Planning to visit Italy in February? Don’t be afraid of the cold, it’s a great time to visit! Here we’ll tell you all about February weather, where to go, and where to find the best Carnival celebrations! UPDATED JAN 2024
Would you like to visit Italy in winter? Well, February may very well be the perfect month! The ski season is in full swing in the Alps, so if you want to hit the slopes of places like Cortina or Madonna di Campiglio, it’s a great time to visit. The snow is (pretty much – thanks climate change!) guaranteed, and longer daylight hours mean you’ll have more time to spend outdoors.
Are you planning to hit cities like Florence, Naples, and Rome? February is a good month – it’s still low season, as most tourists start planning visits from April onwards. In Venice, February is pretty busy because of Carnival, but it’s a magical time to visit!
Looking for winter sunshine? February is still a bit early for that, but you may be lucky and get some warm spells in Southern Italy. The water will probably be cold to swim, unless you are a true Viking!
All in all, February in Italy is a really great time to skip the crowds and enjoy popular sights before the tourist masses start visiting. Let’s have a look at February weather now – spoiler alert, it’s still pretty cold!
Weather in February in Italy
February in Italy is still winter, but it’s the time when winter starts drawing to a close. The days are considerably longer, with the sun setting around 6 PM in the latter part of the month, giving you much more time to ski and explore.
The weather also varies considerably between North and South. It’s the perfect time to go skiing in the Alps and Apennines – there are some pretty good ski resorts in Central Italy too! It’s safe to say you’ll find snow most years, and temperatures are still below freezing, so you may be lucky and find some fresh powder!
In Northern Italy, February is a pretty dry month, but you may encounter some fog. Average highs are around 8/10°C, dropping around freezing at night.
It’s warmer in the South, with the mercury regularly hitting 12/15°C – even 20, in case of a warm spell. Don’t forget to pack something warm for the evening, as it gets quite chilly around 5°C, and a rain jacket!
Where to Go in Italy in February
February is the ideal month to ski in Italy, and there’s no better place to do it than the Dolomites. These famous mountains are just spectacular in all seasons, but when they’re covered in snow under a bright blue sky… well, it’s pure magic.
There are plenty of places to choose from to go skiing in the Dolomites, but I’d like to recommend two – Cortina d’Ampezzo and Madonna di Campiglio.
Cortina will be hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics alongside Milan, and it’s set in a stunning location in Northern Veneto, with the world-class slopes of the Dolomiti Superski complex just a quick cable-car ride away. I visited a few years ago and stayed at Hotel Ambra, which I wholeheartedly recommend.
Madonna di Campiglio is the ideal gateway for the Campiglio Dolomiti Skiarea, with 96 km of runs including the famous 3Tre, part of the ski world cup. I recommend Hotel Alpina, run by the friendly and welcoming Aldrighetti family.
Is it worth visiting the Dolomites if you are not planning to ski? YES! There’s plenty more to do and explore – many hotels organize guided snowshoe hikes, or you can just hop on a cable car and head to a baita (restaurants on the slopes) for a bombardino, the unofficial skiing drink in Italy, made with eggnog topped with whipped cream!
Book your Dolomites tours here!
- Heart of the Dolomites: Full Day Tour by Car
- Dolomites Snowshoe Tour Near Cortina
- Dolomites Full Day Tour From Lake Garda
The Dolomites aren’t the only place to go skiing in winter – in fact, you can enjoy fun in the snow pretty much anywhere in the Alps and Apennines!
Another place I really enjoy for a skiing adventure in February in Italy is Bormio, located in Valtellina. Not only it is close to some really cool runs, it’s also a spa destination known since the times of the Romans. Is there anything better than hitting the spa after skiing the whole day? I don’t think so!
The two best spas in Bormio are Bagni Vecchi and Bagni Nuovi. Bagni Vecchi welcomes families, and it has historical look and feel, with some pools recreating the experience of Roman baths. Bagni Nuovi is not that new – the Art Nouveau building dates back to the 19th century. There are more outdoor pools compared to Bagni Vecchi, but it’s open to over 14s only.
In Bormio and everywhere else in the Italian Alps, February is prime time for settimane bianche, traditional week-long holidays with a focus on skiing. Hotels might have special deals including half-board and skipass, but please be aware it’s a busy time to visit.
After skiing, let’s move on to the second main reason to visit Italy in February – Carnival! One of the most unique Carnival celebrations in Italy is the Battle of the Oranges taking place in Ivrea, a town just north of Turin.
The Battle of the Oranges is exactly what you think – a fierce battle between teams on foot and horse cart, with oranges as the only allowed weapon. You can find out more about Ivrea’s unusual Carnival in our Battle of the Oranges article, including pics we had to risk our lives to get!
Well, maybe not really. In any case, you should definitely add it to your February in Italy itinerary!
Venice is another unmissable place to visit in February. The canal city is spellbinding every month of the year, but come Carnival time, even more so – imagine those narrow streets and canalside walks filled with people in 18th-century costumes, complete with full face mask.
Carnival in Venice takes place over the period of two weeks, and includes several events – from the traditional Volo dell’Angelo, to parades on foot and by gondola, and lots of exclusive parties happening in behind closed doors in the city’s palazzos (insert Eyes Wide Shut vibes).
Even if you don’t have tickets to these parties, and you’re not planning to dress up, it’s worth seeing Carnival in Venice at least once – but be sure to book ahead!
February is also a great time to try some of Venice’s best bike rides. You can’t cycle in the city itself, but the surrounding Venetian Lagoon is ideal to explore on two wheels, with plenty of nature and historical sites to visit.
Book your Venice tours here!
- Doge Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica: Skip-The-Line Tour
- Venice: Doge’s Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket
- Venice: Grand Canal by Gondola with Commentary
February is also the ideal time for a romantic holiday in Italy – after all, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate it than Romeo and Juliet’s hometown, Verona?
Verona is only a short train ride from Venice, so it’s easy to combine both on the same February trip to Italy. Verona is full of picturesque corners, worth visiting in any case regardless of whether you are alone, with friends, or with your SO – you can get lost in the maze of Giardino Giusti, hike up to Castel San Pietro to enjoy the view, walk along the Adige, or even visit Juliet’s House if you are so inclined.
Active couples, take note – there’s a half marathon in Verona around Valentine’s Day! It’s called Romeo e Giulietta Half Marathon, taking place on a scenic course through the historic centre of the city.
Book your Verona tours here!
- Verona Card with Arena Priority Entrance
- Discover Verona: City Highlights Guided Walking Tour
- From Verona: Amarone Wine Trail Tour
It’s always a good time to visit Tuscany, and February is no exception! There are two main places I’d like to recommend – the first is Viareggio, a seaside home to another cool Carnival celebration.
Starting from a couple of weeks before Ash Wednesday, the town organizes parades of giant floats, inspired by politics or common affair events. The best place to see the parade is the seaside promenade, but it does get busy – try staying at a hotel right on the seafront like Hotel Eden or the Grand Hotel Royal, so you can enjoy the show from the terrace.
Are you visiting Tuscany, but want to squeeze in some skiing? If so, make your way to Abetone, one of the best ski resorts in the Tuscan Apennines less than an hour from Florence. There are 50 km of runs, including some seriously hair-rising black ones!
Ah, and just in case you were wondering, Tuscan towns like Florence, Pisa, and Siena are not busy in February, and a true delight to visit – but make sure you book your Uffizi and David tickets in advance!
Book your Tuscany tours here!
- From Florence: Small Group Wine Tasting Tour to Tuscany
- Balloon Flight Over Tuscany: Florence
- From Florence: Tuscany Day Trip with Optional Lunch and Wine
Let’s skip to the very bottom of Italy – February is a wonderful time to visit Sicily, the best place for winter sunshine!
If you have to choose one area to focus on, my vote would be Catania. You can go skiing on Mount Etna, opt for snowshoeing/winter hiking on Europe’s tallest volcano, or just catch the cable car to the summit craters if you are feeling lazy.
Are you more of a seaside person? Catania is just a short distance from Acireale, Aci Castello and Acitrezza, three pretty coastal villages. You can also easily get to Taormina, about half an hour drive from the city, known for its Greek theatre and views over Mount Etna. If it’s your first time visiting, this 7-day Sicily itinerary is for you!
Last but not least, February is also the time for the festival of Sant’Agata, the patron saint of the city. The exact dates are February 3rd to 5th – but I’ll tell you more about it in the next section, February festivals in Italy!
Book your Catania tours here!
- Catania: Mount Etna Morning or Sunset Day Trip with Tasting
- Etna: Guided Trekking Tour to Summit Craters
- From Catania: Valley of the Temples and Turkish Steps
February Events and Festivals in Italy
February 2nd is the day of Candelora (Candlemas in English), the Christian interpretation of a Pagan festival traditionally marking the turning point of winter. Candles are blessed in churches on this day during Mass, but nothing usually happens outside.
There’s also a saying – similar to that of Groundhog Day in English-speaking countries – that the weather on the day of Candelora forecasts how the rest of winter will be. “Quando vien la candelora dall’inverno semo fora, ma se piove o tira vento, nell’inverno semo dentro” – if it’s windy or rainy, winter will continue!
February 3rd is the day of San Biagio (Saint Blaise), protector of the throat and nose. In Milan there’s a weird tradition – if you eat panettone on this day, you won’t get a sore throat or cold for the rest of the year.
There are two ‘theories’ behind this tradition – one is that San Biagio saved a boy from choking on a fish bone by feeding him a giant breadcrumb, and the other is that a panettone-loving friar had eaten all of the cake, but after praying to the Saint an even bigger panettone appeared. In any case, it’s a pretty good excuse to eat more panettone!
Festival di Sanremo
Taking place on the first week of February for 70+ years, Sanremo is the most popular festival dedicated to Italian music, an ‘Italian Eurovision’ of sorts – in fact, the winner represents Italy at Eurovision.
VIPs, singers, influencers and all the Italian stardom descend en masse to Sanremo, a small Ligurian coastal town, for this week-long festival happening behind closed doors at Teatro Ariston. If you’re into Italian music, you could try to snag a ticket – alternatively, just watch in on TV!
February 3rd to 5th is festival time in Catania dedicated to the patron saint, Sant’Agata. The festival starts with mass at dawn in the city’s cathedral, attended by thousands of locals. A big, bejeweled statue of the saint is placed on a silver carriage and paraded all around the city, up to the top of Via Sangiuliano, before being taken back 2 hours later.
Meanwhile, there’s also music, singing, celebrations of all sorts, and naturally plenty of food, plus a fun run held in honour of the saint. It’s busy, but a great time to visit Catania as locals are really passionate about these celebrations.
February in Italy means Carnival! Carnival celebrations take place all over Italy over the two weeks before the beginning of Lent, usually climaxing on Shrove Tuesday. The festival has its roots (once again) in pre-Christian Spring celebrations, and it’s traditionally seen as a kind of ‘last party’ before the penance of Lent.
Carnival celebrations take many forms – from the masked balls of Venice to the Orange Battle of Ivrea, from the ironic floats of Viareggio to the mamuthones of Sardinia, and many more. It’s always a very good reason to visit Italy in February!
Italy is a very romantic country, so can you think of a better place to spend Valentine’s Day? For example, you could head to Verona to visit Juliet’s House, or spend the day in Terni, Saint Valentine’s very own hometown! The patron saint is celebrated with the traditional religious parade with additions of roses and love hearts, plus dances and music.
Elsewhere in Italy, on February 14th you’ll find restaurants serving special Valentine’s Day dinners, sometimes with special lighting and decorations, If it’s your thing, go for it!
Looking for more month-by-month Italy guides? There you are!
- Italy in January – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in March – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in April – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in May – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in June – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in July – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in August – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in September – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in October – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in November – Where to Go + Weather
- Italy in December – Where to Go + Weather