Italy in December

White Line

7 reasons to visit Italy In December. Weather Holidays, Festivals and All you need to Know

Table of Contents

Dolomiti, Italy mountain alps in December
Dolomiti mountains stunning alpine views

If you’re debating whether to take a trip and visit Italy during the summer months or shoulder season, let us introduce you to another option: Italy in December! Despite its wintry setting, Christmas markets, holiday decorations, festivities and nativity scenes, the climate is relatively mild at this time of year- making it an excellent choice for your next vacation. 

If you’re planning on visiting Italy during the month of December then here are some helpful tips regarding what weather conditions to expect as well as which events will take place during your stay.

We’ve compiled five reasons why visiting Italy in December should be on your bucket list:

1. Glittering Lights, Christmas Celebrations & Vibrant Open-Air Markets

As December approaches, the Italian landscape is illuminated with spectacular Christmas markets, Christmas trees, lights and nativity scenes. Christmas markets overflow with holiday goods, setting a festive scene for locals to gather in celebration of friends and family. It’s truly an unforgettable experience that one must partake in at least once—the perfect opportunity to embrace Italy’s culture! Keep in mind that the day after Christmas is a National Holliday for Italy and most stores will be closed for the day.

Christmas lights and festivals in December castelmezzano, Italy
Italy in December: Christmas lights and festivities in Castelmezzano.

2. Enjoy an Abundance of Outdoor Activities!

Wintertime in Italy is the perfect time to remain cozy indoors next to the Christmas tree, but also cold weather offers an opportunity for outdoor fun and winter sports! In almost every major city you can find ice rinks set up around Christmas markets – and locals love it just as much as visitors. Families, teenagers, and children of all ages can be seen skating around with sheer delight whilst embracing the festive spirit.

Even if you don’t feel like putting on skates yourself that day, why not grab a delicious cappuccino nearby and enjoy watching those who do? During Italy’s winter months and cold temperatures, outdoor cafés are plentiful and typically offer warming heat lamps and fires to keep their guests cozy. So why not take your cue from the locals and spend a delightful day in the sun? You’ll find plenty of activities awaiting you such as skiing in nearby mountains, snow-shoe hiking or window shopping – no need to play it safe!

boats pragser wildsee lake december, italy
Italy in December: Pragser Wildsee Lake

3. Indulge in sweet satisfaction

As December arrives, shops and markets across Italy become lush with the two beloved Christmas treats – panettone and pandoro. These delightful sweet yeast breads are only available during this time of year, delighting Italians from all walks of life. Pandoro is especially special as it originally originates from Verona; meaning ‘bread of gold’ in Italian! Once reserved for wealthy Venetians exclusively at Christmastime, nowadays everyone can experience its unique flavor.

If you’re in northern Italy in December during the holiday season, be sure to try one of their traditional sweet breads – panettone! This tall loaf is filled with dried fruit and candied citrus and can only be found around Christmas time.

As if Italians weren’t already known for their delicious treats, these seasonal delights make going to a market even more special. Experience an authentic Italian Christmas by indulging in this delightful Lombard specialty!

4. The Weather is actually great

dolomites refuge snow winter December in Italy
Italy in December: Refuge in the Dolomites

Even though you will not be able to enjoy the truquoise waters of the Amalfi Coast if you visit Italy in December, the weather is actually still pretty mild. Consider bringing a coat and scarf; however, December in Italy is generally quite moderate – even preferable for sightseeing than the sweltering summertime! Temperatures range from 25-45 degrees Fahrenheit up north (with mountain microclimates), while the south typically enjoys 50 degree temperatures and possibly as high as 60F in Sicily. November brings more rain, but December offers an ideal balance between warm days and cool nights.

Check out Best Hotels in Italy

5. Same beautiful Italy Without The Crowds

snow in Venice, Italy
Italy in December: Gondola ride in the snow

Embark on a magical journey during December and explore some of Italy’s most beloved destination spots. Picture the stunning beauty of iconic cities like Venice, the Italian Riviera or southern Italy with no crowds swarming around you, selfie sticks in hand. Wander down narrow cobblestone paths and Christmas Market free from hoards of tourists; gaze out across Piazza San Marco’s majestic bridges and canals feeling as though they are your own private wonderland; take an undisturbed hike through one of Cinque Terre’s awe-inspiring trails – all without having to jostle for space! What could be more incredible than that?

6. Many Holidays and Festivals in Italy in December

During December, Italy celebrates its first major holiday: the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. However Christmas and Christmas Day remains the primary celebration of this month and is considered one of the most significant days for Italians in their holiday calendar.

On both Christmas Eve and Day, many people around Italy come together as families to commemorate with Mass ceremonies at churches across cities all over. Additionally there are usually religious processions taking place along with bonfires built outdoors, as well as special markets organized in local piazzas – making it a truly festive atmosphere!

Not only are gift markets bustling in Italy on December 25th, but they continue to thrive throughout the entire month of December due to January 6th National Holiday celebrations. 

In Italy, the day after Christmas is known as St. Stephen’s Day and although it is considered a national holiday, there are also smaller local festivals that take place around December – like Milan’s patron saint feast on December 7th which may be celebrated differently from town to town.

To get an idea of what could be happening in your travel destination during this festive season, have a look at my comprehensive list of Italian holidays or drop by the tourist information office upon arrival for more insight into any potential festivities going on while you’re visiting.

7. Christmas in Rome and the Vatican

Despite December’s unpredictable weather and lack of discounts, the promise of a Christmas in Italy – more specifically Vatican City – proves to be an alluring dream for travelers worldwide. To ensure you can make this wish come true, it is wise to plan your journey months ahead and book early; otherwise, scoring any room during peak season might prove difficult!

If visiting St. Peter’s Basilica for a Christmas Mass is on your bucket list, you’ll need to plan ahead – tickets are available directly from the Vatican at no cost. Keep in mind that just because you request one doesn’t guarantee receipt of an actual ticket; luckily there will be giant screens set up in St. Peters Square so everyone can still experience the event even if they haven’t managed to secure entry into the basilica itself!

Don’t miss out on the unique and seasonal treats of Italy even if your travels don’t coincide with Christmas! From roasted chestnuts to vin brule, hot spiced wine, Christmas trees – holiday markets have unparalleled delectable delights that are only available during cold months. So make sure you wander through at least one market while visiting lovely Italy this winter season!

As winter arrives, cafes pull out their cioccolata calda machines to produce that delicious Italian hot chocolate. With this comforting delicacy, you can warm up from the inside-out! Although the beach or hiking southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre may sound like ideal places for solitary retreats during wintertime, do remember that many local business establishments such as restaurants and hotels would close down due to the cold weather conditions.

Admittedly, many of the attractions and landmarks you’re most eager to check out in Italy are inside – churches, museums and art galleries. So whether it’s raining or snowing outside won’t alter your experience that much. However, what will differentiate yours from others is having a snowy backdrop for those beautiful photos at iconic sites like the Roman Forum and Pompeii!

Great Places to Stay in Italy

How is the Weather in Italy in December?

Although December may not be Italy’s frostiest month, it is still quite chilly. In particular, the mountain areas and higher altitudes of Italy experience snow on a regular basis; occasionally even near sea level (for example, Venice covered in white flakes is certainly an enchanting sight). When the temperatures are milder than that and there isn’t any snowfall – don’t worry: rain will likely take its place.

As the winter chill arrives in Italy, tourists and locals alike turn their attention to the Italy’s southern regions that remain warmer than those further north. All of a sudden, ski resorts are filled with people enjoying snow sports or simply seeking a relaxing getaway at naturally heated hot springs spas. If you’re up for it, why not consider exploring one of these beautiful mountain towns during December? No matter what mother nature has in store outside your window – inside you can be warmly embraced by stunning thermal baths, alluring wellness experiences and beautiful Christmas tree decorations!

As unpredictable as the weather might be, it pays to stay prepared! This sunny sight in Milan was captured back in December of 2009 while this slushy photo was taken just a few weeks after. Wherever your travels lead you, don’t forget to bring clothing for warmth and water-resistant shoes. And if you want to keep yourself extra dry, a small umbrella may come handy too!

Italy is blessed with a wide variety of climates, from the brisk chill within the northern parts to the pleasant warmth found in its southern regions. To illustrate this variation, some average temperature ranges for different sections of Italy are as follows:

  • Northern Italy: 25-45°F (-4-5°C)
  • Central Italy: 40-55°F (5-13 °C)
  • Southern Italy: 55-60°F (13 -16 °C). Whether you’re looking for an invigorating winter wonderland or a temperate summer paradise, there’s something suitable awaiting you in beautiful and diverse Italy!

Be sure to check the extended forecast for your final destination before you take off, when packing is fresh in your mind. This will give you an accurate understanding of what kind of weather awaits so that you can pack accordingly and be prepared for any unseasonable temperatures.

snow december rome, italy
Italy in December: Snow in Rome

Rome in December

Rome in December is an unforgettable experience. The city is alive with the sights and sounds of the holiday season. From the twinkling lights of the Christmas markets, to the traditional carols ringing out from street corners, Rome truly comes alive during this time of year.The decorations on display are amazing, with a variety of Christmas trees, lights and displays that adorn almost every corner. Italy’s capital is renowned for its beauty and this time of year adds yet another layer to its charm. From the Piazza Navona to St Peter’s Square, the city is filled with festive cheer, making it one of Europe’s top destinations for celebrating Christmas.The food in Italy during December is not to be missed either! Rome’s traditional puppet theatre shows attract crowds from all around Italy and abroad, who come to enjoy Italy’s famous cuisine and delicacies like roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and panettone- an Italian spongy fruitcake made especially for Christmas time. Visitors can also enjoy Rome’s many cultural attractions during their trip to Italy in December such as visiting ancient ruins or taking a walking tour through Italy’s cobbled streets while admiring Renaissance artworks and Baroque palaces. No matter what your interests are, there will be something special happening throughout Italy to keep everyone amused during this special season! From outdoor ice skating rinks surrounded by centuries-old architecture or simply taking a stroll along old cobblestone lanes lined with illuminated stars and snowflakes – Italy in December has something magical waiting around every corner! Whether you’re looking for culture or just want to relax in Italy’s amazing atmosphere – Rome will have you covered!

Snow in Turin, Italy
Italy in December: Snow in Turin


If you’re one of the few intrepid adventurers who relish traveling during the off-season, then let me tell you that Italy in December holidays  is an experience not to be missed. Though it may seem like a desolate time to explore this vibrant country, there are actually quite a few festive events and activities that will make your trip truly memorable!

Snow covered Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Italy in December: Colosseum with snow

Although Italy’s winter months are usually the off-season with fewer crowds of tourists, Christmas holidays can be a busier time with higher prices for your Italy trip (especially in popular Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Venice, the Amalfi Coast etc) and larger crowds. Yet despite this minor increase in cost, it is an enchanting experience to witness all of December’s sparkly lights, wrapped gifts, and cheerful vibes.