I have argued for before and I have had wonderful winter visits. It’s not for everyone, however. What if you don’t like the idea of going on a hot and crowded summer vacation as much as you love the cold winter? That’s when the shoulder seasons are useful – in this instance, spring.
Here are the facts about spring travel to Italy.
Italy’s Spring Weather
Spring is defined as March, April and May in Italy. However, May’s Mediterranean climate (and climate change in general) can make it as hot as June or Jul these days. March can, however, be just as cold and damp as February. Because spring is a transition season, unpredictable weather is a good sign.
The temperature in spring will vary depending on the month and where you are located. It’s important to know the forecast before you start packing. Don’t be surprised to need to pack a bit of everything. This is the season for umbrellas and sunglasses.
Italy Spring Holidays
Some major Italian holidays are celebrated in spring: Carnevale, Easter and Liberation Day, but sometimes, depending on the year. The Giro d’Italia, Italy’s annual Grand Tour cycling race, is also held in May. Carnevale, Easter and other big holidays are huge enough that no matter the weather, they attract large numbers of tourists.
March and April are what I call “shoulder season” in the tourist sense of the phrase. This is when people are less busy than in summer but not as dense as winter and where things like hotel rooms and flights can be bought at reasonable prices. As far as I am concerned, May is now part the high-summer season. It could be partly due to the consistently warm May and because Italy is such a popular destination. But the bottom line is that there is a shorter shoulder season window for bargains than before.
The pros and cons of a spring trip to Italy
The shoulder seasons are the best for decent weather and affordable prices. This is especially true in March and April. Although crowds are higher in spring than in winter, they are generally less dense in summer. Although I am a good planner, I would still book tickets for popular museums in the spring. However, seat-of-the pants travelers may be able to avoid booking in advance. However, May would still be considered high season and I would book in advance.
Autumn seems to be becoming more popular than the other shoulder season. If there is a hierarchy of shoulderseasons in terms of crowds and prices, spring is leading that race. My guess is that autumn’s combination summer-like weather with food festivals makes it a secondary high season in Italy.
Spring weather can be beautiful, but unpredictable enough that it can make it difficult to rely on sunshine for your beach days or guarantee it won’t rain while you’re out exploring Pompeii. This can be problematic, especially when you have to pack for two seasons in one bag. Although it’s not impossible to weather, it does present its own challenges.
Remember to look at the calendar for holidays such as Carnevale or Easter so that you can plan accordingly.