Fall in Florence – Busy But Beautiful!

If you’re planning to spend fall in Florence, prepare to see the iconic Renaissance City at its best.

ponte vecchio as seen from ponte trinitaFlorence in Fall is an ideal combination of good weather and great food!

Offering incredible weather (for the most part!), unique festivals, and the start of wine and olive oil seasons, it’s a stellar time for a Tuscan tour.

Everything you need to know about visiting Florence in the fall

Boasting everything from towering cathedrals to world-famous galleries, museums, and palaces, Florence is one of Italy’s finest cities along with Rome, Venice, Naples and Milan.

But people are always surprised to hear that the city is heaving with visitors during fall.

If you’re trying to figure out why fall is such a popular time to visit Florence (and why it’s worth it!), stick with me.


View of Giotto bell tower horizontalThe appeal of sites like the Bell Tower and Cathedral make fall a busy time of year


On this page you’ll find:


Is fall a good time to visit Florence?

In one word, YES, fall is a beautiful time to visit Florence.

The weather is relatively warm and pleasant and the evenings aren’t cool enough to prevent you from dining outdoors.


Arno view at sunset horizontalThe long fall evenings mean we get some spectacular sunsets


You also won’t be sweating lots as you meander along the Arno River or take in Michelangelo’s David statue.

As I mentioned before, visitor numbers are usually high during the fall months.

But the changing foliage, mild climate, incredible Tuscan foods, great wines, and decent daylight hours are worth battling crowds for.


Is fall high season or shoulder season in Florence?

Technically, fall is Italy’s real peak season for visitors, especially during September and October

When there are plenty of sunny days on offer (and working adults typically take advantage of schools being in session!) the intense, hot summer days are over and the weather is ideal for walking around the city.


accademia gallery crowdsThe crowds at sights like the Accademia can be intense in the fall


A lot of non-Italians hope for less crowded attractions outside of the summer months, but ironically this means that places tend to be even busier.

For that reason, you should always book tickets for popular sites like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo in advance.

I find that November and early December are far quieter than earlier dates in October.

So, that’s worth bearing in mind if you want to escape the crowds.


Fall Weather in Florence

If you’re planning to spend fall in Florence, you might be concerned about temperatures and average rainfall. 

In my experience, it's always a good idea to have an umbrella on hand in autumn (especially as November and December come around!).


cloudy rain day from uffizi gallery in winterRainy days come more often in Florence the closer we get to December


The weather can also be quite variable throughout the season, with temperatures dipping significantly into November and December.  

The end of September and early October are largely close to summer temperatures and it’s not usually cold enough for heavy jackets until mid-November.

Average highs and lows during October are 70°/54°Fahrenheit and 21°/11° Celsius.

I’ll also say that the chance of rainfall tends to increase as the season goes on, with late October being the start of typical rainy fall weather.

By November, it’ll turn significantly chillier and you’ll need to throw on a heavier coat or jacket.

As December approaches, temperatures hover at highs and lows of 51°/37° Fahrenheit and 11°/3° Celsius so bundle up!


What to pack and what to wear in Florence during autumn

It’s tempting to over-pack for a trip to Florence in an attempt to cover every base.

But all you need to navigate Italy in autumn are comfortable shoes, plenty of layers, and reliable rain gear.

Seriously, comfort is KEY.

5 things to bring with you no matter the season

  • A hat: A wide brim hat or cap (with SPF!) will protect your skin from the city’s brutal sun in the late afternoon.
  • Comfortable shoes: You might be tempted to throw on flimsy flats or a pair of flip flops to protect yourself from the heat. But you’ll want to wear sturdy shoes or well-built sandals to tackle the uneven paved streets in Florence, even with the hot weather.
  • A scarf: A light scarf can work wonders for keeping you comfortable during the cooler evenings in June and September. Stick with moisture-wicking light cotton to avoid feeling suffocated!
  • Anti-theft bag: The pickpockets of Florence will be up for a challenge whatever the weather. Make sure you bring an anti-theft fanny pack, backpack or messenger bag to keep your belongings safe.
  • Travel insurance: You should never travel anywhere without insurance, and Florence is no exception. Do your research and opt for a policy with excellent medical, cancellation, and repatriation cover.

Packing for a fall trip

If you're visiting Florence in the fall, you'll want to carefully consider WHEN you’re visiting.

Traveling in late September will see you through your vacation with a light jacket, summer gear, and a pair of comfortable shoes.

For November, pack lightweight cardigans, sweaters, and jackets along with thicker socks to wear with walking shoes.


Piazza della Signoria on a rainy winter dayUmbrellas are an essential fall item to keep you dry in case of an unexpected rain shower


Although you won't see as much rain in October, I highly recommend packing a rain jacket and a windproof umbrella in case of unexpected showers.

If you can get a lightweight waterproof jacket with a removable fleece lining, that’s even better!

Oh, and don’t feel as though you need to dress to impress to go out in the evening.

The vast majority of Italian restaurants are more than happy to seat you in casual wear.


No matter what season you visit Florence, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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Fall events in Florence

There are several special events to take note of during a trip to Florence in the fall, with Christmas marking the official start of winter.

SEPTEMBER 7: FESTA DELLA RIFICOLONA

This festival takes place every year on September 7, celebrating an ancient tradition of pilgrims coming into the city from the surrounding countryside to commemorate the birth of the Virgin Mary.

The pilgrims would carry lanterns and torches on their journey, which today is remembered by a procession of people carrying decorated paper lanterns through the streets of Florence.


EVERY SUNDAY IN OCTOBER: MARRADI CHESTNUT FESTIVAL

If you’re a fan of chestnuts, make an effort to visit this iconic festival that takes place in October.

It’s held in nearby Marradi and offers delicacies like Tortelli, castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake), and roasted chestnuts.

It’s also worth sticking around to check out the street performers and handicrafts between the chestnut stalls.

OCTOBER 8: FESTA DI SANTA REPARATA

Saint Reparata was responsible for casting out heathen invaders back in the 400’s and is credited with allowing Florence to remain a Christian city.


santa reparata cryptThe remains of the ancient church can still be visited now under the Duomo


A church was built to honor the saint which survived for hundreds of years, until the crumbling building was rebuilt and became the Duomo.

The ancient crypt of Saint Reparata was preserved and can still be visited today.

This festival remembering the saint takes place each year on October 8, with a historical parade ending at the Duomo.


MID-OCTOBER: BIENNALE DI FIRENZE

This incredible exhibition of contemporary art takes place every two years in the Fortezza da Basso.

During the week-long fair, you can explore design work from global artists along with events, workshops, and guest performances.

NOVEMBER 1: ALL SAINTS DAY

Also known as Ognissanti in Italian, All Saints’ Day is the main national holiday during November.

As this is a well-observed national holiday, smaller restaurants and sites are likely to close their doors for the day.

If you’re visiting major sites, you can expect them to be open but there may be some with reduced hours.



Check out our top tips for making the most of your time in Florence:


The best things to do when you visit Florence during the fall season

dome of duomo from insideSeeing the ornate inside of the Duomo should be on your list whenever you visit, but what are some fall-specific things to do?

I highly suggest hitting some of the following hot spots as well as exploring Florence's seasonal offerings, as they are must-visit attractions whatever time of year you visit:

But if you’re looking for seasonal things to do, here are a few ideas:

First Sunday of each month: Free entry to museums

On the first Sunday of each month, Florence’s state-run museums are open for FREE.

It’s an incredible way to save money on attractions like the Accademia Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, and the ever-popular Uffizi Gallery.

Try to get to your first-choice attraction as early as possible, these open days are extremely over-subscribed!


piazza signoria with crowd of peoplePrepare to stand in a long line for entrance during the free Sunday events!

Olive oil tours

If your Florence trip is during the second weekend of November, why not visit the olive oil festival in Pontassieve’s historical center?

Along with stalls dedicated to oil and mulled wine, you’ll also find sweet treats from local bakers.

If you’d prefer to go on a tasting tour, you can join a tour that takes you into an olive mill, as well as doing tastings.


Halloween

Halloween isn’t as much of a “thing” in Florence as it is in the United States.

But there are several spooky events that pop up across the city each year.

From themed nights at the Hard Rock Café to ghost hunts in piazzas and murder mystery parties, there’s something for everyone!

San Miniato truffle fair

If you’re willing to head deeper into Tuscany and over to Pisa, you can catch the annual National White Truffle Fair.

It takes place across the last three weekends of November and is known for serving incredible fresh truffles and Tuscan delicacies. 


Truffles in FlorenceTuscan truffles are renowned for their superior quality


There are also several stalls set up in an open-air arrangement that serve delicious dishes made with truffles!

Oh, and did I mention the truffle hunting competition that takes place each year?

Piazza Santa Croce Christmas market

The annual Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market is the largest in Florence and is a great place to visit.

It runs earlier than you might expect, from mid November to mid December.

Not only will you find gastronomic delights (like bratwurst!) and spiced mulled wine, but there’s tons of entertainment on offer.

Plus, you can’t beat the handcrafted Christmas decorations and winter accessories that you can peruse at over 50 unique stalls!

As the market has been around for over 500 years, it’s part of the city’s unique history.


Early December to early January: Green Line festival

If your trip to Florence is in late fall and you're still around in early December, you’ll want to check out the Green Line Festival.

This annual celebration takes place every evening between early December and early January (dates vary each year).


Christmas in florence lightshowThe light projections are always fun to see


Each evening, the city casts Christmas light projections across central buildings and monuments (including the Ponte Vecchio!).

It’s entirely free to attend and is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.


What Foods Are in Season During the Autumn?

Folks in Florence are all about eating seasonally.

As a result, you’ll find everything from colorful cabbages to peppery radicchio appearing on menus during fall.

Autumn is also prime harvest time for grapes in Tuscany.

So spending time in Florence during the fall gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy wine season with rich pours like Chianti and Chianti Classico.


Pasta with truffle at trattoria sant agostinoFall is truffle season so make the most of it while you're here!

Join Devour Tours for a sunset food adventure in Florence's Oltrarno district! Taste Tuscan delights from street bites to traditional dishes!


And just FYI, between late September and early October is when olive oil season is in full swing!

If you head to local restaurants, you’ll also spot taglioni pasta being topped with shaved truffles, pumpkin, and squash.

When you’re craving warm and satisfying comfort food (with a glass of wine!), dig into a plate of fagioli all’uccelletto!

This delicious dish combines baked beans with a light tomato sauce, sage, and basil.


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