March can be a wonderful month to visit Italy. The weather changes frequently and we see spurts of rain, but it’s a quiet time to visit and there are excellent opportunities for indoor activities like visiting museums and taking cooking classes. And, even though you’ll likely see some sprinkles, you most likely end up with a spectacular spring month – with sunshine, cool air, and bright green landscapes.
The keys to an excellent March in Italy experience are:
- being flexible with your plans (head inside to museums if it’s raining, quickly change plans and go for a vineyard walk if the sun is out)
- dressing appropriately (in layers)
- always having an umbrella with you
If you’re keen to participate in outdoor activities, skiing and other winter sports are your best options in March, but even those aren’t guaranteed. There may or may not be snow in Italy’s ski resorts at the end of the ski season in March.
If you decide to travel to Italy in March, you’ll find the ‘calm before the storm’ – most visitors begin trickling back to Italy in April and by May things are in full swing.
In this post, you’ll learn…
- if visiting Italy in March is a good choice for you
- what weather to expect in Italy in March
- which holidays Italy celebrates in March and which days things are closed
- our recommended places to visit in March in Italy, including where to go with kids
- the best activities and events in Italy in March
- which foods to try in Italy in March
- what to wear on a trip to Italy in March
First time to Italy? 10th? Either way, you’ll want to check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!
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Is March a Good Time to Visit Italy?
6 Reasons You Should Visit Italy in March
Fewer Crowds – March is still low season in Italy, so you’ll be able to walk in museums and on city streets without hordes of other visitors. Keep in mind that on rainy days, indoor activities (like museums) will be busier.
Good To Know: Every few years, Carnevale celebrations go into early March. Join the festivities, and also expect large crowds, higher prices and limited hotel availability.
While there are far fewer crowds in March than most other months of the year, 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 like The Last Supper (Milan), The Vatican Museums (Rome), The Colosseum (Rome), The Uffizi Gallery (Florence), and The Accademia Gallery (Florence).
End of Ski Season – You’ll catch the end of the winter sports season if you visit in March (but always double-check and make sure there’s still snow where you’re planning on going!). It’s a quiet time to visit Italy’s ski resorts because the holiday crowds are gone, and kids are back in school.
Good To Know: If Easter falls in March the year you’re visiting, the slopes may be busy during the Pasqua (Easter) break, a short (week long-ish) vacation. Families will head to the mountains for one last time before the season ends. Accommodation will be more expensive and more difficult to find.
Less Expensive – Because it’s still low season, hotels and activities will be trying to get guests to visit. Look for specials on aggregate sites like Kayak or Google Travel and OTAs (online travel agents) like Booking.com. You can also check directly with a hotel (via its website or by phone) to see if they’ll beat online rates.
Good To Know: Agriturismi and countryside lodging are less expensive this time of year, but keep in mind you may not be within walking distance of anything, and typical countryside hikes may be muddy or overgrown. You’ll also have fewer indoor activities at your fingertips. If you’re not skiing, I recommend booking a hotel in a city or large town.
Nice to Visit Archaeological Sites – Italy’s famous sites like Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Agrigento are scorching in the summer heat, and can be very crowded. Take a chance to visit during the quiet off-season – it’s a special experience to see these sites when they’re not crowded. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella and comfy shoes with good tread.
Gorgeous Spring Landscapes – You’ll see the first wildflowers of the year blooming in Sicily in March, and throughout the country the hillsides are a vibrant green. Photographers will appreciate the early morning mist and fog.
See ‘Real Life’ in Cities and Towns – Visitors in March often remark on how nice it is to see so many Italians. It’s funny, but in many places, you’ll feel like you’re blending into Italian life, rather than shuffling with other visitors from tourist site to tourist site.
Have coffee at a neighborhood bar, try out your Italian skills with the nonne (grandmothers) at the outdoor fruit and vegetable market, or have dinner at a restaurant filled with local Italians.
6 Reasons You May Not Want To Visit Italy in March
Weather – As winter ends and spring arrives, Italian skies are typically grey and threatening rain (or pouring rain). You should come willing to be flexible with plans and without an itinerary filled with outdoor activities.
Not Yet Beach Time – It’s still chilly for a swim in the sea in March, and most beach clubs aren’t yet open.
Villages Closed – If you’re planning on visiting small villages in the countryside, know that March can be very quiet. Many shops and restaurants are still closed for the winter, so typically lively towns and villages might still feel sleepy.
Good To Know: When we explore villages in the late winter, we sometime find things (like a town tower to climb or a small museum) are closed even if a website states otherwise. Be sure to call ahead and speak to a human.
Less Sunlight – There are around 12 hours of sunlight in Rome in March, compared to over 15 hours of sunlight in June.
Sales Finished – If you’re hoping to catch the winter saldi (sales) in Italy, you need to visit in January and early February. Otherwise, wait for the summer saldi in July (and into August).
Not Amazing for Outdoor Activities – With the possibility of rain and soggy or overgrown trails, March isn’t the best month for hiking. You will see Italians out cycling (road and mountain), but they’re typically in their home areas, so they know the roads and trails well. The sea temperature is still chilly unless you’re wearing a wetsuit. Skiing and winter sports are the best options in Italy in March.
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 October
Italy in November
Italy in December
Weather in Italy in March
As with all seasons in Italy, you’ll find different weather depending on where you are in Italy:
Northern Italy is still chilly and sees snow in the mountains. Temperatures range from about 40-60° F (about 5–15° C).
Central Italy sees similar temperatures as Northern Italy – in the range of 40-60° F (about 5–15° C).
Southern Italy is the warmest part of the country in March, with the temperature usually ranging around 50-60° F (10–15° C). The south also sees quite a bit more rain than the center and north, so make sure you have your umbrella!
Even though rain often threatens, you should see plenty of sunny days. Make sure you dress in layers so you can deal with fluctuating spring temperatures.
Italy in March – Temperatures & Precipitation
|Milan||60°F / 15°C||40°F / 5°C||13mm|
|Venice||56°F / 13°C||40°F / 5°C||15mm|
|Florence||61°F / 16°C||42°F / 6°C||18mm|
|Rome||61°F / 16°C||42°F / 6°C||19mm|
|Naples||62°F / 17°C||45°F / 7°C||26mm|
|Palermo||62°F / 17° C||51°F / 10°C||30mm|
Holidays in Italy in March
March 8th – La Festa della Donna
Translation: Women’s Holiday – International Women’s Day
What it Celebrates: It’s a celebration of women honoring their past struggles and victories working toward economic, political, and social equality.
- Gift women yellow mimosa flowers
- Families and friends take women out for dinner or make a special meal
- Bake mimosa cakes
- Wish women a ‘Happy Women’s Day’ or Buona Festa della Donna
- Participate in women’s marches or demonstrations
- Free entrance for women to some museums
- Television specials on women’s rights, domestic violence, gender equality and the wage gap
- Special events in some citites
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything is open and running as normal (unless some women decide to strike)
Reserve in Advance: You don’t need to reserve anything in advance. If you’d like to buy mimosa flowers for the women in your life, you can get them at grocery stores, markets, and flower shops.
Read more about La Festa della Donna!
March 19th – La Festa di San Giuseppe
Translation: St. Joseph’s Day – Father’s Day
What it Celebrates: St. Joseph’s Day celebrates St. Joseph – the father of Jesus, the husband of the Virgin Mary, and the patron saint of families, carpenters, and hand laborers. St. Joseph is the patron saint of Sicily. Legend has it that one March, during a severe drought, the Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph and he answered their prayers with rain and saved the season’s crops.
- Before the holiday, set up a St. Joseph’s with food, which is eaten on the feast day
- Eat breadcrumbs (they symbolize sawdust, left behind after a carpenter’s day of work; Joseph was a carpenter)
- Eat fava beans and lemons for good luck
- Wish fathers a ‘Happy Father’s Day’ or Buona Festa del Papà
- Bring fried sweet treats to fathers
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything is open and running as normal
Reserve in Advance: You don’t need to reserve anything in advance. If you’d like to buy pastries for the father in your life, you can get them at grocery stores, and pasticcerie.
Late March – Pasqua (but the holiday usually falls in April)
What it Celebrates: The resurrection of Jesus Christ
Traditions: Easter is a huge deal in Italy, and Holy Week is celebrated throughout the country
National Holiday: Yes, along with the following Monday (Pasquetta)
Open/Closed: Some restaurants and shops close for the holiday, along with religious sites like the Vatican Museums (and the Sistine Chapel). Remember that many restaurants, shops, banks, etc. are always closed on Sundays.
Reserve in Advance: Rome can be busy in the days before and after Easter, so make sure you’ve booked accommodation in advance. Book and ‘can’t miss’ activities or restaurants in advance, but don’t worry, you won’t go hungry!
Good To Know: Pasquetta (or little Easter) is the day after Pasqua. It falls on a Monday, and many destinations are packed as families head out to explore together. Trust me, don’t make big plans on Pasquetta!
Good To Know: Carnevale (Carnival) sometimes runs into early March.
The 10 Best Places in Italy to Visit in March
|Location||What To Do|
|Rome||visit the Colosseum and Forum without the heat, stroll the city|
|Florence||explore museums, take a day trip to the countryside if the weather is nice|
|Tuscany||go wine tasting, relax in thermal baths|
|Sicily||see archaeological sites, visit small villages|
|Venice||enjoy the city without huge crowds|
|Puglia||road trip and see small towns|
|Matera||explore the fascinating city without dripping in sweat|
|Umbria||spend time in larger cities|
|Dolomites||go skiing, get cozy in a Bolzano restaurant, meet the Ice Man|
|Milan||go shopping, head to the top of the Duomo, hang out in the Brera district|
Rome in March
While Rome is fabulous any time of the year, March is a great time to explore outdoor sites like the Roman Forum and Colosseum, and for walking around in general. When it’s sunny, sit at outdoor cafes, and if it’s drizzling, head inside to one of the city’s churches (like St. Peter’s Basilica) or museums (like the Vatican City Museums and the Sistine Chapel).
Good To Know: Enjoy walking around without crowds, but be careful if it’s just rained – Rome’s gorgeous cobblestones can be slippery!
Florence in March
Florence weather is iffy in March (like much of Italy), but there are plenty of museums to visit if the weather isn’t cooperating. And, if it is, you can always head to the countryside or take day trips to other nearby cities like Lucca and Bologna. Spend time in restaurants eating winter specialties like ribollita, or have a coffee on a piazza.
Tuscany in March
March is an excellent time to try wines in Montepulciano or Montalcino or to sample cheese in charming Pienza. Remember that small villages are mostly ‘closed’ up for the winter, so you won’t find all shops or restaurants open. Soak in hot springs in the south (Saturnia, Bagno Vignoni, San Casciano dei Bagni) and swing by Val d’Orcia for photographs of the UNESCO World Heritage site in dramatic morning mist and silvery brown or bright green hills. Towns like Lucca and Siena are full of locals, but small villages that rely on tourism (like San Gimignano and the Chianti villages) are mostly closed up or are just beginning to open up. It’s not yet time to visit beaches in Tuscany.
Good To Know: With increasing electricity rates, more businesses will choose to stay closed in March vs. paying staff and high rates for electricity.
Sicily in March
One of the best places to visit in March, but make sure you’ve got your umbrella. March isn’t the month to lounge at the beach, but it’s a wonderful time to visit churches and archaeological sites (without the heat) and explore markets and small towns. Palermo, Siracusa, and the UNESCO World Heritage Val di Noto villages (Caltagirone, Modica, Ragusa, and Scicli are our favorites) are excellent stops in the late winter / early spring. In March, you can also catch the almond blossoms flowering.
Venice in March
Take the opportunity to visit Venice in March, before crowds arrive. By April, the city on the water is already starting to get very busy. We love visiting during the winter months, and you’ll find plenty to do during the day and night. If it’s rainy, there are plenty of museums and you can always sit in a cafè and drink hot chocolate!
Puglia in March
March isn’t beach time, but Puglia has beautiful cities and small villages that are worth a visit any time of year – like Alberobello, Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Trani, Lecce, Monopoli, and Polignano a Mare.
Matera in March
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera can be very hot and busy in the summer, so if you have a chance to visit in March, jump on it! Heads up if it’s raining – the cobbles can be very slippery!
Umbria in March
It’s still fairly quiet in Umbria, and best to stay in larger cities or towns like Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto. Little villages are especially quiet (Bevagna, Spello, Gubbio). On a rainy day, visit the Perugina chocolate factory for a tour or Baci– making class.
Dolomites in March
If you’re a skier, the Dolomites is an excellent place to visit in March, at the end of the winter ski season. Also nice to eat cozy winter mountain food, drink local wines, hang out in spas (hay bath anyone?), and explore museums and culture in Bolzano.
Good To Know: Even if you don’t ski, you can participate in other winter sports and still visit the villages.
Milan in March
It’s a nice time to experience Milan and its neighborhoods like locals do. Visit museums and shops with fewer crowds than most months. The weather is also surprisingly mild.
Destinations To Skip On A March Trip To Italy
Amalfi Coast – The area is still closed for the winter season. It’s not warm enough for the beach, towns are very quiet, boat schedules are limited, and the lively vibe that makes the area special isn’t there. Yes, you can see it, but not at its best.
Cinque Terre – Water is too chilly, boat schedules are limited, trails will likely be muddy and slippery (and possibly closed). For the full experience, visit later in the spring or in the summer.
Sardegna and coastal islands – No beach time yet, most villages are very quiet during the winter.
Small countryside villages – Most are still closed up for the winter.
Italian Lakes – Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore other Italian lakes are still quiet and the weather can be cold and rainy. While they’re gorgeous any time of the year, if you can, wait and visit later in the spring through the fall. But, if you want to see the camelias blooming, the gorgeous flowers start showing their colors and petals in March.
Activities And Events In Italy In March
Activities in Italy in March
- Thermal baths
- Archaeological sites
- Cooking classes
- Skiing and Winter Sports
- Soccer Games
Events in Italy in March
Carnevale and Pasqua – some years these celebrations fall in March
Rome Marathon – Run 26 miles through history and finish at the Colosseum.
Verona Model Expo – Young and young-at-heart will love Verona’s exhibition of models. You’ll see cars, planes and helicopters, boats, trains, and more.
Bergamo Jazz Festival – Head north for one of Italy’s annual jazz festivals.
What To Eat In Italy in March
Seasonal Produce In Italy In March
apples – mele
lemons – limoni
oranges – arance
blood oranges – arance rosse
brussel sprouts – cavoletti di Bruxelles
cauliflower – cavolfiore
kale – cavolo nero
endive – indivia
leeks – porri
citrons – cedri
Food Not To Miss In Italy In March
|frittelle, castagnole, frappe, zeppole di San Giuseppe||Various||special Carnevale and Father’s Day sweet treats|
|zuppa di porri||Various||leek soup|
|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|
The Best Places To Visit in Italy In March With Kids
Rome with Kids in March
Rome has something for kids year-round. In March, 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. A huge plus of a March visit is that you can see outdoor sites without huge crowds and heat. If it starts to rain, you can always hop on a bus (double-deckers are fun!).
Florence with Kids in March
Florence has plenty of indoor activities like the Accademia (hello, David!), Palazzo Vecchio, and the Leonardo da Vinci Interactive Museum. You can also spend time at a cooking class, sampling the city’s amazing gelato, or walking up to Piazzale Michelangelo in the cooler weather.
Sicily with Kids in March
March is one of the best times to visit Sicily with older kids, as its archaeological ruins aren’t crowded and under the intense summer heat. Siracusa and Ortigia, Ragusa Ibla, Modica, and Scicli are all great stops with kids. If you’re traveling with small children, a stop in Sicily is better when you can spend some time on the beach (April at the earliest).
Dolomites with Kids in March
If your family loves snow, don’t hesitate to head to the Dolomites in March. Ski, snowboard, go sledding, or just build snowmen and make snow angels! We love Alpe di Siusi in the winter with little ones! Even if you’re not snow fans, you can still have a wonderful time in the small villages (like Ortisei, Castelrotto, and Corvara) and in the city of Bolzano – eating hearty kid-friendly food in its restaurants, saying hello to Ötzi, the Ice Man, visiting castles, and checking out the shops.
Venice with Kids in March
It’s an excellent time to visit La Serenissima with children, because it’s a less crowded time of year (no long lines for vaporetti or sites) and the temperatures are cooler. Kids 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. If it’s chilly, tuck into a cafè for a cioccolata calda (hot chocolate).
Check out our guide to visiting Venice with Kids.
Puglia with Kids in March
If it’s a sunny day, head to the beach to play in the sand. Otherwise, spend your days exploring little villages like Alberobello, Ostuni, and Locorotondo. See a mozzarella demo, sample the in-season fruits and vegetables, and explore the Grotte di Castellana (Castellana Caves).
What To Wear and Pack for In Italy In March
- quality travel umbrella – umbrellas are expensive here, and if you find a cheap one, it’ll probably break the same day!
- layers – March weather in Italy is fickle – wear layers so you’ll always have the right clothing on
- scarf – to keep the cold air off your neck (do as the Italians do!)
- breathable, water-resistant shoes – it’s not fun walking around in wet shoes
- book or Kindle – for reading at a café on a rainy day
- tissues – for drying benches off, etc (and they’re always handy in Italian bathrooms!)
Transport in Italy in March
It’s easy to travel around Italy in March by car, plane, or train.
Boat travel isn’t recommended, as schedules are still reduced (it’s the end of the quiet winter season) and there can be rough seas.
If you’re planning on driving in Italy, check out our posts on:
Renting a Car in Italy
Italian Gas Stations and Getting Gas in Italy
Important Italian Road Signs
Driving in Italy
International Driving Permit for Italy
Renting a Car in Italy with a US Driver’s License
Italian Toll Roads – Driving on the Autostrada
Paying Tolls in Italy
Parking in Italy + Parking Sign Translations
ZTLs in Italy
Italy in March Vocabulary
donna – woman
papà – father
babbo – father
pioggia – rain
ombrella – umbrella
freddo – cold
zuppa – soup
verde – green
marzo – March
primavera – spring
inverno – winter
Italy in March FAQ
You’ll still find snow in Italy in March at higher elevations. You can participate in skiing and winter sports in Italy’s mountains, including the Dolomites (northeast) and the Alps (northwest).
You can go to the beach for walks and views, and kids can play in the sand. But, you’ll find the sea waters are too chilly for swimming.