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Italy in February: Things to know to plan the perfect trip

Italy in February: Things to know to plan the perfect trip

If you’re looking to stretch your budget while exploring Italy, February might just be the perfect time for your adventure. While many travelers flock to this beautiful country in the spring and summer for the warm weather, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised by what February has to offer.

First off, you’ll likely snag some great bargains on flights and accommodation during these chillier months. But do take note that February is also when Carnevale celebrations light up certain regions, like Venezia and Viareggio. These festivities mean that prices in these areas can soar to summer highs. So, if you’re planning to join in the fun, make sure to book early! And don’t forget, Venice shines as one of Europe’s top winter getaways!

Italy in February: the weather

Traveling to Italy in February means you’ll encounter a cooler climate, especially up north due to the nearby Alps. The central part of Italy offers slightly warmer conditions but still carries a nip in the air. However, if you’re looking to dodge the cold, the southern regions present more moderate and welcoming weather.

italy in february

As we’ve mentioned, the northern areas are the chilliest, with average temperatures ranging from -3 to 8 degrees Celsius (27 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit). Expect a good chance of precipitation, including snow, during this period. For those venturing into rural zones or mountainous terrains, prepare for even colder weather. Ski enthusiasts often head to the slopes at this time, but even if skiing isn’t your thing, visiting a cozy chalet for some sunshine, fresh air, and hearty mountain cuisine is a delightful option.

Heading down to Central Italy, places like Rome see temperatures hovering between 7 and 13 degrees Celsius (39 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit). Rainfall is common, though snowfall is a rare sight, particularly in Rome, where it’s an infrequent occurrence.

If you find yourself in Southern Italy or Sicily, you’ll enjoy milder winters, with temperatures sitting comfortably between 11 to 15 degrees Celsius (51 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit). Rain is less common here, and snow is quite a rarity. So, for those seeking a respite from winter’s grasp, the south of Italy beckons with its gentler climate.

Reasons to travel to Italy in February

February is a fantastic time to explore Italy for several great reasons: the first is that travel costs like flights and hotel stays are generally more affordable. This could mean you get to extend your trip or indulge in more luxurious accommodations. With fewer tourists around during this off-peak season, you’ll have a better chance to experience authentic Italy without the long lines or the constant buzz of English conversations.

italy in february

Another compelling reason to visit Italy in February is the famous Carnevale celebrations. While Carnevale events happen nationwide, some cities, especially Venice, are popular for their elaborate festivities. The atmosphere is filled with fun and relaxation, spanning roughly two weeks. Be sure to check Venice’s event schedule, from the “Volo dell’Angelo” (Flight of the Angel) to the Best Masked Costume Contest—it’s a bustling time!

Valentine’s Day in February also makes for a romantic opportunity, particularly in Venice. Couples can enjoy a dreamy gondola ride and a lavish dinner. And yes, Venice’s spectacular Carnevale is another drawcard this month. If Carnevale or Valentine’s isn’t your cup of tea, consider heading to the Alps for some skiing or to the South for its gentler winter sun. For those who love a dip, even when it’s chilly, Italy’s numerous Hot Springs resorts offer a warm and inviting swim.

italy in february

Italy in February: festivals Carnevale and more

Italy really comes alive in February with a host of festivities. The most famous is undoubtedly Carnevale, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to celebrations.

When you think of Carnevale, Venice probably springs to mind first. Just remember, if you’re planning to join the fun there, book your stay well ahead of time. Hotels fill up fast, and prices soar. To snag those early deals, plan early! Carnevale dates shift each year since they’re tied to Lent, but the merrymaking usually spans a couple of weeks. While Venice and Viareggio are hotspots for revelers, each Italian region puts its own spin on the festival, from themed parades to quirky traditions like orange-throwing contests.

italy in february

Venice starts buzzing with excitement about two weeks before Carnevale. Nightly, the city is a hub of public performances and art displays. The vibe is electric, with costumed folks wandering the streets, indulging in music, tasty bites, and fine wine. One of the highlights in Venice during this time includes spectacular boat parades along the Grand Canal.

The grand finale in Venice is a sight to behold, complete with impressive fireworks that signal the end of the festivities and the onset of Lent. A dazzling mask parade takes over St. Mark’s Square, and there’s even a special Carnival for kids in Cannaregio.

Then there’s Viareggio, set on Tuscany’s coast, where the carnival is famed for its towering papier-mâché figures. Here, the Sundays leading up to and following Shrove Tuesday are marked by float processions so extraordinary that they command an entrance fee. The town buzzes with music, cultural happenings, and elegant costume balls, with local eateries offering festive menus.

italy in february

But don’t overlook Ivrea in Piedmont, renowned for its vibrant parade capped off with an epic orange-throwing showdown. This fruity fracas unfolds in the town center and can stretch on for days. The Carnival wraps up with the torching of large poles draped in dry leaves in the main squares across districts.

Other Events in Italy in February

On February 2nd, Italy celebrates the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, also known as Candelora or Candlemas. This is when candles made of beeswax receive a special blessing. The tradition has roots in ancient pagan customs and stands as one of the oldest celebrations in the nation. Before the advent of Christianity, Romans observed Lupercalia from February 15 to 18, culminating with women parading through the streets with candles and torches to ward off malevolent spirits.

Another significant celebration in February is dedicated to Saint Agatha. Recognized as the world’s second grandest religious festivity, it unfolds in Catania, Sicily. Saint Agatha, the city’s guardian saint who passed away at 15 in 252 AD, is commemorated with two days of festivities starting on February 4th. The day begins with an early morning mass, followed by a procession where a statue of the saint, adorned with sacred relics, is carried on a massive silver float weighing 40,000 pounds by local volunteers to Monte Sangiuliano. The event offers plenty of delicious food and wine and concludes with a dazzling fireworks display.

Sicily also hosts the Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento. Kicking off on the first weekend of February and lasting a week, this festival is accompanied by cultural activities such as puppet shows, parades, live performances, and an international folklore festival. Attendees can enjoy a variety of traditional dishes, particularly almond-based sweets.

In Florence, chocolate lovers rejoice during the weekend nearest to Valentine’s Day, as Piazza Santa Maria Novella becomes home to a Chocolate Festival.

Throughout Italy, you’ll find festivals celebrating radicchio and other culinary delights. For the best local experiences, don’t hesitate to ask residents for recommendations in the area you’re exploring.

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