By far most of the Italy itineraries we create for clients are for summer trips and the months between May and September are perennially the most popular to explore Il Bel Paese. That said, we’ve also seen an uptick in “off-season” travel between November and February as increasing numbers of travelers look to avoid the high-season crowds, flight chaos, and searing heat of summer and instead enjoy the quieter, cooler, and less expensive winter months.
If you’ve decided to try a winter Italian adventure, you’ll need to take into account a few important factors when making your packing list. The weather, of course, but also your itinerary (Are you visiting the Dolomites or Sicily? Will you be spending most of your time inside museums or churches or plan on strolling the city streets or hiking country trails?) Here are some packing suggestions that work for most Italy trips to get you started:
With a few notable exceptions, winter weather in Italy is marked by cold temperatures and lots of precipitation so your list of what to pack for Italy in winter should focus on clothing that will keep you warm and dry. That said, most of Italy has a temperate Mediterranean climate and chilly, blustery days are often interspersed with sun and balmy temperatures, so dressing in layers is often the best strategy.
Since winter clothing is generally much bulkier than summer clothing, you may want to invest in a few pieces made of high-tech fabrics that protect you from freezing temperatures and rain but are also very lightweight and packable. Just keep in mind that Italians tend to dress more formally in everyday life, so if you go full-out hiking gear (especially in the major cities), you will definitely stick out as a tourist. An easy compromise is to slip on inconspicuous high-tech thermal underwear (long-sleeved undershirts and long johns) under your normal clothing for a look that is comfortable and less “outdoorsy”.
Here are a few items that should make it in your suitcase no matter where you are headed in Italy:
Depending on where you are headed, you may need these specialty items (but probably not):
"We had a wonderful trip! We did so many amazing things and experienced many wonderful places yet never felt like..."
"We thank you so much for all you gave us, guided us to, arranged for, and detailed for us. Not..."
"We are in love with Venice and the Dolomites. The ski adventure was amazing and beyond anything we could have..."
"Absolutely everything that you planned went off without a hitch. Every tour, every restaurant, every train and activity came through..."
"Thank you again from all three of us for your help in planning such a delightful trip. I know that..."
"Madeline carefully planned a fabulous, personalized 19 day itinerary (Lake Garda, Dolomites, N/S Tuscany, Rome) that enabled us to be..."
Join our mailing list to get the free Driving In Italy eBook
Check out the Travel Expert Network where you’ll find Certified Travel Experts™ like us ready to plan custom bucket trips for you all over the world!
Visit the Travel Expert Network →
+1 773 621-3024
Contact San Francisco
+39 320 028 6827
+39 331 222 2349
Subscribe to our newsletter.