Winter travel in Italy

Hi All, We're traveling to the Boot for 3 weeks sometime Jan-Feb of 2014 (I know, I know, but its the only time that works for us, we have a farm.) I've been there before, my S.O. has not. I know there will be things that are closed and have shortened hours, we're ok with that; lower prices, NO LINES, yay! I would love itinerary suggestions based on the season; most itineraries involve lakes, etc, places not so good in winter. We would like to mix up the trip with some trains, rental cars and water (likely Amalfi Coast for water part) and we wouldn't mind total top to bottom or reverse - so who has some good advice for me? Thank you so much!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5733 posts

The Amalfi Coast will be pretty dreary in Jan-Feb. I would focus on the major cities and hilltop towns, if I were you.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

We spent all of December in Italy in 2011, before moving here. We loved it! In fact, we loved Venice in winter so much we went back last year. You can read about that trip here. We also went to Umbria, staying in Spello, which is small and cute. Assisi might be a better choice though, and it is wonderful to experience Assisi without the hoards. If you like wine, you can take a day tour in Umbria with Gusto Wine Tours. Rome is a natural as there is so much to do any time of the year. Sorrento will be quiet in winter, but not impossible, and a better choice than the Cinque Terre. Certainly you can use Sorrento for a base to see Naples, Pompeii, and the bay is gorgeous. It's terrific to see Pompeii without crowds, too. We liked Amalfi town on a bright winter day, but it is sleepy. Don't count on beach time anywhere, but you can see the water. :-)

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1388 posts

You might consider visiting Sicily at this time...it should be the warmest of all of Italy, being further South. Sicily has lots to offer. If you have 3 weeks, maybe one week touring Sicily?? Monreale, Palermo, Erice, and all the Greek temples....such a special place!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

I've only been to Rome in February (twice) so I can't compare it with other times, but there were crowds of tourists and lines at the Colosseum and the Vatican. The only closure that I noticed was many of the gelaterias were closed for renovations - there were others that were open, though. I spent a few days in Sorrento - try to be there on Feb. 14 - that is their town saint's day and it's quite interesting to see how it's celebrated. Pompeii was pretty "empty" and at Herculaneum there were only a handful of visitors (it was rather rainy). It was a good time to be in Sorrento, many locals out that week because of the saint's day (street fair, decorations, etc) and relatively few tourists. The restaurants and shops were all open. Carnevale in Venice begins on Feb. 22. If you can extend that long, do try to be there at for the first weekend (22nd-23rd). My first February trip was open-jaw Milan/Rome: Verona - 1 night, 1.5 days Venice - 4 nights, 4 days (during Carnevale) Ravenna - 2 nights, 1.75 days (first time) Florence - 2 nights, 1.75 days Rome - 6 nights (first time) My second February trip was round-trip Rome: Rome - 3 nights Sorrento - 5 nights (day trips to Naples, Herculaneum and Pompeii) Florence - 2 nights
Rome - 5 nights I didn't feel rushed on either trip, nor did I feel I had too much time anywhere. I did a lot of my train travel in the evenings, to maximize my daylight sightseeing time. I had more rain and gray days than I'd have liked, but I had mostly dry days and quite a few sunny ones. I was lucky enough to be in Rome when it snowed for the first time in about 25 years. Hope this helps. Hotel rates (except Venice during Carnevale) were very low, at least 30-400% less than in high season.

Posted by Cindi
Montclair, Virginia, United States
56 posts

We just did bottom to top. Our last stop was BEAUTIFUL Stresa/Lake Maggiore. A local American now living there told us that it's very cold and dreary in the area in Winter, She said 'everything' closes down. Unless you don't mind cold weather and not having big options for dining/shopping/etc..I'd stay as far south as possible.
Happy Travels!!

Posted by Cindi
Montclair, Virginia, United States
56 posts

We just did bottom to top. Our last stop was BEAUTIFUL Stresa/Lake Maggiore. A local American now living there told us that it's very cold and dreary in the area in Winter, She said 'everything' closes down. Unless you don't mind cold weather and not having big options for dining/shopping/etc..I'd stay as far south as possible.
Happy Travels!!