Italy In January: Mountain With Snow

Italy In January: Weather & Best Things To Do 2024

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Are you wondering if visiting Italy in the heart of winter is a good idea? January, an off-tourist season, can present unique experiences for an Italy family vacation.

This guide covers the weatherfestivities, the best places to visit, and planning tips for your Italian escapade in January. Ready to unveil the magic of Italy’s coldest month?

Italy Overview
Rome Vatican

Italy Overview

Where To Go: For a first Italy vacation, see Rome and Venice. Add a trip to the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, or Cinque Terre for some great scenery. We’d put Milan and Naples lower on the list of “must-see” places.

Top Things To Do: Exploring the Colosseum (with a kid-focused tour) in Rome.

Tip: Book tours early for popular sites (we missed some of our favorites by waiting).

Where To Stay: Start with a VRBO in the Centro Storico area of Rome. (For summer stays, look for one with air conditioning!)

How To Get There: Fly into one of the major airports like Rome Fiumicino (FCO), then travel around the country via Italy’s great train system. Purchase tickets early for the best prices. A rental car is usually unnecessary unless you plan to explore rural areas like Tuscany.

Travel Tip: If you’re planning a longer Italy family vacation, a good way to save time is to start at one end of the country, such as Venice or Milan, take the train south with stops in Florence and Rome, and then fly back out of Naples.

Key Takeaways

  • January is an off-tourist season in Italy, making it a great time to visit and enjoy unique experiences.
  • The weather in Italy during January varies between colder temperatures in the north and milder temperatures in the south. Snow is rare except for ski resort areas like the Dolomites.
  • January in Italy offers festivities and celebrations like New Year’s Day events, the Epiphany with live nativity scenes, and local monthly fairs.
  • Some of the best places to visit in Italy during January include the Dolomites for skiing, Rome for historical sites, Venice, Florence, and Tuscany with fewer tourists, Sicily for its beautiful landscapes, and Puglia for its cuisine.

Weather in Italy in January

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During January cold temperatures dominate, especially in the Northern and Central parts. Rome experiences an average temperature between 7 to 13 degrees Celsius.

The end of January is some of the coldest time all year.

Heading south offers warmer weather with Southern Italy having milder weather conditions, with temperatures hovering around 13 degrees Celsius. Sicily, known for its sun-kissed beauty, sees mild winters.

Rainy days occur intermittently; however, snow is rarely sighted across most Italian cities except in regions like the Dolomites boasting popular ski resorts.

Festivities and Celebrations in January

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Italy in January has a vibrant calendar of events, continuing the Chritmas cheer from December with several celebrations.

  • The month starts strong with exciting New Year’s Day events, with fireworks in big cities like Rome.
  • The Epiphany, a national holiday on January 6th, features live nativity scenes and parades. Children receive treats from La Befana, an old witch figure.
  • Another festival is the Festival of Saint Antonio Abate, held in regions like Sardinia and Abruzzo. It involves bonfires, music, dancing, and food – an authentic Italian experience.
  • Between these major celebrations are numerous local fairs, concerts, exhibitions, and sporting events scattered across different parts of Italy.
  • Winter sports like skiing or ice-skating are found in northern Italy’s mountainsides, showcasing the beautiful scenery.

Best Places to Visit in Italy in January

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In January, Italy offers a variety of stunning destinations to explore. From the picturesque Dolomites to the historic city of Rome, there is something for everyone.


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The Dolomites, a UNESCO world heritage site renowned for breathtaking peaks and excellent skiing, is one of the best places in Italy to visit. Located in northeast Italy, this beautiful place boasts picturesque villages within stunning valleys.

Cortina D’Ampezzo—a uniquely bustling small town—and Alta Badia, with its well-maintained winter hiking trails, should top your list of things to do here. Cross-country skiing is also popular.


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Rome is a must-visit destination in Italy for a first time visitor, with its historical sites and cultural treasures.

The first Sunday of January, you can enjoy free admission to state-run sites like the Colosseum and Castel Sant’Angelo. The city experiences fewer tourists during this time, so you’ll have more space to explore at your own pace.


Grand Canal Venice

Venice is one of the most popular tourist spots in Italy. With fewer crowds, you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The weather in Venice is typically mild and sunny, making it perfect for strolling along the canals. Plenty of accommodation options are available, so finding a place to stay won’t be a problem. Whether you want to take a gondola ride or visit famous landmarks like Saint Mark’s Basilica or Doge’s Palace, Venice in January is ideal for a memorable vacation.

Florence and Tuscany

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Florence and Tuscany are some top-notch destinations during January. Winter adds a certain charm to Florence.

Tuscany is known for its Renaissance art, picturesque vineyards, breathtaking landscapes, and delectable cuisine. San Gimignano is a truly authentic experience with fewer crowds.


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Sicily, Italy’s largest island, is a great destination. With its exceptional beachescharming villages, and ancient ruins, Sicily offers something for everyone in the family.

The capital city of Palermo features art galleries, museums showcasing impressive baroque architecture, and a chance to indulge in the famous cannoli dessert.


Puglia, in south Italy, is a hidden gem. This region is known for its incredible wine and delicious delicacies, making it a paradise for food lovers.

Puglia offers emptier shops, and lower prices than other months. Puglia boasts a spectacular landscape with green fields contrasting with the shimmering blue of the sea.

It’s one of the most beautiful places in Italy, with charming towns, stunning coastlines, and a quaint countryside vibe. Try traditional dishes like orecchiette pasta, burrata cheese, and olive oil.

Top Things to Do in Italy with a Family

Discover all of Rome’s wonders in a 4-hour golf cart adventure led by a knowledgeable driver-guide. Witness iconic attractions like the Spanish Steps, Campo di Fiori, and Piazza Navona. Savor Rome’s finest cappuccino and explore the renowned market at Campo de Fiori. Capture stunning photos and step into the Pantheon and other remarkable locations. Enjoy the flexibility of this private tour, allowing you to switch up the sites as you desire.

Discover all of Rome’s wonders in a 4-hour golf cart adventure led by a knowledgeable driver-guide. Witness iconic attractions like the Spanish Steps, Campo di Fiori, and Piazza Navona. Savor Rome’s finest cappuccino and explore the renowned market at Campo de Fiori. Capture stunning photos and step into the Pantheon and other remarkable locations. Enjoy the flexibility of this private tour, allowing you to switch up the sites as you desire.

Master the art of making pizza and pistachio gelato in a Palermo cooking class led by a chef. Savor your creations with wine and leave with a digital recipe booklet. This family-friendly experience teaches you to craft both traditional and Palermo-style pizzas. While the dough rests, adults can sample wines and everyone learns to make gelato. The class includes all ingredients, utensils, dinner with wine, and a graduation certificate.

Explore Rome’s iconic sites with a historian on a family-friendly tour. Start at the Colosseum, where you’ll delve into its rich history. Engage in quizzes and scavenger hunts to keep kids involved. Next, visit the Roman Forum to see ancient landmarks like the Senate House and Temple of Vesta. End the tour at Palatine Hill, home to temples of Roman gods and a Michelangelo-designed square. The tour concludes with a hotel drop-off.

Experience Rome from the tallest dome in the world at St. Peter’s Basilica. Start your tour early to beat the crowds and ascend partway by lift, finishing on foot. Once at the top, enjoy panoramic views of Rome and Vatican City. Back on ground level, explore the basilica’s art and architecture, including works by Bernini and Michelangelo.

Your expert guide meets you at St. Peter’s Square and takes you inside as the basilica opens. Choose to relax at the terrace level or climb the remaining 320 steps for an even more stunning view. Your guide will highlight key landmarks in every direction. Capture this unforgettable experience with plenty of photos.

Top Places to Stay in Italy for a First-Time Family Vacation

Rome – Hotel Eden

Why it’s great: Located near the historic center, Hotel Eden offers family-friendly amenities and easy access to iconic sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican.

Florence – Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Why it’s great: This hotel features spacious family rooms and is close to major attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and Florence Cathedral.

Venice – Hotel Danieli

Why it’s great: Situated near St. Mark’s Square, this hotel offers Venetian charm and family suites, making it ideal for first-timers.

Amalfi Coast – Belmond Hotel Caruso

Why it’s great: With its infinity pool and family-friendly activities, this hotel offers a luxurious stay with stunning coastal views.

Lake Como – Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Why it’s great: Offering family rooms and plenty of outdoor activities, this hotel is perfect for families looking to explore Lake Como.

Milan – Park Hyatt Milan

Why it’s great: Located in the heart of Milan, the Park Hyatt Milan offers easy access to shopping, cultural sites, and family-friendly amenities.

Tuscany – Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

Why it’s great: This Tuscan resort offers family villas and a range of activities like cooking classes and horseback riding, making it ideal for a countryside retreat.

Sicily – Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea

Why it’s great: Located on the beach, this scenic Sicilian hotel offers family-friendly rooms and activities like snorkeling and boat trips.

Sardinia – Forte Village Resort

Why it’s great: Known for its kid-friendly atmosphere, this beachside resort in Sardinia offers a range of activities and multiple swimming pools.

Cinque Terre – Hotel Porto Roca

Why it’s great: Offering family rooms with sea views, this Italian cliffside hotel is a great base for exploring the five charming villages of Cinque Terre.

Other Considerations for Visiting Italy in January

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Consider visiting the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como, and Cinque Terre during your trip to Italy in January.

Amalfi Coast

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The Amalfi Coast is a must-visit destination in Italy, even in January. Known for its stunning coastline and charming towns like Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers breathtaking views.

Visiting the Amalfi Coast during the winter season has its advantages – lower prices and fewer crowds or long lines for public transportation. And you’ll have the chance to explore the towns without being surrounded by tourists in the summer.

Lake Como

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Lake Como is a popular winter destination. The snow-capped Alps provide a breathtaking backdrop to the lake. Winter in Lake Como offers a more peaceful and less crowded experience than the summer.

Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking along the lakeside trails or exploring charming towns such as Bellagio and Varenna.

Cinque Terre

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Cinque Terre is a colorful coastal region in northwest Italy, with stunning views of the beautiful coastline and colorful houses that make this area so famous.

There are also plenty of hiking trails and delicious Italian cuisine to enjoy. Each of the five towns in Cinque Terre has its unique charm.

Planning Tips for Visiting Italy in January

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  • Pack warm clothing and layers.
  • Be prepared for shorter days.
  • Check the weather forecast regularly to stay informed.
  • Indoor attractions such as museums and art galleries will help you make the most of your time in Italy.
  • Take advantage of lower prices on airfare and accommodations during this time of year.
  • Head to the mountains to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other activities.


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January in Italy offers a unique experience. With fewer crowdslower prices, and beautiful scenery, it’s the perfect time to explore Italian cities, visit museums, and enjoy festive celebrations like the Epiphany.


FAQs: Visiting Italy in January

Is January the Best Time to Visit Italy?

January can be a good month to visit Italy to avoid the high-season rush. The first month of the year sees fewer crowds, making popular destinations like Vatican City and museum visits to places like the Uffizi Gallery more enjoyable. Additionally, you might find lower prices and extra cost savings.

How Does the Weather Affect the Best Things to Do?

The January weather in Italy can vary between different regions. In central Italy, expect cold weather but generally milder than in the Italian Alps. Northern regions like Madonna di Campiglio offer excellent ski slopes but colder temperatures. And if you love winter sun, southern parts of the country offer even warmer weather.

Are Vatican Museums and Other Attractions Open?

Most attractions like the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Vatican City remain open. But check the official site or consult local tourism websites for exact timings, especially during the first week of January after the Christmas holidays.

What Special Events Take Place in January?

The Eternal City and other beautiful cities in Italy host special events. The first week of the month marks the end of the Christmas festivities, complete with nativity scenes and the best Christmas markets in full swing. Festivals like Capodanno (New Year’s Day) and La Befana (Epiphany) offer a great cultural immersion.

Is it Easy to Navigate the Cities?

Navigating the city center is easy; you’ll find less congestion when arriving via train stations from different regions or flying in from the United States. Guided tours of popular sites like the Last Supper in Milan or Mount Vesuvius are readily available.

What Extra Precautions Should I Take?

January can bring rain, so it’s advisable to pack accordingly. It’s also good to check conditions when visiting areas with different environmental factors, such as high tide in Venice or volcanic activity at Mount Etna.

Any Tips for First-Time Visitors?

The best cities to visit during this time of the year largely depend on your interests. Places like the Royal Palace and Roman Forum are must-sees if you love art. A Tuscan countryside or hot springs trip is a great addition.

What’s the Average Maximum Temperature in January?

The average maximum temperature in most parts of Italy can vary from cool to cold!

Are Attractions More Affordable During the First Week of the Month?

The first week of January usually sees the tail end of the holiday season, but the costs gradually decrease, making it a more budget-friendly time.

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