April and June are pleasant months to travel in if you’re making the grand tour of Italy.

The peak summer months of July and August can be awful. The beaches are packed, the south is too hot (Rome frazzles in 30˚C-plus temperatures) and crowds of camera-happy tourists turn hotspots like Venice and Florence into living hell.

Plan carefully to take in a major festival or a local saint’s day feast.

The Lakes should be avoided in winter as the weather can be drizzly, but it’s then that the Alps around Valle d’Aosta are ripe for winter sports.