Planning a Low Season Trip to Italy

by Jessica on September 8, 2010

by | September 8th, 2010  

romeinrainWhether you’re the kind of person who hunts down travel bargains like a bloodhound or you just like to find a good deal, one of the best ways to save money when you travel is to visit a location when it’s not in the midst of its peak season. In Italy, although people visit year-round and you can never truly escape the tourists in the most popular destinations, there are definitely times of each year when you’ll not only snap up great deals but also experience Italy without the biggest crowds.

Summer in Italy is the busiest time of year, and you don’t have to be a travel expert to know that. The months that bookend summer on either side also tend to be quite busy, and the prices are still at high-season levels for the most part. So although May and September are both delightful times to be in Italy, you’re likely to find they don’t afford much of a break in terms of travel expenses. (The crowds might be slightly smaller, however.)

In order to really get the best deals on your trip, you’ve got to be prepared to visit when the weather isn’t necessarily going to be ideal. It’s not known as the “low season” or the “off season” for nothing, after all. The best bargains on Italy travel tend to be from November through February, when flights to Europe are at their cheapest and there are more cheap flights to Rome (among other Italian cities) to choose from.

Accommodation is cheaper in Italy from November-February, too, although in some cities you’ll find that the variety on budget-friendly accommodation dwindles in the low season. In Venice, for instance, there are a couple hostels that close up shop for the winter. Rome doesn’t have that issue, as it’s more popular year-round with budget travelers, so you’ll find that there’s a good number of places to choose from no matter when you visit – whether you’re looking for the best hostels in Rome or searching for cheap hotel rooms in Rome.

It should be noted that during the months of November-February, although most of that time is considered Italy’s low season, the holidays in Italy are a big enough deal that rates on hotels and hostels in particular tend to go up. Experiencing the Christmas season in Italy is something to behold, but if you’re more of a bargain hunter than a holiday-lover you’ll want to steer clear of the holiday season in Italy for your trip.

Here are a few more resources to help you plan your off-season trip to Italy:

photo by Ed Yourdon


{ 7 comments }

Anne September 25, 2009 at 8:19 am
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We are going to Italy in November have done for the last 3 years. Even though the Euro against the pound is bad, I don’t worry that much. All so renting self-catering accommodation is low, and you do have a lot of choice. I suppose just travelling from the Uk is not as bad as from the States.

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James September 30, 2009 at 3:24 am
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There is nothing like the sweet embrace of arriving at a new destination. The locals, food, music, art, and culture are all so unique wherever you go that they must be experienced first-hand. As an operator of Tuscany food and wine tours I see this every day. There is nothing like watching my guests make connections with the locals, sharing stories about each other’s cultures, and even prying family recipes out of the hands of our chefs. I appreciate the article, and do let me know if you ever find yourself in Tuscany.

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Peter October 3, 2009 at 11:02 am
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“When I go to Italy, I just try not to pay attention to the exchange rate.”

…same here! I stopped my subscription to XE’s daily currency e-mail because it always had me getting up on the wrong side of the bed each day :-)

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lou gonell October 17, 2010 at 9:37 am
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Hey jessica, thanks for s great website here. I’m planning a trip to Italy in November. Flying into Venice for two days, two in Florence and finally 4 days in Rome. I’m traveling by train.. cost 260 dollars for two. I’m staying at the westin in all..have a family rate. I’m also taking my girlfriend. What do you suggest about nightlife and being properly prepared for her. She wants to carry her closet..lol. ay poor me since I’m carrying lol. Thanks again.. also how to beat the euro
Lou Gonell

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Jessica November 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm
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Hi, Lou:

Nightlife in Venice is pretty quiet – the city shuts down fairly early, especially when it’s not summer, so your version of nightlife there is likely to consist of romantic walks through a quiet city. Just bring warm clothes, it’ll probably be cold.

In Florence and Rome there’s more of a nightlife scene, although in some cases that means pub crawls and drunk backpackers. If that’s not what you’re looking for, I’d suggest checking with the local tourist information office to find out where things like dance clubs or nicer bars would be. (I don’t know personally for those cities.)

As far as packing goes, I’m not sure what to tell you – it’s not that long of a trip, your girlfriend really shouldn’t need to pack that much, but in any case I’d say that she needs to carry whatever she packs. Maybe that will make her pack lighter!

Ciao,
Jessica

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Celia Prosecchino October 27, 2010 at 10:01 pm
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The weather pattern in our part of Tuscany use to be more stable and November would always be the wettest month. However the last couple of years been wonderful. The winter is certainly a great time to see the cities of art and museums don’t have the same long queues. Venice for me is certainly a city to be visited in winter . The light is magical

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Emily @Travelated November 17, 2010 at 11:50 am
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I’m surprised more people don’t travel during the low season–it’s not as warm, but you still get the same great experience. You just need to pack thicker clothing! I guess it’s a good thing that people aren’t jumping on the low season bandwagon…. leaves more room for the rest of us:)

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