Florence in Spring - A Perfect Time to Visit!

Are you thinking of skipping the Tuscan countryside and visiting bustling Florence in spring?

florence rose gardenFlorence in spring is a wonderful season for sightseeing, keep reading to find out why!

Offering excellent (if slightly rainy!) weather, incredible festivals, and gorgeous manicured gardens, it’s an amazing time to visit Florence. 

Everything you need to know about how to visit Florence Italy in the Spring

With world-famous museums, centuries of history, and Renaissance gardens to discover, Florence is a dream destination for many.

But you might be surprised to find out that there are no real quiet months if you’re visiting during springtime.


people at piazza del duomoThe crowds are already building here in April at Piazza del Duomo


That’s right, summer ISN’T generally peak season in Italy, it’s typically more crowded between April and June!

So, if you’re trying to make the most of your vacation (and cover the most unique things to do in Florence!), you’ll want to keep reading.

On this page you'll find:

Is spring a good time to visit Florence?

YEP – spring is possibly the best time to visit Florence.

Not only is the winter chill starting to fade away (hello, strolls along the river Arno!), but you can catch part of the city’s shoulder season for cheaper rates in early spring.

The perfect sightseeing weather means the crowds can get quite heavy as the season goes on, but this is also when the many garden and park options will be at their best.


florence rose gardenThe Rose Garden is in full bloom in the spring


So for me, it’s worth persevering with the crowds, even if this means popular city sights like the Uffizi Gallery, Piazzale Michelangelo, Duomo and Accademia Gallery are busier.

Oh, and because this time of year is great for fresh produce, you can easily stock up on greens and seasonal fruit at the local markets.


Is the spring high season or shoulder season in Florence?

Early spring is part of Florence’s shoulder season, and the peak period tends to hit around Easter.

That’s largely because the city gets good weather, longer daylight hours, and the gardens are blooming. 

But it’s also because Florence gets a rush of visitors around Easter.

Easter is a very popular time of year to travel within Europe, especially when combined with Florence's unique Easter celebrations and the Easter mass at the Duomo.


Duomo and bell tower complexThe area around the Duomo is extremely busy at Easter


The city then gets busier and busier as the season goes on.

People like to avoid the intense heat during the summer months so if you visit earlier in the year, don't expect fewer crowds.

I recommend booking popular sites well in advance to avoid missing out.


Spring weather in Florence

Spring in Florence is when you’ll start experiencing warm weather, but there’s still a high chance of rain at the start of the season.

It’s nothing like the balmy heat of the summertime, but temperatures rise significantly by early June.

You can generally expect warm days and chilly nights from March until early April with highs and lows hitting 16°C/61°F and 6°C/43°F.


Rainbow over the Arno riverEven when it does rain, it never lasts long and the sun will come back out quickly


In May, temperatures reach the mid 20's Celsius/mid 70's Fahrenheit during the day, although the evenings can still be on the cooler side.

By the time we get to early June, the temperature is starting to soar, with daily highs averaging 29°C/82°F and mild evenings averaging 16°C/61°F, with the city getting ready for the summer hot weather.

In terms of rain, watch out for those April showers as more often than not we get some rainy periods.

Bring a travel umbrella and/or light jacket with you when out and about in case of unexpected showers!

What to pack and what to wear in Florence during spring time

It’s easy to overpack if you’re visiting Florence in springtime.

But you just need to make sure you have reliable rain gear (for those showers!), a trusty jacket, and light layers.

5 things to bring with you no matter the season

  • A hat: It’s not the height of summer yet, but the sunshine can still be strong! A lightweight visor, cap, or wide-brim hat will set you up for success.
  • Comfortable shoes: I recommend walking shoes for tackling Florence’s streets. If that’s not your style, sturdy trainers or boots should work (just make sure they’re broken in!).
  • A scarf: Italians are all about styling with scarves, and they’re also a multi-purpose accessory that’ll keep you warm on chilly evenings!
  • Anti-theft bag: It’s a sad fact, but you’ll find pickpockets all over the entire city. Think about a bad that is tricky to get into, a theft-proof backpack or messenger bag make great picks.
  • Travel insurance: This isn’t an exaggeration – don’t leave home without comprehensive insurance that covers medical emergencies and baggage loss. Just don’t do it!

Packing for a spring trip to Florence Italy

Florence’s dress code is relatively casual, and lightweight trousers, skirts, dresses, and well-cut jeans are all valid base layers from March through May.

You can layer these with tights or leggings for cooler days and even rock shorts if you’re visiting in early June.

But the key to nailing spring packing is bringing plenty of layers. 

So, light t-shirts, thermal layers, jackets, and cardigans are all great things to have on hand for each month.


ponte vecchio in aprilYou can see how people are dressed on this typical April day, lighter layers but those rain jackets are close to hand!


You shouldn’t need thick socks during spring, but they’re great to have under walking boots in March when it’s still chilly.

For any month, you need to have an umbrella on hand.

Although it’s wettest in April, you should expect to see at least a little rainfall when exploring the city!

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

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Spring events in Florence

MARCH 8: FESTA DELLA DONNA

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and most locals celebrate with yellow mimosa flowers everywhere. 

From grocery stores to shop windows and restaurants, the flowers are on display and gifted to women.

It is not a public holiday so nothing will be closed.


mimosa flowersThe bright yellow mimosa flowers are a lovely colorful accent in early March

EASTER SUNDAY: EXPLOSION OF THE CART

If you’re in Florence at Easter, you’ll want to catch the Explosion of the Cart - Lo Scoppio del Carro in Italian.

On Easter Sunday, an antique cart is filled to the brim with fireworks and set off outside Florence Cathedral.


scoppio del carro easterThe Explosion of the Cart is a uniquely Florentine tradition!


This tradition is said to date back to the First Crusade in 1099 where a Florentine scaled the walls of Jerusalem and displayed a Christian banner.

When he returned home, he brought back flints from the Holy Sepulchre and used these to set torches alight that were carried around the city.

The tradition evolved to the firework display we have today - read more about it on our dedicated Easter page!

EARLY TO MID MAY: SAGRA DEL CINGHIALE

Fans of wild boar will want to head to the nearby village in Tuscany of Suvereto for the Sagra del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival).

It’s one of the oldest festivals in Tuscany and features boar-related art and carvings as well as lots of tasty food.

But the best part is that you can sample excellent local white and red wine from the Val di Cornia!

APRIL 25: LIBERATION DAY

Commemorating the end of Fascism and Nazi rule during World War II, this is a big holiday here, especially if it falls near Easter.


View of Basilica Santa Croce - verticalOn Liberation Day a wreath is laid at the monument to the fallen in Piazza Santa Croce

MAY 1: MAY DAY

This is another public holiday in Italy, but most sites and museums stay open so it shouldn't impact your visit much.


MAY 23: FIORITA COMMEMORATION

Every year on May 23, Florentines will gather in Palazzo Vecchio to honor the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola who was burned at the stake here in 1498.

Savonarola was a very popular preacher who temporarily overthrew the Medici ruling family in 1497 when he whipped the city into a frenzy.

His influence didn't last long, being convicted of heresy by the pope in Rome the following year and condemned to death.


Place where Savonarola was burnt This plaque in Piazza della Signoria marks the spot Savonarola was burnt.


During the annual remembrance ceremony, flowers are laid down on the spot where his pyre was built in Piazza della Signoria, before a historic procession winds its way to the river where rose petals are thrown into the Arno River.

JUNE 2: FESTA DELLA REPUBBLICA

Celebrating the day Italy became a republic and abolished their monarchy in 1946, this is one of the main holidays here.

As a public holiday, expect shops, banks and some restaurants to be closed, but in general most sights are open and you will not struggle for things to do.


The best things to do when you visit Florence during the spring

piazza santa maria novellaVisiting Santa Maria Novella should be on your itinerary no matter when you come to Florence, but what are some spring-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:

Stroll through blooming gardens

Renaissance gardens started their life in 15th century Florence and Rome, with garden design becoming an art form.

The most famous have been well preserved in Florence so it would be a shame to miss the beautiful Boboli and Bardini Gardens when they’re in full bloom!

Along with the tree-lined paths in the Boboli Gardens you’ll also find Renaissance statues and a view of the glorious Pitti Palace.

You can get a combo ticket for the palace as well if you like.


boboli gardens view of pitti palaceThe Boboli Gardens are at their best in spring, although you can visit any time of year


If you head to the Bardini Garden (attached to Villa Bardini), you’ll get a wonderful panoramic view over Florence because it’s perched on a hill that’s surrounded by the city’s medieval walls.

P.S: Grabbing a ticket to the Boboli Gardens automatically grants you access to the Bardini Gardens for free!


view of florence from villa bardiniThe wisteria in bloom at the Bardini gardens are simply gorgeous


You can also visit the Giardino Dell’Iris, a botanical garden that’s known for its stunning iris flowers (hence the name!) and the Rose Garden.

The iris has been a symbol of Florence since 1251, and the Iris Garden houses over 2,500 varieties of the iris flower.

The only catch is that the garden is only open to the public for around 25 days a year between April and May.


florence rose gardenWandering the paths of the Rose Garden in spring is a real feast for the senses


So, if you’re visiting Florence at this time you can stroll through the 2.5-hectare park and admire irises from the Far East to the Americas!

The amazing Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose) is perfect for a romantic walk, filled with roses from all over and with Florence's skyline as a backdrop, just down the hill from Piazzale Michelangelo.

Check out the May Music festival

Music lovers visiting Florence in spring should try and slot the Florence May Music Festival into their itinerary.

The festival is known for its amazing operas, concerts, prose readings, and ballets.

It runs between April and July each year and is designed to celebrate the joy of springtime with performances that chase away the winter blues.



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


Go on a bike tour

If you don’t feel like schlepping through medieval streets on foot, why not hop on a bike?

There are several excellent bike tours that take you around some of the city’s best attractions.


bike rider at mercato nuovoRiding bikes around the city center is a safe and fun way to explore


Most of them head to Piazza della Signoria, Santa Croce, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vecchio, and the Duomo, and some include entrance or even a tour of the Uffizi or Accademia Galleries.

But it’s always worth checking exactly what’s included (especially which museums!) to make sure you can tick everything off your list.

 

Celebrate Florentine New Year

Outsiders aren’t always aware of this, but Florentines traditionally celebrate New Year on March 25 instead of December 31!

It’s a holiday in Florence that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The city used to celebrate the New Year on the Catholic feast of the Annunciation, March 25.

When the Gregorian calendar was introduced in the 1500's, which set the start of the year on January 1, Florence chose to ignore this and still set March 25 as its New Year.


piazza santissima annunziataAt the end of the procession in the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata there is a market set up with stalls


This didn’t change until 1749 when Grand Duke Francesco III finally decreed that the calendar year started on January 1!

You should expect a historical procession from Piazzetta di Parte Guelfa to Piazza della Santissima Annunziata.

You can also pick up brigidini (small liquorice wafers) flavored with anisette from most street stalls on the day.


What foods are in season in spring?

If you want to live as the Florentines do, you should try to eat seasonally.

At this time of year, you’ll spot spring veggies like asparagus, peas, artichokes, zucchini flowers, leeks, and beets popping up at local markets.


trattoria nella grilled vegetablesA big plate of fresh grilled vegetables is particularly good in the spring

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


I highly recommend strolling into restaurants and sampling Piselli alla Fiorentina.

It’s a spring-style (and local!) recipe made with peas, bacon, garlic, and parsley.

For something heavier, try a traditional frittata con verdure (omelet with veggies) or a satisfying garmugia (a spring soup from Tuscany).


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