For the majority of people Italy means mostly art, sun and beautiful sea. But probably a few people know about its beautiful mountain landscapes, full of snow, that make the “Belpaese” perfect for a winter trip. The North of Italy boasts part of the Alps, the highest and most extensive mountain chain in Europe but it is possible to discover unexpected winter locations also in other areas of Italy.
Ski enthusiasts will find many incredible resorts all across Italy to spend an unforgettable holiday, along with great landscapes and of course awesome food!
ItalyXP listed for you 5 (+1) winter locations in Italy you cannot miss if you are travelling in this season, or plan to!
Dolomites area, in the deep North of Italy is perhaps the Italy's most overlooked treasure troves of beauty, especially for foreign tourists. Many of them cannot imagine that just driving 2 hours north from the romantic Venice, they can find this incredibly beautiful and majestic mountain scenery, part of the UNESCO heritage.
This is the ultimate region for relaxation and many kind of sports, from ski in winter to hiking and biking in warmer seasons. Although it is definitely worth a visit in every time of the year, we believe that winter gives Dolomites a touch of magic.
There is a wide choice of little pretty villages to set in: Vipiteno, Merano, Bressanone, Brunico and Renon, nice colorful villages with wooden houses. The poshest destination in the area is certainly Cortina d’Ampezzo, where you will find the crowd of Italian jet set, but it it boasts an incredibly panorama, completely surrounded by the Dolomites.
The area hosts also one of the largest and most delicious ski networks in the world, with its main resorts located in Cortina d’Ampezzo and in the landmark of Dolomites: the three peaks of Lavaredo.
A special mention for the cuisine of the area, the South Tyrol, where you will find a mix of Italian and Austrian dishes: you cannot miss the canederli, dumplings with speck and bread.
If you arrive in Milan, we suggest you to take a look at our 4 days escorted tour to the Dolomites departing from Milan, including accommodation and transfers.
If you are based in Venice, we suggest our private day tour to the Dolomites, including Cortina and the Three peaks or the small group tour to the Dolomites by bus.
Turin is the capital of Piedmont region, in the deep North-West of Italy that used to be the first Capital of the unified Italy in 1861. It still keeps the elegance of a royal city and its grandeur is reflected in the large, majestic boulevards and the arcaded shopping streets, and, of course, in La Venaria, Turin’s equivalent of Versailles.
We believe that winter adds even more charm to the beauty of Turin: it is no coincidence that in 2006 it was chosen as the host city of Winter Olympics! If you are lucky enough you will see the city and its symbol, the “Mole Antonelliana”, covered by snow and it will be even more pleasant to spend some time in the wide variety of cafès, pubs and musems (above all the Egyptian Museum and the Museum of Cinema).
Turin is also famous for the high-quality production of chocolate: you cannot leave Turin without a pack of “giaduiotti”, chocolate candies made from a mixture of hazelnuts and chocolate.
Another plus of visiting Turin during winter is that it is very close to many ski resorts and beautiful mountain landscapes, such as Sestiere and Val di Susa. It is also easy and fast to reach Milan: the high speed train takes around 1 hour.
During Christmas time, you will also find the magic atmosphere conveyed by the “Luci d’Artista”, Lights of artists-, a series of street decorations using theme lights designed by international artists all those works are spread over the streets and squares of the city's historical centre.
Tucked between Switzerland, France, and Piedmont there is the little region of Valle d’Aosta, with less than 130.000 inhabitants which is an unmissable destination in winter. The region boasts some of the most and majestic mountains of the Alps, which are among the highest mountains in Europe, such as Mount Bianco, Mount Rosa or Mount Gran Paradiso.
Valle d’Aosta region usually sees snow falling from late autumn to March and ski enthusiasts will perhaps want to head for Courmayeur, which is the most popular resort in Valle d'Aosta, or Cervinia and Champoluc.
The region also features numerous and fairly spectacular ancient Roman ruins. It highly suggested a visit of the Roman theatre in Aosta, the main city of the region: the building dates back to the reign of August and now it is often used as the stage of music shows and theater performs.
There are also several other historical monuments to discover in Valle d’Aosta, including a large number of castles such as those in Fenis, Ussel and Issogne, among others.
Discover Aosta and Courmayer in our 4 days escorted tour of Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta departing from Milan.
Let’s admit that: the most of foreigners probably never heard of Friuli Venezia Giulia before, but it is a true gem of North Italy! The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia is located in the north-west area of Italy, on the borders with Slovenia and Austria and it offers a huge variety of landscapes: from the elegant Trieste, on the sea, to the majestic “Alpi Giulie”.
It would be perhaps the most appreciated location for ski enthusiasts, because it is not one of the most popular destination in winter, in spite of the beauty of this area: far from the crowds of Cortina and the Dolomites, areas like Tarvisio and Ravascletto are characterized by a calm atmosphere, where you will even not have to wait in line for the sky lifts! This would for sure add a recreational value to to a winter holiday in Friuli. A special mention to the Mounts Lussari, in Tarvisio area, where along with professional ski resort, there is a fairytale village where to stroll around drinking hot chocolate.
We strongly suggest a visit to Trieste, a city that used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: it keeps the charm of a North European city mixed with the soul of a city by the sea. Be careful, if you go there in winter there could be blowing a very strong wind, called "la bora".
Last but not least, Friuli is also well known for its production of great white wines and for one of the most famous Italian ham: the “San Daniele” ham.
Tuscany does certainly not recall winter or snow, with its green hills and countryside, but if you are spending your winter holiday in Florence or Siena, Lucca etc. you could even spend some time go skiing! With many great ski resorts scattered among the Tuscan mountains, beautiful crisp pistes are just waiting to be explored with the skies.
Less than 2 hours away from Florence there is Abetone, the bigger ski resort of Tuscany in the Appennine Mountains. The highest peak reaches 2000m (6562 ft) surrounded by beautiful forest of red and white fir trees. For ski experts, it has not exactly the most challenging trails, but Abetone is a perfect place for families, as skiers can break off from each other mid-run and meet up again a few minutes later.
It is even possible to visit Abetone just for a day: check out our group day tour form Florence to Abetone, with ski-pass included!
Abetone ski area includes also a valley called “Val di Luce”. The name means “The valley of Light” because the area is rich of many little lakes which freeze during winter so that they reflects rays like many mirrors that reflect rays.
Moreover, from Abetone you can easily reach the close Monte Cimone area, which is actually not in Tuscany but on the same Tosco-Emiliano Apennines, the natural border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna region.
Well, Sicily is known for its beautiful coastline, for the islands with crystalline sea that make it perfect for a spring-summer vacation, but we can assure that this land has so much to offer even in winter. First, because the weather is quite warm, with the average temperature at 10° which rarely descend beyond 5° during night.
Second, on cold days, the number of tourists visiting the island lessens giving you the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing experience in Sicily, far from the summer crowd.
Third, Sicily does not only mean sea and sun but also art, architecture and culture. You can spend a perfect winter break in Sicilian cities visiting gems like the baroque dome of Palermo, the Greek theatre of Taormina, the island of Ortigia - Syracuse’s old town or the magnificent view over the stone streets of Ragusa Ibla. Plus, if you are looking for some snow, you can admire the Snowy Mount Etna!
Last, the incredible Sicilian food is a masterwork in every season: arancini, the typical rice ball filled with meat and cheese, the aubergine’s parmigiana, the “pane e panelle”, typical fired bad made with chickpeas flour and the unforgettable pastries like cannoli!
Check out our Winter Excursion of 8 days in Sicily, departing from Palermo, discovering the best attractions of the island!