My wife and I are traveling to Italy from just after Christmas 2013 through the new year. Our itinerary isn't set as yet. Any thoughts on where in Italy is best to visit during the winter? I'm not afraid of cold weather or a little rain, and yes, we plan to return. Just looking for ideas for a great winter experience. Thanks!
I was in Rome, Naples (Pompeii), and Venice during a February a few years back. I love the cold weather and you definitely want to take warm clothes. Even as far south as Naples it was still chilly during the day (50s). I had no issue with the weather. I think it rained once during my stay and it wasn't a big issue. The only downpour I encountered was in Pompeii. It lasted a few minutes and I was able to take shelter in one of the ruins. It was really cool because it's like I had the place to myself. I was in Rome for a week. I enjoyed it and I got to take a stroll in Villa Borghese. Was nice to see local women dressed up in their furs taking a stroll through the park. Crowds are far less than in summer, which is always a plus. Was in Venice for Carnevale. A definite must on anyone's bucket list. However, it does become a zoo and if you do go it's very convenient to find a hotel away from St. Marks and not in the immediate walking path(s) between the train station and St. Marks. Have fun!
I took 2 February trips to Italy in the last 4 years. Between them, I covered towns from Venice to Sorrento. I had a whole range of weather, including snow in Rome (first time in 20+ years). It was never below freezing (except for the one night in Rome) and I had days with lots of sunshine - even a few in Rome when I didn't need a jacket. There will probably be crowds while you're there because it's a holiday week. Where's the best place to be? Wherever you are! (well, except for the lakes)
You could base yourself at Torino and then go skiing or snowboarding - thinking of Tomba. Torino was the home of the Winter Olympics not too long ago...
My daughter and I were in Italy, (Rome and Florence) last November/December and really enjoyed it. It was a bit rainy and could be cold so I suggest having a good raincoat and shoes that work in the rain. But most days were fine, no rain and pretty comfortable. ( I had a light weight winter coat) I suggest bringing clothes that can layer. It is much less crowded than in the summer, and we are not big fans of the heat. We loved it and are returning later this year again. Just seeing these cities decorated for Christmas was magical. If you have an umbrella and the right gear, you'll love it. There is so much to see both indoors and outside in these 2 cities so even in the rain there is so much to do. I hope this helps.
We spent the month of December in Italy in 2011, before we moved here. It was great! NO crowds decent weather overall. Just dress in layers: merino wool is great, lined raincoat sufficient. Rome and points south -- Sorrento, Pompeii -- are naturals, although Sorrento goes a bit quiet after New Years'. Pompeii is fabulous with no crowds, and Assisi is lovely and uncrowded in winter. In fact we enjoyed Umbria enormously: Spoleto, Spello, Perugia. Do not overlook Venice. We've been there twice in December and although encountered some rain, it did not thwart our experience. You can read about Our winter break in Venice here.