If you have thought of going on a tour of Europe then perhaps visiting Italy has crossed your mind. Visiting Italy in the summer is a thrilling adventure. The evenings in the summer are usually warm and offer just the right weather for a delicious dinner alongside a glass of wine on any of the hotels’ balconies. However, Italy can be just as thrilling in the winter months if you choose the right location and prepare properly.
WINTER IN ITALY – THINK VENICE!
One of the most touristic places in Italy has to be Venice. The city’s beauty remains unfailing and timeless. The summers in the city, however, are known to be quite terrible due to the large crowds of people roaming the city and due to the excessive prices. It’s best to take advantage of the low tides in the winter and enjoy lower costs on almost all trip expenses.
A gondola ride is one of the most enjoyable parts of a trip to Venice even tho it’s quite pricey particularly in the summers. The Venetian canals with stagnant water are known to give off a bad smell in the summer heat. The smell in the winters is basically not noticeable and this creates the perfect environment for a romantic gondola ride. No nose holding required!
A fortnight before Lent is the famous Carnevale festival, which attracts massive crowds and is an event which you must not miss.
WINTER FUN IN THE DOLOMITES
Next on the list are the Ski resorts of Italy which are renowned for the beautiful views. The Dolomites are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they are an absolutely magnificent setting. The resorts offer a range of options for all kinds of skiers; the amateurs, the intermediates and the experts, not leaving out those who wish to enjoy skiing as a family! The destinations include the Sauze d’Oulx, Alta Badia, and the Passo Tonale, which all give different experiences and ski slopes. Other than skiing, there are numerous other adventures one could enjoy.
The Dolomite mountain range offers an exciting background for the resorts with delicious culinary choices. These include traditional Italian pasta and red wine to warm you in the chilly winter nights after a full day of skiing.
Turin holds the title of the best Christmas shopping spot, equipped with impressive lighting exhibited throughout the metropolis. A massive Christmas tree in Piazza Borga Dora dominates the square which is abuzz with small shops selling food, gifts, and ornaments. A shuttle bus offers free transport from Piazza Castello after a busy day of shopping in the city.
The all-day market in Porta Palatina is the pride of Turin. The market is acknowledged for its variety of cured meats, cheeses, and truffles. Aside from the markets, Turin also offers easy access to the Alps for skiing.
BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS IN ROME
For most Catholics, the most valued moment of Christmas is listening to the pope offering a mass on the Eve of the big day. Getting yourself a ticket to enter St Peter’s Basilica for the Christmas mass is very difficult. These are often sold out months prior to the event. There are, however, no charges for watching the mass live on the screens in St. Peter’s square right outside the Basilica.
The winter also offers a perfect opportunity to visit the museums and other interesting places such as the Forum, the Colosseum and the Borghese gallery due to the small numbers of tourists and hence short queues. These places aren’t open on Christmas day and on New Year’s Day. Their opening times may be different during this season, so check the schedule online before planning your trip. In Rome, Christmas is a highly important day with a magical environment!
Sicily experiences fairly warm and agreeable temperatures in the winter season. The island of Sicily has much fewer visitors in the winter compared to the swarms of people who come over in the summers. This makes it the perfect winter destination to experience the warm reception of southern Italy and visit Syracuse and Parlemo. Unlike the other parts of Italy, Sicily does experience some light rains.
Although Italy is a hub for Roman history, Sicily boasts many admirable Greek archeological sites that are certainly worth a visit. This also includes the Valle dei Templi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Agrigento. Many places operate for fewer hours during the winter days but the experience is much more calm and more enjoyable. So, just make sure you check the opening hours!
PLACES TO AVOID IN ITALY DURING THE WINTER
Some places such as Riviera Beach towns and Tuscany are only open during the summer. Given the bad weather and the stormy seas in the islands, all of them except for Sicily remain closed for tourism during the winter. It is therefore advisable to avoid these areas when planning for a winter trip to Italy. Other than these, most places in Italy are still great to visit during the winter.
When planning a winter trip to Italy it’s essential to bring an umbrella and warm clothing. And yes you can still enjoy all of the beauty of Italy during the winter months!