Italian cities offer the best kind of winter city breaks – history, culture, warming cuisine, events and festivities. They offer you the opportunity to wrap up in your winter wear, cosy up with a famous Italian coffee in one of the many chic cafes, and enjoy some of the renowned sites at their uncrowded best.
Winter months are a great excuse for warming foods. Thankfully for us, Italy is the home of comfort food – pizza, pasta, cheese and meat platters, all washed down with a glass of local red wine.
Not to mention there is so much going on in the Italian cities in the winter months. Some of the best holidays to celebrate are in the winter – Christmas, New Year and, of course, Valentine’s Day.
So get your hats and scarves at the ready as we share with you reasons to visit some of our favourite Italian cities in the winter.
There is something very magical about Venice in the winter time. Mist takes over the canals and winding lagoons, the usually very bustling city becomes a lot calmer, and most of the population of Venice can be found hiding out in one of the cafes, enjoying a renowned Venetian hot chocolate.
The winter time in Venice allows you to enjoy the city’s highlights at their best. The museums are still open throughout the winter, and enjoy fewer crowds. Strolling the winding alleyways is a lot more pleasant, and the lack of crowds makes window shopping the many traditional shops a lot easier.
So, what’s going on in Venice in the winter – the list is as long as your arm! Venice Carnevale takes place at the beginning of February, opera and theatre performances are in full swing in the winter and November time marks the annual Venice Art Biennale.
Florence is renowned for its endless museums and art galleries – one of the most famous being the Accademia, home of Michelangelo’s David. Florence in the winter time allows you to enjoy some of Europe’s masterpieces without all the crowds – your meeting with David will definitely be more intimate. The fewer crowds allow you to get more out of your holiday, so enjoy museum hopping!
For keen photographers, Florence is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. Florence is looking its best in the winter time – your camera will love the crisp, clear winter days. Catch the frost on the ground or, if you are lucky, snow-covered scenes.
After you have walked the many museums and art galleries, there is nothing more warming than a hot bowl of soup – don’t leave Florence without trying Ribollita, a soup made with bread and vegetables and typical to Tuscany.
It won’t be a surprise to hear that cities like Rome attract a lot of visitors all year round. However, the winter months see a large dip in visits and the city will be noticeably quieter. Rome’s iconic attractions, such as the magnificent Colosseum and the Vatican and its museums, benefit from fewer crowds – so no waiting in line.
Restaurants and bars come alive in the winter as locals shelter from cold – Romans are more in favour of the summer months.
Christmas is an exciting time in Rome. The city comes alive with extravagant decorations, lights and Christmas trees, all dotted around the city. Rome is the perfect backdrop for festivities – historic, romantic and simply magical.
Rome’s famous square, Piazza Navona, hosts one of the city’s biggest Christmas markets. You can expect to see stalls selling everything from local sweets and foods, to traditional local crafts. Kill two birds with one stone – enjoy one of the most festive places in Europe, while enjoying Christmas shopping for your loved ones.
Fancy testing your skills at ice skating? This festive sport can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Rome is dotted with open-air ice rinks, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
If you are staying in Rome after Christmas, find your spot at the Piazza del Popolo for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Everything from classical to rock music, dancing and fireworks are put on for your entertainment.
Finding it difficult to choose which city to visit this winter? With a multi-centre you don’t need to. Whether you are keen to visit Rome and Venice, Florence and Rome, or Florence and Venice, the cities are easy to combine – it’s as easy as jumping on a train. For more information on Italian trains, read our guide to navigating the Italian train system. You can travel from Florence to Rome in just an hour and a half, while the max journey time from city to city is Rome to Venice, which takes 3 hours 40 minutes.
For the ultimate multi-centre winter break, why not visit all three of Italy’s famous cities? We recommend two nights in Venice, two nights in Florence and three nights in Rome to enjoy all the highlights of these cities. For more information click here.