Italy is surrounded by four different seas and defined by two large mountain ranges, the Alps and the Apennine Mountains. This makes the country subject to highly varied temperatures. The further north, the colder the climate, and even in the south, only a small area of the country fits all of our requirements regarding the number of overcast days and temperature.
What Are the Sunniest Places in Italy?
Much of Italy is characterized as a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild to moderate winters. However, most cities—including the sunniest ones—are too cold during the winter, with daily maximum temperatures below 15 °C (59 °F). Here are some examples of large cities that don’t fit the requirements:
- Milan—even though it’s quite sunny (it gets 76 overcast days), it experiences cool winters with only 6 °C (43 °F) during the day.
- Bologna—mean daily winter maximums reach 9 °C (48 °F). Even if it were hotter, it still features 106 overcast days, which is more than the upper limit of 90 days of cloudy weather.
- Rome—Rome gets about 91 overcast days a year and winter maximums reach 13 °C (55 °F), which makes it slightly too cloudy and too cold to meet the requirements.
Even locations further south like Naples, Bari, and Cagliari (on the island of Sardinia) are too cold in the winter as they all reach up to 12-13 °C (54-55 °F) at most during the day in the coldest months.
The only two regions of Italy that do fit our requirements are Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and a small island of Pantelleria located southwest of Sicily, both of which feature clear, hot and sunny summers and mild winters. For those who don’t mind slightly colder winters, the southern part of Calabria (Reggio di Calabria and the surrounding area) almost meets the requirements with maximum winter daytime temperatures of 14 °C (57 °F). The region gets about 70 overcast days a year.
Let’s look at the sunniest places in Italy ranked by the number of overcast days, starting with the sunniest ones. Please note that we will focus only on the major cities and towns.
|City||Island||Clear days||Partly cloudy days||Overcast days|
Watch the video below for a quick overview. For more details, keep reading.
If you’d like to live in a big city or close to it, Sicily is your only option if you want to move to one of the sunniest places in Italy that provides well-developed infrastructure. Pantelleria, the other island featured in our ranking, is very small and will feel too secluded for you. It’s also much harder to get to than Sicily, which is well connected with the mainland.
Gela is located on the southern coast of Sicily and is the sunniest city of the island with the lowest number of annual overcast days. It’s also one of the sunniest places in Europe. May through September are the sunniest months with no more than 2 cloudy days a month, while the cloudiest winter month (January) features up to 10 overcast days.
Mean daily summer maximums reach 34 °C (93 °F) and minimums are about 20-21 °C (68-70 °F), which means that you need to be ready for very hot summers if you plan to live there all year round.
Mean daily winter maximums reach 15 °C (59 °F) and nighttime temperatures drop to 7-8 °C (45-46 °F), which means that it won’t be exactly hot, but the weather should be mild enough and still a great improvement over a cold, dark winter in other countries in Europe.
Located on the western coast of Sicily, Marsala is slightly cloudier and cooler than Gela. The difference is very small, with only 4 more overcast days a year and minimum temperatures slightly lower both in the summer—19-20 °C (66-68 °F)—and winter—6-7 °C (43-45 °F). Like Gela, it’s almost always sunny in Marsala during the summer, while winters feature up to 10 days of cloudy weather a month.
Syracuse is located in the southeast of Sicily. It’s hotter during the day than Gela and Marsala, with summer daily maximums reaching 35 °C (95 °F) and winter maximums reaching 16 °C (61 °F). Summer minimums are the same as in Gela—20-21 °C (68-70 °F), while winter minimums are like in Marsala—6-7 °C (43-45 °F). The number of sunny days is very similar to the previous two destinations, with dry, sunny summers, and winters that feature up to 10 days of overcast weather a month.
Syracuse features more clear days than other destinations (126 vs 118 for the next destination with most clear days, Marsala), so if blue skies are your priority, Syracuse is your best bet in Italy.
Located on the western coast of Sicily, north of Marsala, Trapani gets 8 more overcast days than Marsala, which results in up to 12 days of overcast weather during the cloudiest month. The other difference between the climate of Trapani and Marsala is that Trapani gets slightly warmer nights both during the summer and winter, with summer minimums reaching 20-21 °C (68-70 °F) and winter minimums reaching 7-8 °C (45-46 °F).
Catania, located on the eastern coast of the island, at the foot of the largest volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, is the second largest city in Sicily. It features some of the hottest summers in Italy with daily mean maximums reaching 36 °C (97 °F) and minimums of 21 °C (70 °F). Winters feature maximums of about 15-16 °C (59-61 °F) and minimums of 6-7 °C (43-45 °F). It gets up to 12 days of overcast weather in the cloudiest month, while summers are dry and extremely sunny.
Palermo, located in the northwestern part of Sicily, is the largest city of the island. It’s the cloudiest destination featured in our list. While between June and August it features little to no cloudy days, it gets up to 14 days of overcast weather during the month with the least sunshine, January. Summers are very hot, with daily mean maximums reaching 35 °C (95 °F) and minimums of 20-21 °C (68-70 °F). Winter maximums reach 15 °C (59 °F), while nighttime temperatures drop to 7-8 °C (45-46 °F).
Pantelleria is a small island with a population of approximately 8,000 people. If you want to get away from it all and live on a small, quiet island in Europe, it might be one of the best choices for you.
It’s located 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Sicily and 60 km (37 miles) east of the Tunisian coast (on a sunny day with good visibility, it’s possible to see Tunisia from the island). It features similar temperatures to Trapani, except for slightly higher winter mean daily maximums of 16 °C (61 °F). Pantelleria gets the lowest number of clear days out of the all sunniest places in Italy featured in this article—just 96 such days, compared to 126 in Syracuse, the Italian location that gets the highest number of clear days.
All of the locations described in this article have well under 90 overcast days per year and experience a pleasant Mediterranean climate. For those who prefer larger cities, Palermo and Catania are good choices, but they are also considered two of the hottest cities in Italy. Medium to smaller cities and towns such as Marsala, Gela, Trapani, and Syracuse all have plenty of sunshine, with Gela receiving the least overcast days per year. Pantelleria is an alternative for those who’d like to live away from the hustle and bustle, with just 8,000 people sharing a small island.
Quick Selection Guide
Want the absolute sunniest destination in Italy? Choose Gela.
Want to live in a big Italian city with great weather? Move to Palermo or Catania.
Looking for a sunny, mid-size sunny and warm city in Italy? Marsala, Gela, Trapani or Syracuse are all good options.
Want to get away from it all? Pantelleria awaits you.