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Italy - Spring 2023

Trying to beat the crowds (a bit) and travel to Italy in Spring of 2023, specifically April to mid June (2 1/2 mos est.). In order to give ourselves the best chance weather-wise would it make sense to travel south to north? Ie., Naples/Sorrento to Rome to Florence to Venice and then on to the Dolomites and Lake Como (it just seems like all the tours go north to south - even Rick Steve's 21-day itinerary). We are avid hikers and were wondering if hiking is possible in late May and early June in northern Italy?
I know we can't predict the weather...just some general input would be appreciated. Would it be better to wait until Fall 2023?
Thanks, Kristi

Posted by
395 posts

Here are my personal observations. We were in Italy in May 2019 and again in May 2022. Each trip was for the last three weeks of the month. The first time, we started in Rome, to Florence and moved north towards Cinque Terre and Venice. The second, we started in Milan, then Como, down to Florence, circled to Amalfi and ended in Rome. I did all the planning and the order of the trips was just what felt right. How can you go wrong in Italy? For some reason, 2019 seemed cooler and rainier. Florence was downright cold and Venice drizzly. Last May, it was hot every day with no rain. We shipped clothes home because the forecast was so consistently blazing. Lake Como was delightful. Hiking near there would be nice. There were tons of motorcyclists enjoying the roads. Florence, in nearly the same timeframe as before was much, much warmer but about the same amount of tourists. The Amalfi Coast was crowded and hot but not really beachable. Positano was a zoo. We met people who did some of the hikes around Amalfi and they made it seem like an hot, sweaty ordeal. Rome was just eternal: warm, busy and delightful.

I'm not sure it's ever not crowded but I was a little surprised that the weather was so different from one year to the next. I wouldn't want to be on the Amalfi Coast without the ferries running as that was a fun experience for us. You might see how those Mays stack up against the historic averages and see if you can find some kind of mean. Good luck.

Posted by
94 posts

Hi Kristi, Alas, no beating the crowds in May-June, but hiking in Northern Italy should be fine at lower elevations anytime during those periods. I've hiked part of the Chianti Classico 3 days in late December, got snowed on one day but the others were brilliant but cold. If by autumn you mean Sept-October, might be slightly less crowded in general. But if you go in November/early December, you'd beat some crowds! Agree with CT, Amalfi Coast before May 1st when the ferries start running wouldn't be as much fun. The following are public holidays, so bear those in mind for restaurant reservations, museum opening times & travel on the weekends which would be much more crowded - April 25th, May 1st, June 2nd. https://publicholidays.it/2023-dates/. May 1st is a long weekend & I recall reading the road fatalities on the Amalfi Coast were high. We took the ferry! We were on Capri May 2nd, we stayed away from the crowds at a small hotel & walked along the cliffs SW towards the Arco Naturale, it was pretty empty but 'downtown' & the main piazza were jammed.

Posted by
2895 posts

It always depends on specifics--if you are going to Rome, Florence, Venice as opposed to small villages, then you won't really avoid any crowds, but late May is when I travel and the weather is almost always perfect. I would only choose September over late May, but I think if I were you I would still choose spring over fall given the overall weather picture (but verify best mountain conditions with others).
Are you just hiking in the Dolomites? I'm less versed in mountain hiking, but for the Sorrentine coast it should be good, but if you wanted to cap off any hikes with a dip in the sea, I would actually do north to south and end there (I prefer heat to rain, and it will be far too cold to swim in April and most of May). Or, since Rome and Naples are so close together, you could spend some time in Rome first, then zip down to Naples and the coast, then up to Florence rather easily.

Posted by
10382 posts

Hi Kristi. Just answered a question on the Dolomites in this thread so you might take a look for applicable information if you are interested in the Val Gardena. We go there every year so I have a good deal of familiarity. We like fall the best. Early June is on the early end of the summer season. Needs planning and don’t expect everything to be up and running. It should be on the quiet side. My only comparison is being there in October last year and after the first weekend in October the tourist population diminished a bit.

South to North in spring is generally advisable. The Dolomites in April will be slushy and snowy and many restaurants and hotels will be on holiday after the ski season. We liked Lake Como in May. We were there one Memorial Day weekend and it was lovely.