The Best Time to Visit Florence

Ponte Vecchio, Florence
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Florence, Firenze in Italian, is on many a traveler's must-visit list. Considered the birthplace and the nucleus of the Italian Renaissance, the city is famous for its stunning architecture, famous works of art, important landmarks, and delicious food. For visitors to Florence, the most challenging part of their stay might be the high volume of fellow travelers—the city is busy much of the year, with crowds peaking spring through early fall. 

Deciding when to visit depends on what matters more to you—good weather or minimal crowds. Winter brings smaller crowds but also inclement weather. Spring and fall are both glorious weather-wise but crowded. In the summertime, Florence is very hot and packed with U.S. students visiting for summer abroad programs. Ultimately, the best time to visit is early spring, say March or April—you'll be sightseeing in colder temperatures and rainy weather but with fewer crowds than other times of the year.

Weather in Florence

The weather in Florence is seasonal and typical for southern Europe. That means that summers, particularly July and August, are usually extremely hot, with daytime temperatures reaching into the 90s and sometimes even cracking 100 degrees Fahrenheit during an extreme heatwave. Summer evenings are cooler, but you'll seldom need a jacket or sweater. Springtime is widely regarded as the best weather. Although there may be some rainy days, April and May offer generally sunny and pleasant days and cool nights.

September can still be quite warm but nights are cooler. October is usually sunny and cool and a good time to visit before November and December, which can be rainy. January to March is mildly cold and often cloudy, if not rainy. Snow is infrequent in Florence.

All that said, the weather in Florence, as in the rest of Italy, is increasingly unpredictable. July may see a surprise cold front, and a normally sunny and dry month may be rainy and overcast for weeks on end. You might need barely a sweater in January or February, or you might be throwing snowballs in the Piazza della Signoria. The moral of the story is to be prepared and pack layers, as well as a rain jacket and an umbrella.

Crowds in Florence

If you visit Florence from April to October, you will find it crowded—there's simply no avoiding other tourists (lots of them) in one of Europe's most popular destinations. The city's main thoroughfares and popular piazzas will be wall-to-wall people, and narrow arteries, such as the Ponte Vecchio bridge, will be packed and slow-moving. At any time of year, you should plan to reserve in advance for timed entrance to the attractions you don't want to miss, such as the Uffizi and Accademia galleries.

Otherwise, you will spend your precious vacation time waiting in line possibly for hours with all those other people who didn't plan ahead. If you want to climb Brunelleschi's iconic dome at the aptly named Duomo, you must reserve in advance for that as well.

If you can put up with rainy and possibly cold weather, a visit from November to March (with the exception of the Christmas/New Year holidays) means you'll find diminished crowds and greater availability in hotels and restaurants. You'll never have the city to yourself, of course, but you may be able to gaze at the Botticelli's Birth of Venus, Michelangelo's David or Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise without someone trying to jostle for position right next to you. And while there might be shorter lines to enter museums and other monuments, we still recommend you reserve in advance wherever you can to avoid delays or disappointment.

 

Seasonal Attractions and Businesses

Since Florence hosts tourists year-round, its tourist attractions and hospitality providers tend to follow suit. August is traditionally the month when Italians take their vacations and clear out of hot cities to head to the sea. So you may see some stores, restaurants, and even smaller hotels closed down for all or part of August, though this is less and less prevalent. Tour providers may run fewer tours in winter months, but chances are if you're interested in a city tour or food tour, you'll be able to find a tour that suits you any time of the year.

Tourist attractions will remain open year-round, with the exception of December 25 and January 1, when virtually every attraction will be closed. Some attractions will close on Easter Sunday, all of Holy Week, or the entire week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Note that most museums in Florence are closed on Mondays.

Prices in Florence

If your goal is to save money on your vacation to Florence, then you should absolutely visit in the off-season. From November to March, particularly after the first week of January and before Easter, hotel prices are much lower and there are some real bargains to be had. International airfares are typically at their lowest during this period as well. 

Florence Holidays and Events

Florence's Easter event, the Scoppio del Carro, takes place in March or April, depending on when Easter falls. April 25 is a Liberation Day all over Italy and a national holiday. May sees the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino music festival and a gelato festival. June 24 is the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, and the date of the final match of the Calcio Storico, a historic soccer match that is a raucous free-for-all. Estate Fiornetina, a summer arts and music festival, takes place in May, June, and July and Pitti Week, a major men's fashion and accessories show, is held in June.

The Festa della Rificolona or Festival of the Lanterns, is held September 7 and includes a lantern parade, boat parade, and a fair. 

Throughout the month of December, you'll find Christmas markets, including a popular German-style market on Piazza Santa Croce. For more on events and holidays in Florence throughout the year, see our Florence Month-by-Month guide. 

January

January is one of the coldest months in Florence, with daily temperatures ranging from an average high of 52 degrees F to 36 degrees F and the possibility of sleet or snow. You'll want to dress warmly (layers are always best), and plan on temperatures dropping significantly after sunset, which will be around 5 p.m. 

Events to check out:

  • New Year's Day is quiet as locals and visitors alike recover from the previous night's festivities. Most stores and tourist attractions will be closed, as will many restaurants.
  • La Befana, or Epiphany, on January 6

February

February weather is similar to January—it's one of Florence's coldest months. You might get lucky with some clear, crisp days. Snow is possible, but increasingly less likely.

Events to check out:

  • Carnivale may fall in February, depending on the date of Easter.
  • The Fiero Del Cioccolato (chocolate fair) takes place over 10 days in early February. It's held at Piazza Santa Croce.

March

March may tease you with incredibly pleasant spring weather, followed by a late winter snowstorm. While you'll probably be okay with a mid-weight jacket, make sure it's waterproof and roomy enough for some layers underneath, if necessary.

Events to check out:

  • If Carnevale didn't fall in February, it will take place in March.
  • Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, will see masses and processions throughout the city.
  • The Scoppio del Carro, one of Florence's most important events, takes place in front of the Duomo after Easter Sunday mass.

April

While April weather can also be unpredictable, it's usually more reliably warm (but not yet hot), especially after Easter. You're still wise to pack a waterproof jacket, plus a scarf and sweater for chilly nights.

Events to check out:

  • Easter and Holy Week, if not in March
  • Gelato Festival is in early April.
  • Festa della Liberazione, or Liberation Day, on April 25 is a national holiday marking the end of World War II. 

May

May sees mostly warm, sunny days with the occasional rainy day or days thrown into the mix. Evenings will still be pleasantly cool, so pack a few lightweight layers.

Events to check out:

June

Even though summer doesn't officially begin until June 21, it will likely have arrived in Florence by late May/early June. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing, though do make sure your shoulders and legs (to the knee) are covered for entering churches. Pack a small umbrella, just in case June decides to be rainy.

Events to check out:

  • Estate Fiorentina kicks off this month, with a summer-long series of concerts, art exhibits, and dance performances.
  • ​Calco Storico: ​This historic football (soccer) match is one of Florence's best-loved and rowdiest events. It takes places June 24, on the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the city's patron saint. There's a big fireworks show that night.

July

July in Florence is hot. The only variance might be in how hot, but in any case, be prepared for daytime temps of 90 degrees F or higher. Do as the Italians do, and rest in your cool hotel room during the hottest part of the afternoon, before venturing out again around 6 p.m.

Events to check out:

  • Estate Fiorentina continues this month.
  • If you have a way to get out of the city, smaller towns outside of Florence will have sagre, or local food festivals.

August

August is traditionally the month when Italians head to the sea for their annual vacations, so you may find some stores and businesses closed, though most attractions will remain open. Like July, August is hot. Temperatures in the high 90s are not unusual. Seek shade whenever possible, and carry a refillable water bottle and refill it often.

Events to check out:

  • The Festa di San Lorenzo takes place the evening of August 10 at Piazza San Lorenzo, with live music and free food for everyone.  
  • Ferragosto, August 15, marks the quasi-official end to the summer holidays. Expect some closures, but also a party atmosphere (more than usual) in piazzas and nightlife zones.

September

Was that an ever-so-slight hint of a cool breeze? It must be September in Florence, when daytime temperatures are mostly tolerable and evenings can be perfectly lovely. Pack a sweater, and enjoy one of the most pleasant months in Florence. 

Events to check out:

  • The Festa della Rificolona or Festival of the Lanterns, is held September 7 in honor of the Virgin Mary. The evening procession starts at Piazza Santa Croce and winds through Piazza della Signoria and Piazza del Duomo before finishing at Piazza S.S. Annunziata.
  • The Nativity of the Virgin Mary, September 8, is marked by a special free opening of the Duomo terrace to all visitors.

October

Perhaps our favorite month in Florence, October is marked by beautiful sunny, cool days and chilly nights. You'll need layers but not a heavy coat. Note that this one of the most popular times to visit Florence—apparently the great fall weather and clear skies are an open secret. 

Events to check out:

  • Held in odd-numbered years, the ​Biennale dell'Antiquariato di Firenze is a major antiques show and sale held either during the last week of September or the first week of October.
  • The Festa di Santa Reparata on October 8 celebrates Florence's first cathedral, built at the present site of the Duomo.

November

Cool and rainy November is still a great month to visit Florence, as long as you pack for the weather. Crowds have died down this month, and you'll find it much easier to reserve at hotels and restaurants. Don't discount the beauty and tranquility of a walk through rainy Florence (assuming you've got an umbrella).

Events to check out:

  • ​November 1 is All Saints' Day, a public holiday.
  • Lace up your running shoes for the Florence Marathonheld the last Sunday of the month.

December

Easily one of the coldest months of the year, Florence in December warms hearts nonetheless with its festive holiday decorations and atmosphere. Pack for winter weather, but also allow for peeling off some layers if the temperatures are mild. 

Events to check out:

  • A traditional German-style Christmas Market takes place on Piazza Santa Croce.
  • FirenzeWinterpark ice-skating rink is open at Teatro Tuscanyhall, about 3 miles from the centro storico.
  • If you're in Florence for New Year's Eve, choose from gala dinners or parties and concerts in piazzas, followed by fireworks over the city—any of the bridges are a good vantage point. 
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