Traveling to Italy in September: What You Need to Know

Venice's Regata Storica || creative commons photo by Roberto Trombetta

Venice’s Regata Storica || creative commons photo by Roberto Trombetta

For many people in the northern hemisphere, September usually means the last gasps of summer warmth followed closely by digging boots and scarves out of the back of the closet. September in Italy used to mean both of those things, but lately September has been acting a lot more like summer than fall.

The high tourist season in Italy stretched beyond the boundaries of summer ages ago, sucking May and September in with their high prices and big crowds. Now, climate change has transformed May and September, too – both are more summer-like in their temperatures than they used to be.

Still, September can be a great time to visit Italy.

If you’re traveling to Italy in September, here’s what you need to know about weather and holidays.

Weather in Italy in September

The hottest summer weather is typically gone by September, but there’s still plenty of hot days that bleed over into what’s supposed to be the beginning of fall. The nights tend to be a little cooler than in July and August, but not usually so much that you’d worry about bundling up.

When I look up temperature averages for September, I get information like what’s listed below – though I think those numbers are going to increase as recent years are taken into account. In other words, take these temperatures as a guideline but don’t be surprised if it’s quite a bit warmer.

Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy in September are:

  • Northern Italy: 55-75°F (13-24°C)
  • Central Italy: 65-80°F (18-27°C)
  • Southern Italy: 70-80°F (21-27°C)

As mentioned, September days can be summer-like. Evenings can be cool, especially in the latter half of the month, and in some places it’s not unusual to get a brief summer rainstorm or two. It’s still trending toward the warmer end of the scale, so you won’t need to worry too much about those boots and scarves, but in some years the weather may be starting to get a little less predictable by the middle of the month.

As always, check the current extended forecast for where you’re actually going just before you leave – when you’re packing is the perfect time – so you can find out in advance if it’s unseasonably cold or warm.

Read more on my Italy weather page

Holidays & Festivals in Italy in September

September kicks off my favorite festival season in Italy – harvest season. Throughout the fall, there are food and wine festivals galore, celebrating things like chocolate and white truffles and prosciutto. The dates of these festivals change each year, so check my calendar of Italian festivals and holidays to start your trip-planning process. You can follow up with the city or regional websites of the places you’ll be visiting to find out if there are any other special events going on while you’re in town.

There are other festivals going on in September, too, including the historic boat races in Venice known as the “Regata Storica,” the feast day for Naples’ patron saint, the celebration of Juliet’s birthday in Verona, and Venice’s famous International Film Festival. There are no national holidays in September, so the only closures you’ll likely be faced with are for localized festivals or events.

Why should you go to Italy in September?

Foodies like me can see the perks of a September trip to Italy in a heartbeat. Food festivals in a food-focused country? Yeah, it’s as excellent as you might imagine. Even if you’re not already driven to travel by what’s on your plate, however, going to a food festival in Italy can still be fun. There’s nothing quite like seeing a place get excited about something they’re proud of, and Italians are – justifiably – proud of their food.

In addition to the deliciousness that is fall travel in Italy, September is also when Italians (and other Europeans who have been vacationing in Italy) are going back to work and school after their month-long August holidays. The weather’s still plenty warm, so that means you can enjoy the beaches of Italy without the August crowds. (The beaches aren’t empty in September, mind you, but the number of bodies on the sand drops quite a bit.)

September is, as I said at the outset, part of Italy’s high season now – so prices are still at their summer peak, and crowds in the touristy areas are, too. Some places may begin to see a drop in prices and crowds by the end of September, while others will still be going strong into October. September isn’t exactly budget-friendly anymore, but – if you can swing it – slightly milder temperatures and all those food festivals make it a pretty lovely time to be in Italy.

2 responses to “Traveling to Italy in September: What You Need to Know”

  1. Charles Freeman says:

    We will be travelling Italy with Tauck Tours the first two weeks of Sept. It is my understanding that meals there require a bit more formality of dress than say, Switzerland. I’m a jeans, pull over shirt and tennis shoes kind of guy, but I do clean up nicely. How does one pack for both sight seeing and dining with a limited amount of luggage?

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks for the question, Charles. It sort of depends on where you’re going out to eat. It’s a rare occasion that I’ve worn something other than jeans-level formality when eating out (but I also don’t frequent Michelin restaurants!), but they’re nice jeans with a nicer top and shoes – casual dressy, I guess. I always look for comfortable all-day walking shoes that are black (that’s my dominant travel wardrobe color) so that they can pass for nicer shoes when I want to go out to eat. If I were you, I’d do something similar – find a great pair of walking shoes that will be comfortable for sightseeing and will still look nice for dinner outings. The same goes for shirts – logo T-shirts probably won’t be “formal” enough, but polo shirts, jersey pullovers, etc. would probably do the trick. Here’s some of my advice for packing for Italy, though it’s more geared toward women. (I need to update that!)

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