A holiday in Italy conjures up images of sun and hot weather, and here's why. Italian weather as a whole is classified as Mediterranean, with warm hot summers and mild, sometimes cold winters.
Italy does have four clearly defined seasons, a bit like the UK, so if you're travelling in the spring or autumn take a cardigan for the evening, as the nights can get quite chilly. While sun hats are a wise idea for the scorching summer heat, you'll need a warm coat in the winter.
If you're spending time in the Italian Lakes June and September are considered to be the best months of the year to spend time here. Though even in the summer months the temperatures don't become oppressively hot.
Temperatures reach their highest in July with an average heat of 24°C, but be prepared for temperatures to dip in the evenings, thanks to the cooling effect of the lake water.
Pack a raincoat if you're going in October or November as you can expect some heavy rainfall. The winter months can be cold, around 4°C, and there is the potential for snow.
Summer temperatures in the Venetian Riviera, around Venice, hover around a pleasant 24°C, sometimes rising as high as 30°C. In winter the temperatures drop quite sharply, but remain a pleasant 10 to 21°C. This part of Italy can sometimes experience strong winds from the Adriatic Sea.
The southwest of the country, where the Neapolitan Riviera is situated, has beautifully long hot summers with temperatures averaging 25°C but frequently rising higher.
This region has a typical Mediterranean climate, hot in Summer, and then becoming more cool and damp during the winter months. Winter brings fog along this coastal region, though the weather usually clears during the day, making way for crisp bright sunshine.
Tuscany is in the centre of the country and temperatures in the summer stay around the 28 to 35°C mark. July and August are the warmest months, whereas you can expect some rain in March, April and November. The temperatures do vary across Tuscany, and some years are drier than others, but you can always guarantee sun and warmth if you visit during the summer months.
The coolest months in Tuscany are December, January and February, though average temperatures vary between the sea and the hills or mountains inland. Along the coast, the usual temperature is around 7°C during the winter months, and further inland the temperature can drop as low as 3°C.
If you're staying in Sardinia, the hot summer's sun in the months of July and August averages 25°C, and provides around 12 hours of sunshine each day. Though a little cooler through September, temperatures are still a very pleasant 22°C. October is the month when the temperatures drop, bringing wetter weather, but even in December the barometer rarely falls below 11°C.
Situated off Italy's so called toe, to the south of the country is the island of Sicily. July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures tipping a very hot 30°C. You can expect temperatures to start climbing from April onwards, and to remain snugly in the 20s °C throughout September and October. Temperatures only fall to a moderate 10°C in December and January.
Italy has the mountainous areas of the Dolomites and the Alps to the north and the Apennine mountains in central Italy. In these parts the climate is Alpine, with cold snowy winters and warm hot summers.