If you have never been to Florence, it's time to make a plan and pack your bags. But before you get too excited, you should first find out which time of the year is the best to visit. The Mediterranean climate of Italy allows for generally good weather, with hot summers and mild winters with hardly any snow.
Over the course of a year, the temperature in Florence varies from 35 degrees F (1.7 degrees C) to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) and is rarely below 25 degrees F (-3.9 degrees C), or above 97 degrees F (36 degrees C). On average there are 88.2 days of rainfalls, with up to 34.3 inches of precipitation.
Needless to say, Florence can see pretty unpredictable weather. This means that you need to plan what activities you want to do, what clothing and shoes to pack, or whether or not you can visit certain landmarks.
Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region and is known as the birthplace of Italian Renaissance art and the Italian language. Gourmands will enjoy Florence even more as Tuscany cuisine is known for some of the simplest meals with the richest flavors.
Ruled by the Medici family for centuries, the medieval city of Florence owes a lot of its museums, palaces and tourist attractions to the House of Medici. Florence's attractions are many, starting with the wonderful marble design buildings and Gothic-Renaissance architecture on Piazza del Duomo, to Michelangelo's David, Boboli Gardens, and the Basilica di Santa Croce.
As tourist crowds multiply in the high season (mid-May through July and September), these popular attractions can be packed, preventing you from taking good photos or seeing the attractions you want to explore at your own pace.
This guide will explain when is the best time to visit Florence and why. We'll discuss what you can see in spring that you can not in winter, and what you shouldn't miss in summer and fall.
When you arrive in Florence, make sure to find a place where you can store your bags safely. This will give you the freedom to easily move from place to place and do whatever you want without having to worry about your belongings. Travel light and see as much as you can!
Summer in Florence: June - August
Summer is the high tourist season in most places in southern Europe and Florence is no exception. Starting early June until the end of September, Florence is flooded with tourists from all over the world. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise if the prices are high too.
The average temperature in the summer season ranges from a high of 82-89 degrees F (28-32 degrees C) to a low of 59-64 degrees F (15-18 degrees C). The summer season sees a lot of sunny days so it's best to pack light summer clothes, comfortable walking shoes and sandals, a summer hat, and a swimming suit if you want to cool down in the local pools.
What can you do and see in summer in Florence? There are tons of outdoor events in summer, starting with the Firenze Rocks Festival in June, the celebration of the Patron Saint (Festa Di San Giovanni) on the 24th of June, the Florence dance festival in July, and the Festa di San Lorenzo on August 10 with live music and free food.
But because of the high summer temperatures, you are limited to what you can do. For instance, the scorching heat makes it impossible to climb the Dome or the Giotto Bell Tower, whether you are in a good shape or not.
To stay away from the sun you can hit the museums, but this doesn't mean you'll stay away from the crowds. Prepare to wait in long lines for the museums, galleries, other attractions, eateries, and gelato places too. Or pay a little extra for "skip the line" tickets for some of the attractions like the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, and the Accademia Gallery.
The summer heat in August gets unbearable for Florentines who escape the city and head for vacations somewhere cooler. If you are planning your trip for summer, then the best time to visit Florence would be early June. You won't mind fewer crowds and the warm weather is still bearable. But if you are traveling on a budget, you should choose another time of the year.
Fall in Florence: September - November
Florence weather in fall is ideal for everyone who wants to escape the hordes of tourists. Fall daily temperatures range from 59-80 degrees F (15-27 degrees C) during the first two months and go as low as 41 degrees F (5 degrees C) in November, the wettest month. On average, there are 9 rainy days with 4.1 inches of precipitation. For this weather, you can pack a lightweight fleece jacket, cardigans, turtleneck sweaters, and your rain gear including waterproof shoes or boots.
Despite the rain and the cooler temperatures, fall still has good weather suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities. One of the best outdoor adventures this time of the year is taking a day trip to the Chianti region for the grape harvest. A trip to the vineyards usually includes wine tasting and lunch and it's the best way to experience rural life in Tuscany.
Shoulder season is from October to November, offering better deals on hotel prices, especially in late fall. This is also known as the rainy season, so you will see fewer crowds and shorter lines to all attractions in Florence.
Fall in Florence is ideal for opera enthusiasts. After being closed for most of the summer season, theatres like Teatro Puccini and Teatro Verdi reopen in the fall with a busy calendar. Or, you can take your partner out for a movie night at the 50 Giorni di Cinema Internazionale Festival of international movies.
Sports enthusiasts can take a day trip to the Foreste Casentinesi National Park where they can enjoy hiking surrounded by the beautiful fall leaf colors. If you are a gourmand, you are in for a treat. There are tons of food festivals in Florence, all happening in the fall. Don't miss the Gelato Festival on Piazzale Michelangelo and Sagra della Bufala (mozzarella festival) on Piazza Santa Croce. Plan on seeing Barberino's truffle fair and Steak and Porcini Festival in Certaldo.
There are tons of things you can do in Florence in the fall, and this includes exploring the museums and galleries at your own pace, without experiencing the long waiting lines. If you don't mind getting wet, or waking up to chilly mornings, then fall is the best time to visit Florence for you.
Winter in Florence: December - February
Winter is a low season in Florence. Temperatures are colder and days are shorter, but that doesn't mean Florence is less beautiful in winter. With the colder temperatures, there is a new vibe to the city – now free of tourist crowds.
Temperatures in the winter months range from 35 degrees F (1.7 degrees C) to 51 degrees F (10.5 degrees C). On average, there are six nights a year when the temperatures drop to between 23 and 14 degrees F (-5 to -10 degrees C). Winter here also has high humidity and dampness, with an average of 3.3 inches of rain and 30 days of rainfall.
For the winter season in Florence, it's best to pack your favorite warm winter essentials and of course, an umbrella.
Though it is unlikely to see snow in Florence, the winter scenery, especially around the Christmas holidays is beautiful to witness. Starting with the German-style Christmas markets on Piazza Santa Croce, to the Firenze Winter Park ice-skating rink and a modern art Christmas tree on Piazza della Repubblica, to winter sales and the Carnival season, there are plenty of things to see and do in Florence to keep you entertained during the off-season.
If you choose to celebrate New Year's Eve in Florence, expect to see lots of firework displays, and entertainment of all kinds such as festivals, bonfires, classical music concerts, and of course, parties.
There are so many reasons the cooler weather is one of the best times to visit Florence (if you don't mind the cold). Not only will you save money, but there are minimal crowds too, allowing you to take your time exploring all major attractions in Florence.
Spring in Florence: March - May
Spring is the best time to visit Florence. The average temperature is around 68 degrees F (20 degrees C), making it the best weather for sightseeing and outdoor activities. If you are visiting Florence in spring, pack a light jacket, a few layers, a cardigan, a rain jacket, or an umbrella. Although November sees most of the rain, showers in spring are not uncommon (about 10 days of rain a month).
Early spring is still low season, with the shoulder season starting from March to mid-May. You can book your tickets, hotels, and day trips in advance to get better deals. But don't expect the prices to be much lower than during the summer season.
April weather in Florence attracts tourists from all around the world, who come to see the irises bloom in the Iris Garden. Since the garden is only open for 20 days per year, from the end of April to the beginning of May, the city is the most crowded then.
Moreover, Easter Sunday and holy week are big celebrations in Florence, with so many events and entertainment. May 1st is a big national holiday in Europe and banks, schools and government offices are closed, along with some museums and galleries. If you are planning on visiting some of the attractions in Florence on May 1st, double-check the opening hours on their websites.
April 25th, (Festa della Liberazione), or Liberation Day, is a national holiday marking the end of World War II. There are tons of festivities across Florence and some of the attractions offer free admission.
Another reason why spring is the best time to visit Florence is the Gelato Festival. Florence Gelato Festival is an annual gathering of some of the best gelato artisans in Italy. It lasts for two days and usually takes place at the end of April or early May.
You can buy tickets from the official website and skip the long lines. From tasting unique artisanal gelato flavors and participating in special events and activities to being part of the jury, the Florence Gelato Festival will help you experience taste in new ways.
When is the best time to visit Florence for you?
Ultimately, the best time to visit Florence depends on what you and the people you are traveling with want to do. Are you looking to mingle with the tourist crowds in peak season? Then you should make your bookings for one of the summer months.
Would you rather visit Florence during shoulder season and save some money for your next traveling adventures? Then the best time for you to visit Florence are late fall and late spring. In early May and late September, the weather is still warm, but bearable, and open-air dining is still pleasant. There will be crowds still, but not as much as during the peak season, so it's best to make your bookings for restaurants, hotels, or attractions well in advance.
Know what you want to do during your trip to Florence? Check out these guides for inspiration!