Italy in February is all about romantic moments, traditional festivals, and wild parties. Some regions more than others, but all over the country, you are sure to experience Valentine’s Day romance and Carnival spirit.
Make no mistake: February in Italy is one of the coldest months. But if low temperatures don’t scare you, cover yourself up and enjoy the Carnival festivities and the start of Lent.
In this easy guide, I’m going to cover all the most important aspects that can impact your February trip to Italy. From a weather overview to the holidays and what are the best places to visit, you will be prepared to either decide whether or not this is the month for you to travel or start planning a fantastic Italy vacation.
Is it worth going to Italy in February?
February is one of the low-season months in Italy. As a result, you will find fewer crowds at the entrance of sights and museums as well as in the streets and around the most famous landmarks.
Because it’s low season, you will find also hotel prices lower and likely better deals also on international flights.
Traveling to Italy in February, you will probably enjoy a more authentic experience, more tranquil restaurant meals, and the usual great food. If you are curious about the Italian Carnevale, February is the month to travel. In every city, you will find celebrations, some performing ancient rituals, while some organizing more modern, satirical parades.
Pros and cons of traveling to Italy in February
- Smaller lines. Tourism-wise, February in Italy is a quiet month. As a result, you will find small to no lines in front of the landmarks’ entrances. I would still book the ticket to the most popular landmarks online to avoid surprises.
- Fewer crowds in museums and landmarks. Your experiences inside major landmarks such as Colosseum, Vatican Museums, Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, or Doge’s Palace in Venice will be more tranquil.
- Hotels and flights are cheaper. Being a lower tourist season, you are likely to find better hotel and transport deals, both international and domestic flights.
- Fantastic Carnival celebrations. All over Italy, there will be a festive atmosphere.
- Delicious seasonal pastries. Carnival is all about deep-fried pastries. Heavy and delicious! If you are in Sardinia in February, tuck into “fatti fritti”, “zippole”, and “chiacchiere”. In Rome in February, try “frappe”, “castagnole”, e “ravioli”.
- Cold weather. February is one of the coldest months, expect temperatures to drop all over the country.
- Possible rain. Less than December, but in February you can expect some showers.
- Winter sales are almost over. The biggest winter sales start right after the Christmas holidays, so around January 7th. Even though in February they are still on, you are likely to find fewer pieces and fewer sizes left as most people go shopping at the beginning.
- No beach time. Unless you are going for a walk along the seafront, February is definitely not a beach month in Italy, not even in the warmest southern regions.
Weather in Italy in February
Even though the weather differs greatly in the different Italian regions, it’s cold all over the country. Some areas will have snow, especially in northern Italy and the Appennines in the central regions, while other cities and regions in central and southern Italy will be mainly dry and cold.
Weather in February in northern Italy
Winter is in full swing so it will be cold all over the country. Just like in every other season, the northern regions will register much more freezing weather than the south. The Alps and the Dolomites will be covered with snow and the skiing season is at one of its highest months. Here are the temperatures of the main cities in northern Italy in February:
- Milan: high 10°C (50°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Turin: high 9°C (48°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
- Aosta: high 9°C (48°F) – low -2°C (28°F)
- Venice: high 9°C (48°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
- Verona: high 9°C (48°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
- Bologna: high 9°C (48°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Ravenna: high 9°C (48°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Trieste: high 9°C (48°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
- Trento: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Bolzano: high 10°C (50°F) – low -1°C (30°F)
- Genoa: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
Weather in February in central Italy
Even though much less cold than in the northern regions, also central Italy in February is quite freezing and requires warm clothes just like in January. Here are the temperatures of the main cities in northern Italy in February:
- Rome: high 14°C (57°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Viterbo: high 11°C (52°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
- Florence: high 12°C (54°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Siena: high 9°C (48°F) – low 2°C (35F°)
- Pisa: high 13°C (55°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
- Lucca: high 13°C (55°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
- Perugia: high 9°C (48°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
- Assisi: high 9°C (48°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
- Arezzo: high 11°C (52°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
- L’Aquila: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
- Campobasso: high 7°C (44°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
Weather in February in southern Italy
While summer is the perfect time to enjoy the beaches of southern Italy, in February some of the sea resorts might be closed or not accessible to tourists. This being said, keep in mind that southern Italy is not only about beaches.
Cities like Matera, Alberobello, Naples, Caserta, and Pompeii are great to visit in February because they offer plenty of sightseeing, and walking in the cold weather is better than in the summer heat because at least you will avoid sweating and getting burned!
- Naples: high 14°C (57°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
- Caserta: high 14°C (57°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
- Salerno: high 14°C (57°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
- Bari: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
- Foggia: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
- Lecce: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
- Alberobello: high 10°C (50°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
- Ostuni: high 12°C (54°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
- Reggio Calabria: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
- Matera: high 11°C (52°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
Weather in February in the Italian islands
Also in the main Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, February is cold. As long as it’s not raining (and February is not too rainy), exploring and sightseeing are very pleasant. You will need to wear warm clothes and cover with a scarf and hat but otherwise, February allows you to visit quite a lot and enjoy the local festivities.
Cooler temperatures make it more pleasant also to discover the fascinating inland, the small towns, and the rich cultures these two islands preserve, something that it’s very hard to do in summer when the weather is too hot.
I have spent many many months of February in Sardinia and while it was dry indeed, the rain was not too frequent. Well-covered with warm clothes, the weather allows for pleasant walking along the beach and exploring the fantastic Sardinian archaeological sites.
In February, Italy celebrates Carnival and, always provided that it’s not raining, the cold will make following the colorful parades easier than if it were hot.
- Palermo: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
- Agrigento: high 14°C (57°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- Catania: high 16°C (61°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
- Taormina: high 12°C (54°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- Siracusa: high 15°C (59°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- Ragusa: high 14°C (57°F) – low 7°C (44°F)
- Cagliari: high 15°C (59°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
- Sassari: high 13°C (55°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
- Palau: high 12°C (54°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- Nuoro: high 10°C (50°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
- Oristano: high 14°C (57°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
Holidays and important dates in Italy in February 2023
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
Called San Valentino (Saint Valentine) in Italian, Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over Italy, so if you are planning to propose or go on a romantic dinner, this is the time.
In Italy, we call Valentine’s Day also “La Festa degli Innamorati”, translating into “the lovers’ feast”. This perfectly explains the local atmosphere.
Getting close to February 14th, in fact, you will see hearts, themed gifts, red roses, and flowers everywhere from small shops to department stores. Restaurants will arrange themed dinners and special offers, so you will be fully covered in case you want to buy a gift and plan a date.
Carnevale – February 16th-21st
The dates of the Carnival in Italy are not the same every year because they depend on Easter and they are calculated with the moon. This year 2023, Carnival starts with Fat Thursday on February 16th, Sunday Carnival on the 19th, and Mard Gras on the 21st.
While some cities are more famous and organize larger celebrations, you will see Carnival parades pretty much everywhere. So, even if you are not in Venice or Viareggio, you will be able to see and participate in some fun festivals.
Ash Wednesday – February 22nd
Right after Carnival, Ash Wednesday (“Mercoledì delle Ceneri” in Italian) marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days before Easter. Ash Wednesday is usually celebrated with a Mass where the priest puts a small amount of ash on the worshippers’ forehead as a symbol of penitence for Carnival’s wild parties.
What to do in Italy in February
Go on a date
With Valentine’s Day celebrated on the 14th, if you are planning a romantic date, February is a great month to do that in Italy. Of course, you can go on a date any day in February, but for San Valentino, you will find themed dinners and deals in many restaurants.
If you are not in Italy on Valentine’s Day, that’s OK, you can plan your date in a million other ways. Rooftop restaurants, opulent hotels with a view, and a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace in a luxury chalet in the Alps never fail to create special moments and enjoy the rest of the winter season approaching an end.
Propose to your other half
Even though every day is a good day to get engaged, the romantic vibe that February conveys is all the more inspiring. There are plenty of places to propose in Italy so if February inspires you with more romance than usual, it might be as well the perfect time to make the big move.
A romantic dinner, a walk along the river in Rome or Florence, crossing the bridges of Venice, or staring at the sunset along the beach are all irresistible options for a marriage proposal.
Enjoy a Carnival party
Not only romance and dates, but February is also the month of wild Carnival parties.
In Sardinia, Carnival takes the shape of acrobatic horse races like Oristano’s “Sartiglia” or ancient masquerades such as Mamoiada “Mamuthones” and Ottana’s “Boes e Merdules”.
During the Carnival of Venice, period costumes and stunning masks will walk around Piazza San Marco, the bridges of the lagoon, and will cruise on scenic gondola rides creating an otherworldly frame for costume parades and artists’ performances.
Viareggio, a beach town in Tuscany, sees irreverent satirical carts parade across the main roads of the city. Their Carnival attracts thousands of visitors and travelers every year.
In Ivrea in the Piedmont region, the members of different groups throw oranges at each other in Italy’s biggest food fight that takes place in three days. Of medieval origins, Carnevale di Ivrea symbolizes the liberation of the city from tyranny in the Middle Age.
For another historical Carnival, you can also consider Acireale in the Catania province in Sicily where you will also have a bigger chance to enjoy sunny days and slightly warmer temperatures.
In smaller, less famous towns, themed carts and floats parade along the historic centers and welcome locals and passers-by to join them in the fun.
Indulge with traditional Italian Carnival pastries
During Carnival, many regions and cities have their pastries, which are usually deep-fried. While there are pastries that under different names are common to many regions, most cities and towns will have their own specialties.
If you are traveling to the island of Sardinia, you will love the soft and round “fatti fritti” and the long “zippole” that in each town are made slightly different, sometimes with the addition of spirit. All over the region of Sardinia, you will also find what’s called “chiacchiere”, light deep-fried pastries that are common to other regions, too, mainly because they originated in ancient Rome where they were called “frictilia.
Today, in each region “chiacchiere” are known under different names. In Rome and central Italy, they are “frappe”. Apart from Sardinia, they are called “chiacchiere” also in Lombardy, Campania, and Puglia, while in Tuscany you will see them referred to as “cenci”.
Other traditional sweets you will find in Italy in February are known as “castagnole” because of their chestnut (“castagne” in Italian) shape. These, too, are common to many regions.
The pastries that are more traditional of specific cities are Venice “fritole” with pine nuts and raisins, “riccioli” in Mantova province in Lombardy. Typical of Milan are the “làciàditt”, fritters stuffed with pastry cream, while in Spoleto in Umbria you will find the “crescionda” cake, and in Naples the “migliaccio”, originally made with millet flour while now it’s made of semolina.
Tuck into warm Italian winter foods
February, however, is not only for sweets and pastries.
This is the season of cruciferous, so cauliflowers, broccoli and savoy and green cabbages, and the detoxing produce between winter and the entering of spring such as artichokes (carciofi). If you happen in Rome, don’t miss the delicious carciofi alla Romana and the deep-fried carciofi alla Giudìa Roman Kosher recipe.
If you visit Tuscany, tuck into warm dishes the Ribollita soup with beans, cavolo nero, and bread, Acquacotta alla maremmana veggie soup, Lampredotto, the stomach of the beef slow-cooked in tomato, celery parsley, onion, and carrot and served as sandwich stuffing or as a stew. In Florence, this is the time to try Ossobuco alla fiorentina, sliced veal shank.
From the Alps to the Dolomites to the Apennines, in February, the mountains in northern Italy and some areas of the central regions will be covered with snow, so a perfect moment for skiing.
You can book a ski resort all-inclusive where you can rent skiiing equipment, take skiing classes, and also enjoy long walk and hikes surrounded by breathtaking views and beauty. For skiing fans, February is a fantastic month to spend in northern Italy.
Immerse in culture
Even though a cold month, in February it rains less than in November and December. Since the weather allows for long walks, visiting the big historical cities is very pleasant and you can explore more than you would under the scorching summer sun.
Not always in February the weather will be cloudy, so you can expect some sunny days especially from Rome south, and enjoy your walk even more. Italian cities and towns are home to a huge wealth of art masterpieces and historical places.
So even if you are not feeling like entering everyone and each museum, just by wandering the streets of the historic centers you will see plenty of important landmarks such as fountains, bridges, churches, sculptures, and palaces.
Visit thermal springs
Winter is a fantastic time to soak in the warm waters of thermal springs, and in Italy, you will find scenic and unforgettable locations. So while outside it’s freezing cold, you can pamper yourself in one of the best thermal baths in Italy and regenerate by only thinking about relaxing and your well-being.
Some suggestions? The stunning Terme Prè Saint Didier in Valle d’Aosta at the feet of the Mont Blanc, the opulent Terme di Sirmione on Lake Garda, Terme di Bormio in the Alps of the Valtellina, and the Tuscan thermal baths of Bagni San Filippo, Saturnia, and Montecatini.
Best places to visit in February in Italy
Venice is a magical place to visit in February. Whether you are looking for romance or Carnival celebrations, Venice covers it all. One of the most romantic cities in Italy, you can have a lovely Valentine’s Day walking across Venice bridges, taking a gondola tour, or booking a romantic dinner with a view.
Venice Carnival really needs no introduction. Beautiful and colorful masks will be roaming around the streets and the alleys around St. Mark’s Square and posing in front of the many cameras flocking in the city for the event. Carnival celebrations take place for days in Venice and include also the ritual Volo dell’Angelo (Angel’s Flight) and a parade of traditional costumes.
What’s more romantic than Juliet’s balcony to propose to your other half? Always pretty busy with tourists, and very likely, on Valentine’s Day the crowds will be even bigger.
Thankfully, Verona is a very beautiful and historical city so there are plenty of places to visit including the famous Arena Roman amphitheater, Piazza delle Erbe and Palazzo Maffei, and San Zeno Maggiore Church.
For more romance, take a walk along the Adige river and Verona bridges.
Rome, too, is a great destination to visit in Italy in February. Few days of rain allow for pleasant wandering around the quaint Rome’s neighborhoods and main streets and attending the Carnival celebrations. Of course, museums and landmarks are open, so you can just go about sightseeing and exploring the city’s artistic and historical sights.
Carnival in Rome takes place all around the historic center in places such as Piazza del Popolo and Via del Corso where locals parade in traditional costumes, and Piazza Navona and around the Fori Imperiali where street artists engage in scenic performances.
And if you are in the mood for a date, Rome is packed with romantic places, from the river in the evening to a fine diner with a view.
Sardinia in February is quiet except for the Carnival days when it turns into a giant party venue. If you happen to travel to the Italian island this time of the year, don’t miss the fantastic celebrations of places like Mamoiada, Oristano, and Ottana.
In Mamoiada, you will see the ancient masquerades of the Mamuthones performing their ritual along the streets. In Oristano, they celebrate La Sartiglia, a festival where masked riders engage in reckless stunt horse races. In Ottana, the masks of the Merdules parade the streets to reproduce ancient rituals of agro-pastoral origins.
Viareggio in the Lucca province in Tuscany is famous for its beaches and its Carnival. If you are visiting Italy in February and are curious about strongly allegorical floats parading across the streets, Viareggio is the destination for you.
Even though not beach season, if it’s sunny and not raining, a walk along the sea front is a great way to spend the warmest hours of the afternoon.
Whether it’s in Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, or Friuli-Venezia Giulia, spending your February trip in the Italian Dolomites will be an adrenaline-packed experience. All-inclusive ski resorts in the Dolomites offer something to everyone, adults and children of all ages. From hiking excursions to skiing classes, it’s impossible to run out of ideas.
The snow-covered peaks and surroundings will inevitably convey a romantic experience and a candlelight dinner will be the perfect way to round off a day full of activity and adrenaline.
Valtellina is a valley in the Lombardy region bordering Switzerland. Famous for its Alps, stunning peaks, and hot springs, the towns and natural areas of the Valtellina always offer great holidays.
If you book your stay in scenic places such as the town of Livigno, plan to cross the panoramic bridge in Val Tartano, snowshoe in the many unspoiled areas, or do sled dogging, the Valtellina is sure to deliver unforgettable moments.
Any time is a good time to plan a trip to Florence, but February is great because you will find little to no queue to enter even the most famous landmarks and museums. Florence in February is very cold, but hitting your favorite restaurant will be easier and even though eating a frozen gelato might not be very inspiring, this is a great time for hot chocolate curling up in one of the city’s cozy cafes.
If you are planning on proposing or treat your fiancée/wife to a date, along the Arno river there is no shortage of romantic spots with beautiful views such as B-Roof of Grand Hotel Baglioni, La Loggia in Piazzale Michelangelo, and Sesto On Arno in the Borgo Ognissanti quarter.
Even though not as wild as in Viareggio, Florence, too, has a long Carnival tradition. Fat Thursday and Mardi Gras are the days of colorful parades and allegoric floats.
Don’t miss our guide to spending two perfect days in Florence.
In February in Italy the biggest winter sales are still ongoing, so what’s better place than Milan if you are planning on going on a fashion shopping spree? Hit the most famous shopping streets such as Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, and Corso Venezia for some pretty cool pieces of clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry.
If you are traveling to Italy in February because of its romantic side, from Milan, you can organize a trip to the region’s mountains or lakes such as Lago di Garda, Lago d’Iseo, and Lago Maggiore.
Turin and the Piedmont region
We have been to Piedmont in the fall and temperatures were starting to drop. February is certainly colder but the city is well-equipped for the winter season. Enjoy the traditional bicerin coffee drink and hot chocolate in the city’s lovely cafes, explore Turin’s palaces like the Royal Palace and Venaria Reale, and museums such as the fantastic Egyptian Museum.
For an easy day trip, climb the hill to reach the Basilica of Superga to see the important Baroque church.
Turin is not exactly famous for being a romantic city. With its heavy industrial past and royal heritage, it’s known more as an important political and business hub steeped in history. Of course, if you are here on February 14th, there are plenty of restaurants that organize themed dinner deals.
Check our tips if you are still not sure whether to visit Turin or Milan!
Terni is not the most striking city in Umbria but if you are looking for an original Valentine’s Day different from most places, this is where you can experience it. What’s all about romance in most cities in Italy, in Terni it conveys a whole new meaning.
Why? Because Terni is the birthplace of Saint Valentine, the relics of whom are kept in the local San Valentino Basilica. Valentine’s Day in Terni is celebrated with different events all around the romance around the figure of the lovers’ protector.
Active travelers will love Terni also for its closeness to the beautiful, man-made Cascate delle Marmore waterfalls. Easy to reach with a bus from Terni, there are different paths and routes to follow depending on the difficulty level and your hiking experience.
Palermo is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Italy. Being deep south, in the Sicilian capital you will also find much warmer weather than in cities like Florence and Venice.
Here, you will have a cultural type of holiday and you can visit the major landmarks, churches, palaces, and museums. When it’s not raining, I suggest you enjoy long walks around the city’s streets and obviously tucking into the delicious Sicilian cuisine.
What to book ahead for Italy in February
Even though a pretty quiet month, there are still things I book ahead when I travel around Italy in February. Here is a list of my best tips to ensure you have a smooth trip and avoid unwanted surprises.
- International flights. No matter the destination, it’s always recommended to book international flights ahead as spaces are limited and if you don’t have much room in your schedule, this is necessary.
- Domestic transport. Similarly to international flights, I suggest booking domestic flights and train rides in advance so that you can find availability and potentially better rates. If you already have an itinerary, booking ahead a plane or a train is your best bet, especially if you are taking a Freccia train where having a seat is mandatory.
- Hotels. You are likely to find plenty of hotel availability, but if there are some specific hotels and rooms you would really want, booking early is recommended, especially if it’s Valentine’s Day.
- Valentine’s Day dinner. While restaurants won’t be as packed as in busy seasons such as Christmas, Easter, or summer, dinner on Valentine’s Day is always popular not only among tourists but also Italians. Book ahead to secure your favorite spot.
- Colosseum entrance. Even if the line is shorter than in the high season, the Colosseum is still one of Rome’s most popular landmarks so booking ahead your skip-the-line ticket or a private tour will make you save plenty of time.
- Vatican Museums. In front of the Vatican Museums, you are likely to see always a line. Even though not too big, booking ahead will save you time for visiting other places.
- Santa Maria del Fiore dome. Booking the climb to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence is mandatory so you can as well do it as soon as you know which days you will be in the city to avoid finding it all booked out.
- The Uffizi Gallery. One of Florence’s most visited museums, it’s recommended to book ahead the entrance to the Uffizi, too, to avoid standing in line.
What to pack for Italy in February
- Travel documents. National ID if you are a citizen of an EU country, or passport if you are coming from outside Europe.
- Warm clothes. This is not really optional. February in Italy leaves very little room for personal interpretation. T-shirts, shorts, or button-down shirts are too light and not suitable for February temperatures. Prefer a sweater and coat instead.
- Long-sleeve under tops. Great for layering and in the February cold, this will be necessary.
- Umbrella. February is not a very wet month but you can find a few rainy days so having your own umbrella is a good idea. Pack a small foldable umbrella so it won’t be too heavy to carry around during your daily sightseeing.
- Camera. Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day or attending Carnival celebrations, you don’t want to forget your camera.
- Reusable travel bottle.
- Crossbody bag.
What to wear in February in Italy
- Warm trousers. Wool and warm cotton trousers are a great option in Italy in February. Opt for comfortable and loose ones so that you will feel comfortable walking.
- Winter walking shoes or ankle boots. Waterproof and warm walking shoes are a must in February in Italy. Ankle boots are a great option if it’s raining to avoid staying with wet feet all day.
- Boots. If you are wearing a fancy skirt in the evening, you can match a pair of boots. During the day, if it’s very cold, you can wear a pair of padded boots on top of skinny trousers. This is what I usually do to remain warmer and protect my trousers from potential rain.
- Socks and tights. I wear cotton socks even in February, in particularly cold days, I can wear wool socks but it’s not very common. When I wear a skirt, I use warm tights, often thermal ones.
- Sweaters and jumpers. Wool sweaters and padded jumpers are a must in Italy in February. If you are going to the Alps or Dolomites, you can also consider some thermal layers.
- Scarf, hat, and gloves. From November all the way to spring, I never take off my scarf and hat in Italy. February is cold and the scarf is your best way to protect yourself from a nasty sore throat. Wearing gloves is quite personal as I admit they are not very handy, but in some cold areas, this, too, might be necessary, especially in the snow and at night.
- Coat or winter jacket. Depending on where you are and what you are wearing, either a coat or a warm winter jacket is the outerwear you need in February in Italy.