Italian Calendar Months and Seasons: I Mesi e Le Stagioni

Learn the words for January through December and winter through fall

Woman writing in a calendar
Eva-Katalin / Getty Images

If you're planning a trip to Italy for a vacation and you need to inform hosts, hotels, and friends of your plans, it will be helpful—if not essential—for you to know the calendar months in Italian. They will be doubly useful there, when you make new friends, discuss birthdays, or maybe make more plans.

The good news on the calendar front is that, contrary to the days of the week, the months in Italian are rather reminiscent of their English counterparts.

The Months: I Mesi

  • January: gennaio
  • February: febbraio
  • March: marzo
  • April: aprile
  • May: maggio
  • June: giugno
  • July: luglio
  • August: agosto
  • September: settembre
  • October: ottobre
  • November: novembre
  • December: dicembre

The Seasons: Le Stagioni

  • Winter: inverno
  • Spring: primavera
  • Summer: estate
  • Fall: autunno

Notice that in Italian, like the days of the week, the names of the months and the seasons are not capitalized.

  • La primavera è una bellissima stagione. Spring is a beautiful season.
  • Luglio è un mese caldissimo qui. July is a very hot month here.
  • Amo le quattro stagioni! I love the four seasons!

Of course, you are familiar with the word stagione from Vivaldi's "Le Quattro Stagioni."

Which Prepositions to Use With Months and Seasons

When discussing the timing of events, before months in Italian you use the prepositions in, a, and often also di (with seasons in or di). The choice is a matter of personal habit as well as regional preference (Tuscans and Southerners use a more; Northerners in); some are more used than others, but all are correct.

  • Sono nato a gennaio. I was born in January
  • Di dicembre non nevica mai. It never snows in December
  • Natale è a dicembre. Christmas is in December
  • Amo andare al mare in agosto. I love going to the beach in August
  • Amo andare al mare d'agosto. I love going to the beach in August
  • La montagna è bellissima in primavera. The mountains are beautiful in spring
  • Amo il colore delle foglie in autunno. I love the color of the leaves in the fall.

(Note that the preposition a becomes ad before another vowel: ad aprile, ad agosto.)

You will also hear people say, nel mese di agosto, nel mese di febbraio, to say, in the month of February or in August, which stresses the span or duration of the month.

  • Mio padre va sempre in vacanza nel mese di Luglio. My father always goes on vacation in the month of July.
  • Il nostro negozio è chiuso nel mese di settembre. Our store is closed the month of September.

To go from month to month, as usual, you use da...a:

  • Vado a Roma da aprile a maggio. I'm going to Rome from April to May
  • Francesca va a scuola da settembre a giugno. Francesca goes to school from September to June.

Articles Before Months and Seasons

As in English, you do not need an article before the name of the month unless you are speaking of a specific month something occurred or will occur:

  • Dicembre non mi piace molto. I don't like December much.

But:

  • Mio padre è nato il settembre dopo la fine della guerra. My father was born the September after the end of the war.
  • Il dicembre prossimo comincio il lavoro nuovo. Next December I begin my new job.
  • Nel marzo del 1975 arrivai a Berlino. In March 1975 I arrived in Berlin.

Seasons get articles, unless in some poetic or literary uses.

  • La primavera va da marzo a giugno, e l'autunno va da settembre a dicembre. Spring goes from March to June, and fall goes from September to Dicember.

Examples

  • Vado in Italia a maggio per tre mesi. I’m going to Italy in May for three months.
  • Parto per l’Italia in luglio. I’m leaving for Italy in July.
  • L’anno scorso sono stato in Italia da settembre a dicembre. Last year I was in Italy from September to December.
  • Il mio migliore amico abita in Italia sei mesi all’anno, da gennaio a giugno. My best friend lives in Italy for six months of the year from January to June.
  • Ci sono dodici mesi in un anno. There are 12 months in the year.
  • Ci sono quattro stagioni in un anno. There are four seasons in a year.
  • Il mio compleanno è il diciotto di aprile, quindi il mio segno zodiacale è l’ariete. My birthday is April 18, so my zodiac sign is Aries.
  • La festa sarà a marzo. The party will be in March.
  • Vorrei andare in Danimarca a settembre, ma devo frequentare le lezioni. I would like to go to Denmark in September, but I have to go to my classes.
  • A luglio mi sposo. In July I'm getting married.
  • Ogni febbraio c’è una celebrazione dell’amore si chiama Il Giorno di San Valentino. Each February there is a celebration of love called Valentine’s Day.
  • Siamo ad ottobre. We’re in October (or, It’s October).

Cocktail Fact: Why Was September the Seventh Month?

The western calendar as we know it is the calendar inherited from the Roman Empire, in its latest version. According to the trusty Enciclopedia Treccani, under King Romolo, Rome's first, the yearly calendar began in March—winter was not thought to have months!—and ran for 10 months in this order: Martius (for Mars, god of war but also protector of fertility), Aprilis (for aperire, in Latin, to open), Maius, Iunius, Quintilis (for fifth), Sextilis (for sixth), September (for seventh), October (for eighth), November (for ninth), and December (for 10th). Ianuarius and Februarius were added at the end by Rome's second king to make things square up better with sowing and harvesting and other civic activities (and of course occasionally they threw in a day here and a day there—once even a full month—to compensate for discrepancies between the length of the years).

When the consolar year was set in January, with January honoring the god Janus, who has one side of his head turned backward and the other turned forward for auspicious beginnings, they moved the last two to first. The change made Quintilis the seventh month, which was renamed for Julius Caesar, who was born in July and who tweaked the length of the months, while Sextilis was changed to Augustus in honor of emperor Augusto, who had become consul that month. Hence, agosto!