Known as the Birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a destination that combines its centuries of artistic and cultural history with the breathtaking beauty of Tuscany’s natural landscapes and architecture.
One of Italy’s must-visit cities, Florence makes for a fantastic travel destination all year round. Although the city hosts the majority of its international visitors during its summer months, I find that visiting during the region’s off-and-shoulder seasons offers its own unique set of charms for a varied experience.
So, let’s take a closer look at each of these distinct tourist seasons to determine the best time to visit Florence for your next trip to Italy.
Where to Stay:
What to Do:
When is the Best Time to Visit Florence?
The best time to visit Florence is from April to June and September through October. During these months, Florence hosts pleasant weather conditions with minimal rainfalls and comfortably warm temperatures while offering several activities and festivals to explore the city’s cultural and artistic heritage.
When to Go To Florence for Good Weather
Florence boasts optimal weather conditions during the region’s high season, which spans from May to September. During these summer months, Florence features warm temperatures averaging in the high 80s and minimal rainfalls, promising a sunny holiday.
Florence experiences its warmest temperatures in July and August. These two months often experience elevated temperatures that can become uncomfortable for travel, and even many locals plan their holidays to escape the August heat.
For this reason, the best time to visit Florence for pleasant weather is during the shoulder months of the high season, from April to June, or in September or October, so keep this in mind when planning your Florence itinerary.
When to Go To Florence for Cheap Prices
Florence’s off-season runs from November to March. And while these months are often associated with the region’s coolest temperatures and less-than-optimal weather conditions, it is also the best time of the year to visit Florence for low prices.
This is because most visitors tend to plan their trip to the city to coincide with the region’s warm weather. However, if you are willing to brave colder temperatures ranging from just above freezing to just above 10 degrees Celsius, visiting during the low season can often be accompanied by discounted rates for popular accommodations and attractions.
When to Go To Florence for Families
The best time to visit Florence as a family is from May to June and September. During this time, the city experiences optimal weather conditions, perfect for exploring the city with your kids.
October and April are great for receiving discounted prices for your family vacation, although you should also expect slightly increased rainfall during your stay. Meanwhile, July and August boast plenty of sunshine for your family’s outdoor adventures but feature elevated heats that can be uncomfortable for long days touring iconic landmarks.
When to Go To Florence for Foodies
Florence offers adventures for your taste buds throughout the year. However, one of the best times to visit Florence to explore the city’s culinary delights is during the region’s harvest season, which runs from September through October.
Celebrating freshly grown grapes, olives, and truffles, the city comes alive during the fall with several food-based activities. It is a fantastic time for partaking in wine tastings, olive oil tours, and specialty food festivals.
While food festivals are held across Tuscany during this time, many of the top celebrations for exploring local flavors can be found directly in Florence, including the Sagra della Bufala festival, which features a wide variety of mozzarella-based dishes, and the Gelato Festival, which is a favorite amongst dessert lovers.
When to Go To Florence for Festivals & Parties
Numerous colorful and vibrant festivals are held in Florence throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the city to experience its cultural celebrations and nightlife parties is between February and April, when Florence hosts several of its world-renowned events.
Kicking this festival season off is the celebrated Carnevale Carnival, where a grand parade marches through the city’s historic streets while attendants dress in traditional costumes with a Renaissance flair.
When to Go To Florence for Museums
Florence is home to dozens of fantastic museums exploring the city’s architectural, artistic, and cultural history. And while these complexes are open throughout the year, the best time to visit Florence’s museums is during the region’s off-season.
Between November and March, Florence experiences far less tourist demand than at other times of the year. And while the less-crowded streets of the city are also accompanied by the region’s less-than-optimal weather conditions, it is also a fantastic time for exploring Florence’s indoor attractions.
Pro Tip: Along with boasting fewer crowds for exploring the complexes’ exhibits, Florence’s museums often offer discounted admission tickets during the off-season.
Least Busy Time to Visit Florence
For those who prefer to visit popular tourist destinations without having to navigate the heavy crowds that can occur at these popular tourist destinations, the best time to visit Florence is between November and March.
During this low season, Florence hosts far fewer tourists than at other times of the year. However, the one major drawback is that the city also experiences its coldest weather during this time.
Alternatively, visitors can also plan their trip during the shoulder months of April and October for a combination of thinner crowds and warmer temperatures.
Worst Time to Visit Florence
The worst time to visit Florence is in August. Despite being within the city’s high season, August offers some of the worst conditions for visiting. Firstly, August boasts Florence’s hottest temperatures, which can often prove uncomfortable for long hours walking the city’s historic streets.
Another reason why it is best to avoid visiting Florence in August is that this is also the time of year that many Italians plan their summer vacations to escape the country’s elevated temperatures. So if you’re looking to escape the crowds, you should consider taking day trips from Florence by train to places such as Cinque Terre, Pisa, and even Rome.
Pro Tip: While this may seem like a good time to visit to avoid crowds, it is actually counter-intuitive as many of the city’s most popular restaurants, shops, and travel services will be closed at this time.
Florence Travel Seasons (Month by Month)
High Season (May to September)
Boasting the region’s best weather conditions and warmest temperatures, it is no wonder that May to September has become Florence’s high season, hosting the brunt of the city’s tourism industry.
However, along with offering the best weather conditions for visiting the city, the high season is accompanied by heavy crowds at popular attractions and elevated prices to accommodate the destination’s increased demand.
Still, for those looking for the romanticized Florence, Tuscany experience, visiting the city during the high season is the best time to plan your trip. May, June, and September, in particular, offer the most comfortable conditions for hosting your vacation to the city.
Low Season (November to March)
Florence experiences a significant drop in temperature between November and March, with monthly temperatures falling to just above freezing in January. For this reason, the city experiences far fewer tourists to its historical streets during its low season, making it the perfect time to explore the city without many crowds.
While the weather may be too cold to explore many of the region’s outdoor attractions, the city experiences perfect conditions for exploring indoor landmarks and museums.
Pro Tip: Another advantage of traveling during this offseason is that many hotels, restaurants, and attractions offer various discounts, making it a great time to visit Florence on a budget.
Shoulder Months (April and October)
Visiting Florence during its shoulder months is a fantastic way to explore the city free from the heavy crowds of the high season while still enjoying its pleasant weather conditions. While slightly cooler than peak summer months, April and October are still warm and have plenty of sunshine.
Even better, these weather conditions are accompanied by far fewer crowds than at popular attractions, as many high-season visitors have yet to start or have just returned from their summer vacations.
And while discounts aren’t as prevalent as during the low season, visitors will still find more affordable rates during these shoulder months.
Florence Weather and Climate by Region
Boasting a Mediterranean climate, Florence is known for its hot and humid summers and its cold and rainy winters. And since the city spans just over 100 kilometers, Florence’s weather patterns are fairly uniform throughout its borders.
Still, thanks to its geographical and architectural landscape, the city features various micro-climate zones that show slight variations in annual weather patterns.
Historic Center and Surrounding Neighborhoods
Featuring narrow streets and heavier crowds, Florence’s city and historic center typically feature temperatures slightly elevated than the city’s surroundings. During the summer months, the city’s ancient buildings retain heat and increase the region’s temperatures a couple of degrees higher than other nearby regions.
Arno River District
Alternatively, those looking to escape the summer heat should head to the Arno River District. Thanks to its close proximity to the river, this district is often slightly cooler than other neighborhoods in the city and features a refreshing breeze perfect for taking a break from your city walk.
Fiesole and Surrounding Hills
The hills surrounding Florence are filled with small outlying communities that offer a climate slightly different than that found in the city. Sitting at a higher elevation, these communities are often slightly cooler than Florence’s city center, with towns such as Fiesole averaging monthly temperatures a degree or two lower than the city.
Tips for Visiting Florence
Pack Comfortable Walking Shoes.
Florence’s Historic Center offers dozens of fantastic landmarks and historical buildings within a relatively compact area. In fact, many of the city’s top attractions can all be reached on foot. As such, you can expect to do a lot of walking when visiting Florence. So be sure to pack comfortable shoes.
Purchase Your Museum Tickets in Advance
Florence is home to some of the world’s most famous art pieces. And many of them are housed at the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia Gallery. And both of which are some of Florence’s most popular attractions.
As such, both these and many of the city’s other museums can often experience heavy crowding, particularly during the high season, and visitors that don’t plan ahead can expect to stand in long queues to enter.
To avoid this inconvenience and bypass the line, be sure to purchase your museum admission tickets ahead of your actual visit. You can grab advance tickets for the Uffizi Gallery, Santa Maria del Fiore, and Accademia Gallery through Get Your Guide.
Plan a Day Trip to the Tuscan Countryside and Beyond
First up the Tuscany region is filled with quaint and historic small towns, acres of world-renown wineries, and several breathtaking natural and historical landmarks, so getting out of the city is an absolute must. Once you’ve had your fill of Florence and the Tuscan countryside, there are even more jaw-dropping things to see just a short hop away. With a trip from Florence to Verona within easy reach (2 hours by train and 4 hours by car) and even Rome (1.5 hours by train and 3 hours by car), meaning you can check off many ‘must visit’ places in one trip.
So, when planning your trip to Florence, make sure to include at least one day when you get out of the city to explore the many broader wonders of Tuscany.
Be Prepared to Eat a Late Dinner
One thing that surprises many visitors to Florence is how late Italians eat dinner. Dinner in Italy is typically between 8 pm and 10 pm. Many restaurants don’t even open until after 7 pm.
If you are used to earlier suppers, you may tend to get hungry long before this generally accepted dinner time. So, to avoid getting too hungry, plan your daily meals and snacks with the expectation of eating later.
Visit the Duomo Complex
Also known as the Florence Cathedral, the Duomo Complex is the top attraction in Florence and towers over the rest of the cityscape.
While there are several historical attractions in the city, visiting the Duomo Complex is one that absolutely should not be skipped and gives visitors a look into the grandiose architectural styles of the Italian Renaissance. You can grab skip-the-line tickets here.
Wake Up for a Florence Sunrise
You wouldn’t expect a landlocked city to boast some of Italy’s best sunrise views, but waking up to watch the morning light reflect off the historical Renaissance architecture is truly a unique experience. The best area to enjoy the day’s first lights is from the Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can spot the Ponte Vecchio, the Arno River, and the Duomo Complex.