Italy covers a long boot-shaped peninsula in Western
Europe as well as the islands of Sicily
The country has coastlines with the Adriatic and TyrrhenianSeas both of which are parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Italy
shares borders in the north with France, Switzerland,
snow-capped mountains in the north to year-round warmth in the south, Italy
has a truly varied climate. Winter temperatures vary greatly across the country
from the Alpine climate in the north to the southern Mediterranean climate of
the south. It can be subzero in Milan while it’s 20°C
summer the differences are much less marked. There are big differences between
the coastal regions and the interior of the country, especially as you gain
elevation. The mountains create many microclimates.
record low temperature recorded in Italy is -29°C. This excludes
elevated areas where it can get much colder: -45°C has been recorded in the
Italian Alps. The record high is 46°C in the far south of the country.
Italy is a very mountainous country with the Alps in the north and the Apennine mountain range that
extends right down the peninsula and rises to over 2000m in parts. The islands
are mountainous too – the 3323m high Mt Etna sits on the east coast of Sicily. The plains south
of the Alps are the only flat part of the country.
north of Italy is dominated
by the Alps. Mont Blanc, Western
Europe’s tallest mountain at 4810m creates the border between Italy and France in
the northwest of the country. There are other mountains over 4000m too,
including Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso. Much
of this region is snow covered all year round and can see very cold
temperatures, sometimes down to -30°C. The Alpine climate of the
mountains sees cold winters with plentiful snowfall, while summers are warm in
the regions below 1500m. Skiing is a popular pastime in the mountains of Italy.
of the mountains, northern Italy
generally enjoys a continental climate with hot summers and cold
Turin lies at the
foot of the Alps and sees temperatures range
greatly across the year: average temperatures drop to -2°C at night in winter
and rise up to 27°C during the day in July and August. Milan has a similar
climate but can get a touch hotter in summer and even a little colder in
near to Lake
Garda experiences the same sort of weather. Snow is a common occurrence in
midwinter in the region.
is moderate to high and can occur throughout the year but is at its greatest in
spring and autumn and lowest in summer. Rainfall/snowfall increases with
elevation and even the foothills can experience snowfall right into spring
Venice also lies in
the northern flatlands, though its coastal location means winters don’t see
temperatures fall quite as low. Average temperatures in
Venice vary between 3°C and 23°C, with winter lows of -1°C and summer highs
climate of the east coast is dictated both by the temperate Adriatic
Sea as well as the Apennine mountains inland.
is a Mediterranean climate that prevails on the coast marked by warm summers
and mild winters. This climate really begins a little south of Venice which receives the more northerly
continental climate. The east coast is generally drier than the west and gets a
little cooler in winter.
northern half of the east coast, above Pescara, is cooler
on average than further south and can be subject to the bora winds that bring
cold weather in winter and spring. Pescara is roughly
in the middle of the east coast and sees average summer highs of 29°C and
winter lows of 2°C. Ancona,
further north, sees similar temperatures but in the more southerly city of Bari it’s a little
warmer with average winter lows of 5°C and summer highs of 28°C. Subzero
temperatures are very rare along the coast.
is similar all along the coast; rainfall levels are not high but rain can fall
at any time of year. The wettest time is autumn with average monthly rainfall
up to 60mm, while the driest time is summer with around 25mm per month.
the west coast has a Mediterranean climate. It is wetter than the east coast
and has slightly warmer winter temperatures. In the north, Genoa sees winter
lows at 5°C and summer highs around 28°C. In the south, Naples has similar
winter temperatures but summer months get a couple of degrees hotter.
is similar all down the coast at about 900-1000mm per year. It is low in
summer, at around 20 to 30mm and spring is also quite dry. The wettest period
is late autumn when storms can come in from the Mediterranean.
November is the wettest month with around 160mm.
Apennines dominate the interior of the Italian
peninsula. Reaching up to over 2000m, they see cold temperatures in winter and
snowfall between December and January. They also cause weather differences
between the west and east of the country; the west is generally wetter and has
warmer winters, while both experience similar summer temperatures. Temperature decreases
and rainfall increases as elevation increases.
Rome lies in the
centre of the country on the western side of the mountain range. Temperatures
vary from lows of 2°C in January to highs of 31°C in July and August. Rainfall
is moderate with autumn and winter being the wettest periods. Florence sees a
similar climate to the capital.
Far South, Sicily and Sardinia
two large islands to the west of Italy and the far south of the
country enjoy the least rain and the highest number sunshine hours of the
country. Sunshine averages four or five hours a day in winter and up to eleven hours
in summer. In Alghero
summer highs reach an average of 34°C. Summer temperatures are often in the 30s
main city of Palermo
as well. Sicily
enjoys the mildest winters of anywhere in the country with lows rarely dropping
into single figures. Sardinia enjoys a mild
winter too, though it can get a little colder.
islands, as well as the far south of the mainland, are mountainous which causes
different weather across the regions; the higher areas are generally cooler and
more precipitous, especially in winter. The massive volcano of Mt Etna in Sicily sees snowfall
each year as it stands at more than 3000m above sea level.
is lower year round in these regions than the rest of the country – at around
500-600mm a year on average - and summers are particularly dry. Stormy weather
does occur in autumn and winter.