When you imagine your dream trip to Italy, chances are very good you imagine sun-dappled piazzas, sunny beaches, sun-soaked hills… Basically, you imagine sun. November in Italy is not sunny. It can still be a great month for a trip to Italy, however, if you’re more focused on saving money than on getting a tan.
November is something of a bridge between Italy’s fall shoulder season and the winter off-season, and prices are generally low on things like airfare and accommodation. The trade-off for that drop in price is that the weather isn’t what most of us would consider ideal. Keep reading to find out what to expect from November in Italy, including the weather and what’s on the calendar.
November is Italy’s rainiest month, almost to a region across the peninsula. It’s not usually the coldest month on the calendar, but it’s often when a sweater and warm coat come in handy (not to mention water resistant shoes).
In Italy, the southern regions tend to stay warmer year-round, so if you’re hunting down something that feels more like late fall than early winter you should head south. And no matter where you plan to go, you should bring an umbrella.
Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy are:
And, as always, check the current extended forecast for where you’re actually going just before you leave – when you’re packing is a good time, actually – so you can find out in advance if there’s an unseasonably cold or warm spell predicted.
November starts with an Italian national holiday – All Saints Day (Ognissanti or Tutti i Santi in Italian) on November 1. Some places have semi-public festivities around All Saints Day, but for the most part this is the day every year when many Italians visit cemeteries to pay respects to relatives who have died. They clean up graves and leave flowers, so if you’re the kind of person for whom cemeteries are must-see sights, November 1 or 2 are great days to head to a cemetery in Italy. (Just remember to be respectful of families tending to relatives’ graves, okay?)
Most of the fall harvest festivals are over by November, but it’s worth checking the calendars of the places you’ll be visiting just in case. Sometimes festivals continue from late October into early November – such as the White Truffle Festival in Alba. Turin’s chocolate festival, CioccolaTÒ, was moved to November from March, so it’s now an excellent November event option if you’re in the north. Browse my (nowhere near comprehensive) list of holidays and festivals in Italy to get a start on your November event list.
The weather isn’t the selling point for visiting Italy in November, there’s no getting around that. The selling points are things like saving money and avoiding crowds, which are big perks. Italy never completely empties of tourists, of course, but lines are substantially shorter in November than in the summer. And since so many of the top things people want to do or see in Italy are indoors, the weather may not be the huge factor it seems at the start.
One thing to keep in mind (besides the weather) is that some attractions and hotels have different off-season schedules than they keep in the summer. This might mean shorter open hours at a museum or – in some places – hotels that completely close their doors for several months over the winter. This isn’t an issue in big tourist cities, but in some smaller destinations it can be. You might want to browse accommodation options before finalizing plans, just to make sure there will be something open when you’re in town.
Overall, if packing an umbrella and planning to visit lots of indoor attractions doesn’t bother you, you’ll have a fine time in Italy in November.