As summer has now officially ended, and our travelers begin embarking on autumn adventures through Italy, we are already looking ahead to another favorite time of ours to visit the bel paese: December. Here are six reasons why December and the holiday season are the perfect time to head to Italy.
1. Holiday Lights & Open Air Markets
December marks the season when cities and small villages throughout Italy shine brightly with Christmas lights, and open air markets where locals flock to buy holiday gifts and enjoy December nights with friends and family. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, and a unique time of year to take part in the Italian experience.
2. Ice Skating Rinks
Living in New York City, ice skating has always felt like somewhat of a touristy adventure. In Italy, however, it is just the opposite. Outdoor rinks are set up during the holiday season and adorn both large cities and small towns. Even if you’re not adventurous enough to lace up your own skates, you can grab a cappuccino at a nearby cafe and people watch to your hearts desire. The rinks are filled with families, teenagers, and children enjoying the holiday cheer.
In December, stores and markets throughout Italy are stocked with traditional Italian dessert breads – panettone and pandoro. Panettone is hands down our favorite, with its airy texture of flaky goodness and the sweet flavor of sugary bread adorned with dried fruit such as raisins or candied citrus.
4. The Weather is Just Right
Sure, you might need to pack that light winter coat and scarf, but Italy in December is actually quite moderate, and perhaps almost perfect for touring. Enjoy days that can comfortably get into the 50s, and nights that typically don’t fall below 40 degree Fahrenheit. It certainly beats exploring Italy in the summer heat of July and August, when the temperatures can prove as oppressive as the peak season crowds.
5. Avoid the Crowds
Plain and simple: December may be the best time to visit some of Italy’s most popular and heavily touristed destinations such as Venice or the Italian Riviera. Imagine all the picture-perfect beauty of Italy, but without the crowds and selfie sticks. It’s a whole different experience to stroll through the enchanted city’s winding side streets, walk through Piazza San Marco and overlook bridges and canals or hike one of the famed Cinque Terre trails when it feels like you have all of the city to yourself.
Convinced yet? We hope so. And if you’re looking for the perfect December itinerary, we’ve got just the thing: our Tuscany for the Holidays small group excursion.
See you in Italia this holiday season!