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A year in Italy: where to go and when

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A year in Italy: where to go and when
With so much to offer, how do you decide where to go in Italy - and when? Our expert travel guide matches each of our favourite Italian destinations with the perfect month to visit them in 2023. So, when, and where are you going?


Escape the Winter Cold in Palermo
After the festive feeling disappears, there’s often an overwhelming dread of the winter ahead. Don’t worry - sun-kissed southern Italy is within reach! We recommend you head to Palermo for a city break so that you can feel the sunshine on your skin again. You can browse the busy street markets, enjoy the slow café culture, and take in the city attractions such as Palazzo dei Normann and Palermo Regional Archaeological Museum. If it's a mild winter, you might even be able to hit the beaches! Even though it’s Sicily’s coldest month, it’s still far warmer than home, with average temperature highs of 15°C, and lows of 11°C.
Palmero landscape


Venice for the Carnival
If you only do it once in your lifetime, a visit to Carnevale di Venezia is an absolute must. You will see a completely different side to Venice. The festivities take place in the weeks up to Lent, and there’s an expression that anything goes - this is the time to let your hair down. Don your artistically creative disguises and enter la maschera più bella - a contest for the most beautiful mask - and learn about the fascinating history of Venetian masks. Join in the masquerade balls, watch the gondola and boat parades along the Grand Canal and the vibrant firework display. Even children are welcome, with special, fun-filled events just for them in the Cannaregio district.
Row of gondolas


Shopping in Milan
March is a great month to visit Milan for shopping. You may experience the occasional rain shower, but you’ll get to enjoy the shops away from the usual tourist and fashion week crowds. Head to the Quadrilatero d’Oro to find elegant shopping streets teeming with famous jewellers and alta moda (high fashion). Head to Milan’s celebrated department stores, including the massive ten-storey La Rinascente in Piazza del Duomo. Explore the boutique shops in the Brera district, or vintage shops where you can find everything from heavily discounted last season labels to 19th century dresses. For rock-bottom bargains, there’s always Milan’s wonderful markets. In March Milan also hosts Oggi Aperto, a weekend when normally closed monuments and historic buildings are open to the public.
Street in Milan


Puglia & Basilicata
Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or want to keep the family entertained, you can make the most of your spring break in the rural beauties of Puglia and Basilicata. As trees blossom and wildflowers spring up, the balmy weather is an ideal time to go hiking or ambling around, before the temperatures heat up for summer. There are many noteworthy moments to embrace, including the trulli town of Alberobello, the white city of Ostuni, or the sassi of Matera.
Pretty white cottage in puglia


Tuscany for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Kick off the summer theatre season in style in Florence and book an array of dramatic shows at the renowned Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a festival of Italian arts, symphonies and opera, which also hosts child-friendly events. Once you’ve had your fill of music, head out of the city into the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Feast on the cream of the crop for a tranquil holiday before the crowds arrive - from relaxing in the thermal springs of spa towns to wine-tasting and quiet vineyard visits.
Colourful buildings in Florence


Sorrento & the Amalfi Coast
Let the Mediterranean summer begin in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. June is a time the locals call Bella Stagione - the beautiful season, and you’ll feel a festive vibe bubbling up. Spend your days lazing on the beaches as you worship the sun or go swimming or snorkelling in the warm waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you feel like trying out a different beach, take a boat trip across to the islands of Capri or Ischia. Live life as a local as you enjoy long lunches in village restaurants and visit the wineries, before cracking into the energetic nightlife of outdoor pizzerias, seafood restaurants, and bars.
seaside coast with beach


Lake Garda & Verona Opera
It’s time to don your sunscreen! July is the hottest month around Lake Garda, with average temperatures of 24°C. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the sparkling waters with yachting and watersports, or devouring gelato in one of the lakeside villages. You can combine your holiday with a trip to Verona where you can enjoy Italy’s greatest summer opera festival in the incredible Arena di Verona which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023. Sit in ancient stone seats with your mocoleto (little candles) for magical performances under the night skies.
Verona opera house


Sardinia for the Best Beaches in Europe
The best months to visit Sardinia are in July and August, as it’s great beach weather with temperatures reaching a deliciously hot 31°C. There’s also a really good vibe, as Italians also flock to the island for their summer holidays. There are endless festivals and events to either plan for or simply stumble upon during your visit, whether that’s the special summer feast of Ferragosto, to jazz, wine and even bread festivals! When you’re not lying on pristine beaches, tuck into the home-grown food culture for a particularly tasty trip.
An island in the sea


The Beauty of Lake Como & Lake Maggiore
September is the prime month for Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, as you have time to absorb the tranquillity. While the days are usually warm and sunny, there’s a refreshing crispness in the night air, which adds extra magic to these majestic destinations if you’re seeking a romantic holiday. Spend time on the lakes pedalling, sailing or swimming at a local lido. You can also explore the grand lakeside villas that are open to the public or head up into the surrounding mountains. From Lake Maggiore, you can even nip over into Switzerland for the day, which is just a few miles away!
Boats sailing on a lake


Tuscany Without the Searing Heat
We simply adore Tuscany in the autumn. The climate is warm but not overbearing, and there are always less visitors at this time of year so you can relax in relative peace and get your pick of the accommodation in the scenic hilltop towns! The colours of the countryside are amazing at this time of year as the rolling hills and vineyards light up with rich crimson, tawny and flaxen shades in the low sun. Enjoy the full bounties of the harvest, as olives and grapes get picked and pressed and the aroma of roasted chestnuts lingers in the air. There are plenty of food festivals celebrating the season. You can even go truffle hunting, one of the top foodie activities!
Winding road surrounded by trees


Sicily Without the Crowds
Enjoy the favourite Italian hotspot of Sicily without the usual crowds. While the month of November marks the start of the island’s low season, you can still enjoy the beaches, not to mention all the gorgeous natural and historic attractions. Wander fishing villages, explore the Valley of the Temples, hop between the wineries, go on a mouth-watering street food tour in Palermo, and enjoy panoramic views from the peak of Mount Etna. Sicily provides a warm Mediterranean spirit in November, with average daytime temperatures of 20°C.
Coastal vilage


Christmas & New Year’s Eve in Rome
While the weather is cool and crisp, Rome has an alluringly warm festive vibe during December as it prepares for Christmas and New Year. The charming streets are lit up with twinkling lights and ornaments, and the air is fragranced with spice from seasonal markets. It’s a great time to explore the top attractions without the usual queues - from the Colosseum to St. Peter’s Basilica, which are elevated by fir trees and nativity scenes. Alongside special private events across the city, Rome’s famous square, Piazza del Popolo, hosts a giant street party to bring in the New Year, with the quintessential fireworks at midnight.
Discover the real Italy with Citalia  
When are you heading to Italy? Citalia are the UK’s leading Italy specialist with over 90 years' experience in tailoring holidays to Italy. Experts are on hand every step of the way to ensure you make memories to last a lifetime. It’s never too late to start planning your Italian escape! 
Visit citalia.com to discover the real Italy on your next adventure.
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