For many, the summer means walking around in shorts and sandals with sunscreen in your pocket. In contrast, winter means having extra layers of clothing and dragging your feet through knee-high snow.
However, with the right attitude, winter can be an equally endearing time to add some travel mileage.
Most Italian destinations have found sturdy relevance thanks to the summer sun; however, the country takes on a distinctive charm in the winter season.
From postcard-worthy snow-capped mountains to breathtaking alpine ski zones and eventful Christmas markets, Italy is equally captivating in the winter. Here are the best places to visit in Italy during the winter.
Stereotypically known as a summer stop, Venice is quiet and less crowded during the winter months. One of the perks of visiting the floating city in winter is breathing cleaner air in contrast to the summer, where the city has enormous crowds.
Venice has plenty to offer everyone, from gondola rides, breathtaking baroque architecture, exquisite dining and authentic wines.
Nothing is as captivating as taking a picture while on a gondola ride during winter. The fog and light snowfall make for postcard-worthy photos.
The best winter months to visit Venice are January and February when it’s crisp cold with bright winter days.
Referred to as the “Queen of the Dolomites,” Cortina d’Ampezzo is located only a few hours outside Venice and is one of Italy’s most popular skiing destinations.
Cortina’s magnificent landscape with beautiful backdrops makes it a bucket list item for most snow enthusiasts. Cortina d’Ampezzo gained world recognition after hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics.
There is also a Bobsleigh run for travellers looking to try a new craft. And if you aren’t an avid skier or snowboarder, the town is equally stunning for walks and shopping.
Also, the city has so many spectacular restaurants serving tasty cuisines and wine.
Turin has been a gateway for skiers heading to the Italian Alps for decades.
The particular highlight is the annual Luci d’Artista, a celebration of art through light, with the city being lit up in imaginative ways throughout the Christmas season.
Turin also has some of the most breathtaking ice-skating rinks.
The robust northern city of Italy offers some of the land’s best culinary experiences, with the original ‘Eatly’ showcasing the best Italian produce.
Also, check out Caffe Al Bicerin, which serves the land’s best Bicerin (traditional Piedmontese brew made of coffee, cream and chocolate).
In addition, Turin has some of the country’s best Christmas markets, such as Piazza Castello and Piazza Solferino.
Italy’s capital remains ever beautiful even in winter. The town, which feels like a ghost town, offers a certain mystique about the sprawling attractions such as the museums, cathedrals and Roman Forum.
While it is pretty inconceivable in the summer, there are shorter lines, and you can travel more through national landmarks such as the Colosseum at a cheaper rate.
Given the city’s religious allegiance, Christmas in Rome is nothing like anywhere on the globe. The Pope leads a parade through the streets in December.
Rome is also a fashion hub; there are many fashion stores if you see fit to update your wardrobe. The city also has numerous art galleries if you are an art enthusiast.
And after a day of winding through the town’s snow-dusted cobblestone streets, you can end your day at any of the restaurants and bars to enjoy Rome’s culinary excellence and exotic nightlife.
Whereas the Christmas season is highly revered across Italy, Naples seems to kick it up a notch with its nativity scenes spread across the town.
For context, a presepi (nativity scene) is set up at the start of December through to January. In Naples, there are hundreds of nativity scenes that translate their joyful Christmas mood.
Visiting Naples in the winter also means seeing some of the country’s landmarks, such as Pompeii, without jostling through crowds.
And whereas Naples is famous for its tasty pizza and hot summers, the town is an equally endearing culinary experience in the winter season with a string of restaurants and cafés.
And for some cool pictures, head to the snow-capped Vesuvius Mountain.
The Tuscan backcountry offers remarkable sights during the winter season. With the Abetone ski slopes only an hour away from Florence, winter is one of the best seasons to visit Tuscany.
Like in the summer, Tuscany vineyards welcome travellers for wine tastings and estate tours. Nothing is as breathtaking as enjoying a glass of wine under the winter sun.
Truffle hunting, a pleasant Tuscan pastime, also remains on the cards during winter. While in Tuscany, travellers can also explore the country’s most famous renaissance sites.
Finally, there is no better time to visit a hot spring than in the chilly season. Tuscany has many of these for guests to enjoy thermal water spas with spectacular snow-covered panoramas in the background.
The Amalfi Coast
For travellers seeking a temperate climate and lively seaside experience, the Amalfi Coast should be a pleasant experience.
The coast makes for a wonderful beach walk during the winter season with fewer people on the beaches.
Also, its famous stretch of road that twists from Sorrento to Salerno could be a great hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts.
The picturesque Positano, a cascade of pastel-painted houses lining down from the houses to the beaches, offers an excellent spot for a photo op during winter.
And whereas swimming in the winter might not be possible, a boat ride to Capri is often a delight for travellers in the winter season.
For travellers with a sweet tooth, the Pansa Pasticceria in Piazza del Duomo makes some of the best sweets and pastries on the Amalfi coast.
Finally, there are many concerts happening during the Christmas season if you love the contemporary arts.
Italy remains beautiful regardless of the season. However, although many have made countless trips to the country during the summer, winter offers an equally charming thrill with less jostle and crowd.