In Italy, there are different types of climate: mild continental in the Po Valley, cold in the Alps, Mediterranean on coasts and islands, and finally, cool and windy in the Apennines. July and August are the hottest and sunniest months, except in the Alpine region, where thunderstorms in the afternoon are quite frequent.

Index


Po Valley



Climate of the Po Valley
In northern Italy, the Po-Venetian plain has a moderately continental climate. Relative humidity is high throughout the year, and the wind is normally weak, especially in the west-central part: being closed on three sides, the Po valley is one of the least windy areas in the world.
Precipitation is moderate, between 650 and 1,000 millimeters (25 to 40 inches) per year, typically, with two maxima in spring and autumn and two relative minima in winter and in summer. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is close to freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the western part (see Alessandria and Asti in southern Piedmont) and around 1/2 °C in much of the area, while it reaches 2/3 °C (36/37 °F) in the eastern part, namely the plains of Veneto, Friuli and Romagna. The eastern part, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, is milder in winter, but it is also exposed to outbreaks of cold air from Eastern Europe, brought by the cold wind called Bora; during summer it is hot and muggy as well, but at least the breezes blow from the sea in the afternoon.
In winter, from December to February, sometimes snow can fall, particularly in the west (Piedmont, Lombardy) and at the foot of the Apennines (in cities located along the Via Emilia, from Piacenza to Bologna), where 20 to 40 cm (8 to 16 in) of snow fall per year. More rarely, snow can occur in the east, in the plain of Romagna (see Forlì, Cesena). Light frosts at night are frequent in the Po-Venetian plain, while during cold waves, the temperature can drop to a few degrees below freezing, with some chance of frost even during the day; at night, the temperature rarely drops below -7 °C (19 °F), but in the coldest winters it can go down to -15 °C (5 °F) and below.
During winter, fog is quite common, especially in the central area, which is crossed by the Po River and far from mountain ranges (for example, in Cremona, Pavia, Mantua, and Ferrara). Fog was more frequent in past decades, until the 80s, when the airport of Milan was the foggiest in Europe, but it has become less frequent in recent years, although it has been replaced by a blanket of low clouds, which often covers the plain, especially in December and January, even when in the rest of Italy (including the Alps), a high pressure system brings good weather.
Summer in the Po Valley, from June to August, is hot and muggy, with daily averages around 23/24 °C (73/75 °F), but with a gradual increase in temperature in periods of good weather, during which the maximum temperature can rise to around 35/36 °C (95/97 °F). From May to August, thunderstorms in the afternoon or in the evening are fairly frequent at the foothills of the Alps, especially in Piedmont and Lombardy, while they are less frequent in the rest of the plain.
In northern Italy, the shores of the lakes (Maggiore, Como, and Garda) are slightly milder and less foggy in winter, while in summer the heat is less intense and quite often broken by thunderstorms. The amount of rainfall is high especially in the lakes of the north-west: in Como, where the average in January is 4 °C (39 °F), 1,300 mm (51 in) of rain fall per year, with two maxima in May of 160 millimeters (6.3 in) and in August of 135 mm (5.3 in); autumn is rainy as well, and sometimes heavy rains can raise the level of the lake.
The Alps protect northern Italy from cold winds: the northerly wind can sweep away the blanket of mist and fog, but since it descends from mountain slopes, it is heated by compression and takes on the form of Föhn, a dry and relatively warm wind, which blows even more often in the Alpine valleys. Therefore, as mentioned, cold waves in northern Italy come from eastern Europe.

Milan

In Milan, the monthly average temperature ranges from 1 °C (34 °F) in January to 23 °C (73 °F) in July. Here are the average temperatures.
Milan - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-10471215181814940
Max (°C)691417222629292418116
Min (°F)303239455459646457483932
Max (°F)434857637279848475645243

In a typical year, 945 millimeters (37 inches) of rain fall, distributed fairly evenly; however, winter is the relatively driest season with about 60/65 mm (2.4/2.6 in) per month, while the rainiest seasons are spring and autumn. In summer, from June to August, some Atlantic fronts may still pass, bringing a few rainy days, or more often, thunderstorms can develop in the afternoon or in the evening. Here is the average precipitation.
Milan - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)65658080956570957010010060945
Prec.(in)2.62.63.13.13.72.62.83.72.83.93.92.437.2
Days77888867579686

Sunshine is scarce from November to January because of fog and low clouds, while it is good in summer. Here are the average daily sunshine hours.
Milan - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours235678986422

In Turin, the temperatures are similar: the average ranges from 1 °C (34 °F) in January to 22 °C (72 °F) in July. So, summer is a bit cooler, both because of its proximity to the Alps and of possible infiltration of cool air from France. Throughout the year, 915 mm (36 in) of rain fall, with a minimum in January of 40 mm (1.6 in) and a maximum in May of 120 mm (4.7 in).
Venice, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, is a bit milder, in fact, the average temperature ranges from 3 °C (37.5 °F) in January to 23 °C (73 °F) in July. Throughout the year, 750 millimeters (29.5 inches) of rain fall. Snow in Venice falls more rarely than in Milan and Turin, and in any case, it's not abundant, but in return, the city is exposed to the cold wind from Eastern Europe, the Bora. In mid-summer, in July and August, Venice is often muggy, except when the Bora blows or a thunderstorm breaks out.
Venice - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)014813161818141041
Max (°C)791316222528282418127
Min (°F)323439465561646457503934
Max (°F)454855617277828275645445

Venice

In the northern Adriatic Sea, the water temperature becomes pleasantly warm for swimming in summer, especially in July and August, although being a small and shallow sea, it may experience remarkable changes depending on weather condition. Here is the sea temperature near Rimini.
Rimini - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)121111131822252623201614
Temp (°F)545252556472777973686157

Trieste is outside of the Po Valley and has a relatively mild climate.

Alps and high mountains



Climate of the Alps
The Alpine Chain, which stretches from west to east separating Italy from central Europe, has a mountain climate, cold and snowy in winter and mild in summer, when thunderstorms frequently break out. There are many winter sports resorts. In the highest peaks such as Mont Blanc, 4,810 meters (15,781 feet), Monte Rosa, and Matterhorn, there are also glaciers. In Italy, the snowline is a bit higher than on the northern side of the Alps, and is around 3,000 meters (9,800 ft). In general, the west-central part of the Alps, exposed to southern winds, receives the bulk of the snow in late autumn and early winter, while the eastern part is more exposed to northern currents, so it receives most of the snow in winter and early spring.
In Bormio, Lombardy, 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level, the monthly average temperature ranges from -2 °C (28 °F) in January to 17 °C (63 °F) in July. In Corvara in Badia, in the Dolomites, at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), the average ranges from -7 °C (19 °F) in January to 13 °C (55.5 °F) in July. In the weather station of Plateau Rosa, at 3,500 meters (11,500 ft), on the slopes of Monte Rosa, Aosta Valley, where you can do summer skiing, the average is between -11 °C (12 °F) in January and 1 °C (34 °F) in July.
Here are the average temperatures of Dobbiaco - Toblach (region of Alto Adige or Südtirol), located at 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level, in the Dolomites.
Dobbiaco - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-9-7-304710962-4-7
Max (°C)0371015192221171250
Min (°F)161927323945504843362519
Max (°F)323745505966727063544132

In valleys at the foot of the mountains, at low altitude (see Aosta, Trento, Bolzano), the climate is moderately continental, with cold winters, with an average in January around freezing, and hot summers, when, however, there's a lower humidity compared with the Po valley, and nights are cool. In winter, it can snow, while from May to August, thunderstorms in the afternoon are fairly frequent.

Mediterranean climate



Area having a Mediterranean climate

The climate for which Italy is famous, that is, mild and sunny, is actually found only in coastal and lowland areas of the center-south and on the coast of Liguria in the north-west. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers, a bit muggy but also tempered by the breeze. Autumn is often rainy, especially from late September or October onwards.
At a given latitude, the Tyrrhenian coast is slightly warmer than the Adriatic coast.
The Ligurian Riviera has a mild climate, especially in the western part, but it is rainy in autumn and winter. In Sanremo, the average ranges from 10 °C (50 °F) in January to 24 °C (75 °F) in July and August. Here are the average temperatures.
Sanremo - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)77911151821211814108
Max (°C)131315172124272724211614
Min (°F)454548525964707064575046
Max (°F)555559637075818175706157

In Genoa, the temperature is similar in summer but it is a bit lower in winter, around 8 °C (46.5 °F) in January. Rainfall follows the Mediterranean pattern, with a maximum in autumn and winter and a minimum in summer. Throughout the year, 1,080 mm (42.5 in) of rain fall, with a maximum in autumn, of 170 mm (6.7 in) in October. Here is the average precipitation.
Genoa - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)10075809070602570135170110951080
Prec.(in)3.933.13.52.82.412.85.36.74.33.742.5
Days86787535687777

Rome

In the capital, Rome, the average temperature ranges from 7.5 °C (44.5 °F) in January to 25 °C (77 °F) in July and August. Owing to the influence of the sea and the breezes that blow in the afternoon, the districts near the sea are a bit milder in winter and cooler in summer. The air is quite humid all year round. Summer is hot and sunny, with occasional thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in July and August are around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F), but sometimes they can exceed 35 °C (95 °F). Owing to the urban heat island effect, during the summer months, the heat is more intense in the city center.
Rome - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)335812161919161285
Max (°C)121315182328313127221612
Min (°F)373741465461666661544641
Max (°F)545559647382888881726154

Throughout the year, about 800 mm (31.5 in) of rain fall; the wettest season is autumn, followed by winter. The first part of spring, until April or early May, may have moderate rains as well. In Rome, the summer drought is most evident than in the Ligurian Riviera. Here is the average precipitation.
Rome - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)707055806030203065100115100795
Prec.(in)2.82.82.23.12.41.20.81.22.63.94.53.931.3
Days787964236810979

In winter, rainy and cloudy days alternate with sunny days. The north wind, called Tramontana, blows at times, bringing sunny days but also cold nights, with some slight frosts.
Here are the average daily sunshine hours in Rome.
Rome - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours455781011108644

Rome

In Naples, the climate is similar to that of Rome, but given its position more to the south and directly on the coast, it is milder, and also a little more rainy in autumn and winter.
South of Naples, along the Tyrrhenian coast, the climate is typically Mediterranean, in fact the average in January exceeds 10 °C (50 °F). Sicily is particularly mild and sunny; in summer, it's hot in inland hills, while sea breezes give some relief on the coasts.
In Palermo, the average temperature ranges from 12 °C (53.5 °F) in January to 26.5 °C (79.5 °F) in August; rainfall amounts to 750 mm (29.5 in) per year, with little or no rain in summer. The city is exposed not only to the warm southern wind called Scirocco (Sirocco), which brings intense heat in late spring and summer, but also to the north-westerly wind called Maestrale, which brings cool weather and a bit of rain. In Palermo, as in the rest of the Sicilian coasts, it never freezes.
Palermo - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)9910111519222320171310
Max (°C)151516192327303128241916
Min (°F)484850525966727368635550
Max (°F)595961667381868882756661

In Cagliari, Sardinia, the average temperature in January is 10 °C (50 °F), while in July and August it's 24 °C (75 °F).
Cagliari - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)667912161920171497
Max (°C)141517192327303127231815
Min (°F)434345485461666863574845
Max (°F)575963667381868881736459

Rainfall in Cagliari is quite scarce: just 430 millimeters (17 inches) per year, but still with a Mediterranean pattern, ie with a minimum in summer. Here is the average precipitation.
Cagliari - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)45554535251031030555555425
Prec.(in)1.82.21.81.410.40.10.41.22.22.22.216.7
Days88764211468862

The temperature of the sea in Sardinia, as generally happens in the central Mediterranean Sea, is warm enough for swimming in summer, with a peak in August.
Porto Cervo - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)141414141720232523201815
Temp (°F)575757576368737773686459

Sardinia is a mild and sunny island, but it's quite windy because of the Maestrale (Mistral), a cool and dry northwest wind, which blows especially in winter and spring, and can cause sea storms on the western side of the island and in the Strait of Bonifacio. In the interior, there are highlands, where the winter temperature drops by a few degrees, so this area falls within the climate of Central Italy (see below).
On the Adriatic coast, in Bari, Apulia (Puglia), the climate is Mediterranean as well, with fairly low rainfall, typically below 600 mm (23.5 in) per year. Apulia is exposed to the Scirocco, but also to outbreaks of cold air masses from the nearby Balkan Peninsula, which can sometimes arrive here, lowering the temperature in winter and bringing snowfalls especially on inland hills.
The southernmost islands (Pantelleria, Lampedusa) are very mild in winter, when it never freezes nor snows, but they are windy and sometimes rainy. Summer is hot and sunny, but tempered by sea breezes, and longer than elsewhere.

Sardinia

As mentioned, central and southern Italy are sometimes affected by the Scirocco, a dry and warm wind blowing from Africa, which can bring dust or even sand in the southernmost regions. When this wind is not too strong, it has the time to pick up moisture from the sea and to become quite humid. The Scirocco is more frequent in spring and autumn, but it may blow in all seasons, and can raise the temperature above 20 °C (68 °F) in winter in the south, while in late spring and summer, it brings heatwaves, with peaks of 40 °C (104 °F) and sometimes even above, especially in Sicily and Apulia.

Central Italy



Climate of central Italy

In central Italy (Tuscany, Umbria, Marche), the climate is transitional, a little too cold in winter to be considered as Mediterranean.

Florence

In Florence, the average January temperature is 6 °C (43 °F), and sometimes at night it drops below freezing. Summer is hot, sometimes scorching during the day, when the temperature can sometimes reach 36/38 °C (97/100 °F), even though the air is not too humid and nights are usually cool.
Florence - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)225712151818141053
Max (°C)111316192428313227211511
Min (°F)363641455459646457504137
Max (°F)525561667582889081705952

The region of Marche is a little milder than Tuscany in summer, while in winter it is exposed to cold air masses from the Balkan Peninsula, with possible snow on inland hills and sometimes even on the coast (see Ancona). In Umbria (see Perugia), the north wind (Tramontana) often blows in winter. The hills of Tuscany (see Siena) have generally a mild climate; winters are a bit cold above 300 meters (1,000 feet), while summers are hot and sunny but tempered by the breeze, except in some sheltered valleys, which can be very hot. Snow, though rare, is not unheard of in winter, from December to February.

Apennines



Climate of the Apennines

The Apennine Range is stretched along the Italian peninsula from Liguria, where it separates the mild Riviera from the more continental Po Valley, to the southern tip of Calabria. In cities located in the Apennines, in central and southern Italy, in the regions of Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria, the climate is moderately continental, with cold winters, sometimes snowy, and warm and sunny summers, during which there's some chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
In L'Aquila, in the central region of Abruzzo, 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from 2 °C (35.5 °F) in January to 21 °C (70 °F) in July. Throughout the year, 700 mm (27.5 in) of rain fall, with a maximum in autumn and a minimum in summer. During winter, it can snow and freeze, and the temperature can drop to -10/-15 °C (5/14 °F).
In Potenza, southern Italy (Basilicata), 850 meters (2,800 ft) above sea level, the average temperature ranges from 4 °C (39 °F) in January to 21 °C (70 °F) in July and August. During winter and early spring, snowfall is possible, while in summer, the Scirocco can sometimes raise the temperature up to 35 °C (95 °F).
Potenza - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)1135913151613952
Max (°C)771013182226262217118
Min (°F)343437414855596155484136
Max (°F)454550556472797972635246

Above 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), the climate gets colder, and during winter there can be heavy snowfalls. Here are the average temperatures of Mount Terminillo, located in the central Apennines, whose summit is at 2,217 meters (7,274 feet), though the weather station is located at 1,875 meters (6,150 feet).
Terminillo - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)-4-4-3-147111174-1-3
Max (°C)1124913171713942
Min (°F)252527303945525245393027
Max (°F)343436394855636355483936

In Sardinia, in the massif of Gennargentu, at high altitudes the climate is similar to that of the Apennines as well.
In the mountains of Sicily, at equal altitude, the climate is milder. The cities located at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) are a bit foggy and windy in winter (see Enna). However, on the highest peaks, such as Mount Etna, which is the highest volcano in Europe with its 3,343 meters (10,968 feet), snow often falls in winter.

Best Time



The best time to visit the main Italian cities is the spring: from mid-April to late May, temperatures are pleasant, the days are quite long, the sun often shines and nature is in bloom, though sometimes it can rain. Another good period is the first half of September. Between mid-September and mid-October, the temperatures are pleasantly warm, but it can rain, especially in the north and center of the country. November is typically a rainy month throughout Italy, even though the sun still shines quite often in the south. In early spring, from March to mid-April, the weather can be sunny and mild, but also cold and wet: it's a fairly unstable period.
Summer, from June to August, is often sunny, but it can be very hot, especially in July and August. However, visitors flock to cities like Rome and Florence even in this period. In any case, it is better to warn those who don't like the heat.
Summer is a good period to visit the Alpine area and to go hiking in the mountains.
In February and the first half of March, there is almost always enough snow for a ski holiday, and the days are longer than in December.
July and August are the best months for a beach holiday in northern and central Italy, and also September in the south. In June, the weather is often nice and the days are the longest of the year, but as mentioned, the sea can still be a bit cool.

What to pack



In winter: in Milan, the Po Valley and the Apennines: bring warm clothes, such as a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, a scarf, and a raincoat or umbrella. In the center, in Florence and Rome: bring warm clothes, such as a sweater, a coat, and a raincoat or umbrella. In Palermo and the Sicilian coast: clothes for spring and autumn, a sweater, a jacket and a raincoat. In the Alps: bring mountain clothing.

In summer: in the north, Milan and Venice: bring light clothing, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt or sweater, a light jacket, and a raincoat or umbrella. In the center, in Florence and Rome: bring light clothing, a sun hat, a sweatshirt for cool evenings especially in June, and possibly an umbrella. In the south, light clothing, a sun hat, a sweatshirt for the evening especially in June.
In the mountains, bring a sweater, a jacket, hiking shoes, a raincoat, sunscreen and sunglasses.