Italy in March?

Sep 24th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Italy in March?

First time posting here, I've been trying to read up beforehand.

My husband is treating me to a trip to Italy for my (gasp) 50th birthday next year. He doesn't have much desire to go, but knows it's always been a dream of mine and this trip was his suggestion. He is excited to take me somewhere I've always dreamed of going.

Being a teacher, the times I can visit are pretty much limited to Christmas, Easter, or Summer Vacation. Being that my family would kill us for missing Christmas at home, that leaves Easter or Summer.

My husband hates crowds and I hate the heat, so I'm very reluctant to go in the Summer. Leaving us with Easter.

This coming year I have vacation the week before Easter which is March 31st, so we'd be visiting in the last week of March. In 2014, Easter falls on April 20th, so we could go the third week of April.

Sorry for the long-windedness, but do you think I should wait an entire year to push the vacation back by 3 weeks? Being that my husband doesn't have a strong desire to go, I am pretty sure this will be my only visit to Italy and I don't want to waste it. I am going to try to see as much as I can in 10 days, and I want to enjoy every minute. I am so afraid that the weather will be too cold/unpredictable for us to truly enjoy ourselves. We plan on doing Venice, Florence, Rome, and Positano.

For anyone who has visited in the Spring, do you think the 3 week delay is worth putting off the vacation by a whole year? I am just SO looking forward to it that I am really loathe to put it off.

Thanks for any words of wisdom.
PeachTeach is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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A few things to consider - first off, if the ten days includes travel days then I would skip one destination. You loose a good chunk of a day each time to move from one city to the next. Unless you are real art lovers I would probably skip Florence of the four you mention. Positano is the furthest but the Amalfi Coast is wonderful. Actually, on the Amalfi Coast Positano was my least favorite - I preferred Amalfi and even Sorrento. But that area is wonderful, Venice is magical and Rome is Rome. I also love Florence, but with only ten days I'd skip it.

Second, my husband wasn't that smitten with the idea of Italy either before he went the first time. Now he can't get enough of it. So don't assume you won't be back. But also, even if he doesn't love it, and you do -you can always go alone or with someone else. I love my husband but I love solo vacations too!

Third, the week around Easter will be MORE crowded than July, in many cases. It's a huge deal in Italy. Prices on Rome hotels are much higher in the week leading up to Easter than in the summer. That gives you an idea of how crowded it will be.

I go to Europe every summer, and most years that includes Italy. I haven't been in August and it's possible that's worse, but July is not that bad. There are ways to deal with the heat and the crowds. In summer you have more hours of daylight and a much higher chance of sunshine rather than rain. All but the cheapest hotels have air conditioning and you can siesta in the middle of the day like the Italians do.

I am also a teacher and while I do often go to Europe for spring break (mine is not usually tied to Easter) I do prefer the summer. The airfares are a little higher but I can stay longer so the cost per day is actually lower.

To help you decide which places you want to visit (if you decide to eliminate one) have a look at my Italy photos - there are galleries for each of the areas you mention -
isabel is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:17 PM
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Either March or April is early for the Amalfi Coast. While everything should have reopened for the season by april the ferries are still not on their full schedule and it definitely isn;t beach wether yet. (You can walk but no swimming. We have gone in mid May since that's when the hotel we say at opens their pool for the season.)

I would try to do end June/early july rather than Ester week.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:25 PM
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I recently took my spouse, as a gift, to a long-wished-for area of Spain that I could have gone through life without seeing. I would have awfully upset if my spouse had not been really happy with the whole scene, especially if it was because he decided to go at a time of year that was too hot for him to enjoy.

If you hate the heat, don't go to Italy as a tourist when it is hot -- and that is summer. Your husband is trying to make you happy, so go for what you want. He's already mentally prepared to follow your bliss.

However, March/early April is bit early for a guarantee of Positano views. It is certainly too early in the year to book Positano without knowing what the weather will be, and you can only know that a few days before. However, if part of going to Positano was also seeing Pompei, than it can make sense to book a night or two in Sorrento and carpe diem if the sun shines, Jump on a bus or taxi to take the Amalfi drive. Have lunch in Positano. (By the way, many people do NOT prefer Amalfi over Positano by a mile.)

Also for many people, seeing Michaelangelo's David in Florence and the birthplace of the Renaissance, the beautiful dome is the heart of the reason they are coming to Italy. So don't take that out if that's what you want.

Florence will be crowded in Easter, but Rome is capacious and handles millions of tourists and pilgrims in style. Venice is always crowded these days. Just brace yourself and scope out some info ahead of time about how to avoid the worst tourist crushes and when, and what corners you can slip away to that most tourists never seem to find.

My spouse was so happy where I took him in Spain, my spouse would like to move there. I didn't dislike it. I had a great time. I loved making my spouse so happy. But I've only a very slight interest in going back -- so don't count on making a convert. Enjoy your gift. Sounds like a great guy.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Just to add:

The ONLY place you face the possibility of too-cold-to-enjoy is Positano. Otherwise, all your other destinations have very nice walking-around weather. If your entire dream of Italy is dining outdoors every evening, then go in summer. But if the sun is shining, you should be able to eat lunch outdoors comfortably everywhere.

Also, no guarantees if you go in summer that you won't get rain. But it's a certainty you will get heat.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:33 PM
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(And when I say "too-cold-to-enjoy" for Positano, I mean overcast or drizzle that diminishes the views, too cold to lay on a lounge chair, or stay outside until midnight chatting on a balcony. It will feel like spring, but if the sun shines, you'll be warm enough climbing those stairs.)
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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Thank you SO much for all your input! Will digest it and replly tomorrow.

Much appreciated!
PeachTeach is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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Thank you SO much for all your input! Will digest it and reply tomorrow.

Much appreciated!
PeachTeach is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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Don't wait a year to go three weeks later as there won't be that much difference in the temperature. Holy week will be impossibly crowded in Florence but will be better than going in the summer with the heat.

Plenty of women are married to men who don't want to travel and go on their own rather than stay home and not experience traveling.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 06:25 PM
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We go to Italy each year starting the 3rd week in March. We can go any time, and we choose that time because of the weather. Beautiful springtime with flowering trees just starting to bloom.

One of the reasons we like this time of year is that we like to walk when we are in a city. Rome becomes much more tolerable for walking when it's not hot, and the evenings are wonderfully cool, requiring a jacket.

Since we go the same time each year, we also sometimes hit the Easter season. I can say that those crowds have never seemed overly daunting, and in some cases we have happened to be in the countryside (either Tuscany or Umbria) and have found it to be very lightly traveled by tourists. I will say that Florence is likely to be the most crowded of all the places you are thinking of going. But I agree with the previous poster---I'd much rather go to Florence during Holy Week than during the summer heat!

Go and enjoy! And Happy Birthday!

LisaG is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 07:23 PM
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I've been to Positano late March before and had short sleeve weather during the day, but you needed a lightweight jacket at night. I also need a jacket in Umbria late August a few years ago. You really can't predict the weather.

If you can stay more days in summer, I would do that. Even with the heat, I prefer longer vacations and more daylight over the short days off season.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 25th, 2012, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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We were in Sorento in March a few years ago and it was miserably cold and very wet.

Otherwise, weather in Rome, Florence and Venice has been quite nice at that time of year. I would definitely skip any time around Easter unless it holds religious sentiment for you. If it does, expect crowds. I have generally found spring or October ideal times to go.
Sal9000 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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I would go in March. I've been in Positano in March (on St. Patrick's day, actually), and the weather was clear and crisp. It was beautiful and less crowded. I've also been in Florence on Easter, and it was packed and raining.
Delaine is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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I would go in March. I've been in Florence over Easter and loved it. The churches were filled with flowers and candles and it was not over crowded. We did have some rain one day. Venice was also lovely at that time and way nicer than in the heat and summer crowds. We would never go back to Italy later than end May when we found it already too warm for our liking. Happy birthday, enjoy!
Mischka is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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I've been in December, February, March, April, May. May gets too hot for me! I really have enjoyed my March trips and would definitely visit again at that time. Maybe not Positano, though.
Leely2 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2012, 05:09 PM
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We have been to Italy in late March as well as two times in June. We did not find the weather bad at all in March, but even in June Rome was too HOT!! Also, when we went in March it was right before Easter as well. We actually flew home on Good Friday, so were not actually in Italy on Easter. But we started in Rome so we would not be in Rome during Holy Week. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that Rome probably gets the busiest. I would not put off your trip for a whole year just to go in April. Late March should be fine!

I do agree with others suggestions that you probably have one too many locations for 10 days. I would consider eliminating one based on your preferences.

Here is a link to our trip report with a lot of pictures when we were in Italy in late March/Easter time:
jgg is offline  
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