When you consider the attractions in Italy, both physical and natural, the constant influx of tourists during the high season is entirely unsurprising. From fascinating culture, sublime cuisine, fine wine, and spectacular scenery; there are endless reasons to visit the likes of Venice, Florence, or Rome but then often, the extent of tourism in such places can also feel somewhat frustrating.

At the same time, most visitors expect these stunning destinations to be busy, to wait for long periods in line at the Colosseum or share Venetian waterways with a host of honeymooners. In fact, even the online reviews testify that this kind of scenario is unavoidable. But is this really true?

Reasons to explore Italy in the low season 

While mid-July or late August promises warm weather and a fantastic time, there are probably, even more, reasons to travel during the low season in Italy. And these are reasons which are worth your consideration and factors which are likely to ensure you have an even better time, albeit at a less busy time of year. With this in mind, if July or August is the only time you can afford to take a vacation, by all means, get it booked but given the option, consider the low season as an alternative.

While the climate in the first few months of the year is a concern for some, what people should know is that even though the weather is cooler at this time, it is nevertheless quite favorable. Also, contrary to popular belief, the summer months are not actually the best time to visit Italy. Aside from the weather, most tour operators are in full swing while tourist crowds in general ensure expensive accommodation, standing in the above-mentioned lines and maneuvering tirelessly for photographs at busy attractions.

In fact, the first three months of the year is the cheapest time to travel in Italy and with all of the same experiences on offer, this can only be a good thing. Thinking about taking a gondola ride? It is far less romantic during the high season with so many couples doing the same thing, and then even the Sistine Chapel doesn’t quite smell the same in the presence of multiple tour groups, families and screaming children.

Of course, take the above scenarios with a pinch of salt but do realize that they are certainly conceivable and a lot less likely in the offseason.

The benefits of traveling during low season in Italy

However, it must be noted that the downsides of high season are not the real reasons you should consider traveling during the low season. Yes, the higher costs and frustrating aspects of a busy time of year can take away from an adventure but the positive experience which accompanies low season is the real highlight.

Admiring the work of Michelangelo in silence or cruising through the empty canals of Venice, it is suddenly apparent that visitors often get things the wrong way around. After all, why throw yourself into the hustle and bustle of these frantic destinations when you can visit during the low season when the tourist sites are empty, and you can mingle with locals on the plazas without all the commotion.

The truth is, the absence of tourists during the low season can provide a much more authentic and very personal experience to the visitor – one which is most unlikely to be found in July or August.

Rail & Stay in Italy during low season

Taking a week-long rail holiday is a year-round option, and the most popular route travels through Florence, Venice, Rome and many more enchanting destinations. Featuring the very same attractions and unique experiences as the summer months, you can make huge savings between January and March, which inevitably leaves you with more spending money to splash out on pasta, pizza, and chianti. Although the basic price includes 3-star accommodation, the Rail & Stay package is also customizable, so you can upgrade to five-star hotels or add airport transfers to the trip at your leisure.

Affordable, quiet, relaxing and pleasantly cool, Italy may not be as popular in the low season, but you should find more than enough reasons and then first experiences to warrant what will be the best decision you ever make. 

For the best options on travel in Italy during the low season, please feel free to contact us. Alternatively, you can book the 7-Day Rail & Stay package through Rome, Florence and Venice for as little as R6, 690 per person sharing in February and R7, 490 per person sharing in March 2018.

Mark Buck is the Managing Director of United Europe Travel Services (Pty) Ltd, a travel wholesaler based in South Africa

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