The Best Time to Visit Tuscany: A Monthly Breakdown
Tuscany: the glorious heart of the Italian countryside, the home of the Renaissance, and a region that’s overflowing with delectable wine and delicious cuisines. From the bustling, medieval streets of Florence to the serene peace of the Tuscan Hills, there’s so much waiting to be discovered in Tuscany.
But when is the best time to visit Tuscany? Well, that depends on how many other tourists you want to share the attractions with and what kind of temperatures you prefer. Tuscany is busiest in summer, just like the rest of Italy, and between June and August, it’s not only swelteringly hot but outrageously crowded in the most popular areas.
Outside of this, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are both marvelous times to visit, with pleasant weather and far fewer tourists around to spoil your pictures. To help you plan your next Italian getaway, here’s our monthly breakdown of the best time to visit Tuscany.
January is the coldest month to visit Tuscany, and it’s never really seen as the best time to visit Italy unless you’re looking to ski in the mountains. Luckily though, Tuscany does have its share of ski resorts, and compared to more popular winter sports locations such as the Dolomites further north, these resorts can be much quieter.
Temperatures are low, averaging from 37 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you travel. It’s colder inland and higher up, so if you’re after warmer weather, then head to the Mediterranean coastline. The provincial capital, Florence, is always a good place to visit in January with few other tourists around, and plenty of good food and an intriguing culture to soak up when it’s cold outside.
If you’re in Tuscany in January, then make sure that you:
Celebrate New Year’s Day: New Year’s Day is a national holiday in Italy, and you can celebrate in style across Tuscany.
Celebrate Epiphany: Held on the 6 January each year, Epiphany marks the end of Christmas, and you can watch the grand parade that’s held in Florence.
February is still a cold month to be in Tuscany, but it’s a great time to escape the crowds that are waiting for summer. You can expect rain showers and low temperatures, but again, head to the coast for a little bit of warmth.
Visit the cities of Florence or Siena, and take advantage of the ski season in places like Abetone or Zum Zeri, or anywhere else in the mountains. When you’re in Tuscany, be sure to:
Celebrate Carnival: This huge Italian tradition is different in every town, village or city across the country, but in Tuscany, the celebrations are usually held in February (although the exact date can vary).
Get Romantic: The Tuscan Hills are the land of romance and love, and few other places in the world are so perfectly romantic as here. For Valentines Day, take your date into rural Tuscany for wine, food and an escape from the world.
Visit Arezzo: This charming small town in the hills of Tuscany hosts a unique antique fair at the start of February, which can claim to be one of the oldest such markets in Italy.
March is the start of spring in Tuscany and the weather is definitely starting to improve. In the mountains, this is the last chance to enjoy a spot of winter sports, as the snow begins to melt as the temperatures rise. Along the coast, you can enjoy the Mediterranean as the sun begins to shine.
Tuscany is quiet in March still, so take advantage of the lack of tourists and visit famous destinations such as Pisa, Florence or Siena before the high season begins. In March, make sure you check out the following events and places:
Mark the Second New Year: Unusually, many people in Tuscany – and particularly in Pisa – celebrate a second New Year, on March 25. This dates back to when Pisa and the surrounds used a totally separate calendar to the one in place now, and many locals today want a second chance to have a party.
Visit Viareggio: The coastal commune of Viareggio is known for its colorful parades and carnival celebrations, which are often held in March.
Women’s Day and Father’s Day: March 8 is Women’s Day in Italy, while March 19 is Father’s Day.
April is a real shoulder season for travel in Tuscany because as the spring weather brings warmers climes, more tourists are starting to arrive. It’s a lovely time to visit Tuscany because the weather is wonderfully pleasant and the crowds are still thin.
Get Religious: April is a religious month in Italy because this is when Easter is generally celebrated. Lent comes to a close and there are different festivities across the province.
Exploding Carts in Florence: Visit the Tuscan capital for an unusual Easter celebration, whereby every Easter Sunday, a cart loaded with fireworks is quite literally exploded in the city.
Enjoy Spring: Springtime means warm temperatures and beautiful countryside, so head into the Tuscan hills and enjoy local homestays or tours of the wineries as nature blooms around you.
It’s not quite peak season in Tuscany yet, but things are getting that way and this is a month that’s getting busier and busier. Temperatures are on the rise, and you can expect highs reaching up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day.
Visit Pisa, Florence or Siena before they become far too busy in June, or take a trip to the coast to enjoy the beaches of Tuscany before the high season begins. In May, make sure you:
Drink Wine: The tradition of Open Wine Cellars, or Cantine Aperte, is held across Tuscany in May, offering you the chance to try free wine at many of the region’s best wineries and wine cellars.
Flower Festivals: There are flower festivals held in small villages and towns across Florence to celebrate color and nature.
Wine Tours: Take advantage of the lovely weather and visit Tuscany’s best wineries in the countryside.
June is the start of the summer high season across Europe, as temperatures rise as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit – and Tuscany is no exception. The crowds begin to get busier, but they aren’t as busy as July or August.
If you’re in Tuscany in June, then enjoy the following:
Beaches: Head to the Tuscan coastline to make the most of the clear skies and soaring temperatures. Take a beach holiday along the Tyrrhenian coast, and enjoy sun, sea, and sand.
Wineries: Visit the countryside and call into spectacular wine destinations such as Chianti in Greve, or San Gimignano.
Road Trip: Take a road trip into Tuscany, to explore the lesser-known medieval villages of the region, in the glorious sunshine.
July is well and truly peak season in Tuscany. Not only are the temperatures uncomfortably hot, but the crowds are uncomfortably large too. Stay away from the most popular destinations such as Pisa or Florence, and try to get off the beaten track.
In July, take the time to:
Visit Siena: While Siena is busy and bustling in peak season, July is also when the infamous Palio di Siena takes place. This historic tradition sees riders racing horses through the medieval streets of the city on 2 July.
Have a Beach Getaway: With soaring temperatures, there’s nothing better than sitting out on the sand along the Tuscan coastline, and taking a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea when it gets too hot.
Wineries: Get out of the cities and into the cooler countryside, and enjoy refreshing tastings of fantastic wine at the many Tuscan wineries.
August is still peak season in Tuscany, and you can expect the crowds to be just as large as July. This is high season across Italy and Europe because, for many, it’s the school holidays and the only chance that families get to travel.
In August, when you’re visiting Tuscany you’ll want to:
Visit Siena (again): If you missed it in July or if you want to see more, then Siena hosts a second round of horse racing through the medieval streets on 16 August. This is the second event of the Palio di Siena, and it’s just as chaotic and mad as the first.
Have a Beach Getaway (again): August is the perfect time for lazing around on the coast, just like in July. Enjoy the sun, sea, and sand of the Tuscan beaches.
Hire a Vespa: The best way to escape the crowds in August is to go on a road trip. Hire a classic Vespa scooter and enjoy the great weather as you cruise through the countryside.
Things quieten down in September after the rush of the school holidays is over, and it’s a great time to visit Tuscany if you want excellent weather and smaller crowds. This is when the harvest season begins, and you’ll find that Tuscany is gourmet heaven in September.
In Tuscany in September, you can enjoy:
Arezzo: At the start of September, the city of Arezzo hosts an excellent medieval-themed festival celebrating history and heritage. You can watch horsemen jousting in the streets and many more quirky events too.
Florence: In Florence, the crowds are thinning out, so you can enjoy the Renaissance city in more comfort. Florence hosts plenty of great festivals in September too, including a Lantern Festival and a Grape Festival.
Wine: With the grape harvests coming in, Tuscany is a whirl of wine tourism in September, and you can visit wineries and enjoy wine and grape festivals across the region.
Visitor numbers continue to fall in October, but the weather remains remarkably pleasant in Tuscany. This is a great month for shoulder season travel, as you’ll get excellent prices and deals and can avoid the summer crowds. October is fall, and Tuscany is resplendent in autumnal colors.
In October, Tuscany is great for:
Fall Scenes: Travel into the famed Tuscan Hills and visit the vineyards and wineries, where you can enjoy the golden glow of fall, as the scenery changes from green to red, brown and gold, amongst many more shades of color.
Visit Impruneta: In the town of Impruneta, October sees one of the oldest cattle markets in Italy taking place. Farmers arrive from the countryside, and all kinds of quirky traditions and events are held in the town.
Visit Volterra: The town of Volterra, a historic, medieval hilltop settlement, hosts a fantastic truffle festival in late October, where you can enjoy plenty of local truffles and plenty more local foods too.
The weather takes a turn for the worse in November, and the mountainous regions in the north of Tuscany will even begin to see snowfall, while the coast and the countryside see falling temperatures and rainfall. This is the offseason, so take advantage of the small crowds and low costs.
In November, Tuscany is great for:
Low Season Deals: Prices are low in November, as the summer crowds are long gone.
Sightseeing: Head to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower without too many fellow tourists, or take the time to visit Florence’s museums and palaces, again without the tourists.
December is low season too, but over the festive period, visitor numbers can increase in Tuscany, or at least in the cities. The coast is cold and rainy, but in the mountains, there’s snow and the ski season begins.
In December, visit Tuscany for:
A City Break: Take a city break in Florence or Pisa, or even in Siena, where you can enjoy indoor attractions if the rain falls, and where you can find Christmas markets in abundance.
Christmas Celebrations: Christmas is big in Italy, of course, and you can celebrate all through the festive period and right up until Epiphany on 6 January.
Italy is the most romantic destination to visit in Europe. Full of stunning cities, divine food and wine, and glorious scenery, few other places in the world can pull at the heartstrings quite as much as Italy can. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your dream, romantic getaway with Italy4Real today!