Traveling to Italy in November: What You Need to Know

Via della Conciliazione - by Nicola (creative commons)

Via della Conciliazione – by Nicola (creative commons)

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.

Weather in Italy in November

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:

  • Northern Italy: 35-50°F (2-10°C)
  • Central Italy: 45-60°F (7-16°C)
  • Southern Italy: 55-65°F (13-18°C)

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.

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in November

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.

Why should you go to Italy in November?

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.

6 responses to “Traveling to Italy in November: What You Need to Know”

  1. someone whose ass just been saved. says:

    awesome blog, thanks a lot for your time. your input on this time of year really helped me to plan ahead .

  2. Nibu Jose says:

    I am planning to make a trip to Italy. Can some one sugges whether October is a good to visit Italy. I am planning for a 8-10 days trip to cover Italy. In between planning to Visit Paris for a day or two. Flying to Milan. Can some one also help me in finalising the schedule.

    I have never been to Italy

  3. Debbie says:

    Hi there.
    I am attending a conference in Rome late November to early December. I was thinking of having a 2 week holiday before this in Southern Italy on some small group tours. I was thinking Sicily, Puglia and possibly Malta, regions that I have not explored in my previous trips to Italy and I have never been to Malta. My options for tours are limited given the time of year and the weather forecast for Sicily doesn’t appeal to me on first glance. I know I will need to dress appropriately and I am not looking for a suntan, but I don’t want to be in rain and/or snow constantly. I would appreciate any comments about my concerns, or suggestions on where else I could consider? I like good food and meeting people, am interested in scenery, history and museums, And on this holiday, something done at a relaxed pace. Not interested in big bus tours. Am I expecting too much? I look forward to hearing from you!

    • Jessica says:

      I think you’ll be stuck with a strong likelihood of wet weather in November – it’s the rainiest month pretty much everywhere in Italy. It probably won’t be quite as wet (or cool) in Sicily as in Milan in November, for instance, but the chances are good it’ll still be chilly. (I was there in mid-October one year and it was unseasonably cold and raining. You never know.) There are plenty of indoor museums and churches to visit that could keep you entertained in Palermo alone, though visiting any of the outdoor sights in Sicily – say, the Valley of the Temples – may be less fun if it’s rainy.

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