It’s February in Italy: What you Need to Know

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Carnevale di Venezia || creative commons photo by Callejero Errante

February is a month that gets a bad reputation. It can sometimes feel dreary in the northern hemisphere. However, February in Italy can be vibrant.

Most of Italy considers February part of its “low season” for tourists. I will explain why. Budget-conscious tourists will be happy to know that February travel in Italy can be relatively affordable and you won’t have to fight crowds wherever you go. It’s important to consider the weather when you plan your Italy trip.

Here’s everything you need to know about the weather and holidays in Italy if you plan to travel there in February.

February weather in Italy

February is cold and damp in Italy. This dampness can manifest itself in snow in the mountains and snow can also get down to the lower elevations. You should expect to be soaked or puddled up as you move from one attraction to the next. While you are likely to spend most of your time indoors, such as museums, churches, shops, or in shops, outdoor sites like Pompeii may be more appealing.

Snowboarders and skiers will continue to flock to mountain resorts. These include the Dolomites and northern Alps, the Apennine spine running through the middle of the country and the volcanic tip of Mt. Etna, Sicily. When it comes to skiing destinations, February is still a high season in Italy.

It’s possible that you will also experience some days that feel like spring. These are cold and clear days when the sun is shining, the sun is warm, but not too warm to make you shed your winter coat. Sometimes you may just need to wear sunglasses.

Below are some average temperatures for different regions of Italy in February.

  • Northern Italy: 25-45degF (-4-4degC).
  • Central Italy: 40-55degF (5-13degC)
  • Southern Italy: 50-60°F (10-16°C)

As always, make sure to check the extended forecast for the place you are actually going before you leave. This will allow you to know in advance if it is unseasonably warm or cold.

Italy Festivals and Holidays February

There are few Italian holidays which follow the same dates each year as February. Valentine’s Day in Italy isn’t a huge deal, but you’ll still see it in shops windows. Younger generations will often give each other flowers and chocolates.

The Venice Carnival is one of the most important festivals in Italy. It’s usually held in February. Carnevale is the Italian name for this festival. It moves each year according to the liturgical Calendar, with dates that range from late January through early April. It’s possible that some Carnival celebrations in Venice may fall in February. This is an exception to the “low” season I mentioned earlier.

A famous Carnival festival is held each year in the Piedmontese village of Ivrea. The Carnevale d’Ivrea, also known as the “Battle of the Oranges,” sees revelers wear medieval costumes and pelt one another with oranges. Viareggio, Tuscany has its own carnival. There are huge marionette characters that parade through the streets.

Sanremo, a Ligurian town, hosts an annual song contest. The winner represents Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is usually held in February. This is a great opportunity to see some of the most well-known musicians in the country perform. The week-long Almond Blossom Festival (Sagra del Mandorlo, Fiore) in Sicily is held in February.

Italy’s winter sales period usually runs from mid-February to mid-February. It began in January and ends in February.

Why travel to Italy in February?

Only snowboarders and skiers travel to Italy in February for the perfect weather. It’s not the only problem. However, the main benefits are smaller crowds and lower prices, which are both very nice perks.

As I mentioned, Venice is the exception to “smaller crowds, lower prices” rule if Venice Carnival takes place in February. Venice is crowded with partygoers from all walks of the globe during Carnevale. Hotels are expensive and rooms can be booked months ahead of time. This is one spectacular show, so plan accordingly if you want to go.

The rest of the country may find February difficult to sell. If you have been unable to visit Italy because of financial constraints, February is a great option. The relative emptiness of February will entice those who can’t bear to be packed into the Sistine Chapel at Vatican Museum. For those who want to visit Italy, but aren’t able to bear the thought of walking through rolling green hills or soaking up the sun on famous beaches, February is not the right month.

If you haven’t been to Italy before, don’t feel pressure to rush from one site to the next; if your budget is tight; or if your goal is to spend your time in the mountains snow, February could be a great month.

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16 Responses to “Traveling To Italy In February: What You Should Know”

  • Lo says:

    We will be traveling to Milan from January 26-29. Would you recommend another city to visit for 4 more days between the 1/29 and Feb. 3? We are looking for luxury boutique hotels with great shopping and great food, but also want adventure and great food. Are there any other cities you would recommend?

    We are grateful!

    Lo

    • Jess has the following:

      Lo, thanks for your note! It all depends on what you are looking for. However, you might also consider any of my great day trip options from Milan. Any of these places can be wonderful places to spend a few hours. You might consider Florence, Bologna or Venice for a 4-day vacation. But again, it all depends on your interests.

  • Jane Johnson has the following to say:

    In the past I have been to all of Italy, with the exception of Amalfi. What about Southern Italy in February. Is there a warm and welcoming hotel with lovely views and great food that older guests can recommend?

    • Jess has the following:

      To help you plan your trip, here’s my Southern Italy Guide. You’ll find different answers to questions about hotels, views, and food in the “Southern Italy” region. For more information on each region, you can look through the links to the Southern Italy page.

  • Jane Johnson has the following to say:

    Venice is a wonderful place, full of great hotels and delicious food. However, it can get a little dark and wet in winter. You should definitely visit Rome if you haven’t. You can shop and do your shopping near the Spanish Steps, which is close to traffic. You can find many nice hotels in the vicinity, including Hotel de Russie. They can also recommend great restaurants. I also love the d’Inghilterra, but it is not a 5-star hotel. Also, make sure you check that your room is in your budget ….others are small ….. It has many other great qualities and is very convenient. Although there are many lovely hotels in Florence, I don’t really like Florence. Bologna is beautiful, but can feel a bit dark and cold in winter.

  • Z says:

    We will be visiting Rome in February for 4 days. Then we have 6 days to explore the rest of Italy. We are not sure if we should go north or south. Although we are aware that the weather is going to be cold, it is often below zero in Chicago at this time of year so any option is worth considering. We would be grateful for any suggestions.

    • Jessica says:

      Without knowing you, I cannot make any recommendations. So I will point you to my article How to Create the Perfect Italy Itinerary. That will give you some ideas on what I do to plan my trips. You will need to be aware of the weather in February, I’m sure. Also, even though you may have heard wonderful things about Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast, these rave reviews are for summer travel. In winter, many small coastal communities close down. You can still visit museums, churches, and art galleries, but they are often closed for shorter hours. Therefore, indoor activities will be your best option.

  • Sophie says:

    Jessica,

    My husband and i will be flying to Venice on 27 January and then driving to Turin (leaving on the 4th of February) for our honeymoon. We are looking for good hotels, great food, and wine. We don’t care as much about the big cities, but we are more interested in the small villages. However, I expect that many restaurants will close for the season because of the low season. We had been considering going to Tuscany and possibly to Lake Gardia. Our plan was to spend one night in Venice, and then one night in Turin. Is there a good place to eat in the area that isn’t closed? Also, what other restaurants would you recommend for food and wine? Do you have any recommendations for cozy hotels?

    Many thanks

    • Jessica says:

      Congratulations on your wedding and honeymoon! You may find the following links useful in planning your trip: my Italian cities & regions, my overview of Italian cuisine, one about wine-tasting in Italy, as well as information about places you can eat in Italy. You will also find links to food-related articles on the right-hand-side of my Italian food overview. I love the Italian food culture! That should be enough.

      All you need to know is that each region has its own cuisine identity. This means that there will be different dishes and ingredients in every place, especially in winter. I tend to eat the best food when it’s fresh and local.

  • Amna says

    Halo, Jessica ! Your blogpost was very informative, and I was initially disappointed to hear about the weather conditions. Given that I’m going to Rome, Vatican, Florence, and Pompeii in February, it’s a bit disappointing to hear about the weather conditions.

    Thank you for your blogpost! !

    • Jessica says:

      It’s impossible to predict the weather in February. You could see rain or have warm days. But I recommend checking the forecast before you leave the house to plan your packing. This will be the best.

  • Lauren

    Hello, my family and I are going to Italy in January and February. Our biggest concern is not the weather but the food. We are vegetarians, so i’m sure there will be plenty of pizza and pasta. But are there good vegetarian restaurants?

    We were also planning to travel for two weeks, so what would you recommend if we spent one week in Italy?

    We are grateful to xxxx

  • Anthony says:

    Jessica, thank you so much for this information. From the 23rd of February to March 2nd, I may be traveling to Italy. I found a nice hotel in Como, not far from the train station. But, I was curious to find out where you recommend going. This is surprising to my fiance. We have been to a few Italian places (Milan and Venice included), during the summer. It’s also possible that some places may not be open in February, so I am curious about day trips. It seems impossible to take a ferry from Bellagio, for example. I am open to changing cities. Thank you for your assistance

    • Jessica says:

      It’s a shame that I didn’t realize this question until after you returned from your trip. I hope you had an amazing time. You can refer to me as a future reference. I would usually take day trips by ear in late winter/early Spring, in case the weather is not ideal or if the places are too closed-off.

  • Hadas says:

    hi Jessica!

    This weekend, we are going to Italy as two couples. We will be there for two days, and we want to see Italy’s landscapes and natural beauty (we don’t mind visiting museums), and maybe the Dolomites.

    What are you suggesting?

    Many thanks