Weather in Italy in December: Insights and Forecasts

Melina Thalassinou
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Key Takeaways

  • The weather in Italy in December is typical of the Mediterranean with mild and wet weather.
  • Italy showcases a diverse holiday season climate from snowy northern regions to milder southern areas.
  • Central cities like Rome offer cool but comfortable weather, ideal for enjoying lesser tourist traffic and cultural sites.
  • December’s pleasant southern temperatures complement a traditional Italian experience with fewer crowds and festive celebrations.

dolomitesWoman playing the guitar at the Dolomites - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Italy weather in December can vary significantly from north to south, offering distinct experiences depending on the region.

The northern parts of Italy, including cities like Milan and Venice, encounter colder temperatures that often range between 3°C and 10°C.

Snowfall is not uncommon, especially in the mountainous areas near the Alps, making this region ideal for winter sports and Christmas markets.

Moving towards the central parts of Italy, the weather becomes slightly milder; cities like Florence and Rome have temperatures ranging from 6°C to 13°C.

The cooler but not freezing temperatures invite visitors to enjoy the rich history and cultural sites without the overwhelm of peak tourist seasons.

As one travels further south, the Italian climate in December presents a gentler winter experience. In regions like Sicily, Sardinia, and the southern mainland, daytime temperatures are more pleasant, often around 18°C.

Southern Italy also retains its charm with a bit fewer crowds, offering a more authentic glimpse into local life during the holiday season. Here, one can still enjoy coastal walks and outdoor dining on sunnier days.

Meanwhile, throughout Italy, the festive atmosphere is palpable with holiday decorations and events, Christmas markets, and traditional celebrations.

The Climate of Italy in December

Lake como in winterWinter at Lake Como - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Italy in December is characterized by a gradient of weather patterns, with colder and sometimes snowy conditions in the north, milder temperatures in the central regions, and generally warmer weather in the south.

General Climate Characteristics During December

In December, Italy experiences its winter season.

Northern Italy typically sees cold weather and snow, especially in the Alpine regions, making it a popular destination for winter sports.

For instance, areas like Milan report average temperatures ranging from a low of 2°C to a high of 7°C, with the possibility of rain for approximately five days during the month.

Central Italy, including cities like Florence and Rome, presents a milder climate.

Rome sees averages from 4°C at night to 13°C during the day, with a significant number of rainy days which could reach up to eight days in December.

Florence also follows similar temperature patterns but could experience slightly colder temperatures due to its location away from the coast.

Variations From North to South

As we travel further south, towards Naples and the islands like Sicily, the December weather becomes more temperate.

Naples enjoys daytime highs around 14°C, while for Sicily, the average temperature can reach even warmer conditions.

The island’s coastal regions are particularly mild and are known for welcoming daytime temperatures conducive to outdoor activities.

In contrast, some southern regions like Lampedusa maintain pleasant average highs that can reach 18°C, making it an attractive winter destination for those seeking a milder and sunnier climate from early December onwards.

However, the weather is not entirely dry, with regions experiencing their share of rain throughout the month.

Average Rainfall in Italy in December can vary substantially from north to south. While northern areas can experience snowfall, central and southern regions usually see moderate rainfall.

The average precipitation levels can affect holiday travel plans, so visitors are advised to check specific regional forecasts close to their departure date.

Northern Italy in December

peace arch milan in winterPeace Arch, Milan, in December - credits: /Shutterstock.com

In December, Northern Italy transforms into a winter wonderland, marked by chilly temperatures and festive atmospheres, especially in cities like Milan and Venice.

Visitors will find a mix of snowy landscapes in proximity to the Alps and Dolomites, perfect for winter sports, and vibrant Christmas markets throughout the urban areas.

Weather in Cities Like Milan and Venice

In December, Milan typically witnesses temperatures ranging from 1°C to 6°C (34°F to 43°F). The city is often damp and foggy this time of year, with occasional rainfall.

On the other hand, Venice experiences slightly cooler and more variable weather, with average temperatures between 0°C to 7°C (32°F to 45°F). Visitors in Venice might also witness the phenomenon known as 'acqua alta', or high water, which can lead to flooding in parts of the city.


  • Average High: 6°C (43°F)
  • Average Low: 1°C (34°F)
  • Precipitation: Moderate


  • Average High: 7°C (45°F)
  • Average Low: 0°C (32°F)
  • Precipitation: Moderate to High
  • Notable: 'Acqua alta' events

How to Dress and What to Pack

When visiting Northern Italy in December, it’s essential to pack for cold weather. Layers are key for comfort and adjusting to varying indoor and outdoor temperatures.

Suggested Packing List:

  • Heavy Coat: For warmth against the biting cold.
  • Layering Pieces: Sweaters, long-sleeve shirts, and cardigans.
  • Warm Pants: Jeans or other heavy fabric trousers.
  • Waterproof Boots: Essential for navigating rain or snow.
  • Accessories: Include a woolen hat, gloves, and a warm scarf.
  • Umbrellas: Handy for rain and snow showers.

Being prepared with the right clothing and gear will ensure that a visit to cities like Milan, or enjoying the Christmas markets, remains comfortable, regardless of the winter weather.

Whether one is planning to indulge in festive activities or embark on skiing and snowboarding in the nearby Alps or Dolomites, packing for the season is crucial.

Central Italy in December

rome in winterRome in December - credits: /Shutterstock.com

December in Central Italy brings a mix of chilly conditions and festive cheer, particularly notable in cities like Rome and Florence. This period encourages the exploration of museums and historical sites, while evenings call for warm attire as temperatures drop.

Daytime and Nighttime Temperature Ranges

In Rome, daytime temperatures hover around 13°C (55°F), whereas nighttime may see lows of 4°C (39°F). Florence also experiences similar conditions, though nights can be slightly cooler. Below is a temperature range table for key cities:

CityDaytime Temperature (°C)Nighttime Temperature (°C)
Rome 10 - 15 3 - 7
Florence 9 - 14 2 - 6

Recommendations for Sightseeing in Variable Weather

  • Museums: Art aficionados can enjoy the warmth indoors by visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or the Vatican Museums in Rome. These cultural havens offer respite from the cold and allow visitors to view masterpieces undisturbed by the weather.
  • Historical Sites: The Roman Forum's ruins and the iconic Colosseum are more accessible in December, with thinner crowds offering a more intimate experience. However, it's advisable to dress warmly and in layers.
  • Piazzas: They remain lively places for cultural exchange and festive activities. Visiting the Piazza Navona Christmas Market in Rome provides a heartwarming experience of the holiday spirit.
  • Christmas Day: On this day, one can witness the Pope's annual address in Vatican City. A significant number of travelers flock to this event, so planning ahead is essential.

Travelers to Central Italy in December should be prepared for cooler temperatures while they take part in the festive atmosphere and explore the rich cultural offerings.

Southern Italy in December

taormina sicily in winterTaormina, Sicily in December - credits: /Shutterstock.com

In December, visitors to Southern Italy will experience milder temperatures compared to the north, with some regions maintaining a pleasant climate that encourages outdoor activities and exploration of the coastal areas.

Comparatively Milder Weather in the South

Southern Italy generally boasts nicer weather and milder temperatures in December than its northern counterparts.

Sicily and the southern regions often have the warmest winter temperatures in Italy, with Sicily recording average high temperatures around 16°C (61°F) and average lows approximately at 10°C (50°F).

Average December Temperatures Across Key Southern Locations:

  • Naples: Highs of 13°C (55.4°F) and lows of 6°C (42.8°F)
  • Amalfi Coast: Similar to Naples with mild temperatures and possible rain
  • Palermo, Sicily: Highs around 16°C (60.8°F) and lows near 11°C (51.8°F)

These conditions typically lead to a comfortable winter experience, particularly for tourists accustomed to colder climates.

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Enjoying the Outdoors and Coastal Areas in Winter

The milder winter weather in Southern Italy affords tourists the opportunity to enjoy outdoor cultural sites without the extreme cold found in other parts of Europe.

Historic sites such as Pompeii near Naples remain accessible, though visitors should come prepared for rain and cooler evenings.

The Amalfi Coast, while off-peak in the winter, still offers stunning vistas, with fewer crowds, making it an ideal time for tranquil exploration.

Coastal areas, in particular, retain a charm during the winter months. In December, sightseeing and local street festivities are pleasant, as the cooler weather facilitates leisurely strolls through city centers and along seaside promenades without the sweltering heat of summer.

Weather-Related Activities in December

italian alps hikingHiking across the Italian Alps in December - credits: /Shutterstock.com

December weather in Italy offers a blend of indoor and outdoor activities, taking advantage of the country's diverse winter climate. Whether seeking the warmth of a bustling Christmas market or the thrill of winter sports in the Alps, visitors have ample options to enjoy.

Suggestions for Indoor and Outdoor Activities

Indoor Activities:

  • Art and Historical Sites: Italy's rich history invites visitors to explore countless museums and historic sites without the crowds of summer months.
  • From the Vatican Museums in Rome to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the indoor exploration is as educational as it is visually stunning.
  • Indoor Ice Skating Rinks: Find joy in ice skating at indoor venues, such as Turin's Palavela, which offers a festive atmosphere for family-friendly fun.

Outdoor Activities:

  • Skiing and Winter Sports: The Italian Alps are prime for skiing, with well-known ski resorts open. The most popular are in Cortina d'Ampezzo and the Dolomites offering spectacular slopes and facilities.
  • Winter Sun in Sardinia: For those seeking milder temperatures, Sardinia provides a pleasant winter sun, making it ideal for outdoor sightseeing and hiking.

Christmas Markets and Festivals

Christmas Markets:

  • Christmas Market in Bolzano: The South Tyrolean Christmas market in Bolzano is renowned for its authentic local experience, complete with traditional crafts, delicious local dishes, and the warmth of holiday spirit beneath the glow of Christmas lights.
  • Italian Christmas Traditions: Markets across the country, in cities like Florence and Naples, offer a plethora of Christmas trees, handmade gifts, and seasonal treats, reflecting Italy’s rich Christmas traditions.


  • Festivals in Italy in December: The holiday season is full of festivals, such as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the vibrant celebration of Epiphany with its "La Befana" parades and activities.
  • Cities like Turin light up with luminous displays and decorations, captivating visitors with the festive ambiance.

Travel Tips for Italy in December

Florence in winterFlorence in winter - credits: /Shutterstock.com

December in Italy offers a mix of chilly weather, festive celebrations, and seasonal attractions.

Travelers can revel in cultural experiences like Christmas markets and nativity scenes, while planning is key due to national holidays and variable winter weather.

How to Prepare for Italy's Winter Weather

Italy's winter climate requires visitors to pack smart.

Northern Italy, especially in the Alpine regions, is known for its cold temperatures, which are suitable for winter sports, with possible snow.

Central Italy, including cities like Rome, experiences milder but still brisk conditions, with temperatures around 50°F/10°C, and southern Italy remains cooler than summer but warmer than the north.

Key preparations include:

  • Clothing: Waterproof shoes and layers, including wool or thermal tops, a waterproof coat, hat, gloves, and scarf, are essential for comfort and warmth.
  • Health: Staying hydrated and having lip balm and moisturizer can help prevent dry skin and discomfort from indoor heating.

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Transportation Considerations During the Holiday Season

Travel during the holiday season in Italy requires awareness of schedule changes and potential closures:

  • Transport Services: Public transportation may operate on reduced schedules, especially on national holidays like the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) and Christmas Day, when many services are closed.
  • Driving Conditions: Those renting vehicles should be prepared for winter driving conditions, including carrying the necessary equipment for snow.

Tips for travelers:

  • Plan ahead for holiday variations in transportation availability.
  • Confirm reservations and check for holiday hours or closures.

Visiting Italy in December is rewarding, with the benefit of cheaper prices in the low season and less crowded destinations, yet it demands extra planning to navigate the holiday period.

Fashion and Attire in Italian Winters

couple in milan in winterCouple at Milan's Duomo in December - credits: /Shutterstock.com

In December, travelers to Italy must dress for a range of weather conditions, from brisk breezes to potential snowfall, especially around the Winter Solstice.

What to Wear During December's Variable Climates

Italy's December climate can vary significantly from the chill of the Alps to the milder coastal regions.

Northern Italy often sees snowfall and temperatures that can justify a heavy coat, whereas the south might require lighter layers.

  • Thermal Clothing: Essential as a base layer to retain body heat.
  • Trousers: Preferred over skirts and dresses due to their warmth and wind protection.
  • Jackets: At least one warm, insulated jacket or coat is recommended.
  • Footwear: Warm boots are a necessity for both comfort and style.
RegionRecommended Attire
North Heavy Coats, Thermal Layers, Waterproof Boots
Central Medium Jackets, Sweaters, Insulated Shoes
South Light Jackets, Long-sleeve Tops, Closed Shoes

Shopping for Winter Fashion in Italy - December Edition

Italy is synonymous with fashion, and winter is no exception.

One can find a plethora of shops offering stylish and functional winter attire that reflects Italy's fashion-forward ethos.

  • Boutiques: For high-end fashion, visitors may explore the boutiques in major cities like Milan and Rome.
  • Markets: Local markets are ideal for picking up unique and affordable winter accessories, from scarves to hats.
  • Department Stores: For a mix of affordability and fashion, department stores offer a variety of brands that cater to all winter needs.

When shopping for winter fashion in Italy, remember that Italians prioritize a balance between elegance and comfort, so choose pieces that are both fashionable and functional.

Final Thoughts

dolomites alpsItalian Alps - credits: /Shutterstock.com

Visiting Italy in December offers a distinct experience with its varied weather patterns.

In the northern regions, particularly the Alps and Dolomites, a snowy landscape greets visitors, creating ideal conditions for winter sports. Average temperatures in these areas hover between 3°C and 10°C.

Central Italy, encompassing cities like Rome and Florence, presents milder temperatures, usually ranging from 13°C to 4°C, allowing for comfortable sightseeing.

Southern Italy and Sicily experience the warmest climates, with temperatures often staying around the upper 50s (Fahrenheit) and occasionally reaching 60 degrees. These regions, known for lighter rainfall, extend a warm welcome to travelers seeking a milder winter.

While indoor heating is prevalent, indoor temperatures can vary, so dressing in layers is advisable.

Weather Snapshot for December:

  • North Italy: Snowy, Ideal for winter sports (Average: 3°C - 10°C)
  • Central Italy: Milder and Pleasant (Average: 13°C - 4°C)
  • Southern Italy & Sicily: Warmest with light rainfall (Upper 50s - 60°F)

The festive atmosphere during the course of this month enhances the experience, with significant holidays like Christmas and the following Epiphany on January 6th.

Travelers should be prepared for occasional rain and chilly evenings, particularly in the north and central regions.

The decision to visit Italy in December should weigh factors such as personal weather preferences, desired activities, and regional climates.

This period offers a blend of winter charm and cultural festivities, set against a less crowded backdrop than the peak tourist seasons.

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical temperature range in Italy during December?

Is December a good time to travel to Italy in terms of weather?

Can travelers expect snowfall in Italy during December?

What are the weather differences between northern and southern Italy in December?

How does the weather in Rome compare to the overall Italian weather in December?

Are there any particular weather patterns in Italy during December that visitors should be aware of?

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