weather in Italy in December: your essential travel guide

Weather in Italy in December: Your Essential Travel Guide

Planning to visit Italy in December? This guide covers all you need to know about the weather in Italy in December and much more.

Drawing on detailed research, firsthand experiences, and feedback from travelers, our guide provides a thorough weather-focused overview of Italy in December.

This guide goes beyond weather patterns. It integrates key aspects such as appropriate attire, must-see locations, and distinct experiences specific to December in Italy.

Weather in Italy in December: What to Expect

Christmas tree at the Colosseum, Rome
Christmas tree at the Colosseum, Rome

In the northern regions like Milan and Venice, you can expect colder temperatures, often dropping to around 0°C (32°F). Snow is common in the Alps and the Dolomites, making it a perfect time for skiing or snowboarding. So, pack your warm clothes, including a good coat, scarves, gloves, and hats.

The weather is milder in central Italy, including cities like Rome and Florence. Daytime temperatures usually hover around 13°C (55°F), while at night, it can drop to around 3°C (37°F). Packing layers is a good idea, as the days can be quite warm, but the evenings get chilly.

The weather is even warmer down south in Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 15°C (59°F), and it rarely drops below 8°C (46°F) at night. You’ll still need a jacket for the evenings, but you can often get away with lighter clothing during the day.

Average Temperatures in Italy in December

LocationHighLowAvg. Rainy Days
Northern Italy46°F / 8°C32°F / 0°C10 rainy days
Central Italy55°F / 13°C37°F / 3°C7 rainy days
Southern Italy59°F / 15°C46°F / 8°C10 rainy days
CityHighLowAvg. Rainy Days
Milan46°F / 8°C30°F / -1°C6 rainy days
Venice47°F / 8°C34°F / 1°C7 rainy days
Florence52°F / 11°C36°F / 2°C8 rainy days
Rome55°F / 13°C37°F / 3°C8 rainy days
Naples57°F / 14°C43°F / 6°C10 rainy days
Palermo59°F / 15°C50°F / 10°C9 rainy days

Rain is quite common throughout Italy in December, so don’t forget to pack an umbrella or a raincoat. Despite the occasional rain, December is a fantastic time to visit Italy. The Christmas markets are in full swing, and the festive atmosphere is truly magical.

Recommended Reading: Christmas in Italy: Top 20 Destinations & Best Traditions

Should You Visit Italy in December?

Christmas in Todi, Umbria
December in Todi, Umbria: Historical center adorned with festive decorations

Pondering a trip to Italy in December? This section will provide valuable insights to help you make that decision.

Reasons to Visit Italy in December

Visiting Italy in December can be a truly unique experience. One of the main advantages is the opportunity to experience the country like a local.

With fewer tourists around, you can immerse yourself in the authentic Italian culture and lifestyle. You can stroll through the streets, visit local markets, and enjoy traditional Italian cuisine without the usual hustle and bustle.

Italy in December also offers a variety of experiences. Italy’s ski resorts are a must-visit for those who love winter sports. The snow-covered mountains provide a picturesque backdrop for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.

If you’re more into cultural experiences, the holiday festivities in Italy are something to behold. There’s always something happening, from Christmas markets to New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Related Reading: 5 Italian Christmas Trees That Will Add Some Serious Holiday Cheer

Moreover, traveling to Italy in December can be cost-effective. In cities like Florence, it’s considered low season, which means lower prices for accommodations and attractions. This allows you to enjoy the beauty and charm of Italy without breaking the bank.

Reasons Not to Visit Italy in December

Visiting Italy in December might not be the best idea for some travelers. One of the main reasons is that many beach towns, amusement parks, and small-town restaurants and shops close during this time.

So, you might be disappointed if you’re looking forward to enjoying the vibrant beach life or exploring the local shops and eateries.

The weather in December can also be a deterrent. It’s often cold and rainy, which can limit the warm-weather activities you might want to enjoy, like swimming and hiking. If you’re not a fan of cold weather, this might not be the best time for you to visit.

Additionally, December can be a more expensive time to visit certain areas in Italy, especially ski resorts. If you’re traveling on a budget, this could be a significant drawback.

Lastly, the days are shorter in December, meaning there’s less sunlight. While this does provide a great opportunity to enjoy Christmas lights, it might not be ideal if you prefer longer daylight hours for sightseeing. And if you’re hoping to snag some shopping bargains, it’s better to wait until January.

What to Wear in Italy in December

Selecting the appropriate attire for your December trip to Italy is essential. The weather during this time can be quite chilly, with temperatures ranging from 32°F to 59°F. Therefore, warm clothing is a must.

Layering is key when dressing for December in Italy. Start with a base layer of thermal clothing to keep you warm. Over this, wear a long-sleeved shirt or sweater. A warm, waterproof coat is also essential, as December can be quite rainy in some parts of Italy.

Don’t forget to pack a good pair of waterproof shoes or boots. The streets can be wet and slippery, so you’ll want comfortable and practical footwear. A warm hat, gloves, and a scarf are also recommended to protect against the cold.

Remember, Italians are known for their fashion sense. Even in the cold winter months, they manage to look stylish. So, try to pack clothes that are not only warm but also fashionable.

To summarize, when packing for Italy in December, prioritize warm, waterproof clothing and comfortable footwear. And don’t forget to add a touch of style to fit in with the fashionable locals.

Where to Go and What to Do in Italy in December

Experience the magic of Christmas markets in Italy

Experience the magic of Italy in December with these top activities and locations that perfectly complement the winter weather.

1. Visit the Christmas Market in Bolzano

This South Tyrolean city hosts one of Italy’s most famous Christmas markets. The festive atmosphere, unique crafts, and delicious food make it a must-visit in December.

Related Reading: 60 Facts About Christmas in Italy

2. Ski in the Dolomites

December is the start of the ski season in Italy. The Dolomites offer some of the best skiing in the world, with stunning mountain views and well-maintained slopes.

Are you a ski enthusiast? Discover the slopes and more with our guide: 10 Best Things To Do in Cortina d’Ampezzo

3. Discover Rome’s Tranquility

In December, cities like Rome become more serene and less crowded. This allows visitors to take their time exploring iconic sites such as the Roman Forum and the Vatican Museums.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity to bask in the festive ambiance of grand piazzas and relish Italian culinary delights and shopping experiences.

4. Attend La Scala Opera in Milan

December is a great time to enjoy a performance at the world-renowned La Scala Opera House. The opera season begins in early December, making it a perfect cultural experience for your winter visit.

Suggested Reading: 10 Fun Things to Do and See in Milan, Italy

5. Experience the Festive Celebrations

Italy becomes magical in December, filled with national holidays and distinct customs. Embrace the holiday vibe by exploring Christmas markets, viewing nativity displays, and joining in on community celebrations.

Holidays and Closures in Italy in December

Verona Christmas star
Christmas Star shining over the Arena di Verona

Planning your visit to Italy in December? Be aware of these key holidays and closures during this period.

December 8: Immaculate Conception

This is a national holiday in Italy, celebrating the belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Many businesses and public services are closed on this day, which can affect tourists’ plans.

December 25: Christmas Day

This is a major holiday in Italy, as in many other countries, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Almost all businesses and public services are closed, and many Italians spend the day with their families. Tourists may find their options for dining and sightseeing limited.

December 26: St. Stephen’s Day

This public holiday in Italy is observed the day after Christmas. It is a day for Italians to spend time with family and friends, and many businesses and public services remain closed. Tourists should plan accordingly.

December 31: New Year’s Eve

While not a public holiday, many businesses and restaurants may close early or be fully booked for private parties. Public transportation may also be affected by celebrations, particularly in larger cities.

Remember, these dates can significantly affect the operation of public services, restaurants, and shops. It’s always a good idea to check the specific details for the year and location of your visit.

Festivals and Events in Italy in December

Presepe over the boats in Cesenatico, Italy

Looking forward to exploring the cultural richness of Italy in December? We’ve outlined some key festivals and events taking place during this period.

1. Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Celebrated on December 8th, this national holiday marks the Virgin Mary’s conception without original sin. Italians attend religious processions, light candles, and decorate statues of the Virgin Mary with flowers, particularly in Rome and other major cities.

2. Christmas Markets

Throughout December, enchanting Christmas markets pop up in various cities across Italy, attracting locals and tourists alike. These markets offer a magical atmosphere with stalls selling handmade crafts, local delicacies, and traditional Christmas decorations, making it a perfect place to soak up the holiday spirit.

Here are five of the most popular Christmas markets in Italy.

  • Bolzano Christmas Market: Situated in the scenic Walther Square in Bolzano, this is Italy’s largest Christmas market, offering an extensive selection of crafts, food, and regional specialties for over a month.
  • Merano Christmas Market: Nestled along the River Passirio in Trentino, the Merano Market is famed for its beautiful wooden stalls filled with crafts, gifts, and scrumptious food, attracting both locals and tourists.
  • Verona Christmas Market: Hosted in Verona’s Piazza dei Signori, this charming market enhances the city’s festive ambiance with an array of unique gifts, decorations, and traditional Italian delights.
  • Rome Christmas Market at Piazza Navona: Rome’s Piazza Navona becomes an enchanting Christmas market spot, featuring stalls with crafts, toys, sweets, and the added spectacle of street performances amidst iconic Baroque fountains.
  • Milan Christmas Market at Piazza Castello: Piazza Castello in Milan comes alive with festive cheer as visitors explore stalls filled with crafts, ornaments, and local products, all in the pulsing heart of Milan.

3. Feast of Santa Lucia

Celebrated on December 13th, the Festival of Santa Lucia honors Saint Lucy, the patron saint of eyesight and light. In the city of Syracuse, Sicily, a grand procession takes place, featuring a statue of Saint Lucy carried through the streets, accompanied by traditional music and fireworks.

4. La Scala Opera Season Opening

On December 7th, the prestigious La Scala Opera House in Milan opens its season, attracting opera enthusiasts from around the world. This highly anticipated event features a grand performance, often showcasing renowned artists and captivating productions.

5. Umbria Jazz Winter

From December 28th through January 1st, the vibrant town of Orvieto comes alive with the sounds of soul, jazz, gospel, and funk, filling its bustling streets. Experience the magic and uniqueness of the Umbria Jazz Winter Festival, and kick off the new year in perfect harmony!

Weather in Italy in December FAQ

Do you still have questions about the weather in Italy in December? This section aims to answer all your concerns.

Is December a good time to Visit Italy?

December is a great time to visit Italy. It offers a unique experience with fewer tourists, immersing visitors in authentic Italian culture. It’s also a great time for winter sports enthusiasts to visit Italy’s ski resorts.

Holiday festivities such as Christmas markets and New Year’s Eve celebrations add to the cultural experience. Traveling to Italy in December can also be cost-effective, as it’s considered low season in cities like Florence, resulting in lower prices for accommodations and attractions.

What’s the weather in Italy at Christmas?

Italy’s weather at Christmas time is quite diverse, with regional variations in temperature and precipitation. Here’s a succinct overview:

  • Northern Italy: Cities such as Milan and Venice generally have temperatures between 32°F and 46°F (0°C to 8°C), with potential snowfall, particularly in mountainous regions like the Alps.
  • Central Italy: In areas including Florence and Rome, you can anticipate temperatures between 37°F and 55°F (3°C to 13°C). While rain is frequent, occasional snowfall can occur.
  • Southern Italy and the Islands: In places like Naples and Palermo, expect milder temperatures, roughly 46°F to 59°F (8°C to 15°C), with rain being more common than snow, coupled with possible strong winds along the coastlines.

Please note that the above are guidelines. The weather can change, and it is recommended to consult the local weather forecast to prepare appropriately for your visit.

Is Italy crowded in December?

Italy is not very crowded in December, with the exception of holiday hotspots such as ski resorts and major cities.

Public transport and roads also experience increased congestion, especially at the start and finish of the holiday period.

How much does it rain in Italy in December?

The average rainfall in Italy in December is between 75mm (2.97 inches) and 87mm (3.41 inches).

Is it humid in Italy in December?

Italy is typically not humid in December. The weather is usually cold and sometimes rainy, especially in the northern regions.

What should I wear in Italy in December?

Pack warm, waterproof attire when traveling to Italy in December due to the chilly weather, which can range from 32°F to 59°F.

Layer your clothing, starting with thermal wear, followed by a long-sleeved top or sweater and a waterproof coat. Waterproof shoes, boots, and a warm hat, gloves, and scarf are essential.

Before You Go…

Ready to embrace the Christmas spirit, Italian style? Put on your thinking Santa hat and take our festive Italian Christmas quiz. See how well you know the traditions and jingle all the way through!

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