About When to visit
Italy rarely suffers the long overcast spells common in northern Europe. Rain tends towards the dramatic rather than the drizzly. Spectacular thunderstorms clear the air. Freak weather patterns may be produced by seasonal winds: the Balkan bora in spring, the maestrale (mistral) from southern France, the scirocco, hot and sticky from the Sahara and the fohn, a fast warm wind from the Alps. The big lakes have their predictable wind patterns, to the delight of wind-surfers. Coasts have refreshing sea and land breezes.
May and September are ideal months for touring in Italy. Inland cities, including Rome and Florence, can be crowded heat-traps in summer. Avoid August if possible: Italy itself is on holiday and many museums and restaurants close for all or part of the month. While fog lingers along the northern lakes and valleys, the high-level resorts are bathed in sunshine.