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Italy in January
January is not really the best month to enjoy Italy, days are cold and short but budget travelers might find the savings in airfare and accommodations attractive. January is a month in Italy marked by cold winters but it is also a month when not many tourists travel to the country. This would mean that everything in the country is less expensive than in the other seasons. The hotels, airfares and even some local transportation costs are be lower in January. There are also be plenty of discounts and coupons available for use in January which would make for a good budget-oriented Italian holiday.
An advantage of travelling in January is that the hordes of tourists are gone in most places, which means shorter lines and a peaceful atmosphere. Those who are planning to take a trip to Italy in January would need to plan out an itinerary based on their preferences and the kind of activities they are interested visinting museums, churches and indoor activities are of course the best options. Of course January is also a good month for skiing and snow related activities.
Weather in January
January is an off tourist season in Italy mainly because of the fact that winters in Italy can be quite cold and even damp in some parts of the country. However, the weather isn't bitingly cold or unbearable, like many parts of Europe or North America. January 29 30 and 31 are known as the "giorni della merla" (days of the crow/blackbird) and are supposed to be the coldest of the year. Anybody really desperate for swimming somewhere in Italy during the month of January should look into the available Hot Springs resorts.
Northern Italy is definitely the coldest part in the country because of its proximity to the mountain ranges and the Alps. In Milan and other parts of northern Italy, average temperature would remain between -4 degrees Celsius to 7 degree celsius (25 to 44 degree Farenheit). In January precipitation is frequent with snow quite probable.
In Central Italy including Rome the temperature is approximately between 7 to 13 degrees Celsius (39 to 55 degree Farenheit). In January precipitation is frequent but snow is rare (In Rome it snows only once every few years).
In Southern Italy and Sicily the winters are quite mild with temperature remaining between 11 to 15 degrees Celsius (51 to 59 degrees Farenheit). Precipitation is frequent but not as much as in the North, snow is very rare .
Skiing in January
Visitors have plenty of options in terms of places to visit even in the winter months. Those who love adventure sports and skiing should definitely visit the country in January. Italy is internationally known for its world class ski slopes and its great mountains that remain covered with snow during the winter months. The famous Dolomites are the best place to visit in January for those who like winter sports.
The Dolomites are a UNESCO World heritage site and are characterized by their dozens of high mountain peaks which are covered with snow. There are several good ski resorts and slopes in the area and visitors can choose from many activities like skiing, mountaineering, hiking etc. Some of the most famous places along the Dolomites are Alleghe, Auronzo, Falcade, Urtijei and Arabba. Apart from skiing, visitors can also visit these charming mountain villages.
Another option to consider is to combine the visit to the Dolomites to other locations in northern Italy. Northern Italy has many important metropolitan cities like Milan, Genoa, Bologna and Turin. All of these cities are known for their amazing sight seeing attractions so visitors can also plan to visit some of these cities.
Festivals in January
Festivals in Italy go on all through the year and January is no exception. In January there are many good festivals that are organized in different parts of the country. Visitors who want to get a sneak peak in the traditional life of the locals in Italy can also plan their trip in a way that they can visit some of these festivals. Some of these festivals would be quite unique and some others would be just another excuse for the locals to party, with lots of music, drinks and food. Some of the most well known festivals in Italy in January are as listed below:
The most important festival in Italy in January is Epiphany. In fact, Epiphany is more important in Italy even more so than Christmas. This festival is celebrated in the country on 6th of January. People exchange gifts and the children hang their little stockings on 5th night for their presents. There is no Santa Claus. La Befana delivers gifts to children in the festival. La Befana is a very old woman who rides around the country on a broom and is seen portrayed in the festivities all through the country. Nativity scenes are performed throughout Italy on the occasion.
The Trasimeno Blues Festival is the Gospel festival of Umbria. The festival takes place in the first week of the month at the Lake of Trasimeno. This Blues festival is also known as Soul Christmas and is known to be among the most important blues festivals in the country. Music lovers would definitely love this unique festival.
The Festival of Saint Antonio Abate is celebrated in many different regions in Italy. It takes place in the villages of Sardinia and Abruzzo on 16th and 17th of January and in Nicolosi in Sicily on 17th January. During the festival huge bonfires are lit which are kept burning all night. The festivities would also include local drinks, food, dancing and music. In Nicolosi the monks reconfirm their vows to the God and Saint and parades are held.
One of the most interesting places to visit in January is Buti which is located close to Pisa. On January 17th the town witnesses the annual Il Palio di Sant'antonio Abate. During the festival the locals wear traditional costumes for a procession through the town. Later, a famous horse race is organized between the neighboring towns and villages. The prestigious palio is taken home by the winner of the race.
The Sant'Orso fair has been celebrated in Italy for more than 1000 years now. It is a typical wood carver's fair and several local artisans sell their creations at the stalls and demonstrate their abilities. Special meals and drinks are served. The fair takes place in Aosta towards the end of the month.