Spring (along with autumn) is one of the best seasons to visit Italy. In most of the country, temperatures warm up, flowers are in bloom, and there are fewer tourists than in the summer. Other than the days surrounding Easter, you should find less expensive accommodations, more elbow room in Italy's blockbuster museums and attractions, and cheaper airfares.
The downsides of visiting Italy in spring are few, but include the possibility of cold, rainy weather or even a late spring snowstorm (especially in Northern Italy). While we've encountered more pleasant days than nasty ones when traveling to Italy in the spring, be sure to check the weather reports before you travel, and pack layers so that you'll be prepared for chillier days.
Spring Weather and Climate in Italy
Spring is generally pleasant in most parts of Italy although rain, and even snow in early spring is possible. Most parts of Italy get less rainfall in spring than in fall. Toward the end of spring, temperatures can get quite warm and you can enjoy outdoor dining and swim in the sea or hotel pool. Find historic weather and climate information for major Italian cities on Italy Travel Weather.
Daylight savings time in Italy begins the last weekend in March, meaning an extra hour of evening daylight, which of course invites dining al fresco and lingering as night falls. Italy's cities and small towns take on a dreamy glow as the sun goes down and streetlights turn on, so be sure to witness this at least a few times when you travel here in the spring.
If you're planning a spring vacation to Italy's beaches or islands, know that sea temperatures don't start to warm up for swimming until June or so. Even on a warm, sunny spring day, only the brave take a dip in the chilly Mediterranean!
What to Pack
For central to southern Italy, you're safe to plan on a lightweight coat, preferably waterproof. A heavier coat, plus a hat, scarf, and other outerwear are advisable for northern destinations, say, from the Emilia-Romagna region and northwards. Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes are required wherever you go. For all regions, pack in layers in order to be prepared for changing weather.
Spring Festivals in Italy
Highlights of spring are spring and flower festivals, Holy Week, and outdoor concerts starting in May or June. National holidays are Easter Monday (Pasquetta), April 25 (Liberation Day), May 1 (Labor Day), and June 2 (Festa della Repubblica). On these days, most shops and services will be closed but many major tourist attractions are usually open. Festivals, concerts, and processions are common, too. Here's more about these spring holidays and festivals:
Visiting Italy's Cities in Spring
Spring is a good time to visit most Italian cities. The heat and tourist crowds of summer have not arrived and more daylight hours give more time for touring and visiting outdoor sites which sometimes close at dusk. Although you'll still find hotel and accommodation bargains in spring, Holy Week and May 1 may be considered the high season in many cities.
Spring Outside the Tourist Areas
If you're away from major tourist areas, you'll find museums and attractions have shorter hours than in summer. Some things may only be open on weekends. Seaside resorts and camping areas are just opening and hotel swimming pools may still be closed in early spring. Beaches will be less crowded and swim in the sea may be possible in late spring, though most beachgoers prefer to work on their tans rather than their backstroke when the sea is still so chilly. Spring is a good time for hiking and viewing wildflowers. You'll find many small fairs and festivals, especially food festivals or sagre, and outdoor performances start in late spring.
Italian Food in Spring
Top spring foods include artichokes (carciofi), asparagus (asparagi), and spring lamb (agnello). Look for posters announcing a sagra for carciofi, asparagi, or pesce (fish) in spring. See our article about sagras, or food festivals, in Italy.