One of the questions I get asked the most is ‘when is the best time to visit Florence?’.
Even though there are some general guidelines to deciding the best time to visit, it also depends on a lot of variables as well.
Here I’ve given you some things to think about to help you decide when is the best time to visit for you.
There are a few things to consider when you book a trip to Florence.
On this page we'll explore:
When you're thinking about planning a trip to Florence, the most important question to answer is; what do you want to get out of your visit?
There are lots of tourist attractions on offer in Florence so it really pays to do some research in advance.
Do you want to focus on outdoor activities and just get the vibe of the city?
Or are you more about exploring Florence's many museums?
Have you thought about taking time to go on a day trip and visit the famous Chianti wine region?
Or how about simply relaxing in one of the beautiful gardens in the city?
Once you have decided how you would like to spend your time, you can then move on to thinking about the best time to visit Florence!
Even though people often think that when visiting Italy, the sun is always shining, that is certainly not always true for Florence.
We have four very defined seasons that each have their pros and cons for visitors:
By mid March in early spring the temperatures slowly start rising and you will see the first flowers in bloom already.
The city wakes up again after a short, but sweet, winter sleep.
Temperatures are mild and the days get longer so it’s the perfect time to enjoy gardens like the Boboli garden or de Bardini garden.
The Bardini garden in mid April may have a beautiful surprise for you: the wisteria is in full bloom them and it forms a tunnel with a view on the city!
Spring is a good time to have longer days out and about exploring the city and the Tuscan countryside around it, perfect weather for a Vespa ride, a picnic or just endlessly strolling through the medieval streets.
The pleasant weather should allow you to have lunch outside in one of the many piazzas lined with restaurants and cafes, although it's still a little too cool to be dining outside in the evenings.
Do take into account that spring in Florence has some rainy days as well, so I recommend bringing an umbrella and a light rain jacket just in case.
The mild average temperature and sunny days make it the perfect weather for sightseeing, but it also means that spring is a very popular time of year to visit Florence.
Be prepared for Florence attractions to be busy and tourist crowds to be pretty much everywhere!
Summer gets HOT in Florence.
With Florence being one of the hottest and most humid cities in Italy, hotter than Rome even, the summer heat is certainly not for everyone.
Temperatures rise to a whooping 35-40 Celsius/95-105 Fahrenheit, so you want to plan your visit around the cooler times of day to avoid the worst of the sweltering weather, starting either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat.
The warm weather through June, July and August ushers a crowd of tourists visiting Florence, so major attractions are busy and there are significant queues at the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery.
The August summer heat leads many locals to flee the city for the hills or the seaside however, so once you get away from the main streets you'll find minimal crowds.
Some smaller local businesses are closed in August but as it's high tourist season you won't have any problem finding great places to eat and drink during your stay!
The warm weather makes it the perfect time for long summer nights enjoying everything Florentine cuisine has to offer, open air dining in the cooler evenings, and enjoying the city in all its splendor.
If you’re planning on visiting the Tuscan countryside, this is a good time of the year as the hills surrounding the city are usually a bit cooler.
Florence is also not too far away from the seaside (around 1-1.5 hours), and some parts of the Tuscan coast are really stunning!
Rain in summer is rare and usually comes in the form of a violent but brief thunderstorm, after which it quickly clears up again.
Summer can stretch quite a bit into September, with the average temperature still being pretty warm.
Towards the end of September temperatures start to drop, but it still hardly ever gets really cold and the nights are remain pretty mild, which means you can occasionally still enjoy dinner outside.
Fall is the perfect time for foodies to come to town, as in September and October the harvest season for olives and wines takes place.
This period always comes with lots of events organized by different wineries, and is wonderful for wine tasting (and buying!) as well as tasting typical seasonal products like truffles, wild boar or one of the hearty soups like ribollita.
Rain is quite common, along with cooler weather in late fall, so bring some good walking shoes, a light jacket and an umbrella.
Fall is the best time to visit Florence if you want to spend hours in one of the many museums and churches admiring all the beauty that this Renaissance capital of the world has to offer.
The winter months are definitely the quietest months of the year to visit Florence.
With the colder temperatures really hitting, you will want to bundle up during your visit but it doesn't get too cold and at most you'll see some light snow.
A winter visit to Florence will enable you to do really all the activities that you want to, during the off season there are far fewer crowds around to deal with!
The city does get a bit busier during December, if you visit Florence around this time you will find it lit up with lots of Christmas decorations!
With a winter park, ice skating rink and Christmas markets, Florence gets all cosy and festive which appeals to lots of visitors, even with the cooler temperatures.
If you're spending Christmas in Florence, remember that Italians traditionally spend the holidays with family and friends, so it is not as common to go out for dinner and you'll need to sort out your reservations in plenty of time.
New Year’s Eve comes with celebrations in the different squares and fireworks from Piazzale Michelangelo.
While you won't be sitting outside sipping wine in the sunshine, the winter months are a great time to visit Florence if you want to explore the city without the crowds.
Easter and Holy Week tend to be extremely busy in Florence.
It is very common for Europeans to travel around the Easter holidays and the Florence weather in Spring is ideal.
April 25 is a national holiday in Italy, as is May 1.
The national holiday marking the liberation of Italy in 1945 and then the May Day celebrations often get combined by Italians, so they will take a full week off and enjoy themselves.
Hotel prices start increasing significantly so make sure to book ahead to avoid being disappointed or having to pay an exorbitant amount of money.
If you’re planning to go to the seaside this is especially true, as this is super high season for them.
Note that these prices stay high in August even though the city is quieter.
What used to be the start of the shoulder season in September is now a second peak after the more relaxed August.
So many people have started seeing the appeal of traveling outside of the summer holidays, avoiding the intense Florence weather, that September is now absolutely packed!
It’s almost impossible to come to Florence and not stand in line for something.
The bigger museums and sights are busy pretty much year round, with no real exceptions.
However for these major sights there are a few things you can do that will make your life a whole lot easier!
Firstly, make sure to book your ticket in advance - this is absolutely essential.
Secondly, when choosing what time of day to book your ticket, try and avoid the busiest times of day, usually between 10AM and 3PM, and go earlier in the day or later in the afternoon.
One of my favorite strategies if you need to go during the middle of the day is to book my ticket for lunchtime when lots of visitors are busy eating and drinking, so you will have a lot more space in the big museums!
Another good way to avoid the crowds is to just take some different streets.
The tour groups and people in general, tend to follow the same paths. If you just take a left and a right away from the main roads, you’ll find beautiful little streets without tourists.
The roads around Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Santa Croce are probably the areas that get the busiest.
If you want to enjoy the ‘real’ Florence, away from the crowds, try spending an afternoon or so in the Oltrarno area.
You’ll find more authentic food, businesses and life there than in the historical centre.
Also, if you can avoid the weekends as that is when Italian tourists flock into town as well, making it even more crowded than on weekdays.
Over the last few years we have seen visitors start coming in volume much earlier, these months are still the most relaxed time of year, especially in January.
You will find that for hotels and B&B’s, changing the time of your visit can make a big difference.
In restaurants, bars and shops the prices are the same all year round, you won’t find any changes here depending on the season but in January and February smaller businesses sometimes close to have a break due to the smaller numbers of visitors.
As you may have noticed by now, it is hard to say when the best time to visit Florence is.
It very much depends on your personal preferences and other factors such as time and money.
My personal favorite time to visit Florence would probably be spring, as you can see the city burst into bloom, the good weather is perfectly balanced and the general atmosphere in the city is just happy and relaxed.
With a bit of preparation though you can really get the most out of any time of year in Florence, whether you're here for one day or one month, with unique things to see and do that make that time of year special.
Whenever you visit Florence, be sure to relax and enjoy this amazing city with all the beauty it has to offer!
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