The moderating influence of the sea and the protection given by the Alpine barrier from the cold north winds join to bless Italy with a temperate climate. Nevertheless, the weather varies considerably according to how far one is from the sea or the mountains. The winter is very cold in the Alps, cold and foggy in the Po River Plain and the central Apennines; mild and even warm on the Italian Riviera, the Amalfi coast and in Sicily.
The summer is hot and dry, but the temperature is mitigated on the coast by sea breezes and in the Apennines and Alps it is pleasantly cool. In mountain areas, winter is ideal for skiing, and summer for excursions, hiking, etc. Seaside and lake resorts, with their excellent hotel facilities, have an intense tourist season in the summer, while the cities that are rich in art treasures are ideal in spring and autumn.