Italy has some great travel deals, especially if you know the best times to go. A lot of tourists go at peak times during the summer, which usually equates to higher rates and larger crowds. But late fall through late winter is probably the best time to get the real deals! We cannot say enough how underrated visiting Italy is in the winter. First off, there are not a lot of crowds (except around Christmas time…the Pope, the Vatican, need we say more?) at the many attractions. Museums have reduced hours, but you can still enjoy everything without having to hurry through. Restaurants are not packed either, so chefs are more likely to take special requests.
Secondly, the weather is mild in the winter—unless you are in the north, then it is skiing season in the Alps! Speaking of the north, a lot of people do not realize how big winter sports are in Italy. You may be able to score a skiing vacation package, but do not expect bargains in this area. With mild temperatures, you will be able to stroll cobblestone streets and through old markets in complete comfort. Winter means earlier sunsets. This is when Italian cities come alive as many cities light their monuments at night. Christmas time – from December 5-6th through January 6th – typically means higher prices than elsewhere in the winter. Christmas in Italy doesn’t mean you won’t find travel deals, but do not expect the midnight mass in Vatican City to be cheap to visit.
There is something about an Italian winter. It might be the good tidings of the Christmas season in the south, or the beautiful mist covering the Tuscan hillsides, but Italy in winter is a study in beauty. There is an air of anticipation as Christmas approaches and celebrations such as Carnevale are on the horizon. Winter seems to be when the festivals and pageantry are at epic proportions. Visiting Italy in the winter not only means finding exceptional travel deals, but also catching a glimpse of the Italy that only the residents see.