Scene of olive grove in Tuscan countryside with a light dusting of snow. You can see a small town in the distance. The sky is cloudy.

Italy In February – Your 2022 Complete Guide

February in Italy can be a bit dreary. And cold. But, if you can get past that (or at least put on a warm coat), you’ll find that Italy in February offers some gold nuggets. In most places, there are fewer crowds, hotel and airfare prices are lower, and there are plenty of activities and events on offer.

February in Italy has something for everyone – skiing and winter sports, uncrowded museums, delicious foods, cozy cafes and restaurants, and incredible celebrations like Carnevale.

Note – While there are far fewer crowds than most other months of the year, know that the Carnevale period in Venice and other cities that celebrate is high season – and hotel rates and availability reflect that.  The rest of the month is considered low season.

In this article you’ll learn…

  • if visiting Italy in February is a good choice for you 
  • what weather to expect in Italy in February 
  • which holidays Italy celebrates in February and which days things are closed 
  • my recommended places to visit in February in Italy, including where to go with kids 
  • the best activities and events in Italy in February
  • which foods to try in Italy in February 
  • what to wear on a trip to Italy in February 
  • the best ways to travel around Italy in February 

First trip to Italy? 10th? Either way, check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!

If you’re looking for something specific, check out the Table of Contents below so you can jump ahead to what you’re looking for:

Should You Visit Italy in February? 

February probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of the ideal time to travel to Italy. Everyone talks about the beautiful Italian spring and its rolling green hills, the summer and the Italian beach culture, and the autumn, with its grape harvests and fall festivals.   

While I recommend visiting Italy in the spring or autumn, if you research and plan out your activities and dress appropriately, February can be a worthwhile time of year to visit. 

Check out our other monthly guides to visiting Italy:
Italy in January
Italy in May

Italy in June
Italy in October
Italy in December

Let’s go into a little more detail on visiting Italy in February: 

6 Reasons You Should Visit Italy in February 

Carnevale in Venice is a great reason to visit Italy in February.  The photo shows a close up of a woman in full costume and makeup for Carnevale.  She is standing in front of a white building.
  1. Carnevale takes place in Italy in February and if you can, you should experience it. Venice is the most well-known location for Carnevale festivities, but there are celebrations throughout the country.
  2. There are fewer crowds than in the spring, summer, and fall.  You can travel in cities like Rome and Florence and feel like a local.  And with fewer crowds, you can have flexible travel plans.
  3. It’s the end of winter saldi (sale) time in Italy – the best shopping discounts of the year (along with the summer July saldi).
  4. It’s the perfect time to visit some of Europe’s best ski resorts – they usually get the most snow in February.
  5. Depending on where you travel, February can be one of the least expensive times to visit Italy.  It’s low season outside of the ski resorts, so you’ll find great deals on hotels and airfare. 
  6. Hotels, restaurants, and others who work in tourism have had a long, quiet winter and low season and are ready to welcome you back – you’ll likely be greeted with extra enthusiasm and kindness.

Note – It’s always best to reserve tickets for any museums or events you don’t want to miss.  Many museums limit entry numbers so you’ll want to book in advance.  I always recommend booking advance tickets to popular sites:

  • The Last Supper (Milan)
  • The Vatican Museums (Rome)
  • The Colosseum (Rome)
  • The Uffizi Gallery (Florence)
  • The Accademia and Galleries (Florence)

4 Reasons You May Not Want To Visit Italy in February 

Dirt road with trees on both sides.  There aren't many leaves on the trees, and those that are still there are brown and dead.  You can see green olive trees on a slope on the left and a city in the background on the left.  The sky is grey, typical for Italy in February.
  1. Have I mentioned, it’s cold, dreary, and sometimes rainy?
  2. You’ll find some things are closed.  Beach towns and small villages are still closed up for the winter.  Some restaurants and shops in small towns (like the Southern Tuscan villages of Pienza and Montepulciano) close during the winter months because they don’t see enough visitors to make it worth it to stay open. 
  3. You won’t be able to swim, hike in some places, or participate in other warm-weather activities.   
  4. Depending on where you travel, it can be an expensive time to visit.  It’s high season for ski resorts in the Dolomites, for example, so expect to pay a premium for hotels, activities, and restaurants.  It’s also high holiday season in many places during Carnevale (Venice and Viareggio, for example).

Weather in Italy in February 

February is one of the coldest months of the year in Italy, although the temperatures vary quite a bit, depending on where you are.

Northern Italy is very cold and sees snow at higher elevations.  Temperatures hover around the 0°C mark (32°F). 

Central Italy also tends to have cold winters and can see snow.  Temperatures are usually around 9° C (48°F). 

Southern Italy is the warmest part of the country in February, but it’s not sunbathing weather!  Temperatures tend to hover around 13°C (55°F).  The south tends to see more sunshine than other parts of the country during February, and more rain than other times of the year.

Many Italian cities (Milan, Florence, Parma to name a few) can feel extra cold during the winter when humidity combines with the chilly temperatures. 

Don’t rely on historical weather data. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you leave! 

Infographic showing temperature and precipitation averages for 6 cities in Italy in February.
CityHighLowPrecipitationNotes
Milan50°F / 10°C34°F / 1°C10.7mm
Venice49°F / 9°C34°F / 1°C7.9mm
Florence55°F / 13°C37°F / 3°C23.2mm
Rome57°F / 14°C37°F / 3°C24.9mm
Naples57°F / 14°C41°F / 5°C33.3mmcoldest month, along with January
Palermo59°F / 15°C49°F / 9°C53.2mm
Average temperatures and precipitation source: timeanddate.com

Holidays in Italy in February

Graphic with February holidays in Italy - Carnevale, the Festival of St. Agatha, and Valentine's Day.

February in Italy is all about celebrating! Carnevale, the Festival of St. Agatha, and Valentine’s Day take center stage this month.

Know that not all Italians celebrate holidays the same way – it depends on the family and where you are in the country.

Below I’ve noted when things may be closed.   Opening days and hours vary by region and city. 

While the country as a whole sees fewer crowds in February, some areas of the country are busier in February (like Venice during Carnevale) and will require more advance bookings for activities and museums and reservations for restaurants. 

February (dates vary) – Carnevale

February 5th La Festa di Sant’Agata

February 14th  San Valentino or La Festa degli Innamorati

School Holidays  

Small child playing in the snow in December in Italy.  There are coniferous trees nearby in the background.  The child is wearing a flourescent yellow helmet and a turquoise snow suit.

Many Italian families take their kids out of school for a settimana bianca (white week), a week of skiing or spending time in the mountains.

There is no set date, but it typically takes place in February, and families will choose a week that works best for them. 

You won’t be able to plan for it because you won’t know which weeks families will choose, but know that you may see more families and crowds during February than in other winter months.

The 6 Best Places in Italy to Visit in February  

Graphic of 6 best places to visit in Italy in February - Dolomites, Venice, Verona, Milan, Rome, Sicily.  Black silhouette of map of Italy.
LocationWhat To Do
Veniceparticipate in Italy’s biggest Carnevale celebration
Veronacelebrate Valentine’s Day in the city of love
The Dolomitesski Italy’s best slopes 
Sicilyexplore archaeological sites without the heat or crowds
Romevisit museums and monuments with fewer crowds
Milanattend Fashion week, catch the end of the winter saldi (sales), have explore the Brera district
Honorable Mention – Torinocheck out the cafe culture
Honorable Mention – Pugliaexplore the small whitewashed towns
Honorable Mention – Florencehave Michelangelo’s David all to yourself

Venice in February

A stall in Venice full of colorful Carnevale masks.

Venice celebrates Carnevale (carnival) in the winter for over two weeks (usually in February). The biggest celebrations are the weekend before Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday).

If you’re excited about seeing or participating in Carnevale, do it! It’s an incredible cultural experience.

If you’re not interested in Carnevale, it’s best to steer clear of Venice during the celebration – you can’t really avoid it!

Accommodation, costume rentals, and masquerade balls can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy Carnevale festivities on a budget. You can:

  • watch or participate in costume parades
  • watch the fireworks at night
  • attend free events and museum tours
  • view the flight of the angel (ziplining into Piazza San Marco)
  • eat frittelle (special carnival doughnuts)

You don’t need to worry about acqua alta (high water) like you would have in the past.  The MOSE barriers are activated and are raised when an extremely high tide is predicted.  MOSE hasn’t prevented all cases of acqua alta, because the barriers are only raised when a high tide is forecast – and if the forecast is wrong, they may not be raised in time.  At this point, there’s nothing to worry about – if an acqua alta is forecast, MOSE will be activated.  If acqua alta arrives, it means the high tide wasn’t forecasted, so you wouldn’t have been able to plan anyway!

Verona In February

Verona at dusk.  Red Valentine heart decorations hanging on a lamp post.  Quote from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet written in upper left: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”  Verona decorated for Valentine's day in Italy in February.

Verona gets all decked out for Valentine’s Day. After all, this is the home of Romeo and Juliet. The city hosts a month-long celebration in February, full of amore (love) and events. Highlights include:

  • special showings of romantic movies in the Teatro Ristori
  • the Romeo & Juliet Half Marathon
  • romance-themed dinners
  • a Valentine’s Day and love-themed outdoor market
  • live music
  • try Baci di Romeo and Baci di Giulietta (a type of cookie called ‘Romeo & Juliet’s kisses’)

The Dolomites In February

Alpe di Siusi covered in snow in the Dolomites in Italy in January.  It's a sunny day and you can see Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto peaks in the background.  There are pine trees and a few buildings in the distance.

The Dolomites are a skier’s paradise. With the Dolomites Superski pass, you have access to over 1200 kilometers of ski slopes and 450 lifts.

There are also excellent alternative activities for non-skiers:

  • visit a spa
  • go snow-shoeing
  • enjoy people-watching and shopping in Cortina
  • take advantage of the region’s standout dining options
  • ride a gondola up to eat in a mountain huts
  • have hot chocolate in a cozy hotel while you read and relax
  • check out the Messner Mountain Museum

Sicily In February

It’s not beach time, but it’s a perfect time for visiting Sicily’s cities, monuments and architectural treasures. You can visit monuments and villages without crowds and extreme heat! 

Palermo, Siracusa, and Taormina are my top picks for a Sicilian trip in February.

Note – It’s not a good time to visit the Aeolian Islands, off the north coast of Sicily.  Most shops, restaurants, and hotels are closed for the winter, and the ferries are prone to delays and cancelations due to inclement weather.

Rome In February

February in Rome is cool, but if you dress appropriately, it can be a pleasant time to visit.  It’s still chilly for outdoor restaurants and cafes, but the tradeoff is fewer crowds – you’ll be able to visit the city’s famous monuments without having to elbow your way past everyone. 

Note: Along with the usual Sunday closures, the Vatican Museums are closed on February 11th in observance of Lateran Treaty Day, the day (in 1929) that Vatican City became a sovereign state.

Rome is an excellent destination for shopping and February marks the end of the winter saldi (sales).

Milan In February

Three shopping bags being held up inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy in February during the saldi (sales).  The bags are green, blue, and pink and they all have white horizontal stripes.  It's day time.

If you’re looking for excellent shopping, spend time in February in Milan – it’s the last part of the winter saldi (sales). Milan has a range of stores, from luxury Italian labels to trendy local designers.

You can also visit museums with fewer crowds and check out Milan’s cultural scene. Head to La Scala theater for opera, ballet, theater, and the symphony.

Honorable Mentions – Torino, Puglia, & Florence In February

Destinations To Skip On A February Trip To Italy

Boats covered up on the edge of the beach on a cloudy day in Positano.  You can see a cliff on the right in the background.  The covers on the boats are green and one is blue and white striped.
  • Small countryside villages – mostly closed up
  • Sardegna and coastal islands – small towns mostly closed up; ferries can be canceled due to poor conditions; too cold for the beach
  • Amalfi Coast – mostly closed up, no chance for beach time, rainy weather creates slippery trails and mudslides
  • Cinque Terre – mostly closed up, no chance for beach time, rainy weather creates slippery trails and mudslides
  • Small beach towns – mostly closed up, too cold for the beach
  • Lake Como and other Italian Lakes – boat rides are very cold, towns are mostly closed up, hiking trails can be slippery from rain

Activities And Events In Italy In February

You won’t be able to sunbathe, but there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy on your trip to Italy in February:

Visit the Museum of the Carnival of Viareggio to learn about the upcoming February Carnival and possibly get a glance at some of the floats being made.

Check out the Almond Blossom Festival in Sicily.

Go skiing. There are places to ski from the north to south of country – you can even ski on Mt. Etna in Sicily.  Or, try other winter sports like snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding. The most well-known winter sports areas are Alta Badia, Arabba, Bardonecchia, Bormio, Cervinia, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Courmayeur, Livigno, Madonna di Campiglio, Monterosa, Passo Tonale, Plan de Corones, Sestriere, and Val Gardena.

Soak in thermal baths – Bormio, Merano, Bagno Vignoni, and Saturnia are a few to check out.

Saturnia hot springs in Italy in January.  The sky is blue, the terraced thermal baths are steaming.  There is a building on the left.  Text in the upper right contains a quote by Sylvia Plath: There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.

Go shopping – saldi run from January to early or mid-February. The prices get better as time goes on, but the selection gets smaller and smaller.  If you see something you love, buy it then.

Marvel at amazing art in Italy’s world-class museums.  You’ll find fewer crowds in February.  It’s a great time to see the Last Supper (Milan), the Vatican Museums (Rome), the Colosseum and Roman Forum (Rome), the Uffizi (Florence), the Accademia (Florence), or Pompeii.

Michelangelo's David statue in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Attend a performance at La Scala in Milan.

Sample Italian wines at a wine bar or visit a winery. While most wineries aren’t open for drop-ins, some open for winter visitsSalute!

Go on a food tour or visit a factory to see the production of parmigiano or balsamic vinegar.

Close up of wheels of parmesan cheese in a factory.  In upper left, a small photo of a slice of parmesan and a towel is inset and the text 'parmigiano reggiano' is in the upper left.

Attend a concert or sporting event.

Otherwise, settle in at a wine bar and sample the regional wines!

Street signs in Greve in Chianti, Italy.  One is white with an arrow pointing toward Wine Lovers Academy.  The other is black and points toward Enoteca Falorni and has a photo of a wine glass and a cask.

What To Eat In Italy in February 

Not-To-Miss Produce In Italy In February 

Closeup of a hand holding a clementine, a delicious fruit in season in Italy in February.
The sweetest clementines!
  • artichokes – carciofi
  • clementines – clementine
  • lemons – limoni
  • apples – mele
  • oranges – arance
  • blood oranges – arance rosse
  • fennel – finocchio
  • broccoli – broccoli
  • Tardivo chicory – radicchio tardivo

Food Not To Miss In Italy In February 

Dish/ItemAreaDescription
frittelle, castagnole, frappeVariousspecial Carnevale sweet treats
ribollitaTuscanythick soup made with leftover bread and vegetables
pizzoccheriLombardybuckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes and cheese
cassoeulaLombardystew made with cabbage and pork 
polentaNorthern Italyboiled cornmeal, also good fried or grilled; delicious with mushrooms and taleggio cheese 
bicerinTorino drink made of milk, espresso and chocolate
gelatoItaly-widegelato – yes, it’s even good in the winter!

The Best Places To Visit in Italy In February With Kids 

You may want to read our posts on traveling to Italy With Teens and Italy With a Baby or Toddler!

February in Italy isn’t ideal with kids. But, with school breaks, it may be your only option.  If so, choose one of the below destinations for your family’s visit to Italy in February.  And, no matter where you end up, make sure you soak up some Carnevale magic – the kids will love throwing coriandoli (confetti) and dressing up in costume (even if it’s just a mask).

Venice With Kids In February

Small child in red coat reaching to touch flag on boat on Grand Canal in Venice, Italy in January.  You can see the water, buildings on the right, and another boat ahead.

Venice can be an amazing stop for kids on a family trip to Italy in February. Carnevale and its parades, costumes, event and seasonal treats will keep your kids entertained and soaking up Italian culture. They’ll also love traveling the canals on the little vaporetti (water buses), seeing a glass-blowing demo on Murano island, dining on tapas-style cicchetti, and getting lost on the small side streets.

The Dolomites With Kids In February

The Dolomites is an excellent destination in February with kids, even if they don’t ski or snowboard.  You can still sled, play in the snow, and visit the kid-friendly snow parks.  The Dolomites have an incredible selection of family-friendly hotels, and some of them are dedicated to children (like Cavallino Bianco in Ortisei). 

All ages will enjoy taking the cable car up to Alpe di Siusi for tobogganing, skiing or snowboarding (60km of slopes), snowshoeing, or ice skating.  

When you need a break from the snow, visit one of the picturesque towns. We frequently Bolzano and its Museum of Archaeology, home to Ötzi the Iceman.

Rome With Kids In February

Ride the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus, take a family tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum, eat pizza and gelato, throw your coin into the Trevi Fountain, attend Gladiator School, explore Rome’s children’s museum, and be entertained in Piazza Navona.

Florence With Kids In February

Woman with baby in carrier in an uncrowded room in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.  They are standing in front of Michelangelo's Doni Tondo.

Florence is best for a quick visit with kids during the cold month of February. Stay warm inside the museums – get a guide to make them kid-friendly (and read about visiting the Accademia with kids!).  Visit La Specola, Florence’s quirky Natural History museum (temporarily closed), climb a tower, and see what’s on at Palazzo Strozzi – the exhibits are often kid-friendly.

Milan With Kids In February

While the cold and rainy weather will keep your kids away from the playgrounds, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities to keep them (and you!) happy. Some favorites include exploring the science museum, visiting the planetarium, touring the soccer stadium, and wandering through the aquarium.  Warm up your body with a climb to the top of the Duomo.

What To Wear In Italy In February 

February in Italy won’t be enjoyable if you don’t dress appropriately! 

It’s important to: 

  1. Dress like an onion – wear layers. 
  2. Wear breathable clothing. 
  3. Wear a hat, gloves, and a scarf.
  4. Wear warm shoes with tread – cobblestones can be slick! 
  5. Dress appropriately for the activity.  If you’re skiing, bring your ski gear.  You can buy anything you need here, but you should bring broken in shoes or boots if you can.  No one wants a blister while on vacation! 

Good To Know – You’ll see Italians in scarves everywhere you look (and not just in the winter). They’re trying to prevent a colpa d’aria (a ‘hit of air’), which could make them sick.

Suggested Modes Of Transport For Italy in February 

It’s still too chilly for cycling in Italy in February. You’ll see locals out riding, but it’s better to wait and cycle when it gets a little warmer.

It’s also best to avoid boat transport in February in Italy. Schedules are limited and trips often get canceled due to poor weather conditions.

Car

Traveling by car gives you the most freedom, but can be pricey by the time you add up the rental cost, gas, tolls, and parking.  Luckily, rental car demand in February is low, so you’ll be able to find the vehicle you want at a competitive price.

Need to rent a car? I recommend checking out consolidators like DiscoverCars.com and AutoEurope.com for a round-up of the best deals from Italy’s principal rental car companies.

Make sure you have chains in your car or special winter tires suitable for driving on snow or ice.  They are required by law on many Italian roads from November 15th through April 15th.  On parts of the A1 Autostrada, you’ll need them from November 1st.   

If you’re driving in Northern Italy, be prepared for snow on roads and possible closures.

Plane 

If you don’t want to risk driving in icy or snowy conditions or you’re traveling long distances, investigate flying.  Route schedules are more limited in February and winter months, but travel between larger cities is possible and simple.

Train 

It may not always be the fastest way and it may not get you from door-to-door, but taking a train is a beautiful way to travel around Italy in the winter.   

Italy In February Vocabulary

ItalianPronunciationEnglish translation
Buon San Valentino Happy Valentine’s Day
Carnevale carnival
amore love
freddo cold
neve snow
sciare to ski
saldi sales (shopping)
quanto costa? how much does it cost?

FAQ