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 time to Italy? 10th? Either way, you’ll want to check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!
This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase from the links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Please see our Disclaimer for more information.
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.
Trying to decide when to visit Italy? Check out our monthly guides:
Italy in January
Italy in February
Italy in March
Italy in April
Italy in May
Italy in June
Italy in July
Italy in August
Italy in September
Italy in October
Italy in November
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 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.
- 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.
- It’s the end of winter saldi (sale) time in Italy – the best shopping discounts of the year (along with the summer July saldi).
- It’s the perfect time to visit some of Europe’s best ski resorts – they usually get the most snow in February.
- 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.
- 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
- Have I mentioned, it’s cold, dreary, and sometimes rainy?
- 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.
- You won’t be able to swim, hike in some places, or participate in other warm-weather activities.
- 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!
|Milan||50°F / 10°C||34°F / 1°C||10.7mm|
|Venice||49°F / 9°C||34°F / 1°C||7.9mm|
|Florence||55°F / 13°C||37°F / 3°C||23.2mm|
|Rome||57°F / 14°C||37°F / 3°C||24.9mm|
|Naples||57°F / 14°C||41°F / 5°C||33.3mm||coldest month, along with January|
|Palermo||59°F / 15°C||49°F / 9°C||53.2mm|
Holidays in Italy in February
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
What It Celebrates: The period before Lent – it’s a time to ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ before Lent’s fasting and time of sacrifices. See more about Carnevale below.
What’s Going On: There are festivities nationwide – both organized celebrations (like in Venice) and smaller parties and gatherings in towns and villages.
°Elaborate celebrations in Venice
°Parade of floats in Viareggio
°Costume balls, parades, concerts, and parties take place nationwide
°Children throw coriandoli (confetti)
°School children dress up in costumes (like Halloween in the USA)
°Italians also host private parties
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything is open
Reserve in Advance: If you’ll be visiting a desitination that’s well-known for its Carnevale celebration, you should book accommodation as soon as you know you’ll be traveling. Also book restaurants and events as soon as possible.
February 5th – La Festa di Sant’Agata
Translation: The Feast of Saint Agatha
What It Honors: The life of Saint Agatha, a Christian martyr
What’s Going On: The main celebration is in Catania, Sicily, the location of Saint Agatha’s remains.
°Procession of Saint Agatha’s relics
°Preparation of the Minne di Sant’Agata desserts
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything is open
Reserve in Advance: If you’re planning on attending any of the events in Catania, you’ll need to reserve accommodation well in advance. Visitors attend from Italy and beyond.
February 14th – San Valentino or La Festa degli Innamorati
Translation: Valentine’s Day (literal translation: Saint Valentine) or The Feast of the Lovers
What It Celebrates: Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love. The Roman Goddess Juno.
Couples wish each other Happy Valentine’s Day, have dinner together, exchange small gifts
°Restaurants offer special Valentine’s Day dinners
°Verona decorates for the holiday and has special events during the week
°Terni, St. Valentine’s hometown celebrates with events throughout February
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything is open
Reserve in Advance: If you’re set on dining at a specific restaurant on Valentine’s Day, it’s best to reserve in advance.
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
|Location||What To Do|
|Venice||participate in Italy’s biggest Carnevale celebration, visit a Venetian island|
|Verona||celebrate Valentine’s Day in the city of love|
|The Dolomites||ski Italy’s best slopes|
|Sicily||explore archaeological sites without the heat or crowds|
|Rome||visit museums and monuments with fewer crowds|
|Milan||attend Fashion week, catch the end of the winter saldi (sales), explore the Brera district|
|Honorable Mention – Torino||check out the cafe culture|
|Honorable Mention – Puglia||explore the small whitewashed towns|
|Honorable Mention – Florence||have Michelangelo’s David all to yourself|
Venice in February
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)
Many visitors to Venice in the winter stress about acqua alta (high water).
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 an extreme high tide is forecast – and if the forecast is wrong, they may not be raised in time.
Some of the worst flooding occurs in Piazza San Marco and the incredible Basilica. The city has recently started using glass barriers to stop the flooding in the Basilica.
If you’re ‘caught’ in the flooding, you may need to find an alternative route, use the platforms set up in the square, or purchase a pair of boots and wade through the waters!
Verona 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
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!
Good To Know: 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
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. We love visiting Milan’s Science Museum.
Honorable Mentions – Torino, Puglia, & Florence In February
Torino In February – Torino has a wonderful sidewalk café culture, and it continues (but in a smaller way) during the winter months. You’ll find plenty of indoor seating at cafes – perfect for reading a book while sipping on bicerin (a Torinese hot drink of milk, espresso and chocolate)!
Or, trade your hot drink for snacks and a glass of wine produced in the region, like Barbera and Barolo.
Stop by the original Eataly, housed in a former factory with plenty of room for its marketplace and restaurant.
Puglia in February – If you’re not interested in spending time at the beach, February is a great time to visit Puglia. Visitors flock to the region for its beaches (and for good reason, they’re clean and gorgeous), so things are fairly quiet in the winter.
Many hotels will be closed during the winter, but you’ll still have plenty to choose from. Base yourself in one place and spend your days checking out the beautiful whitewashed towns in the area. Some of my favorites are Ostuni, Martina Franca, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Cisternino, and Monopoli.
Check out some of Italy’s oldest olive trees and taste the oil harvested the previous fall.
Florence In February – If you can handle the weather (bring a heavy coat, hat, and warm shoes or boots), you’ll have the city’s world-class museums and shops at your fingertips.
You can find some great deals at local shops during the saldi (sales).
Historic cafés (like Caffé Gilli in Piazza della Repubblica) set up warm outdoor areas which are perfect for a quick coffee break or for passing an entire relaxing afternoon.
If you need to warm up a bit, get your heart pumping on the climb up the hill that leads to Piazzale Michelangelo and its view of the city.
Destinations To Skip On A February Trip To Italy
- 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 the 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.
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.
Attend a performance at La Scala in Milan.
Go on a food tour or visit a factory to see the production of parmigiano or balsamic vinegar.
Attend a concert or sporting event.
Otherwise, settle in at a wine bar and sample the regional wines!
What To Eat In Italy in February
Not-To-Miss Produce In Italy In February
- 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
|frittelle, castagnole, frappe||Various||special Carnevale sweet treats|
|ribollita||Tuscany||thick soup made with leftover bread and vegetables|
|pizzoccheri||Lombardy||buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potatoes and cheese|
|cassoeula||Lombardy||stew made with cabbage and pork|
|polenta||Northern Italy||boiled cornmeal, also good fried or grilled; delicious with mushrooms and taleggio cheese|
|bicerin||Torino||drink made of milk, espresso and chocolate|
|gelato||Italy-wide||gelato – yes, it’s even good in the winter!|
The Best Places To Visit in Italy In February With Kids
February in Italy isn’t ideal for 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
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.
Read more about Visiting Venice with Kids.
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).
When you need a break from the snow, visit one of the picturesque towns. We frequently head to 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
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, and touring the soccer stadium. Warm up your body with a climb to the top of the Duomo.
Read more about Visiting Milan with Kids!
What To Wear In Italy In February
February in Italy won’t be enjoyable if you don’t dress appropriately!
It’s important to:
- Dress like an onion – wear layers.
- Wear breathable clothing.
- Wear a hat, gloves, and a scarf.
- Wear warm shoes with tread – cobblestones can be slick!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Buon San Valentino||Happy Valentine’s Day|
|quanto costa?||how much does it cost?|
Italy in February FAQ
Occasionally, Florence will see snow in February, but it’s not common. The Apennine mountains nearby usually get a decent amount of snow (but it’s not guaranteed!).
Yes! You’ll find fewer crowds than any other time of the year, so it’s an enjoyable time to explore Rome’s incredible museums. It’s also the end of saldi (shopping sales) time, so you’ll find bargains on fall and winter clothing.
Rome experiences temperatures that range from highs around 57°F (14°C) and lows around 38°F (3°C). You may be able to take your jacket off on a sunny day, but the evenings and mornings are still chilly.
The further south you go, the warmer temperatures you’ll find. Sicily is the warmest part of Italy in February, with temperatures ranging from 41°F (5°F) to 61°F (16°F) in Catania. If you’re looking for beach weather, you won’t find it in Italy in February.