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Italy in December: Weather Info & Best Places to Travel (2024)

Christmas Market Stand in Verona, Italy in December
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Are you planning a trip to Italy in December?

December may not be everyone’s ideal time to visit Italy. It’s cold, cloudy, and the days are shorter. However, there are a few perks to visiting during the winter instead of the high season.

For starters, December is low season, which means fewer tourists, less crowds, and cheaper prices. Visiting during this time gives you the chance to experience Italy with the locals and without the high costs.

Additionally, Italians know how to celebrate the holiday season. The streets are decorated with Christmas trees and lights, and you can explore Christmas Markets in both small towns and big cities.

We have traveled to Italy throughout all 4 seasons, including December, and it’s a great time to visit if you want a more relaxing and authentic trip.

In this guide, we are sharing all you need to know about visiting Italy in December. This includes an overview of the best places to visit, the weather, holidays, and tips on how to pack for your trip.

December Italy Weather

Map of weather throughout Italy in December

December is the second coldest month in Italy, after January. Be prepared for potential rain (or snow) and cooler days.

During our trip to northern Italy in December, we layered up with coats, sweaters, hats, and scarves. The humidity makes the air feel extra chilly.

Of course, the farther south you go, the warmer it’ll be. Take a look at the average temperatures throughout Italy below to get an idea of what to expect for your trip.

Average Temperature in Italy in December

  • Northern Italy: Average high temperatures between 44°F – 47°F (7°C – 8°C)
  • Central Italy: Average high temperature between 53°F – 56°F (12°C – 13°C)
  • Southern Italy: Average high temperatures between 57°F – 61°F (14°C – 16°C)

Here’s an overview of the weather throughout Italy in December:

LocationAverage highsAverage lows
Venice, Veneto47°F / 8°C35°F / 2°C
Rome, Lazio56°F / 13°C40°F / 4°C
Florence, Tuscany53°F / 12°C38°F / 3°C
Milan, Lombardy46°F / 8°C34°F / 1°C
Bari, Puglia57°F / 14°C43°F / 6°C
Palermo, Sicily61°F / 16°C52°F / 11°C
Cinque Terre, Liguria54°F / 12°C41°F / 5°C
Amalfi, Campania58°F / 14°C51°F / 11°C
Cagliari, Sardinia61°F / 16°C44°F / 7°C
Bolzano, Trentino-Alto Adige44°F / 7°C27°F / -3°C
Weather data from timeanddate.com

Our Experience:

We visited northern Italy in December, including Milan, Venice, and Verona. The cold weather didn’t stop us from getting out and exploring the cities all day.

Luckily, there are plenty of indoor activities in Italy’s cities, such as museums, palaces, cafes, and restaurants. We used the cold weather as an excuse to eat a lot. What better time to eat risotto, handmade tortellini, and Cotoletta (fried veal)?

The best part of it all was the absence of the huge crowds. Visiting Italy in December makes it so much easier to get into major sites.

We booked The Last Supper in Milan days before our visit (instead of months before), got to see Juliet’s Balcony in Verona without the lines, and enjoy St. Mark’s Square in Venice without being pushed around.

The Christmas Markets in Italy were a delightful surprise for us. Verona has an incredible market filled with delicious food, seasonal crafts, and other goodies. Make sure to walk around at night to enjoy the lights and festive decorations!

If you’re on the fence about visiting in December, here’s our hot take. Go if you want to see the cities, enjoy authentic Italy, avoid the crowds, and don’t mind the cold weather.

Don’t go if you’re hoping for a sunny and warm Italian experience where you dine outside for every meal and walk around in linen pants or a sundress. If that’s the case, then May or September might be a better time.

Advantages of Visiting Italy in December

  • Affordable prices: Since it’s the low season, hotels, rental cars, and flights are cheaper overall compared to peak summer season.
  • Fewer crowds: While many travelers visit Italy during the holiday season, the crowds are much smaller and less overwhelming in December.
  • Christmas markets: Holiday markets pop up all over Italy throughout the month of December. Verona’s market is one of our favorites.
  • Winter sports: If you enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, Italy is a great place to do just that! From the Italian alps to the Dolomites, you have plenty of resort options to choose from.

Disadvantages of Visiting Italy in December

View of the Basilica di San Petronio in the PIazza Maggiore in Bologna
  • Cold weather: Expect cooler temperatures and grey skies throughout Italy in December.
  • Closures: In resort towns, such as the Amalfi Coast, many shops, restaurants, and tour operators close for the off season. During the Christmas holidays, particularly on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas, expect most things to be closed.
  • Potential rain and snow: Expect rain and snow, especially in the central and northern regions.
  • Shorter days: With the winter solstice, December has the shortest days of the year, which means less daylight for sightseeing.

9 Best Places to Visit in Italy in December

1. Venice in December

buildings along the Grand Canal in Venice

Venice has a lively and festive atmosphere in December. There is a market that pops up in Campo Santo Stefano, a small square just 10 minutes from Piazza San Marco. You’ll find locals selling Venetian crafts, from masks to glass, and other seasonal foods.

Christmas trees light up the main squares and streets and twinkling lights are strewn above the canals. It’s quite a magical time to visit, and it’s much less busy than during the other seasons.

Venice weather in December

Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, Venice is humid and cold in December. Temperatures range from 47°F (8°C) highs to 35°F(2°C) lows. Make sure to bundle up to stay warm!

Things to do in Venice in December

  • Visit the Christmas market in Campo Santo Stefano
  • Explore the islands – Murano, Burano, and the Lido.
  • Take a gondola ride.
  • Visit the main sites, such as the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square, and Doge’s Palace.
  • Take a vaparetto ride (water taxi) along the Grand Canal – the cheapest way to see it!

2. Rome in December

Rome lights up for the holiday season. Walk around the city and you’ll see nativity scenes, ice skating rinks, Christmas Markets, and other festivities happening.

This is wonderful time to visit Rome if you want to experience it like a local and without all the tourists. It’s important to note that some of the sites, such as the Colosseum, have limited hours in December.

Additionally, most of main attractions are closed on Christmas Day, December 25th.

Rome weather in December

The weather in Rome is much warmer on average than northern Italy. Expect 56°F (13°C) highs and 40°F (4°C) lows. There is a high chance of rain, as it is one of the rainiest months in Rome.

Things to do in Rome in December

  • Visit the ancient Roman sites, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon.
  • Explore the holiday markets.
  • See the Trevi Fountain.
  • Visit Vatican City and see the Vatican museums.
  • Climb the Spanish steps and enjoy the views from Pincian Hill.
  • Wander around the Trastevere neighborhood.
  • Eat at Testaccio market, one of the best indoor food markets in Rome.

3. Florence in December

the Duomo in Florence, Italy

Florence is a fantastic place to visit in December with holiday decorations and celebrations throughout the month.

Piazza Santa Croce is home to the largest Christmas market in Florence and is open for the first 3 weeks of December. You can taste everything from German bratwursts to Austrian pastries at the market.

The Florence Green Line festival lights up the city with projections on the Ponte Vecchio and other buildings around the city.

Of course, the Duomo and Renaissance art museums are open throughout the month. This is the perfect time to explore the city’s museums while it’s chilly outside.

Florence weather in December

Florence is cold and rainy in December. High temperatures reach 53°F (12°C) during the day and the evenings get down to 38°F (3°C).

Things to do in Florence in December

  • Explore the Duomo, baptistry, and bell tower.
  • Visit the Uffizi Galleries.
  • Wander across Ponte Vecchio.
  • See Michelangelo’s “David” at the Accademia Gallery.
  • Explore the holiday festivals, from the Christmas market to the light festival.

4. Bologna in December

View of Bologna from the Asinelli Tower during 3 days in Bologna itinerary

It may be chilly in December, but it’s actually a great time to visit Bologna. The city feels like a warm hug with its red and orange hued buildings and rich cuisine.

Bologna is famous for its food – lasagna, tagliatelle al ragu, tortellini in brodo – and these hearty dishes are best eaten on a cold day.

Take yourself on a food tour to some of Bologna’s top restaurants, or book our favorite food tour with a local guide to try some of the regional specialties.

Additionally, there are Christmas markets and decorations scattered around the city. There is a large Christmas tree and holiday fair in Piazza Maggiore, a French Market in Piazza Minghetti, and the Santa Lucia Fair underneath historic porticoes.

The Emilia Romagna region is also worth exploring in December. Here are a few places to visit:

  • Parma – home to Parmigiano Reggiano and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the region.
  • Modena – home to Balsamic Vinegar and the Ferrari Museum.
  • Ravenna – home to incredible must-see Byzantine Mosaics.
  • Dozza – a small village with beautiful outdoor art murals and a fantastic regional wine shop.
  • Brisighellaa medieval village with gorgeous scenery and a lot of delicious olive oil and local wines

Bologna weather in December

Bundle up because the highs on average are 46°F (8°C) and lows are 34°F (1°C) in Bologna in December. It’s crisp but the holiday spirit warms you right up!

Things to do in Bologna in December

  • Go on a Bologna Food Tour.
  • Enjoy the views from the Asinelli Tower.
  • Appreciate the medieval architecture in Piazza Maggiore.
  • Explore the oldest university in the world – University of Bologna.
  • Visit the Christmas markets.

Check out our one, two, and three-day Bologna itineraries to help plan your stay.

5. Verona in December

View of the Verona Christmas Market from the main piazza

Verona is one of our favorite Italian cities to visit during the winter! The streets are covered with Christmas lights and decorations.

Trees and wreaths line the shops along Corso Porta Borsari, one of the main shopping streets, and the squares like Piazza delle Erbe.

We spent a month living in Verona in November and December, and we visited the Christmas markets in the city on a daily basis.

Christmas Tree in Verona, Italy
Old Market in Verona, Italy

The main Christmas market is located in Piazza dei Signori and Mercato Vecchio. Here you can eat delicious foods, like bratwursts, smoked pizzas, and Italian donuts.

One of Italy’s famous holiday desserts is the Pandoro cake, which was invented in Verona in the late 19th century. You can get your own cake at one of the many delicatessens throughout the city or try a slice at the market.

Finally, throughout the month of December, Verona hosts the International Nativity Scene Festival inside of the ancient Verona Arena. Collectors and creators come from all over the world to show off their nativity scenes.

Verona weather in December

Like most of Northern Italy, Verona is cloudy and cold in December. Average highs are 46°F (8°C) and lows are 32°F (0°C).

Things to do in Verona in December

  • Visit the city’s main sites, such as the Roman Arena, Piazza delle Erbe, and Juliet’s Balcony.
  • Enjoy the views from the top of Torre dei Lamberti and Castel San Pietro.
  • Visit Verona’s 4 churches.
  • Explore the Christmas Markets in the historic center.

READ ALSO: One Day in Verona & Two Days in Verona Itinerary

6. Milan in December

Milan Duomo

December is a fantastic time to experience Milan without all of the tourists. We got last-minute tickets to The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci during our visit in December, and there weren’t any lines to get into the Duomo.

The holiday festivities kick off on December 7th during the celebration of Milan’s patron saint – Sant’Ambrogio. The main event is the Fiera degli Obei Obei, which is a huge Christmas market that takes place over the course of 3-4 days near the Sforzesca Castle.

galleria vittorio emanuele ii in milan in december
Festive cafe in Milan for Christmas

In the Piazza del Duomo, you can visit the traditional Christmas market and shop for seasonal treats and crafts. It’s a pretty small market, so don’t expect anything huge or too fancy.

There is also a large tree lit up in the piazza, as well as in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Milan weather in December

December definitely feels a bit dreary in Milan with the cloudy and shorter days. The weather ranges from 34°F (1°C) lows to 46°F (8°C) highs on average throughout the month.

Things to do in Milan in December

  • See The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Visit the Duomo and get tickets to the rooftop terraces.
  • Shop at the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II.
  • Enjoy aperitivo by the Navigli Canals.
  • Visit the stunning Church of San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore.
  • Visit the Christmas markets around the city.

7. Naples in December

"Christmas Alley" in Naples, Italy in December
Photo Credit: lena1 from Canva Pro

Naples is often associated with warm weather and sunshine, as it’s a popular summer holiday destination. However, it’s one of Italy’s more unique Christmassy destinations that’s worth a visit.

During the holiday season, Naples is famous for its nativity scenes. Along Via San Gregorio Armeno, also known as “Christmas Alley”, you’ll find dozens of artisans who craft up a variety of nativities and other wooden figurines.

There is also a market that is spread throughout the city that starts around the first week of December.

Pompeii is also worth visiting this time of year, as the weather is nice and the tourists are practically non-existent.

Naples weather in December

December is the 2nd rainiest month in Naples with average rainfall of 4″. Cloudy days and cooler temperatures are to be expected. The weather forecast ranges from 43°F (6°C) lows to 58°F (14°C) highs on average.

Things to do in Naples in December

  • Explore “Christmas Alley”.
  • Visit the local holiday markets.
  • Take a day trip to Pompeii.
  • Check out the main attractions, such as Museo Cappella Sansevero, Galleria Borbonica, and the Archaeological Museum.

8. Turin in December

A view of the outside of the Royal Palace of Turin

Turin is located in the very northwest of Italy, and it’s a wonderful, cozy city to visit during the winter months. With its elegant cafes, beautiful baroque buildings, historic museums, and delicious food, there is plenty to do to keep you busy both indoors and outdoors here.

Make sure to try one of our favorite chocolate drinks called bicerin. It’s a local specialty that’s made with espresso, hot chocolate, and cream. Yum!

During the month of December, Turin’s streets, buildings, and piazzas are illuminated by light installations and projections. Luci d’Artista is a public event, and the best way to experience it is by wandering around the streets after sunset.

Of course, an Italian Christmas wouldn’t be complete without holiday markets. The main market in Turin is called the Borgo Dora market.

Finally, Turin is located at the base of the Italian Alps and there are some incredible ski resorts nearby within a 1.5-hour drive. Visiting Turin on a winter trip gives you the option to enjoy both the city and mountains.

Turin weather in December

Turin is one of the coldest places in Italy during December. With highs around 43°F (6°C) and lows of 35°F (2°C), bundle up and stay warm!

Things to do in Turin in December

  • Visit the oldest Egyptian Museum in the world – Museo Egizio.
  • Enjoy the view of the city and the alps from the Basilica of Superga.
  • Wander around the Piazza San Carlo.
  • Visit the Mole Antonelliana and the Cinema Museum.
  • Taste Gianduja chocolate from Caffarel.
  • Explore the city’s holiday festivities.

READ ALSO: One Day in Turin Itinerary

9. Bolzano & Dolomites in December

Bolzano Christmas Market in Decemer
Photo Credit: Antonio Gravate via Canva Pro

Bolzano is a magical city located in the Dolomites. This charming town hosts a wonderful Christmas market every year from the end of November to the beginning of January.

If you’re looking for a Christmas mountain escape, then head to Bolzano. Try some local foods, drink some mulled wine, and enjoy some holiday cheer.

Bolzano isn’t too far from ski resorts, like the world famous Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is where the 2026 Winter Olympics will be held.

Bolzano weather in December

Expect snow and chilly weather, as December is one of the coldest months here. Daytime highs average at 44°F (7°C) and evenings are around 27°F (-3°C). Pack your coat and other winter gear!

Things to do in the Dolomites in December

  • Enjoy the Christmas market in Bolzano.
  • See the 5,000 year old Iceman named Ötzi.
  • Take a road trip to some other towns and villages in the Dolomites.
  • Go skiing at one of the nearby resorts.

Christmas Markets in Italy

Bretzel from Verona Christmas Market

Are there Christmas markets in December in Italy? Yes!

If you read the section on the best places to visit, then you’ll know that every place we listed in this article has a Christmas market during the month of December.

Every market starts and ends at different times, so it’s best to check the local city website for accurate dates, locations, and hours.

Cost to Visit Italy in December

Since December is in the middle of the low season, prices are much lower all around. It’s a great time to visit Italy if you’re traveling on a budget and hoping to to save money on hotel and transportation expenses.

The only exception to this is that some cities may be a little pricier than others due to holiday events. For example, Verona is a popular destination for its Nativity Scene Festival and markets.

Hotels tend to be slightly more expensive in December than in November for this reason.

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in December

Star at the Verona ampitheater

If you’re planning a December trip to Italy, it’s important to make note of any public holidays and closures. Below, we’re listing some holidays and festivals to know about:

  • Feast of Saint Ambrose: On December 7th, the city of Milan takes the day off and celebrates its patron saint, Saint Ambrose. Some shops and restaurants will remain open throughout the day but most locals have the day off, since it is a public holiday. This also marks the official start of the Christmas season in Milan.
  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Held annually on December 8th, this is a public national holiday. You’ll find many celebrations and events happening throughout the country. Many restaurants and shops are closed; however, major attractions in big cities remain open.
  • Christmas: December 25th is another public holiday, so expect most restaurants, shops, and main attractions to be closed.
  • St. Stephen’s Day: December 26th, the day after Christmas, is a national public holiday. Most people gather with friends and family to celebrate on this day. Shops and restaurants are closed.

What to wear in Italy in December

Trying to figure what to pack for your winter trip to Italy? Here are a few of our packing tips:

  • Bring a coat: With cold temperatures throughout Italy this time of year, pack a coat that will keep you warm enough for temps as low as 25°F (-4°C) in the evenings.
  • Pack winter gear: Bring a beanie, gloves, scarves, and boots. It may be wet and rainy, so we recommend waterproof boots if possible.
  • Layer up: Much of Italy is quite humid, which makes the air feel even colder than it is. We recommend layering up with sweaters and jackets.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes: There is always a lot of walking involved on any trip to Italy. Wear shoes that you can walk in all day.

Getting around Italy

Bologna Centrale Platforms

Whether you rent a car, take the train, or take a flight, Italy is easy to travel around. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way around:

  • Train travel in Italy: Taking the train is one of the best and most convenient ways to get around for your trip to Italy. Book your tickets online in advance via Trenitalia.com, the official website for booking train tickets. Download the app for the easiest use. For high-speed trains, try to reserve your tickets at least 3-weeks ahead of time for the best prices.
  • Renting a car in Italy: We have rented a car more times than we can count in Italy and it’s one of the best ways to explore some of the more hidden gems in Italy. Rent your car through Discover Cars, our go-to rental car site for Europe, to get the best prices.
  • Traveling by air in Italy: There are plenty of airports to get you around Italy. If you’re planning to visit both northern (Venice or Milan) and southern (Sicily or Puglia) Italy on the same trip, then flying is the quickest way to get around.

Travel Tips for visiting Italy in December

  • Visit the Christmas Markets: Don’t miss the charming Christmas markets throughout Italy. You’ll find markets in major cities, such as Rome, Florence, Turin, and Milan, and even in smaller towns like Verona and Bolzano. The best time to visit is during the evening hours after sunset.
  • Be Mindful of Holiday Closures: There are quite a few national holidays during the month of December, which we have listed out in the Holidays & Festivals Section. Most restaurants, shops, and businesses are closed on these days, so it’s important to plan ahead, such as grocery shopping, if needed.
  • Reserve restaurants: Even during the low season, popular restaurants book out. Reserve your table at least a few days in advance, especially if you have a specific place that you want to eat at.
  • Pack accordingly: Winters in Italy are cold, wet, and dark. Be prepared with proper clothing, such as waterproof shoes, warm layers, and a coat.
  • Book in advance: No matter what time of year you go to Italy, we always suggest booking hotels and popular touristy sites in advance. This way you never have to wait in line or miss out on places you really want to stay at.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is December a good time to visit Italy?

Overall, December is a good time to go to Italy. Although, it really depends on the type of vacation you want.

If you’re looking for warmer weather, blue skies, and dining al fresco, December is not the best time to go. However, if you are looking for a more laid back experience, with less crowds, and mainly want to visit the big cities, then it’s a fantastic time to visit.

Which part of Italy to visit in December?

All of the major cities in Italy and mountain destinations are worth visiting in December. We recommend Rome, Florence, Turin, Milan, Verona, Bologna, Venice, Bolzano, and Naples for your trip.

What is the best city in Italy to spend Christmas?

For a ski trip or mountain escape, head to the Dolomites for Christmas. For the ultimate Christmas experience, go to Rome. Florence, Verona, and Turin are also good options.

Is December a good month to visit Rome?

Yes! December is a great month to visit Rome. Not only is the city less crowded but there are many holiday festivities and events happening throughout the city.

More Information for your Trip to Italy

ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE

Italy Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for Italy? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.

Italy Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in Italy? Yes! We’ve rented a car in Italy too many times to count, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.

Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.

Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.

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