The best ski resorts are found in northern Italy in the alpine region. Not far from Turin, for example, are the resorts of Sauze d’Oulx, Bardonecchia and Sestriere – a popular, modern resort with plenty of ski-lifts, a skating rink and cross-country trails. If you’re looking for a bit of glamour, the resort of Courmayeur on Mont-Blanc with its chic clientele and excellent facilities won’t disappoint. There are also plenty of ski resorts in the Dolomites in the north-east of Italy, as well as in the mountains of central Italy.
Rome is a fascinating and exciting place to visit whenever you go, and there’s plenty to do and see there during the winter. The temperature rarely falls below zero, the sun shines most days, it’s possible to eat outside most of the year, and many cafés provide outdoor heaters during the winter.
The festival of the Immaculate Conception marks the beginning of the Christmas period in Rome, the Papal Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve marks the highlight of that period, while the Epiphany parade on 6th January brings the Christmas festivities to and end.
Most of the churches in Rome put up elaborate nativity scenes (presepi), including a life-size one in St. Peter’s Square, and there’s an exhibition of such scenes in the Sala del Bramante by the Piazza del Popolo. In the Piazza Novona there’s a large Christmas market where you can buy wooden toys, sweets, Christmas decorations and much more, and there are plenty of other places to do your Christmas shopping. Winter is also a good time to visit Rome’s cultural attractions and events as they tend to be quieter than at other times of the year. Other attractions of this time of year in Rome are the Christmas lights and the numerous street musicians who play seasonal tunes and often dress as Santa Claus.
With a wealth of history, natural beauty, fine beaches, attractive towns and cities, and average temperatures of 15°C Sicily is a good winter destination. For history buffs there, Greek temples and theatres, Roman villas, and Arabic, Byzantine, Norman and Baroque architecture; for outdoor types there are mountains, volcanos, ski-resorts, gardens, and plenty of other places to explore, and there’s plenty more to do and see.