6, 8854 Siebnen, Switzerland. Rough Guides® is a trademark owned by Apa Group with its headquarters at 7 Bell Yard London WC2A 2JR, United Kingdom. Going to Italy in December and curious about the weather conditions? We have collected all our tips about the weather in Italy in December.

  23. 10 Best Italy Tours in December 2024

    Compare 241 tours of Italy in December 2024 with real customer reviews and flexible booking options. Biggest Selection. Best Prices. Shop 2,500 operators. 4.5 stars on (6,201 reviews) 24/7 customer support. Deals of the Week Mediterranean Magic Up to 50% OFF. ... 241 Italy trips in December 2024 View Map

  24. Tips and Advice Based on 20 Years of Experience

    Important: My #1 tip for packing for Italy - make sure you have comfortable shoes and pack the right shoe style for you. If you are most comfortable in athletic sneakers, bring them - your feet will thank you. Don't stress about 'blending in.'. Every Italian you see knows you aren't Italian.

  25. 14 Must-Read Books Before Your Next Trip to Italy

    Whether you love novels, history, or cookbooks, read here are 14 great books about and taking place in Italy to read before your next trip to the country. AFAR Posted: December 20, 2023 | Last ...