Holidays to Italy
Italy has more Unesco World Heritage sites (44 currently) than any other country on Earth. Rome, Venice and Florence are renowned for their architecture, art, romance and style. Milan, the country’s financial centre, is more modern, but still retains character and Italian flair. Many guided tours are available, by open-top bus, canal punt or on foot at all these destinations.
The Slow Food Movement was started in Italy, as a protest against fast food outlets. This is now a global revolution. Local, fresh produce is served in traditional cooking and enjoyed in good company, with a glass of local vino, and followed by a cappuccino, all at a street-side cafe under the Mediterranean sun. Bliss!
Once you get out of the cities, you can enjoy a myriad of other activities, from diving off the Sardinian coast to hiking in the Dolomites. Skiing is also a pastime to enjoy in the Alps, weather permitting.
Natural spectacles include watching the fiery displays of Sicily’s volcanoes.
There are several regions, each with their own climate.
Although Italy is in a generally temperate zone, there are influences from the mountainous areas.
Temperatures in the Alps are generally lower, and the winters can be severe. Summers are warm from July to September, although very wet in September. Snow can fall anytime after mid-September and continues sometimes into June.
The Alps protect northern Lombardy and the Lakes area from these extremes, so a more customary Mediterranean climate is enjoyed.
The Po valley can endure severe winters and stifling summers. Venice doesn’t get these extremes, but during wet summers, or high tides, Venice can be inundated – more likely in November and December. January and February bring crisp weather.
Florence – surrounded by hills – can suffer bad weather, but moving further south, the weather becomes more Mediterranean and pleasant. Rome has an average July/August temperature in the mid 20s, but hot winds from Africa can produce temperatures in the high 30’s. Snow is rare in Rome in winter, but you’ll still need a coat.
Sicily and Sardinia, as well as southern Italy, have a Mediterranean climate, with long, hot, dry summers and winters with temperatures averaging 10°C.
When to go
April to June is the best time to go, to avoid school holidays, enjoy the countryside at its best before it gets scorched by the sun, and before the Italians take their 2-month long vacation (July-August). It is comfortably warm without being overpowering.
Religious, local and national festivals, as well as cultural events, occur between Easter and September.
Skiing in the Alps happens really from November to March or April.
For Sicily and Sardinia, you can expect anytime between Easter and October to be a good time for a trip to the beach.