The 20 greatest destinations in Italy – and the perfect time to visit each one

You never have to look far for an excuse to plan a trip to Italy. Not only does it offer countless festivals, carnivals and celebrations, but it also has one of the best and most varied climates in Europe – from the snow-capped ski resorts of the Dolomites to the summer heat of Sicily and the warm glow of Tuscany in autumn. But that just means you need to plan with a little more care to ensure you get the most of it. You don’t want to arrive in Venice the day after Carnival catching a hangover rather than partying, or cramming yourself onto Puglia’s beaches in August when May is cooler, calmer and cheaper. So here is our guide to planning the perfect holiday in Italy any time of the year.



Florence is of course the cradle of the Renaissance, and the city’s remarkable architecture and art are the main draw for tourists. This means long queues for some of the main museums and churches at most times of the year. But in January you can enjoy the art and sights – most of them indoors – completely free from the crowds. There’s great shopping too – particularly during the January sales – and it’s an excellent time to make the most of the best bars and restaurants.

Where to sleep: Go boutique with a room at The Place on lively Piazza Santa Maria Novella. “With its impeccable interiors, cocooning, club-like vibe and exceptional service, it’s the perfect Florentine pied-à-terre,” says our expert Nicky Swallow. Check out our guide to the best hotels in Florence for more recommendations.



Always beautiful, always alluring, always romantic and never disappointing: you can’t go wrong with Venice at almost any time of the year. But while it can no doubt be chilly, the city has a special magic in winter. On a clear day, the canals sparkle in the sunlight and the snow-capped Dolomites can be seen on the horizon. Also in February you have the choice between deserted sights paired with bargain prices or the excitement and glamor of the carnival (from 11th to 21st February 2023).

Where to sleep: The Gritti Palace on a prominent square on the Grand Canal. Venice expert Anne Hanley describes the hotel as intimate, elegant, and mature, packed with antiques, frescoes, and gorgeous Murano glass chandeliers. Check out our guide to the best hotels in Venice for more recommendations. The 20 greatest destinations in Italy – and the perfect time to visit each one

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