The sun, the sea, the Alps, and the aperitivo al fresco all help to make Italy one seriously dreamy summer holiday destination. This boot-shaped land at the end of Europe comes bathed in sunshine from May to September. It’s pretty good no matter where you go, from the sun-scorched bays of Puglia in the south to the wooded lake lands under the Dolomites to the north. But where are the warmest places in Italy?
That’s where this guide comes in. It hops from the hill towns of Tuscany to the sandy runs of the Amalfi Coast, from the café-rimmed streets of Milan to the historic core of Rome, all on the hunt for the spots that should offer the hottest temperature peaks and balmiest evenings.
Of course, the south features quite heavily, since that’s where the temperatures creep the highest most years. However, there are also plenty of enthralling inland towns that feature among the warmest places in Italy, mainly because they’re tucked under mountain ranges far from the cooling effect of the Mediterranean Sea.
For those trying to place Sicily on a map, it’s the lone island at the bottom of the Italian boot. An autonomous region of Italy, it is responsible for running its own government and municipal services. Sicily’s inclusion as part of Italy is actually relatively recent history, having been added to the national borders in the 1860s. Perhaps because of Sicily’s strong sense of identity, the island is known for its rich culture, art, and heritage.
It’s also known for being one of the warmest places in Italy…The balmiest month in Sicily is August, when temperatures reach a mean average of 27 degrees Celsius (that’s an average of just over 80 F). Comparatively, the coldest month is February, at just 12 C average (53 F). However, Sicily’s main draw when it comes to the weather are those warm springs and mild autumns. In May and then again in October, visitors can expect comfortable temperatures between 16-30 C (60-86 F) most days, not to mention hardly a drop of rain outside of the mountains.
There’s plenty to do in the warmth, too. Glorious beaches of alabaster-tinged sand run up the western edge of the island from Syracuse in the east while towns like Cefalu spill into their own turquoise bays. History lovers, meanwhile, should plan a visit to the Valley of the Temples, while hikers may want to tackle the island’s soaring volcanoes, Stromboli or Etna.
Naples is another addition to our list of the warmest places in Italy. A city in the South of Italy, Naples sits on the Bay of Naples near Mount Vesuvius. Although visitors may jump at the opportunity to visit the volcano that destroyed Pompeii in AD 79, Naples has a lot more to offer than just that. It’s a gold mine of cultural attractions, brimming with archaeology museums, medieval castles, Renaissance palaces, and historical ruins to discover.
Naples has its hottest month in August, too, with a mean average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 F). However, unlike Sicily, the city has its coldest month in January, where temperatures reach a mean average of just 9 degrees (48.2 F). Once again, though, it’s May and October that usually come up trumps. They are still hot but also less busy and more affordable overall.
One thing’s for sure – the chefs of Naples have really made the most of the local climate. This is the city that gave the world pizza, and the local soils that are baked in sun are the growing spot for the famous San Marzano tomatoes that are said to make the best sauces in the world. You’ll want to be sure to sample a pie or 20 at iconic establishments like L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele or Gino e Toto Sorbillo.
Rome, of course, needs very little introduction. The city is arguably the epicenter of Italy’s cultural scene. Home to the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the separate state of the Vatican with endless museums attached, Rome does plenty to enthrall and entertain. It’s not for nothing that it’s hailed as the Eternal City.
It also gets hot. August is the balmiest of all, when temperatures reach a mean average of 25 degrees Celsius (77 Celsius). Compare that to the coldest month in the Italian capital, when mean averages of 8 degrees Celsius are the norm, and you can even find snow and ice caking the statues on the Piazza Navona. The town warms fast in spring, though, and by May you can even expect occasional highs in the region of 30 C (91 F)!
While the city is located inland, there are beaches a short distance from Rome. The coast is approximately an hour’s drive from the center – we’d recommend Tibidabo Beach in Ostia and Spiaggia e Cucina. Alternatively, stick to the urban jungle but seek out the tree-shaded walks of the Villa Borghese and the Villa Doria Pamphili, where you can sit with a picnic and watch the world go by.
Fashion and business have rocketed Milan’s global reputation, and the city is now one of the most famous in all of Italy. Despite being in the north of the country where it’s generally cooler, Milan’s inland location means it experiences warmer temperatures than other places in the region.
The city is set in the midst of the Po Valley, which means it receives low winds and high humidity. Those craving heat can take full advantage of these conditions in summer, when you should find Milan up there among the warmest places in Italy. August in Milan tends to see mean average temperatures of 25 C (77 F), with top highs of 30 degrees (86 F). However, things tail off faster this far north compared to the south, with springs and autumns offering milder temperatures and extra rain.
For a summery experience in Milan, you can explore the city on foot – spotting architecture and cafes on your way. The Duomo di Milano and the Scala Opera House are particularly worth a visit, but there are also hip neighborhoods like Brera to get through. Oh, and never forget that the Italian lakes are right there on the doorstep. Como is directly north, offering chic towns like Bellagio with wine bars on the water’s edge. Iseo is a little east and north, offering lesser-known lido towns under the shadow of the Adamello-Presanella Alps.
Puglia sits on the heel of the long Italian boot. That puts it right in the south, which, in turn, cranks up the mercury levels here to pretty suntan-bolstering levels. Temperatures vary slightly across the region, but the main city of Lecce experiences a mean average of 26 degrees in the hottest month of August. This temperature drops to a mean average of 10 degrees in January, which is still impressively mild compared to some Northern Italian destinations.
When in Puglia, we’d recommend visiting the towns of Ostuni and Alberobello. The first is famed for its unusual architectural aesthetic that shines through in the white-washed buildings, while the houses in Alberobello – known locally as trullo houses – have characteristic coned roofs.
For cooling off, Puglia’s coastline cannot be missed. We’d say some of the most stunning shore in Italy awaits here, mainly thanks to the Gargano National Park, a land where ivory-tinged rocks crag and crawl their way into a see-through Adriatic Sea. The capes around Punta Meliso are also fantastic, coming with rugged grottoes and sea caves.
Calabria is a southern region in Italy and the closest part of the mainland to Sicily. The region is famous for its glorious summers, mountains, and beaches. For nature lovers, Calabria’s four national parks (Pollino, Sila, Aspromonte, and Serre) are perfect for hiking and immersion into rural Italian living. Calabria is a great destination for those wanting a glimpse of Italy’s wilder side while maximizing sunshine.
It should not be surprising that Calabria is one of the warmest places in Italy. In August, the hottest month in Italy overall, you can expect a mean average temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 F). That said, it’s common for the thermometers to crank up to 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 F) in August and 31 C (87.8 F) in July. Even in February, Calabria’s coldest month, you can expect a relatively mild mean average of 12 C (53.6).
One of the highlights of the area for us has to be the lesser-known city of Tropea. It’s very much one of those places that the Italians go on holiday, but it’s pure drama – think a medieval city soaring straight out of the Tyrrhenian Sea like something out of Game of Thrones, glimmering waters of impossible teal blue sloshing against the pebbly shores right below.
The Cinque Terre are, simply, stunning. A string of five villages that dot the cliffs of Liguria in the northwest of the country, they are uber-romantic clusters of pastel-painted homes that top high rock faces above boat-bobbing harbors. The whole lot is now protected as part of the Cinque Terre National Park, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What earns it a place on this list is that the region hits its temperature zenith in July, not August. That month has a mean average of 24 degrees (75.2 F). In August, the mean average temperature drops to 23 degrees, with highs of 28 C (82.4 F) – AKA, still pretty balmy.
We love this one as an option for sun seekers because it offers a mix of nature and sea. You can hike paths between lovely little Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare, dropping down for long lunches of Italian seafood at the coastal taverns and then navigating the pine-fringed trails to lookout points high above the Med.
High-perched Potenza is the highest of all of Italy’s regional capitals. But it’s also one of the most southerly in the country, coming perched up between the wooded reaches of the Apennine Mountains along the gurgling Basento River – we’re talking roughly in line with Naples and Puglia here!
Winters in this highland town can get pretty chilly, with thermometers dropping to 4 C (39 F). That changes in the summer months, though, as mercury levels creep towards potential highs of 36.8 C (98.2 F) in both July and August. On top of that, there’s an estimated 11 days of rain for the whole three peak summer months from June to August, so you can rely on there being some sunshine to match.
The bad news is that you’re going to be quite far from the sea for beaches and swims. However, there are loads of wild-swimming locations in the surrounding Apennines, including the glimmering Lago del Pantano and the mirror-like mountain lake of Sirino.
If it wasn’t for the cooling effect of the surrounding seas, Pantelleria would almost certainly be the single hottest place in the whole of Italy. As it stands, it’s just a touch cooler than its big brother of Sicily, which sits 100km to the north. Do the math: That puts you closer to the shoreline of Tunisia here than the Italian mainland!
Temperature highs here can get you almost halfway to boiling point. No joke – thermometers have been known to surpass 41.8 C (107.2 F) in these parts. However, normal averages in the summer months are around the 28.2 C (82.8 F) mark.
That’s just about perfect for exploring the rugged isle in all its glory. Look forward to black-rock coves like Spiaggia Sataria and strange collapsed cliff faces like the Balata dei Turchi, all forged and formed from the volcanic geology that’s at work below the surface. The only way to arrive here is by ferry from Trapani on the west coast of Sicily. They usually take just over two hours.
The warmest places in Italy – our conclusion
It should hardly come as a surprise that the warmest places in Italy are mainly in the south of the country. They’re the destinations where you can see record temperature highs peaking above the 100s F and 40s C in the height of the summer. Thankfully, they also tend to be options with fantastic beaches and good proximity to the sea, from Sicily in the west to Puglia in the east. We’ve also thrown in some inland towns and cities here, though, mainly because they can get hot as you leave behind the Italian coast and head nearer the central backbone of the Apennine hills.