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When is northern Italy least crowded?

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Jun 3rd, 2013, 06:14 AM
  #1
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When is northern Italy least crowded?

Last April my bride and I visited Milan, Rome, Pisa, and Florence. Wonderful trip, but I was put off by the hordes of fellow visitors. The crowds made visits to the main attractions difficult and at times unpleasant.

Now my son and his fiance are planning their honeymoon to the same area. At what time of year are the crowds likely to be thinnest?
RedStater is offline  
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 06:17 AM
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Probably around 3:00 am.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 06:25 AM
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Probably in January/February. Winter is low season in most of Europe (except for ski areas). But the weather is not always pleasant, and they will miss out on outdoor dining. Just realize that these days there are a lot of tourists at all times; the Chinese never stop coming, it seems. And Europeans, because of their own econimic woes, are vacationing closer to home. But right after Christmas, there's a lull almost everywhere in the world, even in the warmer beach spots.

Just keep in mind that no matter what time one visits, part of what makes a trip to Italy successful is the traveler's ability to plan ahead, booking tours and advance tickets where possible to lessen the impact of lines. Splurge where it makes sense: a private tour of the Vatican, and adjust your timing (see Michelanglelo's David 30 minutes before closing when most tourists have already departed). You will never avoid crowds at major tourist sites, but it's possible to mitigate the annoyances.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 06:36 AM
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Europe (and Italy especially) have a number of April and May holidays. You might plan your trip to work around those. Here's a calendar www.timeanddate.com/holidays/italy. But check also the school Easter break in UK, Germany, France etc. (They like to go to Italy too!)

You might also consider to include in your itinerary less popular (but by no means less enjoyable) places. For example I know many who have enjoyed Torino, Bologna, Perugia. Or spend a few days in the country rather than just cities. Especially on a honeymoon.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 08:40 AM
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Good advice above.

We've most recently traveled in early November and mid-March in northern Italy and it was great. Weather cooperated, prices were lower, crowds were thinner. I think mid to late March would be just about perfect (avoiding Easter, which I guess is usually more like April).
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 09:20 AM
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What annw said. We generally traveled in March (including our anniversary on the 17th) and found that the crowds weren't quite as bad. Occasionally weather cold and some tours not yet begun for the season in some of the less touristy cities.

On the other hand, the earlier we started out in the day, the less likely we were to run into tour or school groups. Later in the afternoon was also less crowded.
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