Winter is the perfect time to travel to Italy without the Crowds
Ready to travel? Don’t miss the unique advantages of visiting Italy before the spring and summer rush.
If COVID-19 has taught us one important thing, it’s that unexpected events can occur at any time. Therefore, we must embrace life, our loved ones, and all the things that make us appreciate every opportunity. After losing two years of normalcy, which had such a tremendous and meaningful impact on our social routines, when gatherings, celebrations, and travel came to a halt, we are suddenly experiencing a growing trend of travel bookings for 2022. Rightfully, as people's confidence in travel returns, so has the desire to embrace life to the fullest.
While Italy continues to enforce protocols to guarantee that the public health emergency is under control, leisure travelers from the United States and other countries have been allowed entry as of July 2021. Yet, until next spring, the number of visitors is expected to be significantly lower compared to previous years, which means that touring the country’s top historic landmarks with fewer crowds is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s about to pass you by.
Why You Should Travel to Italy This Fall or Winter
Consider a last-minute fall or winter vacation to Italy if you want to enjoy a more personal Italian travel experience with loved ones before the 2022 rush. Italy remains one of the Top 5 nations to visit and is high on many post-pandemic travel bucket lists. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an unparalleled richness of art and history where you and your family can spend every moment capturing limitless stories within its beauty. But is it too late? Absolutely, not! The first snow of the season is just beginning to fall, and magical winter white sceneries should last through early spring.
Exploring Winter Wonderlands
Taking your family on a last-minute ski trip to Italy’s top mountain resorts is certainly within reach. Those brave enough to hit the slopes of the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Dolomites or Livigno in Lombardy’s scenic Valtellina will be rewarded with an exhilarating experience.
However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed approach to Italy’s impressive mountain landscapes, the Italian Alps still have lots to offer. From sledding to cable car rides amid the snowy peaks, indulging in a thermal bath, or tasting delectable winter flavors via a culinary route, there are plenty of laidback winter activities to enjoy with those close to you. Simply strolling through snow-covered alpine villages, such as chic Cortina d’Ampezzo or elegant Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley, can be a rewarding treat of its own.
Admiring Italy’s Art Cities
Of course, a fall, winter, or early spring getaway to Italy does not mean that you will be forced to hit the snow-covered mountains. While it wouldn’t be the best time to explore Italy’s most beloved coastal areas — such as the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, or the Cinque Terre — where the intensity and beauty of the local natural colors shine their best during the warmer months, the off-season is a great period to visit the country’s wealth of Art Cities. Cities rich in art and culture like Milan, Turin, Bologna, Ferrara, Perugia, and Palermo, as well as the usual suspects of Rome, Florence, and Venice, offer plenty of potential during the slow tourist months.
From December through January, imagine seeing some of Italy's most admired sites such as the Colosseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa completely illuminated for the Christmas Holidays. For families with young children, it could be the perfect occasion to take the little ones on a culturally enriching trip that’s sure to be stimulating.
The main piazze and grand cathedrals in cities like Milan and Florence are decorated with lights creating a magical holiday atmosphere waiting to be enjoyed with loved ones. During this period, many city squares are taken over by the traditional “mercatini di natale” (Christmas markets) which add to the bright and festive ambiance.
Travelers who aren’t fond of exploring open-air historic sites during the summer’s scorching heat are sure to enjoy an invigorating experience discovering the Roman Forum, learning about the captivating history of Pompeii, or admiring Greek architecture at the Valley of the Temples in Sicily’s Agrigento on a brisk day, and better yet, without the super-sized tour groups in tow.
Enriching Family Trips
While many families with young students might feel it necessary to vacation during the summer, they would be surprised by the advantages of traveling to Italy during the winter or spring breaks. For example, lines to access major sites and museums are significantly reduced and so are the crowds inside most major sites.
Wouldn’t it be nice to experience the splendor of the Vatican Museums without having to touch elbows with strangers? Imagine taking in the spectacular frescoed ceiling that is Michelangelo's most renowned masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel without the usual large crowds. Or even admiring the impressive art at Florence's remarkable Uffizi Gallery in an intimate atmosphere. A must-see attraction when in Florence, the Uffizi is home to some of the world’s most prized works by Renaissance masters such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio, to name only a few. Maybe one day young students will look back at those unique moments during their family winter holiday while studying about Da Vinci or Michelangelo’s legacies during an art or world history lesson.
A Night at the Opera
The cooler off-season months are also the ideal time to enjoy an opera, classical music concert, or ballet in some of Italy's most prestigious opera houses such as La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice, or San Carlo Opera House in Naples.
Teatro alla Scala — commonly known as La Scala — opened in 1778 and is perhaps the most-renowned opera theater in the world. Ravaged by World War II bombing and subsequently rebuilt, the theater underwent a major reconstruction in 2004. Famous opera singers like Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti sung on this stage, and La Scala's great reputation continues to attract the best voices and orchestras.
One of Europe's most well-known theaters is La Fenice. Located in Venice, it opened in 1792, but was destroyed by fire and rebuilt three times. The current theater, like its namesake, rose from the ashes in 1996 with the help of wealthy donors and celebrities. The New Year's Eve performance is considered La Fenice's most significant event, and it regularly attracts some of the top artists in the world.
Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy's oldest opera theater, was founded in 1737 and hosted some of the country's first ballet performances. If you or your children enjoy ballet, the Teatro San Carlo is home to one of the most prestigious ballet academies in the world.
Unless you plan on visiting Italy’s mountain resorts on your winter getaway, or travel during special holidays or events such as Christmas, New Year’s, and Carnevale, one extra perk for visiting the Italian art cities during the low season is that winter travel packages can often result in more appealing pricing compared to the summer months.
If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling to Italy with those close to your heart, whether your family or a treasured set of friends, you’re still in time to beat the 2022 travel rush. When you travel and witness unforgettable sceneries, you gain something that can never be taken away. With a customized itinerary planned by Italy experts, a fulfilling and perfect trip to Italy is guaranteed.