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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Italy

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Italy Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

Italy is characterised by a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. July is the hottest month with temperatures up to 30C (86F), and January is the coldest month. It is a great destination to visit year round, particularly if taking a city break, though for the warmest and most reliable weather April to June is the prime tourist season. Most Italians take their holiday in July and August so prices, and crowds, can soar during these months, which are also the hottest of the year. If you’re keen to avoid the main scrum of peak season but still bank on mild weather, late September to October is a good choice.

Required clothing

Lightweight clothes are worn during the summer, except in the mountains. Winter demands light to mediumweights in the south, but warmer clothes elsewhere. Alpine wear is advised for winter mountain resorts.

Geography

Italy is a boot-shaped country situated in southern Europe. Jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea, it shares borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia in the mountainous north, which contains some of the highest peaks in Europe.

In central Italy, Tuscany has a diverse landscape composed of fertile rolling hills, lush river valleys, minor mountain ranges and a long sandy coastline. To the east is Umbria, known as the ‘green heart of Italy' - hilly with broad plains, olive groves and pines, and Le Marche – a region of gentle mountains, rivers and small fertile plains.

Further south lies Rome, Italy's capital city. Within its precincts lies Vatican City, the world's smallest country (by landmass). The south of the country is hotter, wilder and much drier than the north, characterised by dry sierras, rocky mountain ranges and volcanic outcrops, including three of Europe’s most active volcanoes: Vesuvius, Etna and Stromboli.

Puglia, the ‘heel of the boot', is a mixed landscape of fertile plateaus, expansive olive groves and flat, ochre-coloured plains. The islands of Sicily and Sardinia lie offshore to the southwest and west respectively.

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