If you’re visiting Italy in September, expect summer weather and high-season crowds. Italian summers have creeped into this fall month, extending one of the best times to visit the country. While we know we shouldn’t choose favorites, it’s hard to resist when September offers fantastic weather for sightseeing around this beautiful country. From festivals and events to cultural experiences and historic sites, this month in Italy has a ton to offer. So, if you’re ready to pack your bags and head to Italy in September, here’s what you need to see and do there.
The summer weather in Italy is known to be very hot. However, once September rolls around, these temperatures taper off a bit. Don’t worry, it will still be plenty hot to take a swim on the coast, but you probably won’t get as overheated as you would traveling during the summer months. While nights tend to be slightly cooler, you won’t have to worry about bringing too many layers because temps are still quite warm. On average, the temperatures in Italy during September are as follows:
- Northern Italy: 55-75°F (13-24°C)
- Central Italy: 65-80°F (18-27°C)
- Southern Italy: 70-80°F (21-27°C)
September often feels exactly like summer, especially in the beginning of the month. Once you reach the end of the month, temperatures may drop to become slightly cooler. And, while September is not typically a rainy month, you may still experience a summer rain shower here and there. Just check the local weather forecast before your trip so you have an idea of what to pack.
Festivals & Events
September in Italy is the start of harvest season, which means there will be plenty of festivals and small events going on (especially in the foodie scene.) If you love to eat, visiting Italy during this month is highly recommended. You’ll find festivals celebrating all types of local foods like white truffles, prosciutto, and chocolate. It’s a great opportunity to try Italian food in a way that goes beyond eating at the restaurants. Festivals differ depending on your location so make sure to do some research for hyper-local events wherever you happen to be traveling.
September is a great time for other cultural festivals as well. You’ll find historic boat races, film festivals, days of remembrance for famous saints, and national holidays. Here’s an overview of some of Italy’s top festivals and events going on in September.
Located in Venice, this is one of the most famous festivals taking place in September. It’s a historic boat race that commences on the first Sunday of the month and draws in giant crowds from around the country and the world. There are four race categories, children, men, women, and champions. This sport is unique to Venice and has been practiced for thousands of years. Visitors will get to see 16th century boats racing around the waters of Venice, as well as the colorful parade that precedes it. There are floating stalls around the grand canals where visitors can take a seat to watch the race. Plan ahead if you want to catch this event as hotels and tickets can get booked up quickly.
International Film Festival
Taking place in Venice, this film festival is perfect for all the cinephiles out there. If you just love culture and entertainment, you’ll enjoy this festival as well. It takes place in early September, and is usually star studded. The festival has been going on for 76 years, and is full of tradition and culture. The event is a pretty big deal as it’s considered one of the top three film festivals in the world, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. Aside from movies, visitors will also see dance performances, art exhibits, theater, and an architecture exhibition. It’s extremely prestigious so get your tickets early and look your best.
Palio di San Rocco
Located in Figline Valdarno, Tuscany, this event takes places over five days and is made up of medieval competitions. It’s said that this was the first Palio event in Tuscany, and features jousting, horse racing, and archery. Visitors will experience traditional, Italian culture which includes costumed locals, food, music, and entertainment.
Taking place in Verona, this festival celebrates none other than Shakespeare’s Juliet. It happens each year on the 12th of September and is made up of street entertainment, dancing, costumes, and parades. This is a great place and time to visit the ‘real’ Juliet’s balcony, and look at the wall of letters written to Juliet from people around the world. You can also visit her tomb! This festival is especially nice to celebrate if you’re traveling as a couple (it tends to be a very romantic atmosphere.)
Located in Bologna, this festival celebrates everyone’s favorite food group, potatoes! Foodies should definitely get on board with this festival, as there are plenty of new dishes to try. The festival lasts for an entire week so you’ll be able to learn all about the various potato varieties grown around Italy while testing out local and traditional recipes. Expect lots of tastings, exhibitor booths, and food carts. Specialities to look out for include; potato soup, potato salad, potato chips, potato fries, potato gnocchi, and even potato pizza. You’ll be carbing up so you may want to pack some spandex pants if you plan on attending this festival.
If you’re visiting Verona and want to experience some world-class entertainment, make your way to the Opera Festival. It takes place in an ancient, Roman amphitheater so you can watch the incredible performances under the starry skies. It offers renowned acts with spectacular singing and dancing, so you’ll be thoroughly entertained, even if you don’t love opera.
Women’s Fashion Week
Held during late September in Milan, this week is full of fashion, models, and beautiful people. Since Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals, expect to find the works of world renowned designers. Visitors can catch glimpses of Fendi, Max Mara, Moschino, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versaci, and Armani. There will be fashion shows, exhibits, and swarms of fashionable models roaming around. If you love fashion, this is the place to be.
Things to See And Do
Climb Mt. Vesuvius
Climbing Mt. Vesuvius is just something you have to do while visiting Italy. It’s the perfect experience because it gets you active, offers stunning views, is a major accomplishment, and gives you the chance to check out one of Italy’s most famous sites. Hiking up Vesuvius in September is even better than other times of the year because the weather is still warm enough to be comfortably outside (and at a higher altitude) but not too hot and humid like it is during the summer. The hike has different routes that are suitable for a range of abilities, and once you get to the top, the scene is like something from outer space. Take your photo at the crater to capture a once-in-a-lifetime memory from Italy.
Explore Cinque Terre
This beautiful (and colorful) coastal region of Italy is a dream, especially when visiting in September. It looks just like the infamous postcards with rugged cliffs, colorful buildings, and beautifully blue water. It’s both a World UNESCO Heritage Site and a national park, so expect lots of old world charm and natural beauty. The region is made up of five different villages so it’s best to rent a car and take some time exploring them all. It’s dotted with olive groves, small eateries, and plenty of romantic hideouts.
Visit Lake Como
While the September weather is still beautiful, take advantage of all the outdoor activities Italy has to offer. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful scenes in the country and offers plenty to do outside. It’s known as a bit of a ritzy location but can be done on the cheap as well. If you want to live in luxury while visiting Italy, this is a great place to do it. There are gorgeous hotels and swanky restaurants where you can live the high life with beautiful views of the surrounding forests. Spend some time on the lake or just wandering around the small villages looking for delicious food and wine.
Wander Around Rome
There isn’t just one attraction that we can suggest for Rome. You just need to visit and spend a few days wandering around the city. There is so much to see and experience here, from museums and historic architecture to world renowned food, natural sites, and beautiful music. Make sure to see the top Roman sites like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, and the Pantheon. Explore the food scene and make sure to eat your weight in pizza, pasta, and gelato. And, when you want to take it easy, spend some time drinking espresso and cappuccino in Rome’s many cafes. Take a side trip to Vatican City to see the cathedrals, museums, and of course, the Sistine Chapel.
If you take the hike up Mt. Vesuvius, you’ll want to visit the city of Pompeii. It’s most known for being completely destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, spouting ash into the city. This ash preserved many of the buildings and the people that it killed, and now serves as an open-air museum. Visitors will find preserved homes, baths, Roman ruins, and the bodies of people who died during the event.
Take a Boat Journey Along The Amalfi Coast
This is one of the most beautiful coastlines in Italy, and taking a September afternoon boat ride here only heightens the experience. A boat trip along the shoreline will yield stunning views of colorful houses, charming boats, rugged landscape, and deep blue waters. The shore is sprinkled with hidden coves, tiny inlets, and towering rock faces that look postcard-perfect. Your journey will be dotted with tiny villages where you can stop off for some local food, tasty drinks, and even tastier desserts.
Get Lost In Venice
If you’re visiting Venice in September to check out the festivals, spend a few extra days getting lost in this historic city. Venice is a maze of small alleys, hidden cafes, secret doors, and tiny canals. September has beautiful weather so spend some time outdoors exploring the sites and sounds here. Stop off at the Grand Canal to watch the boats zip by while eating a gelato (or two.) Turn down a back alley and uncover a quaint cafe where you can sip a cappuccino while watching the locals do their thing. And, don’t forget to visit the art museums, the cathedrals, and to take a ride on a gondola.
Hike up Stromboli
No, not the food. This still-active volcano is located in Sicily and is a hotspot for anyone who loves trekking. Get the blood pumping as you hike all the way to the top crater, which still blows out puffs of smoke. If you’re not into all the physical assertion, you can climb halfway up as the trail is much easier and you’ll still get great views. If you want to make your way to the very top, you’ll need a certified guide as well as 5-6 hours to do it. It won’t be easy but the photographs are certainly worth the effort.
Do a Pizza Tour in Naples
Love pizza? Go to Naples! You can take a self-guided walking tour around the city to test out different pizzerias. It’s said that pizza was invented in Naples so you can expect that any restaurant you pick will have the good stuff. Many spots have seating outdoors so you can enjoy your pizza and the September weather at the same time.
Wander The Chianti Wine Route
You can’t visit Italy without trying the wine, so the Chianti wine route is just what you need. The region can be found between Florence and Siena, and is full of natural beauty and fine wine. There are various wine tours that will take you around to some of the best vineyards and wineries in the area. Stop off to photograph the rolling hills, quaint villages, and beauty of the countryside in between winery visits.
If you’re visiting Italy in September, here are a few extra tips:
- Book hotels and tours early as this time of year is still quite busy for tourists.
- If you plan on attending festivals, book hotels and tickets extra early.
- Bring clothes that are comfortable for summer weather. A light sweater is nice to have for going indoors where there may be air conditioning.
- Bring comfortable shoes and clothes for outdoor activities like hiking.
September is a great time to visit Italy, especially if you love the outdoors. The weather is hot but not too hot so you can comfortably do activities outside. Nearly all of the tourist attractions and hotspots in Italy are fantastic choices during September!