The weather in Italy in December casts a magical spell over Italy as the country embraces the festive spirit of Christmas. Amidst twinkling lights and festive decorations, Italy's historic towns come alive with holiday markets and nativity scenes. Whether wandering through the Christmas markets of Florence or attending the religious festivities in Assisi, December offers a magical journey through Italy's winter wonderland, celebrating its traditions, and cherishing the joyous spirit of the season. Snow arrives in the north as well, offering plenty of skiing and snowboarding amongst the Alps.
What is the weather like in Italy in December?
As December unfolds, Italy embraces the cold charms of winter as ski resorts open in the Alps and the Dolomites with heavy snowfall higher up the mountains. Even the likes of Sicily and Naples can start to feel the (relative) chill as temperatures head toward single digits.
The days are short but December is a magical time to visit Italy, as the festive spirit comes alive with Christmas markets, nativity scenes, and twinkling lights adorning most major towns. If you don't mind the cold weather and an occasional shower, December can be a great time.
Rough Guides tip: make sure to read all about the best time to visit Italy.
Is Italy warm in December?
Italy can be moderately warm in December, especially in the southern regions. Generally, the average temperature in the southern coastal areas is around 12-16°C (37°F to 50°F). However, in the northern regions, it's cooler at around 3-10°C (37-45°F). Expect a variety of weather conditions, including some rainy days.
December marks a shift towards cooler weather during the onset of winter, bringing a sharp change in temperatures with it. The weather in Italy in December brings colder temperatures and more rain.
In northern regions like Milan and Venice, temperatures can range from 3°C to 10°C (37°F to 50°F) during the day. Central areas, including Florence and Rome, experience slightly milder weather, with temperatures ranging from 6°C to 13°C (43°F to 55°F). Southern areas, like Sicily and Naples, maintain relatively milder temperatures, hovering between 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).
As the days grow shorter, December in Italy offers about 4 to 6 hours of sunshine per day. While the warmth of summer is long gone, it's still possible to explore Italy's cultural treasures and rolling countryside with ease.
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Is December a good time to visit Italy?
December can be a good time to visit Italy, especially for winter sports as the Alps and Dolomites usually get a good dollop of snow. Rome comes alive with dazzling Christmas markets and elaborate nativity scenes in Turin, Florence and Verona are matched by light displays that illuminate ancient architecture in Venice, Lecce, Milan and others.
Although the weather tends to be cooler, especially in the northern regions, and occasional rain showers can occur countrywide, there are plenty of upsides. The weather in Italy in December provides good opportunities to sample Alto Adige’s wine during the Törggelen season.
This roughly coincides with the arrival of the Neuien – the first bottles of new, young wine – from about the end of September to the beginning of December. It traditionally marks the passage of the year, celebrating a golden time of clear autumnal weather before winter sets in.
Do note that by December, some tourist attractions may have reduced hours or be closed completely for the winter.
This exciting tailor-made journey through the treasures of Italy: Venice, Florence and Rome can be personalised to suit the winter and our local experts will do their best to make your winter holiday in Italy an unforgettable experience.
Average rainfall in Italy in December
December brings varying levels of average rainfall across Italy. As the late autumn transitions into winter the northern regions, such as Milan and Venice, see slightly higher average rainfall levels, ranging from 60 mm to 100 mm.
Central areas, including Florence and Rome, experience moderate rainfall, with averages ranging from 40 mm to 80 mm. In the south, destinations like Sicily and Naples, receive relatively lower average rainfall, typically between 40 mm to 60 mm.
While December is not the wettest month in Italy, occasional rain showers are common, especially in the northern and central regions. Note that sleet and snow occur regularly as well, especially in mountainous regions.
Festivals and events in Italy in December
Whether religious, traditional or cultural, there are literally thousands of festivals in Italy and sometimes the best are those that you come across unexpectedly in smaller towns. Some of the highlights for December are listed below:
- Festa di Sant’Agata (Feb 3–5). Riotous religious procession in Catania, Sicily that honours Saint Agatha, the patron saint of the city.
- Carnevale (weekend before Lent). Carnival festivities in Venice, plus many towns throughout Italy. when for four consecutive Sundays it stages an amazing parade of floats, or carri – colossal, lavishly designed papier-mâché models of politicians and celebrities
Ready for your dream trip to Italy in December?
Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
- Supercars in the Heart of Northern Italy (12 days): Embark on a luxury automotive experience in Italy's Bologna and Modena, where you'll uncover the world's finest sports cars. Explore the captivating cities of Venice and Florence, and indulge in visits to the prestigious Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati factories and museums. As a highlight, rev up your excitement by taking a Ferrari out for an unforgettable ride.
- Exploring Vatican City and Assisi (6 days): Experience the wonders of Ancient Rome on this captivating week-long trip, immersing yourself in the awe-inspiring sights of the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and St. Peter's Basilica. Afterwards, venture to the sacred abode of St. Francis of Assisi, Eremo delle Carceri, for a journey filled with spiritual significance.
- Or discover more Italy itineraries.