The weather in Italy in September has its positives and negatives. For example, an ever-changing climate means in recent times September weather, though not as oppressively hot as in August, can still get quite warm. So while you can still enjoy some beach time during this month, you certainly won't be the only person with that idea (expect crowds).
As for temperature averages, Rome falls in the 72°F/22°C area. In other parts of the country, temperatures often range between 55-75°F/13-24°C in the north, 65-80°F/18-27°C in Central Italy, and 70-80°F/21-27°C in the south. However, as alluded to above, there are often heat waves. Conversely, some evenings might start to get chilly (especially towards the end of the month), so pack heavier layers along with your light summer clothing.
Crowds & Costs
By all accounts, September is still the high tourist season in Italy. The crowds are large and you typically won't be able to skirt the high-season prices on hotels and flights. Costs for lodging are often 50% more expensive than in the slow season, and the high-end hotels in the most popular areas could spike as high as 100%. Expect this to be a case in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. And if you do plan on visiting these locals, book far in advance as they are typically full three months in advance.
There is one silver lining during this time, however: by September all those locals on holiday will be returning to school and work. The popular beaches won't be empty by any means, but most won't be overcrowded either. To take advantage of this, you could head north to the islands off the Tuscan coast and laze on beaches like Sansone, Cannelle, and Collelungo. Or head to the island of Sardinia. Not only are there beaches with powdery white sands and crystalline waters, like Punta Molentis and Poetto, but you can also explore the Roman ruins in the historic city of Cagliari.
Where to Go
September is when Italy celebrates one of its most popular times of the year: harvest season. If you're here during this month, be sure to partake in one of the many harvest-season food festivals that can be found in cities and towns throughout the country. It's the perfect excuse to sample rich Italian delicacies like artisanal olive oils and cheeses, rich chocolate and white truffles. There's even a potato festival in the city of Bologna.
If you're wine connoisseur (amateur or professional) and foodie, you'll want to head to Florence, the capital of Tuscany, for their September celebration of the grape harvest. There are celebrations all month culminating with a huge farmers market in the town square on the 24th of September. But you could enjoy it all in 2-to-6 days.
If your focus is mostly wine, you can travel just south of Florence to Greve in Chianti, in the Chianti wine region of Tuscany. Starting on September 6th and lasting through the 9th, the town holds its famous wine expo, where they show off their tasty new products.
If you plan on traveling around to different regions of Italy, be sure to do so by train; most other public transport options are unreliable.
What to Do
Aside from alternately gorging yourself on Italy's famous produce and lazing on Mediterranean beaches, you'll definitely want to head out and visit the sites. One lesser-known yet worthwhile activity is to head to the medieval city of Verona and stand on Juliet's balcony—the very one that inspired Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." The charming gothic house dates back to the 14th century and is now a museum. Try to make it on the 12th of September, when the Verona officially celebrates "Juliet's birthday" with citywide celebrations, parades, dancers, street artists, and much food.
If you're a film buff who enjoys spectator activities, then be sure to head to Venice. You'll have to brave the tourist crowds because although there are no national holidays in September, two big events take place in this the most romantic city in the world. The Regatta Storica boat race happens on the first Sunday of the month, and the famous Venice International Film Festival kicks off around then as well. See below for more details. You can get the most out of a trip to Venice in as little 1-to-3 days.
Events in September
Regatta Storica. Venice's historic boat race occurs each year on the first Sunday in September. It's the perfect excuse to make a jaunt to the City of Water for some parades followed by groups of six-oar wooden boats go head to head in a canal race.
Festa della Rificolona (Festival of the Paper Lanterns). On September 6th and 7th, Florence celebrates the birthday of the Virgin Mary (Christian tradition places it on the 8th of the month). Religious services are held and there and locals and visitors fill the streets carrying paper lanterns. There's also a huge farmers market in the main square featuring much organic produce.
Venice International Film Festival. Every year in early September (exact dates change) one of the most famous film festivals in the world descends on Venice, drawing international crowds of filmmakers and audiences.
Juliet's Birthday. Each September 12th one-half of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers gets celebrated in, where else, her hometown of Verona.
Feast Day of San Gennaro. This festival celebrates the patron saint of Naples starting September 19th, and for eight days afterward, there are processions and celebrations throughout the city.
Potato festival. Held each September in Bologna towards the end of the month (exact dates change), this festival celebrates the history of the potato and also serves up local gastronomic specialties featuring the ingredient. Yes, there's plenty of gnocchi on hand.
Traveling to Italy in September? Check out these great itineraries.
Food & Wine in Italy - 7 Days. Eat and drink your way through Italy's famous culinary regions —Bologna, Tuscany, and Rome—on this packed weeklong tour.
Highlights of Italy - 14 Days. Discover the sights and delights of Italy on this two-week highlights tour. Explore the floating city of Venice, the Renaissance jewel of Florence, and the Eternal City of Rome.