The short answer is -50°C, yes that is minus fifty.
Well, the coldest place in Italy is in Trentino and as you might expect, it’s in the mountains. The 2,600 metre (8,530 feet) high Pale di S. Martino plateau can hit -50°C during the winter months.
I really only know about the northern part of Italy, having never ventured south during the winter months, but it was no surprise at all for me to find out that a place in the high mountains gets almost as cold as the Arctic.
Minus 50°C is very cold
As for the rest of Italy, if you don’t head for the high mountains, Italy does not feel that cold in the winter.
If you are from a country with a hot climate, such as Australia, then you will find Italy does feel cold from the end of November to the end of February, especially at night.
Britons and others coming from northern Europe may not find the cold excessive if they stick to the larger cities.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
I think just about everyone would understand that the mountain areas can become extremely cold. As you probably know, people do come skiing in Italy, so it does get cold enough to snow.
Watch out if you end up in one of those Alpine valleys that only catches the sun for a few hours a day during the winter months. These areas, Cogne, for example, can become freezing cold from the late afternoon onwards.
Take nice warm clothes and good gloves with you if you are planning to head into the mountains in winter, unless, of course, you are skiing, in which case if you keep moving, you will not feel the cold so much – well I never have done. But watch out, those ski lifts can be cold places when a little wind gets up.
The Warm South
As for Italy’s south, I can only tell you about what others have said to me. I’ve been told that the hilly and semi-mountainous areas in the south can get pretty chilly during the winter months – not quite as cold as -50°C, but there are ski slopes in Italy’s south, so it can still be freezing at altitude. The further south you head, the milder the winter weather becomes. In Sicily in winter, 20°C days are not unknown during winter.
Sweltering Winter in Genoa
Oh, and there is one other place in Italy’s north that remains remarkably mild during the winter months – Genoa. This city can become quite cool in winter, but if the sun gets out, even in mid-winter, the temperature can head towards 25°C quite easily. I know, I experienced this on Christmas Day. It was freaky.
If you want mild weather in Italy during the winter months, head for the deep south. Then again, if you like winter sports, head for the Alps and the Dolomites – but don’t ignore Abruzzo and Le Marche which also have a few mountains and some ski slopes too.