Weather Averages for Venice in January
Averages for Venice in January
Venice is one of the most popular destinations in the world, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, wintertime is the time to go. January is the coldest month of the year in Italy, though its coastal presence on the Mediterranean guarantees milder weather than parts of Northern Europe. Cruise ships have left for the season, and museums and cafes, normally thriving with tourists, are instead populated by locals.
The average temperature ranges 32F, reaching a high of around 6°C (that's about 43°F), and dipping as low as -1°C (about 30°F).
There are only about 9 hours of average daily sunshine. The length of day increases slightly over the month by about 1.8 minutes a day from the beginning to the end of the month. The longest day is January 1, with 8:46 hours of sunlight; the shortest is January 31, with 9:42 hours of sunlight.
The average sea temperature is only 11°C (about 52°F) so you definitely will not be going swimming! Warm clothing such as hats, gloves and scarves would be appropriate during your visit.
You can expect to experience rain on an average of 9 days in this month. The average monthly rain is around 58mm. Each day there is about 32% chance of precipitation, occurring as moderate or light rain.
The skies above Venice in January are typically partly cloudy, with a gradual small decrease of cloud cover by about 7%. Humidity ranges from mildly humid (62%) to very humid (93%), being so close to the Alps and the Sea. Around mid-month humidity is about 90%, and drops off drier gradually the later in the month, around 78% on average.
Daily wind speed averages vary from no wind to 7 mph (calm to light breeze) or about 8 knots. Winds typically blow in from the northeast, sometimes from the north.
The beginning of January enjoys almost 9 hours of sunlight. Daily average temperature is around 3°C (~37°F), with highs of 6°C (43°F) and lows of 0°C (32°F). This increases minutely as the month progresses—the middle maintains an average of 2°C (36°F), highs of 6°C (44°F) and lows near freezing point. By the end of the month, averages are around 4°C (39°F), with highs of 7°C (45°F) and lows of 0.5°C (33°F).
WHERE TO STAY
Visitors who enjoy the extravagant will do well to book a room at the ornate Ca’ Sagredo Hotel (Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/4199), with its luxury 5-star rooms lined with gilding and stucco. The location can’t be beat, located between the Ca’ d’Oro and Rialto Bridge and just a few minutes from the market and St. Mark’s Square. The on-site restaurant, L’Alcova is open year round from noon to midnight, with panoramic views of the Grand Canal.
Al Ponte Mocenigo (S. Croce 2063) is a stylish hotel with 10 elegant rooms of traditional and exceptional beauty. Each room is furnished according to 1700s style, with large beds and Murano glass chandeliers. Singles, doubles, triples, quadruples are available, with the crème de la crème the junior suite with canopy bed and hydro-massage bath. The hotel is behind the San Stae Church just a short walk from Rialto Bridge.
A luxury 4-star option is the Hotel Colombina (Calle del Remedio 4416), located just a few steps from St. Mark’s Square that boasts views of the Bridge of Sighs and San Marco Basilica. All 32 rooms are equipped with bathroom, minibar, A/C and LCD satellite TV. The hotel is directly accessible by boat via the hotel’s private water landing. Three suites for couples who need extra space and families are available for use with lounge area and sofa.
For a more budget option, try the family-friendly La Calcina (Dorsoduro 780), which offers buffet breakfasts, roof terrace and views of the Giudecca Canal. Its charming antique furniture and delicate décor grants its rooms Old World charm, each room equipped with wifi, LCD TV and A/C. Single and doubles rooms are available with or without views. The on-site restaurant offers buffet breakfast and traditional Venetian dishes with vegetarian options and homemade cakes.
La Villeggiatura (Calle dei Botteri, San Polo 1569) is a good option for anyone looking for a casual bed and breakfast with spacious rooms. The amenities are rather simple but its prices relative to its location in the heart of town mean that it stays popular for families. Each room is equipped with a king bed, private bathrooms with shower or bath, minibar, A/C and heating, and complimentary cotton kimonos.
Novecento (San Marco 2683) is a charming boutique hotel on San Marco Square. Each of its nine rooms cultivates a historic chic atmosphere, small and luxurious but with reasonable prices. Guests can lounge around in the main sitting room or garden, or help themselves to a drink from the honesty bar. The hotel provides access to the fitness centre at their sister property, Hotel Flora. You can reach the hotel from the rail station by public boat transport.
The Hotel Rialto Venice (Riva del Ferro 5149) is a 4-star accommodation with 79 rooms, 28 of which overlook the Grand Canal. Each room is equipped with all the basic amenities—bathtub or shower, A/C, satellite TV and minibar. The facilities also include room service, elevator access to the panoramic terrace, and a landing for gondolas, water taxes and vaporettos 1 and 2.
THINGS TO DO
January is one of the coldest and quietest months in Venice. The famous Venetian fog rolls in, giving the canals a ghostly, romantic atmosphere. Visitors are well-advised to take advantage of the lack of crowds and sunlight and wander the streets with relative ease, or they can explore one of the city’s fantastic museums.
Start off at the Marciano Museum (San Marco Square), which houses a collection of religious items, jewelleries, tapestries, manuscripts and mosaics. It also contains unique historical memorabilia, such as original copies of the famous bronze horses that used to stand outside in the square. There is also the “blanket” used to cover the Pala d’Oro dating back to the 14th century. Don’t miss an amazing view of the Basilica from the museum’s balcony.
The extensive Museo Correr (Piazza San Marco 52) gives a thorough overview of Venetian history, full of historical memorabilia as well as numerous paintings and statues. The neoclassical rooms hold sculptures by Canova, gold Madonnas and ladies’ shoes that date back to the 16th century.
Theatre lovers might find a home at the House of Carlo Goldoni (San Polo 2794), a small palace that commemorates the famous 18th century Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni and other local theatre artists.
For something a bit more unique, drop by the Natural History Museum (Sestiere Santa Croce 1730), with its exhibits of prehistoric fossils and a complete dinosaur skeleton. The museum is located in the 13th-century Fondaco dei Turchi, a beautiful Byzantine-style palace.
Art lovers should expect to devote at least a full afternoon if not a whole day to the Accademia (Campo della Carità 1050). This gallery holds works from Italian masters such as Tintoretto, Titian, Carpaccio, Giorgione and Bellini. Your ticket also gains you entry to the Palazzo Grimani (Ramo Grimani), the former residence of Venetian doge Antonio Grimani.
Riding a Gondola might be high on your to-do list in Venice, but what about visiting a gondola artisan’s workshop? Some guides will arrange private tours of a boatyard, and introduce you to craftsmen, the history of the art, and secret techniques. Head down to Squero di San Trovaso, a boatyard that first opened in the 17th century near the Giudecca Canal. In the mood for further education? Some traditional mascareri or mask-makers offer 2-4 hour workshops. During these demonstrations you can learn about the art of the mask-making, mask history and decorating your own mask.
In Italy, everyone wants to learn how to cook—and in Venice there is nowhere else to look besides the Rialto Market. Everyone from ordinary housewives and professional chefs can offer demonstrations, classes and a chance to make your own cannoli.
Music-lovers might want to check out the Teatro La Fenice (San Marco 1965), the renowned opera house dating from late 18th century. It was on this stage that major bel canto era composers such as Bellini, Rossini and Verdi first premiered. Purchase tickets well beforehand, as they sell out even in winter, to a variety of concerts, operas and ballets. La Fenice occasionally offers private tours, do be sure to check if these are running while you’re there.
On the mainland, Mestre’s Teatro Toniolo holds an impressive symphony and chamber music season. There are also some sublime concerts held on the Sunday Masses at St. Mark’s and on the island of San Giorgio.
Visitors should remember that New Year’s Day is a mellow one in Venice. After a long night of celebration, most shops, restaurants and cafes will be closed for the day as people recover from parties, drink and lack of sleep. It is common for people take a dip in the refreshingly cool waters of the morning—definitely one way of recovering from an unwelcome hangover.
Italy's Christmas Holiday season traditionally lasts through the celebration of Epiphany (January 6), there is a feast which is called La Befana, which is an integral part of the festive celebration across Italy. La Befana is derived from a fairy tale about a good witch who brings gifts for children. It is believed that she is searching for the baby Jesus, therefore she brings gifts to children. Parades and processions are organised for this day of festivity. Crowds also gather to watch the Regatta delle Befana, where 5 rowing veterans (over the age of 55) are dressed up as Epiphanies. Rowers must dress up as La Befana and complete in a race along the Canal Grande to win the flag.
On the 17th January, Venetians celebrate the feast day of Saint Anthony the Abbot. Locals light huge bonfires and watch processions go by. Saint Anthony is supposed to protect against skin diseases such as shingles, Ergotism and erysipelas, historically refered to as " Saint Anthony's Fire" due to his association with flame. He is also the patron saint of domestic animals, butchers, basket makers and gravediggers.
EATING & DRINKING OUT
In the Veneto region, specialties tend to be seafood dishes and the all-popular aperitif and Prosecco. The house wine is usually a good bet, with solid whites like tocai and soave. Try Antica Trattoria alla Maddalena (Fondamenta S. Caterina 7/b), a family-run restaurant located on the island of Mazzorbo. This small isle is connected to Burano by a wooden bridge. The wine is squeezed from the family’s own vineyards. On Venice island proper, sample the wines at Naranzaria (San Polo 130), a reasonably priced wine bar open near-daily for lunch.
If you’re visiting Venice in winter, you’re already in tune with more local crowds over tourist ones—and for even more immersion, head over to the student bar Osteria al Pugni (Fondamenta Gherardini 30100), a friendly place where the average age can’t be more than 30. Try the exceptional aubergine balls in breadcrumbs. Or grab a slice at the Pizza al Volo (Dorsoduro 3012) on Campo Santa Margherita.
Venetians are well-known appreciators of the evening aperitivo, beginning the dinner with snacks and light drinks. Grab your jacket and a seat on the canal-facing tables at Osteria Bancogiro (Campo San Giacometto 122) or sample the salami and cheese plates at Ardidos (Cannaregio 2282).
For some traditional Venetian fare, you can’t go wrong at the Antica Adelaide (Cannaregio 3728), famous for its lagoon fish or goose grilled in its own fat. A popular splurge option is the Osteria Alle Testiere (Calle del Mondo Novo 5801), a seafood restaurant that seats just 22 people. The dishes are made daily from fish market in the morning. Try the John Dory fillet in citrus sauce with herbs. Pre-booking is essential—only two sittings start at 7pm and 9:30pm.