Italy in March

by Jessica on February 23, 2009

by | February 23rd, 2009  

Italy, like almost every place on earth, has shoulder seasons between its high and low seasons. Although Italy’s shoulder seasons are shorter than they are in some other places, March is still very much part of Italy’s spring shoulder season – and, for a few reasons, an excellent time to visit.

Weather in March in Italy

Shoulder seasons are often marked by weather that’s best described as “unpredictable,” and March in Italy is no exception. The weather can vary depending on where you are in the country, which is true year-round, but during March the unpredictability factor goes up even more.

March weather often means rain or generally damp weather, and in some places it can be quite cold (especially in early March) – but as you go south, the temperature goes up and the rain decreases. The second half of March is when it often feels like spring has arrived in Italy, and it’s not uncommon for late March weather to be warm and sunny. Of course, you’ll still see women in fur coats throughout the country – Italian wardrobes are based on the calendar, not the actual weather outside.

Because you can never be sure what the March weather will have in store for you, this can make packing for a March trip to Italy more complicated. Should you bring sunglasses? An umbrella? The answer is likely yes – to both.

Temperatures in March vary depending on where you are in Italy, but as a general rule of thumb these are the ranges:

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

>> Be sure to check a current weather forecast for Italy before you leave home, as the weather can change. Check my Italy weather page for seasonal temperature and rainfall averages in a few Italian cities.

Holidays in March in Italy

It seems as if there’s always something being celebrated in Italy – and that’s not far from the truth. In particular, however, the March calendar has a few notable holidays and festivals worth paying attention to.

To start with, depending on where they fall on the calendar in any given year, two things that could occur in March are Carnevale and Easter. Carnival is celebrated in many places through Italy, but the most famous festivities are the Carnevale in Venice and (especially popular with the adventuresome set) the orange-throwing battle of the Carnevale in Ivrea. Even these celebrations, however, pale in comparison to Easter in Italy.

The week leading to Easter is often marked by small celebrations and services, but Easter weekend is when the entire country stops to recognize the holiday. From Good Friday through the Monday following Easter can be both a fascinating time to visit Italy and a frustrating time to try to get around the country (transportation runs on a slower holiday schedule).

Other holidays and events in March include International Women’s Day, Turin’s chocolate festival, and Open Monuments Weekend. No matter where your travels take you in Italy in March, however, it’s a good idea to check the local calendar of events – there are many holidays and festivals that are very localized and so not celebrated country-wide.

>> Check my list of holidays in Italy to find out some of the things going on this March in Italy.

Why go to Italy in March?

When the weather isn’t miserable and the prices are still reasonable, that’s the definition of a shoulder season – and March absolutely fits that description.

Prices on things like air travel to Italy and Italy hotels remains low in March, and although the cost may be starting to nose up slightly from the deals that were on offer in January and February it’s still well within reach of even those on a strict budget. Not only that, in locations where hostels in Italy close up entirely during the slow winter months, those hostels are usually opening up again in March – which means an even more budget-friendly option for travelers.

Crowd levels tend to be at their lowest during the winter in Italy, but even if there are more tourists in Italy in March than there were in February the overall numbers are still far lower than they are in the summer – so you’re still not likely to be stuck in long lines for even the major attractions.

The drawbacks of visiting Italy in March primarily have to do with the unpredictable weather – it’s no fun to plan a day of hiking through Umbria or exploring the outdoor ruins at Pompeii because you anticipate sun (or at least dry weather) and then to get drenched by an unexpected storm, but that’s very possible in March. If you’re a flexible traveler who’s able to adjust your daily itinerary based on the weather, you’ll be much better prepared for a March trip.

As noted above, it’s important to find out when Easter falls before you’re locked into an Italy itinerary – being in Italy during Easter can be exciting, but trying to travel from city to city during Easter weekend can be a pain. Knowing ahead of time when Easter occurs could save you a few travel headaches.

photo by gordonflood.com


{ 24 comments }

GG Husak March 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm
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March has been our favorite time to travel in Italy in spite of some cooler weather. The spring brings local people out to enjoy the change of season, but there are many fewer tourists. We love the local festivals and pageants that occur in spring. In the countryside we see people trimming the dormant vines in their backyard vineyards, and the new blossoms of fruit trees. For almost fifteen years of March travel, we’ve been able to get a sense of the Italy in the off season.
Thanks for posting a March summary.

GG Husak
Author of Passeggiata
http://www.passeggiataitalia.com

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Marsha Creese January 16, 2011 at 10:44 am
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Weather in Mid March around Florence in Tuscany?

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Jessica January 17, 2011 at 10:46 am
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You can get some averages for temperatures throughout the year in different cities on the main Italy weather page – http://www.italylogue.com/weather – but I highly recommend checking with the current weather reports starting the week or so before you leave so you have a better idea of exactly what kind of clothing to pack.

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Nakitia Wesley-Osborne January 19, 2011 at 9:01 am
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This alone has made me change my mind on going to Italy in March .Our Anniversary is March 27 and I have Hesitated to go in March because I believed it would ither be to cold or not really enjoyable, so I have been leaning more toward May but it is a wonderful felling to know i can go in March and enjoy a well deserved 2nd HONEYMOON thank you!!!

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Elly May 13, 2011 at 7:47 am
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I was also very worried about going to Italy in March for my honeymoon. This made me feel a little better. Thank you!

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Jessica May 13, 2011 at 12:03 pm
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I’m glad, Elly – you may run into a few rainy days, but if you’re prepared for them with indoor attractions to enjoy you’ll be fine. And it’ll be cheaper & less crowded, which are always good things!

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Jen June 16, 2011 at 8:31 am
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How is the Amalfi coast in March? Are things open? Same for Capri?

We are traveling there for the Rome Marathon next year and are wanting to visit Positano etc…The last time we were there was September 2006, I cannot wait to go back but I am curious about the weather.

Thank you SO much!

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Jessica June 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm
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The weather could be iffy in March – and usually the boats don’t start running regularly until early May, so that would make getting out to Capri more difficult.

http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/getting-around-the-amalfi-coast.html

Here’s more about the Amalfi:

http://www.italylogue.com/destinations/the-amalfi-coast.html

And my friend Laura of Ciao Amalfi is a great resource if you want to check with her:

http://www.ciaoamalfi.com/

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marianne February 14, 2012 at 11:27 am
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we are heading to italy on march 28…and will be in venice for easter weekend. in fact, our flight leave venice on easter sunday. do you think we will have a problem getting to the airport? thanks!

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Jessica February 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm
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There’s information here about traveling in Italy over Easter weekend:
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/easter-in-italy.html

I don’t know what city you’re flying out of, but if there’s public transport to/from the airport I’d make sure to find out the schedule for Easter Sunday as soon as you arrive – that way, if you need to make alternate arrangements (probably a taxi), you’ll have time to do so.

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marianne February 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm
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Thank you Jessica. We will be flying out of Venice, and I check with my hotel and they said transporation will be OK.

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august mateo February 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm
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its my first time in italy me and best friend will be going on march 29 till 31.. we are going to stay in milan , and w e are planning to see other places the following day do u think its wise to stop first is breschia then go to verona …. is it expensive the trein ticket ??? pls give some info thanks in advance

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Jessica February 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm
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You can look up train schedules and ticket prices using the Rail Ticket Search box at the top of this page:
http://www.italylogue.com/train

Check the schedules on all the parts of your journey so that you know how long each trip will be, and when you need to get on the train to get back to where you need to be.

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Simon March 17, 2012 at 3:43 am
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Just came back from a great trip to Rome, Tuscany, and northern Italy (21st Feb-15th March). Sunshine every day apart from three days in Venice. No rain. Temperature changed a lot during the day – quite cool in morning/evening and 25 degrees in the afternoon. Cheap hotels averaged 40 euros. You can buy train tickets at stations with English language ticket machines. Local stations just buy tickets from kiosk. Great time to visit – I walked straight up Pisa tower with no queuing, walked into Uffizi in Florence, and with a Roma Pass the Colosseum was a walk-in as well. I would definitely recommend March as a good time to be in Italy!!

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Jessica March 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm
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Thanks for the trip report! Glad you had a good time there.

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Ellie May 17, 2012 at 12:19 am
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I am planning a trip to italy this coming March!!! I am so excited but worried about what to pack?
Can you help me out?

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Jessica May 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm
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My goodness, you’re planning in advance! Here are some tips for packing in spring/autumn: http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/what-to-pack-for-italy-spring-autumn.html

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Shubi July 16, 2012 at 12:40 am
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Hey, Just stumbled upon your blog as I was planning a trip next March. It’s a 2 week trip and I have to do Rome, Venice and Florence but I can’t decide on what else – there are too many options. Is it better to do a beach or go up to the Alps? Is Sicily very expensive? (Remember, this is for my honeymoon:))

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AJ August 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm
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Jessica,
I love your site, very informative, thank you. We are a small group of 8 trying to take an inexpensive Italy trip. We are looking at visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice via an independent tour where we are not locked in to any specific tours, but booking the hotels and transfers through the agency, We are also purchasing our own air, BUT we have been told that we should consider the land tour because purchasing the individual city tours in each respective city will be more expensive hence paying with Euro’s oppose to paying for the land tour here in the us with dollars. Can you share some guidance here? In your site you suggested traveling to the respective city and seeing what tours are being offered, and I agree, but will doing it this way prove to be more expensive?? Thanking you in advance for your kind reply…

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Will October 16, 2012 at 10:35 am
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We (2 adults & 2 children) are going towards the end of March. My concern is if we should take coats, jackets or sweaters. We’ll be visiting Rome & Florence.

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Jamie October 26, 2012 at 8:31 am
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I am going with my sister in March, neither one of us has been out of America before, this is a once in a lifetime oppertunity for the both of us, what should we bring along with us to be prepared for the weather there??? We currently live in Florida, is it like the weather here in early spring??

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LuizzeOliveira December 14, 2012 at 3:31 am
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March is perfect time to visit Italy because theirs people are celebrating so many best festivals as well as the weather of Italy in March is best so people can go at the Turin, Rome, Florence and Verona trip. These all are best places where people are enjoying maximum number of festivals.

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Wayne January 6, 2013 at 1:41 am
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We are arriving in Rome on March 24th and were planning on going to Ponza. We are now thinking on going South to ??? Sicily? We return to the US on the 30th from Rome. We are looking for suggestions. We love Italy and want to concentrate on a place …. thus, Ponza.

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Sonia February 13, 2013 at 2:29 am
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Good commets from everyone. The guide to traveling over Easter Weeknd is excellent. Is there a list of wine vineyards that provide accomodations and stunning views? Other excursions around the estate would be fab. Please use this email to response travelsista@gmail.com or a reply is nice.
Thanks! ~ Sonia,

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