The Odd Heat And AC Rule Tourists Staying At A Hotel In Italy Must Know Before Visiting

Italy is becoming one of the hottest (literally) destinations in Europe, with summer heat waves bringing scorching temperatures to the country in recent years. At the same time, winter temperatures in the boot-shaped nation are known to drop considerably, especially in the north, where it's common to experience below-freezing conditions. With these extreme weather patterns in mind, it might come as a surprise to learn that Italian hotels don't rely on heaters and air conditioners as much as you may be used to. Italy is one of a handful of EU countries that regulate temperatures in public buildings, including hotels. 

Reuters reported that air conditioners are barred from being set lower than 77 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, while heaters are limited to settings no higher than 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. TikToker and Italy resident @italy.with.jenna explained in a video that the rules vary depending on the area. Colder places (such as the mountainous region of Piedmont known for its epic wine and food vacations) receive more heat access, and warmer regions get generous AC allowances. Moreover, cooling and heating are only allowed during certain times of the year and during specific periods of the day, according to the Travel expert.

Why Italy's heat and AC rule exists

Italy has had heating and air conditioning rules in place for years to promote environmental sustainability and limit the use of energy resources. However, those rules became stricter in 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. The conflict between the two countries triggered a spike in energy prices, making the simple act of turning on the AC a costly one for Italians and the nation's government. Italy also made the decision to stop relying on Russia for gas amid the ongoing war, leading to new restrictions on heating and cooling in public properties. These limits were also encouraged (though not enforced) in private residences.

The amended rules were set to last only until April 2023, but that doesn't mean Italy no longer has limits on heater and AC usage. Hotels, restaurants, and other public buildings continue to follow some form of climate control restrictions in accordance with the country's current laws and schedules.

How to stay comfortable in your hotel room

Consider our essential hacks when you visit Italy in the summer or winter, but don't be surprised if your hotel (and possibly even your Airbnb) bars you from turning up the heater or air conditioner. However, the good news is that some accommodations are still able to allow flexible climate control settings in guests' rooms. After Italy released its new rules in 2022, a spokesperson for IHG Hotels & Resorts told The Points Guy that "guests can control the temperatures in their individual rooms," though that of publicly shared spaces (such as the lobby and gym) would be programmed according to local regulations. When in doubt, contact the hotel before booking your stay to confirm you'll have access to adjustable heating or AC. 

You may also want to research the heating and air conditioning schedules of your destination when deciding the best time to travel to Europe. If your hotel doesn't supply your room with heating or cooling, don't panic. Remember, this is the norm for most Italians, after all. During the warm months, pack breathable pajamas for sleeping and, if your accommodation allows, open the windows in your room. Stock up on water, too, to stay hydrated — many of Italy's fountains include a spout for potable water. If you're cold, ask the hotel for extra blankets and wrap up, even when just lounging around. A hot cup of espresso or even a glass of wine may also help beat the shivers.