Pompeii has a Mediterranean climate, meaning that summers are sunny and hot, though they are tempered by a balmy sea breeze. The Mediterranean does bring a lot of rain; on the whole the west coast of Italy gets more rainfall than anywhere else in the country. The rainiest months are November through February, which also get cold because of inland-blowing winds. The relative harshness of the winter (though it is still mild by most standards) means Pompeii is usually not very trafficked during these months.

The best time to go, then, is May or June. Springtime is pleasant because temperatures are warming up but it is never too hot. Since most tourists come in the middle of summer, prices will be lower if you come a bit earlier. Pompeii in August is packed with tourists from all over Europe and the world, but the crowds are slightly relieved because most native Italians avoid Pompeii during these crowded months.

If you do end up visiting during the hottest months of summer, there are several ways to prevent the weather from dampening your excitement. Wear sunscreen and light, loose clothing and bring a hat and sunglasses. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and remember that nights are always cooler, so you can stay in your hotel with the air conditioner blasting during the day if absolutely necessary.

For Pompeii’s ten-day weather forecast, visit Weather.com.