Italy in January – What to Expect, Places to Visit + Tips

January is the first full winter month and temperatures start to bite. With temperatures that start to bite and the Christmas festivities just over, Italy in January is less crowded and quieter.

After all the December frenzy, the tourists will be mainly concentrated in the ski resorts and winter holiday regions such as Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Valle d’Aosta.

I wouldn’t dismiss, however, the art hubs like Rome and Florence. Even though you might find some cloudy and rainy days, the most popular Italian cities are always a good trip idea.

Quite chilly all over, January in Italy is the time for a tranquil vacation made of museum visits, comfort foods, pampering thermal treatments, and adrenaline winter sports. Read on to find out what to expect from Italy in January and our tips for a smooth holiday.

Image: Saint Peter Basilica in Rome to visit in Italy in January.

Festivals and holidays in January in Italy

  • January 1st. New Year’s Day sees all schools and offices closed. Shops might run slightly different hours and restaurants will likely offer a fixed menu for a fixed price. Many landmarks are also closed. If you are in Italy for New Year’s Eve, join the many local celebrations.
  • January 6th. Traditionally, this day it’s celebrated with the event of the Three Kings or Three Magi visiting the newborn baby Jesus. In Italy, this is celebrated for children with the Befana, an old woman who delivers candies to good children and charcoal to bad kids traveling on her brush.
  • January 17th. This is the day of Saint Anthony Abate and is celebrated in many towns in Sardinia with bonfires and a shared night dinner in the streets with all the townspeople.

Traveling for Christmas instead? Discover what to do in Italy in December!

Befana in Italy – A traditional song: La Befana Vien di Notte (video + lyrics)

This is a famous song about the Befana inspired by an old nursery rhyme.


La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Tutta notte sola, sola, sulla scopa vola, vola…
Tutta notte sola, sola, sulla scopa vola, vola…

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Quando dormirai nel letto lei ti volerà sul tetto…
Quando dormirai nel letto lei ti volerà sul tetto…

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Se tu appendi il tuo calzino lei ci mette un regalino…
Se tu appendi il tuo calzino lei ci mette un regalino…

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Ai bambini molto buoni porterà dolcetti e doni…
Ai bambini molto buoni porterà dolcetti e doni…

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Se non ti comporti bene lei ti porterà carbone…
Se non ti comporti bene lei ti porterà carbone…

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Che magnifica magia… Notte dell’Epifania.

La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!
La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte,
il vestito alla romana, viva, viva la Befana!

Weather in Italy in January

There is no other way around it, in January in Italy, the cold starts to bite. In most regions, January is the coldest month of the year.

Just like for all seasons, there’s a sharp difference between the temperatures of northern and southern Italy. In the northern regions, the climate will be much colder than in Sicily, for example, but it’s safe to say that nowhere in Italy in January you will be wearing a t-shirt.

Below, I give you a quick overview of Italy’s weather in January divided into macro-areas where I mention the largest cities and main tourist hubs.

Weather in January in northern Italy

In January, northern Italy gets very cold. Peaks are covered with snow and in high altitudes, temperatures get often below zero.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in northern Italy in January:

  • Milan: high 7°C (44°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Turin: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Aosta: high 6°C (43°F) – low -4°C (24°F)
  • Venice: high 7°C (44°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
  • Verona: high 6°C (43°F) – low -1°C (30°F)
  • Bologna: high 6°C (43°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Ravenna: high 7°C (44°F) – low 0°C (32°F)
  • Trieste: high 8°C (46°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Trento: high 8°C (46°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Bolzano: high 7°C (44°F) – low -4°C (24°F)
  • Genoa: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)

Weather in January in central Italy

Less chilly than in the northern cities and definitely warmer than in the Dolomites, also in central Italy the weather is cold and shouts for heavy clothes.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in central Italy in January:

  • Rome: high 12°C (54°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Viterbo: high 10°C (50°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Florence: high 11°C (52°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Siena: high 8°C (46°F) – low 2°C (35F°)
  • Pisa: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Lucca: high 10°C (50°F) – low 2°C (35°F)
  • Perugia: high 8°C (46°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Assisi: high 8°C (46°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • Arezzo: high 7°C (44°F) – low 1°C (34°F)
  • L’Aquila: high 6°C (43°F) – low -1°C (30°F)
  • Campobasso: high 8°C (46°F) – low 3°C (37°F)

Weather in January in southern Italy

Even though snow is a rare sight, in southern Italy in January you might find quite a few rainy days. The city and province of Avellino in the Campania region see particularly cold weather, rain is quite common, and snowy days don’t really come as a surprise.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in southern Italy in January:

  • Naples: high 13°C (55°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Caserta: high 12°C (54°F) – low 4°C (39°F)
  • Salerno: high 13°C (55°F) – low 7°C (44°F)
  • Bari: high 13°C (54°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Foggia: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Lecce: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Alberobello: high 10°C (50°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Ostuni: high 12°C (54°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Reggio Calabria: high 13°C (55°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Matera: high 10°C (50°F) – low 3°C (37°F)

Weather in January in the Italian islands

January climate in Sicily and Sardinia is mild and it would be pleasant if it weren’t for more than occasional rainfalls. Days in January can get also sunny and freezing. After windy days, you can get close to the coast to enjoy the view of some pretty spectacular rough seas and high waves.

Here are the temperatures of the main cities in the Italian islands in January:

  • Palermo: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Agrigento: high 15°C (59°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Catania: high 15°C (59°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Taormina: high 15°C (59°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Siracusa: high 15°C (59°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
  • Ragusa: high 12°C (54°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
  • Cagliari: high 14°C (57°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Sassari: high 13°C (55°F) – low 5°C (41°F)
  • Palau: high 12°C (54°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
  • Nuoro: high 11°C (52°F) – low 3°C (37°F)
  • Oristano: high 13°C (55°F) – low 7°C (44°F)

Is January a good time to visit Italy?

If freezing temperatures, humid days, rainfall, and some snow don’t scare you, there are many good reasons to visit Italy in January. The cities are quiet, locals have retrieved their normal routine after the Christmas holidays, and you can really visit your destination at your own pace.

If you are wondering about the pros and cons of traveling to Italy in January, read on.

Is it worth visiting Italy in January? Pros and cons


  • Lower prices in hotels and flights.
  • Wider availability in hotel rooms.
  • Smaller lines at the landmarks’ entrances.
  • Convenient shopping sales.


  • Lousy and cold weather with possible rainfalls and cloudy days.
  • Some places and activities are not recommended (Cinque Terre, boat rides, Amalfi Coast)
  • Some hotels, restaurants, and attractions might be closed, especially in little touristy areas.

Is everything open in Italy in January?

In January, some places are closed because of a lack of tourism while others are because of the holiday. January 1st, in fact, is New Year, and many landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, and the complex of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence,

In January, you might find some places closed because in many places it’s low season and also because some areas are hardly accessible with bad weather.

For example, in the Cinque Terre, some hiking routes will be closed because unsafe when it rains too much. Most beach resorts shut down after the summer season and in January are empty.

Things to do and best places to visit in Italy in January

Welcome the New Year

If you can make it to Italy on December 31st, you can join the celebrations for New Year’s Eve, some of which continue also the following days. In fact, winter holidays in Italy don’t end with New Year’s Eve but on January 6th with the Epifania.

In the first week of January everywhere in Italy, there still are the winter festive vibe and celebrations. Schools are closed, shops are open and so are the offices, which close only on January 1st and 6th.

In some places, you might even find New Year’s celebrations carrying on from December 31st through the first day of January. A few years ago in Rome there were concerts and live shows all day along the river and in the city center. Each year this is different and it depends on the local municipalities.

Visit the Dolomites and the Alps

Ski and winter sports lovers will be in their heaven in Italy in January. In fact, the northern alpine regions of Italy are the ones experiencing the highest tourist season this time of the year. While cities like Rome and Florence attract a smaller number of visitors in January than in December, regions like Trentino-Alto Adige and Valle d’Aosta will teem with ski fans.

Image: Lake Tovel in the Dolomites in Trentino to visit in Italy in January.

January is one of the best seasons to visit the Italian Dolomites and Alps because the snow has reached just the right amount for all the winter sports. Ski resorts are up and running and everyone is enjoying the treatments and the activities organized for adults, children, and kids.

Some of the best places to visit in the Italian Dolomites and Alps in January include Bolzano, Bressanone and Madonna di Campiglio in Trentino-Alto Adige, Aosta and Cogne in the Valle d’Aosta region on the border with France, Ravascletto near Udine in Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Presolana mountains in the Lombardy region near Bergamo, and Cortina d’Ampezzo near Belluno in Veneto.

Explore Rome

Even though not in its busiest tourist season, Rome’s landmarks are never really empty. The weather is not as cold as in the northern regions and while there might be some rainfall, you can also find some beautiful sunny days.

Image: Teatro di Marcello in Rome to visit in Italy in January. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

If you are not afraid of cold temperatures, you are going to really enjoy Rome in January. Landmarks will be less busy, allowing you a better experience, restaurants won’t be so crowded so you will have a better chance to find availability, and hotel rates will be slightly cheaper than the previous month and for sure than the imminent spring season.

And if it pours, don’t worry, there is plenty to do in Rome when it rains.

Visit Florence

Florence is rather freezing in January but its beauty really never fades away.

Go around its museums and galleries such as the Uffizi, and palaces such as Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo della Signoria.

Image: Santa Maria Novella in Florence to visit in Italy in January. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

Admire the stunning sacred architecture in churches such as Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral or Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo Basilicas.

You can also take some easy day trips by train to Pisa, Siena, and Lucca.

Don’t miss our tips on great Florence restaurants and the best hotels in the city.

Visit Bologna

In January, you might find Bologna cold and misty, but certainly never lacking in style and elegance. Explore the central Quadrilatero neighborhood, walk along the porticoed streets, visit important landmarks such as San Petronio Basilica, Piazza Maggiore, the Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca, and Torre degli Asinelli tower.

Image: Torre degli Asinelli and Garisenda tower in Bologna, Italy. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

The Emilia Romagna region are also famous for its culinary tradition made of lasagna, tortellini stuffed pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma ham, and Bologna is a great stop for tucking into the local delicacies.

Don’t miss our guide to spending one day in Bologna.

Explore Turin

Turin is a beautiful royal city and everything there was built to make its former royal family comfortable and at ease.

Image: Duomo of Turin to visit in Italy in January. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

Much of the roads of the city center are covered with porticoes to allow for pleasant walking even if it rains, its architecture is elegant and classy, and its cultural heritage rich and fascinating.

Visit the Royal Palace and the Egyptian Museum, duck into San Giovanni Battista Duomo to see the Holy Shroud, and sip on a warm bicerin coffee.

Go shopping

From around the 7th of January, Italian stores kick off one of the biggest sales of the year. You can find the winter collection of all the brands offered at very convenient prices.

Since it’s getting towards the end of the autumn/winter season, it’s possible that you won’t find every item in the collections, but you are still going to find great clothes at great deals.

Apart from clothes, winter sales cover also shoes, accessories, lingerie, and even the typical Christmas cakes left over from the holidays that are just ending. Actually, you are going to find pandori and panettoni discounted right after Christmas!

Try winter dishes

Italy is famous for its diverse food. The diversity doesn’t only concern the different regions but also the different seasons. Get warm and cozy with a delicious ribollita soup typical from Florence and Tuscany with cavolo nero, beans, and savoy cabbage.

Image: Amatriciana pasta from Rome in winter. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

In Trentino and other northern Italian regions, enjoy a hearty meal with canederli served in hot broth or a dish of warm polenta with sausages or porcini mushrooms.

Some of the foods to eat in Rome in winter include saltimbocca alla romana cutlets and bucatini amatriciana, while in Bologna, the cold weather won’t make you feel guilty for wolfing down a dish of ragout lasagne.

Check out our article on what to eat in Italy and where!

Relax at your favorite thermal baths

With winter at full speed, there is hardly something more pleasant to do than soaking in the warm and therapeutic waters of the thermal baths scattered in many regions of Italy.

Some of the coolest thermal centers you can book to relax, detox, and regenerate after the gargantuan meals of the Christmas holidays include the wonderful Bormio on the foot of Stelvio Pass and the peaks of Ortles and Cevedale, the sulfurous water springs of Pozza di Fassa in Trentino, the thermal baths of the medieval town of Castrocaro in the Emilia Romagna region, Terme di Saturnia in Tuscany, and the historical Terme dei Papi in Viterbo, an hour drive from Rome.

Go offbeat

January is also a great time to go offbeat in Italy. You can visit beautiful regions like Marche and Abruzzo, you can explore the countryside of the Umbria and Lazio regions. Some day trips from Rome are easy to plan and will take you to truly gorgeous places.

Even though the most famous ski resorts are in the Dolomites and the Alps, the Apennines in central Italy offer fantastic winter holiday opportunities. The mountains of the Majella National Park in Abruzzo come with breathtaking views and great ski resorts such as Majelletta We in Chieti province.

The Marche region, too, is very fascinating in winter. Apart from several ski resorts such as the one of Monte Piselli near Ascoli Piceno and the one of Monte Nerone in Piobbico near Urbino, you can enjoy the local Christmas markets until around January 6th and discover the small towns and villages.

Visit Sicily

In Sicily, you will likely find a mild Mediterranean climate. Even though rainfalls are quite common in January in Sicily, the mild temperatures make it easy to walk around and visit places.

Image: Valle dei Templi near Agrigento in Sicily, Italy. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

Some of the cities and towns you can visit are Palermo, the most “Arab” city in Italy for its rich cultural heritage and history, Catania for its architecture and delicious cuisine, Agrigento for its Greek Valle dei Templi, and the charming town of Cefalù for its New Year’s Eve celebrations on the beach and in the streets.

January in Sicily is low season, so you are likely to find a good availability of rooms in the local hotels and affordable prices. I recommend planning quite in advance so that you have time to change your schedule or itinerary if you find something closed.

Explore Naples

If in summer Naples is hot and crowded, in January it becomes quiet and more enjoyable. The weather is cold but not freezing. With the highest temperatures ranging around 13-14°C (55-57°F) and an average of 8 days of rain, in Naples in January you can plan a mix of outdoor and indoor activities.

Walk around the streets of the city center, across the famous Spaccanapoli road, or get to the seafront promenade for some fresh air. If it rains, it’s time to visit the city’s museums such as the archaeological museum, the stunning Royal Palace, Museo del Tesoro di San Gennaro, and Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo known as Maschio Angioino.

Go to Sardinia

I originate from Sardinia, so I’m fully aware that my island mainly evokes beach holidays and summer fun, but if you go for the celebrations in honor of Saint Anthony on the night between the 16th and the 17th of January, you are in for something really cool.

In many towns in Sardinia, they celebrate Sant’Antonio Abate festival by lighting up bonfires in the main streets and squares.

Image: Mamuthones in Sardinia to see in January in Italy. Photo by Fearlessly Italy

You will find one of the most fascinating celebrations in the town of Mamoiada, in Nuoro province. Here, the ancient masquerades of the Mamuthones will parade along the streets and perform their primordial dance around the town’s bonfires in the evening until late at night.

And if you are traveling to Italy in February, you will find the Mamuthones again parading and dancing around the streets of Mamoiada for Carnival.

What pack for Italy in January

  • Umbrella. Wherever you are going, rainfalls in January are common.
  • Skincare. Pack a good moisturizing face cream because the cold weather makes the skin dry.
  • Hand cream.
  • Backpack or crossbody bag. Handy whether you are going to the mountain or visiting a city.
  • Warm clothes and shoes.

What to wear in January in Italy

  • Coat or heavy jacket. A coat is necessary all over Italy in January. If you are heading to a ski resort in the Dolomites, your coat or jacket will need to be heavier than if you are visiting Rome or Sicily.
  • Boots or ankle boots. Perfect in case of rain.
  • Camper-style sneakers or other walking winter shoes.
  • Long-sleeve underwear top. In case of very cold weather, I suggest a thermal top.
  • More long-sleeve tops. These are great for layering in case you are in a restaurant with the heating on at full speed.
  • Warm trousers. For the mountains or other outdoor activities, consider padded sporty trousers.
  • Sweaters.
  • Warm pajamas or nightgown for the night.
  • Scarf, har, and gloves.

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