There is an allure in visiting Italy in January when the highest peaks in the Dolomites are dusted with fresh snow and the picturesque hilltop villages are refreshingly quiet. This is a good time to beat the crowds and relish the relative tranquillity of off-peak travel. There are winter sales in the fashion capital of Milan, way fewer tourists filling the galleries of Florence, and the start of carnival season in Venice. We'll tell you all about the weather in Italy in January.
Italy weather in January
The weather in Italy in January marks wintertime, and the weather can vary across regions.
Winters are milder in the south of the country, Rome and below, but in the north, they can be at least as cold as anywhere in the northern hemisphere, with snow in ski resorts like Courmayeur, Cervinia, Cortina and Livigno each winter.
Rough Guides tip: a trip to Italy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Check our Italy itineraries.
Is Italy warm in January?
The weather in Italy in January isn't particular warm. Central Italy can be cold in January. Temperatures range from freezing to 10°C (32–50°F). Southern regions and coastal areas tend to be milder, with temperatures climbing to 8°C to 15°C (46°F to 59°F).
If you’re after some midwinter sun, head further south to Sicily. The west of the island is a land apart.
Skirting around the coast from Trapani – the provincial capital – the cubic whitewashed houses, palm trees, active fishing harbours and sunburned lowlands seem more akin to Africa than Europe, and historically, the west of the island has always looked south.
Else visit Sardinia. Closer to the North African coast of Tunisia than the Italian mainland, Sardinia's fierce sense of independence can feel distinctly un-Italian.
Expect cloudy days with loads of sunshine, too. Temperatures average 14°C (57°F).
Rough Guides tip: a trip to Italy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make sure to read all about the best time to visit Italy.
Is January a good time to visit Italy?
Compared to the peak tourist season in spring and summer, January sees way fewer tourists.
As January is considered the off-season in tourism, and you may find lower prices on accommodations, flights, and other travel expenses but some restaurants will shutter their doors, so check ahead.
Italy hosts several cultural events in January, including the Carnevale di Venezia in Venice (sometimes this happens in February), with its iconic masks and costumes. Book ahead.
If finances stretch, you could also indulge in Valnerina’s prized black truffle at this time of year.
The season runs from January to April (though you may come across the lesser-prized white summer truffles too).
Enjoy a weekend getaway in the most romantic of cities. This compact tailor-made trip to Romantic Venice features a pleasant walking tour, which provides a unique insight into the history, art and architecture of Venice, and a gondola ride. You will also have some free time to explore this labyrinthine city.
Average rainfall in Italy in January
Italy's climate can vary significantly depending on the region. Rainfall also varies across the country.
Generally, the northern regions, such as Lombardy and Veneto, tend to have more precipitation compared to the southern regions, such as Sicily and Sardinia.
Coastal areas and mountainous regions also experience different rainfall patterns.
Festivals and events in Italy in January
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 January are listed below:
- Milan Epifania (Jan 6). Costumed parade of the Three Kings from the Duomo to Sant’Eustorgio, the resting place of the bones of the Magi.
- Rome Epifania (Jan 6). Toy and sweet fair in Piazza Navona, to celebrate the Befana, the good witch who brings toys and sweets to children who’ve been good, and coal to those who haven’t.
Ready for your dream trip to Italy in January?
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.
- Classic Italy - Rome, Florence & Venice (13 days): A trip for everyone - learn how to cook pasta in Rome, sample the best gelato in Florence, hike Cinque Terre and explore Venice on your own. This trip is packed with highlights for the whole family.
- Florence: A Trip Back in Time (5 days): Florence. A mere mention of the name conjures up grand images of Renaissance romance, awe-inspiring art and astonishing architecture. Come and see for yourself.
- Or discover more Italy itineraries.