Winter is a great time to visit Italy. Where to go? You can head to the islands, where the weather is sunny and mild, or explore northern Italy, which is at its best in the Winter – with great atmospheric destinations like Turin, Venice and snowy Valle d’Aosta.
During the winter months you can enjoy the most famous attractions with fewer crowds. But we also suggest getting off the beaten track and exploring some places that aren’t on the average itinerary.
Winter in Italy. 8 Inspirational places to visit
1. Torino. All the charm of Italy’s first Capital
We love Turin. The main city of Piedmont, surrounded by mountains and blessed with plenty of attractions. This great city was once the Capital of Italy. It’s a perfect destination for anyone who loves history, with attractions such as the Egyptian Museum, the most important one of its kind in Italy, and the beautiful Royal Palace, where the king of Italy used to reside.
The coffee culture in Turin is part of the city’s soul, with enchanting historic cafes where you can enjoy the famed cioccolata calda, or hot chocolate, (you’ve never tasted anything so sublime). When you visit the Mole Antonelliana, the building-symbol of Turin that hosts the Cinema Museum, head up to the top for the best views over the city.
2. Palermo. A Sicilian treasure
Palermo, the main city in Sicily, boasts lovely weather and great architecture. Go out of season when there are fewer tourists around, and discover the stunning Cathedral and the UNESCO site Duomo in Monreale. See lesser known places like the Capuchin Catacombs, a mysterious and unusual attraction with thousands of fully-dressed mummies guarded in the underground of a 16th century monastery. On a lighter note, taking a walk on the Mondello Beach in winter offers the perfect occasion to relax and breathe the salty air.
=> Check out this popular Palermo Street Food Walking Tour, that leads you to the discovery of Capo and Vucciria markets and explore their backstreets where real Palermitan soul resides.
3. Valle d’Aosta and its castles
Back to the northwest of Italy, Val d’Aosta is a small region bordering France, and famous for the beautiful views of its mountains. Mont Blanc is the king, being the tallest mountain in the Alps at 4,800 meters.
There are around seventy castles dotting this scenic region, witnesses to its turbulent feudal past, such as the fairy-tale like Fénis Castle and Issogne, with its elaborate frescoes and loggias. The impressive Fortress of Bard was built in the 19th century by the House of Savoy. The main city, Aosta, is getting more popular with tourists who with its fabulous views, Roman remains, street markets, and great cafes and restaurants.
4. Tuscany. Land of art, food & wine
Tuscany in central Italy is a hot spot for tourists, and if you travel around the region during the Winter months you have the benefit of its artistic and architectural heritage with fewer crowds. Art lovers can explore world-famous museums like the Uffizi and the Accademia in Florence, awe at the Square of Miracles in Pisa and Siena‘s Medieval historic centre and Gothic Cathedral.
Food and wine enthusiasts might want to look into joining one of the region’s great Food & Wine tours, that combine sightseeing with some excellent tasting experiences. On this Full day Tour in the heart of Tuscany you’ll visit the famous San Gimignano, Siena, the walled village of Monteriggioni and then a relaxing stop at a Chianti Winery for a typical lunch which includes a tasting with 3 different Wines. Great value for money!
5. Cagliari. Enjoy the Winter sea
Ever considered Sardinia in winter? Well, you should. Far from the madding Summer crowds, Cagliari – the ‘Capital’ of Sardinia – looks very welcoming in Winter, decorated in Christmas lights, with cosy restaurants and locales to enjoy an aperitivo. After exploring the old city, the high Castello district, you can delve into the faraway past by visiting the excellent Archeological Museum. As a bonus, it never really gets properly cold in this part of the world!
6. Venice. Winter Spectacles in the Laguna
Winter months are a great time to explore Venice and its islands. As temperatures drop, crowds thin out and the stunning sights of this uniquely beautiful city shine brighter. Awe at the San Marco Basilica and the Doge’s Palace with all their artistic treasures, and visit the city’s historic churches.
Then hop on a ferry to reach the islands of Murano, famous for its multicoloured glass produced here since the 15th century, lovely Burano, with its brightly painted houses that make it the most photogenic of all Venice’s islands. Our absolute favourite is Torcello, where you can find the oldest building in the lagoon, the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Founded in the 7th century, it contains some splendid mosaics that are well worth the tour.
=> Check out this Islands Half-Day Sightseeing Tour where you can visit Burano, Murano and Torcello and enjoy the view of Venice from the water, Simply magical!
=> Don’t forget that Carnival every February brings colour and magic to the city, with masks, people in elaborate costumes and romantic balls.
7. Verona, where romance is in the air
With Valentine’s Day approaching – on the 14th February – what better choice in Italy than the town that is synonymous with romance and undying love? Verona, 130 kms. from Venice, is a charming town made famous by Shakespeare’s tragic story of Romeo and Juliet.
Here lovers from all over the world arrive to pose in front of Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House) with its marble balcony where Romeo used to climb to steal a kiss (in reality this is a restored 13th century inn), but what’s life without a bit of magic. While in Verona, you can also visit the history-filled churches. The main square Piazza delle Erbe is a top spot for a Spritz aperitivo.
8. Trentino Alto Adige, the best skiing in Italy
Trentino-Alto Adige is a region where unspoilt nature goes together with a wealth of sporting opportunities. Winter becomes a wonderland for skiing fans here, with the high peaks of the Dolomites and the splendid heights of the Alps.
The region boasts some beautiful towns like Bolzano and Trento – the most attractive town in the region, with a gorgeous Piazza Duomo and and the Castle of Buonconsiglio – and many famous ski resorts that dot the Val di Fassa, Fiemme and San Martino di Castrozza.
=> More trip ideas? Discover the Top 5 Summer destinations in Italy!