Florence in January - Make the most of your trip!

Are you thinking of coming to Florence in January?

Yes, it's cold but it's also quiet and almost tourist-free, so January is a great time to explore Florence.

Read on to find out what you can expect!


Piazza del Duomo in winterPiazza del Duomo with the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral showing in Florence in January - chilly but uncrowded!

January in Florence - at a glance

January is one of my favorite months to be in Florence.

It's pretty simple - there are virtually no crowds! At least after the 6th...

Here's what you need to know about coming to visit Florence this time of year:

January weather in Florence Italy

January is one of the coldest months in Florence, but while it will feel cold, winters here tend to be on the milder side.

At the start of the month it's possible it will snow in Florence, but if it does, the snow will not be heavy.

The average temperature starts to slowly climb as the month progresses into February, so it's much more unlikely for it to snow at the end of January.

The chance of rainfall is at its highest in January so you will definitely want to come prepared (see below for what to pack.)


Florence cathedral in winterIn January you might get some rain, but you will have plenty of cold sunny days like this, too!


The weather in Florence in January is on the cooler side, with lows (at night) averaging 38-40 Fahrenheit/3-4 Celsius, and highs during the day of about 48-50 Fahrenheit/9-10 Celsius.

The days are still pretty short, being winter, but they are already getting longer after the winter solstice on December 22.



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


What to pack for Florence in January

Packing tips for January in Florence

Packing for Florence in January is easy as the weather is pretty consistently wintry cold.

It can be surprisingly warm for a short few hours during the middle of the day when the sun is out, but it gets cold quickly, which is why you should pack plenty of layers.


Ponte Vecchio in winterOn a cold winter's day in January, people on the Ponte Vecchio are pretty bundled up.


Think jeans or cotton pants and long-sleeved tops, waterproof jackets and a heavier cardigan or pullover - it's definitely not shorts and t-shirt weather!

I would also recommend carrying a warm scarf and gloves with you, ready for the afternoons and evenings when the temperature drops fast.

These are my personal recommendations for packing for Florence in January:

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This is the time of year in Florence to wear a warm and cozy winter hat.

They're easy to pack and keep in your bag as you walk around. Trust me, when temperatures drop as the sun goes down, you’ll appreciate a warm hat!



I own these e-tip gloves and just love them. They are perfect for cold weather, and I can keep them on while I use my phone to make calls or take pictures.

I've washed them more than once, and they still look brand new. 



A scarf is a must-have item throughout the year in Florence. In warmer weather, it's just fashionable.

But in winter, I love having a large pashmina which I find is more versatile than just a regular scarf. I prefer a blend of cashmere and silk because it's not overly hot, and it doesn't make me itch.

Bonus - these are great for the plane ride too!



Another essential thing to include in your packing for Florence is a good jacket.

The best option for what to wear when sight-seeing in Florence in cold weather is a waterproof hiking jacket, with removable lining.

I have several for when I hike, and I wear them around Florence in winter. It's really 3 jackets in one with the different combinations!



Here is a men's version of the same kind of jacket: waterproof, sporty, and with removable lining. It's the perfect travel jacket to include in your packing for Florence in January!



It doesn't hurt to travel in Florence (or anywhere in Italy) with a good travel umbrella. You can always buy one here, but having one in your bag will prevent you getting wet in a sudden downpour!

I love mine, that has features like wind-resistant ribs, and a cool open AND close button.



When deciding what to pack for a trip to Florence in January, heavy cotton pants or comfortable jeans are an excellent idea for men, women, and children alike.



warm cardigan, pullover, or turtleneck is a good idea as well.

Even when you take off your jacket, you will still stay warm and cozy.



half-zip or full-zip fleece is another great way to be warm and comfortable while sightseeing in Florence during the winter.

It's easy to pack in your luggage, and to ball up and carry around in a small backpack when exploring the city center.

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It’s essential to be prepared for rain (and possibly even snow) in Florence this time of year, so I would recommend including a rain hat, a sturdy umbrella and good quality waterproof shoes on your packing list.


General Florence packing tips

What else do you need to consider when packing for Florence in January?

These are a few of my essential packing recommendations, any time of year:

Disclosure : If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!



Sunglasses!

Yes it can be rainy in Florence occasionally, but the sun will be shining more often than not so you'll want a good pair of sunglasses.



Any medications you take, along with a list of these medications.

I would recommend keeping these with you in your carry-on in a dedicated container, rather than packing them in your checked luggage.


generic passport image

Photocopies or clear photographs saved on your phone of your passport - much safer than carrying your actual passport around Florence!



Plug converters for your dual-voltage appliances.

Voltage in Italy is 220, and in the US and some other countries, it's 110. Most electronic devices will default to dual voltage, but you will need a plug adapter as the plug shapes are different here.

This universal adapter covers you in multiple locations, perfect for travel to different parts of the world.



Carrying a well-stocked first-aid kit gives you peace of mind when traveling.

I always like having one with me when I travel, it’s very handy for when you need something quickly.



Travel insurance isn't something to pack but it is something you should not forget!

It is not uncommon these days for visitors to have to deal with lost luggage or cancelled or delayed flights, and your credit card coverage may not be as extensive as you think - chances are you are not covered for what you need when these things happen!

Being prepared for your trip isn't just about packing the right clothes and accessories, it's also about planning ahead.

There's so much to do that it can be overwhelming sometimes to decide what Florence attractions to include in your itinerary, so why not leave it to the experts?

Take a look at some of the top Florence tours available for a deeper insight into one of the world's most popular cities!

What to wear in Florence in January

So how should you dress when you visit Florence in January?

You will probably be walking a lot, so you need comfortable shoes.


Piazza della Repubblica - winterNo matter what time of year, when walking around Florence, you should wear the most comfortable shoes you can.

Rule 1: Be Comfortable!

My number one rule for sightseeing in Florence, at any time of year: be comfortable.

This is most important when it comes to your shoes, it is crucial to wear good walking shoes, and good quality socks.

I would recommend only bringing shoes you have already broken in, and don’t worry about looking like a tourist - that’s exactly what you are!

Rule 2: Dress in Layers

The next rule, which is especially relevant for January is: dress in layers.

Since the weather can change significantly throughout the day, and it sometimes rains unexpectedly, it's necessary to wear layers that you can remove/put on easily such as cardigans/pullovers/jumpers and waterproof jackets.

Also, when you go inside a museum or restaurant with heating, you'll want to take off a layer or two.

It's a good idea to wear a backpack as you travel around Florence, so you can have a place to stow your layers if you take them off.

Bottom line, when packing for Florence in January, don't forget to:

  • Wear good walking shoes
  • Dress in jeans or heavy cotton pants
  • Wear a light cotton shirt with a sweater/cardigan 
  • Wear a waterproof coat/jacket 
  • Bring a warm hat and gloves
  • Last but not least, don't forget the Italian MUST WEAR - a scarf. Always a scarf.

If you are planning to go to an event, for example a wedding, opera or dinner at a special restaurant, then you may wish to bring something elegant to wear.


Osteria delle Belle Donne insideMe inside Osteria delle Belle Donne. No need to bring fancy clothes with you to Florence unless you have a special event to attend.


Otherwise, it is fine to wear more casual clothes to eat out at many restaurants in Florence so you do not need to pack much, if any, evening-wear.

And besides, don't you want to shop?

Is January a good time to visit Florence?

Once the festive season ends on January 6, Florence becomes much quieter, with low visitor numbers, so exploring the different parts of the city center is easy.

It's one reason I love Florence in January, as mentioned at the top of this page.

While it's definitely winter-cold, it's not so extreme as to stop you from exploring.

I just bundle up and happily walk around.

How crowded is Florence during January?

You might expect January, being a winter month, to be pretty quiet in Florence.

That depends on which part of January you are here. 

The first week of January is high season in Florence, and very crowded.

First of all, it's still part of the New Year's Eve and general holiday season.


Florence Christmas shoppingFlorence is very festive during the holidays, which go until early January.


January 6 is a national holiday in Italy and other Catholic countries: it's the Day of the Kings (the day the Magi brought gifts).

In Italy, this national holiday is mostly about kids, and is known as Befana, which is the name of a not-very-pretty witch, who is actually nice, and who flies around bringing gifts to the kids.

The Christmas holiday season officially ends on the 6th of January (although you will still see some lights up around Florence through late January) so there are still Christmas markets and a festive atmosphere in early January.

Most major tourist and historic sites, and even shops, are open on January 6.

However, schools and a lot of offices are closed through that date.

And often, this will stretch through whatever the following weekend is.

Then everything gets back to "normal" the following Monday, so until then, Italian families are traveling and visiting Florence.

And that makes it pretty crowded here!


San Lorenzo facade - winterOnce the holiday season ends in January, Florence crowds drop considerably.


And, finally, winter sales begin sometime at the start of January, and Italians will flock to their favorite stores that day, so it's yet one more reason you will see Florence's streets very busy in those first few days of January. 

After that, Florence tourism drops to almost nothing, so you can count on having a lot of sites to yourself.

If you're looking to escape the crowds of people at the Duomo, Uffizi, Accademia Gallery and Ponte Vecchio, January is the perfect time of year to enjoy the city!


Florence Seasonal Food in January


January is a great time to enjoy all the seasonal winter foods like artichokes, chicory, broccoli, cabbage, apples, pears, citrus fruits, and persimmons. 


ribollita in a restaurantRibollita is one of the best ways to warm up on a cold January day in Florence!


Some of my favorite seasonal things to eat in Florence in the winter include the hearty Tuscan ribollita soup, as well as everything truffle-based - truffles are everywhere this time of year!

Discover the best of Florentine cuisine on a Florence food walking tour, led by a local expert who will show you what to eat and what's in season!

What to do during January in Florence

January holidays and special dates in Florence


Besides the obvious holiday dates of New Year's Day and January 6, there are a few other important Florence events in January to note:

January 1 - New Years Day

January 1, New Year's Day, is a bank holiday as well as religious holiday.

Many shops are closed, but sites are generally open for visitors.

No matter what day of the week January 1 falls on, Florence is busy on the dates surrounding it and pretty much throughout the first week of January.

January 6 - Epiphany/BEFANA

January 6 marks the end of the Christmas holidays.

In some countries, including Italy, it's known as the Epiphany or as the Day of the Kings.

In Italy, it's also known as the Befana, who is an ugly but good witch who goes around bringing toys to children.

In fact, many Italian children expect to open gifts on this day as opposed to December 25.

Epiphany is a particularly popular festival in Tuscany and Florence, with lots of events taking place to celebrate.

Every year there is a procession through the city center ending at the Piazza del Duomo recreating the journey of the three kings of the Magi (the wise men) to Bethlehem, complete with historic costumes and animals.

Winter sales!

In Italy, we have big sales twice a year, once in summer and once in winter, look for the signs that say "Saldi."


saldi - salesWinter is a great way to find bargains on Italian fashion and other souvenirs!


Winter sales generally start on the first Saturday in January, running until the end of February.

The better stuff goes early so if you want to make the most of the sales, try and plan your trip for earlier in January.

La Fiorita di San Zenobi

Saint Zenobius (San Zanobi or Zenobio in Italian) was the first bishop of Florence. He lived from 337–417.

Several miracles that include bringing the dead back to life are attributed to him.


Fiorita di san Zenobi in Piazza della SignoriaThe celebration of the Fiorita di San Zenobi is a fun thing to watch if you happen to be in Florence on January 26.


On January 26, 429, Saint Zenobi's remains were transferred from the basilica of San Lorenzo to the new cathedral of Santa Reparata (today underneath the Florence cathedral or Duomo where he is currently buried.)

According to legend, an old dying elm tree in Piazza San Giovanni miraculously sprang to life as the saint's remains were carried past it.

To commemorate this event, a column was erected in Piazza San Giovanni in 1384.

Every year on January 26, you can watch a parade and show by historical procession put on by the Florentine Republic, the Bandierai of the Uffizi and the city authorities.


Fiorita di san Zenobi - closeupMedieval dress outside the Florence Duomo


They retrace that journey of centuries ago and lay a wreath at the base of the column in Piazza San Giovanni.

One of the best places to catch the show is in Piazza della Signoria, where we happened to be by chance one day when they came by to celebrate.


Current exhibits and events at Florence's museums in January

The cooler fall and winter months are a great time to see some of the limited-time exhibits in Florence.

Here are some of the events taking place in January 2024 around the city:



anish kapoor palazzo strozzi exhibition

Palazzo Strozzi

Anish Kapoor - Untrue Unreal

Showcasing Kapoor's work in contemporary art, this exhibition curated by Palazzo Strozzi's Director General will feature monumental installations, intimate environments and thought-provoking forms that will forge an original and captivating dialogue with the architecture and audience.

October 7, 2023 to February 4, 2024

Learn more and purchase your tickets here.



mucha art nouveau exhibition

Museo degli Innocenti

Alphonse Mucha - The Seduction of Art Nouveau

Explore more than two hundred works from the era of the 'Belle Époque', the Paris art movement at the end of the 1800's that Mucha spearheaded, creating the iconic Art Nouveau images we still know today.

October 27, 2023 to April 7, 2024

Find out more details here.



michelangelo secret room

Medici Chapels

Michelangelo's Secret Room

For the first time, the room with a series of drawings on the wall attributed to Michelangelo is open to visitors.

Group numbers are limited and very popular!

November 15, 2023 - March 30, 2024

See more information and ticket availability here.

Florence Concerts, Operas and other shows on in January

There are lots of concerts and other events available to book for your trip to Florence in January.

Take a look at some of our suggestions here:



gyg-santa-monica-opera

Enjoy operatic pieces from famous Italian composers live in concert in the evocative surroundings of the Santa Monaca church.

Concerts take place every evening, booking highly recommended.



gyg-three-tenors

See the Three Tenors live in concert at the Santo Stefano al Ponte church.

You will be treated to some of the best-known arias from the operas of Puccini, Verdi and Rossini, as well as Neapolitan songs.

Takes place twice a week - why not book your tickets to include a special 3-course Tuscan meal for an extra special evening!



teatro-niccolini

Enjoy a variety of concerts and events in Florence's oldest theater, Teatro Niccolini.



teatro-verdi-small

Teatro Verdi hosts many contemporary shows and concerts almost every day of the week.

Free Things to do in Florence in January

On the first Sunday of each month you can access Florence's state-run museums, archeological parks and cultural sites for free - yes, completely free!

This includes the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, Galleria Academia and many more.


Horizontal view of David Statue in AccademiaMichelangelo's David is free to see on the first Sunday of each month in the Accademia Gallery


These free entrance days are very popular events so plan to arrive early to be sure you get in.


More ideas for things to do in Florence in January

Maybe it's your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time in Florence.

Or you have more than 3 days here.

Or you just want to see and do lots of fun things.

Besides the obvious must-see Florence attractions, there are lots of great things to see and do!

While you can of course look at a day trip to the Tuscan countryside, Rome or even Venice, here are some ideas for your visit:


january pin elb

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