When is the Best Time to Visit Florence?

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

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Florence is a timeless destination in Italy that leaves visitors breathless with its Renaissance beauty and fascinating heritage.  With warm summers, frigid winters and a fine array of cultural events, Florence is a haven for tourists at all times of the year. Whether you plan to spend 3 days in Florence or want to embark on a multi-city tour of Italy, knowing the best time to visit is crucial to planning a great vacation. 

In this guide, we highlight the best time to visit Florence for an unrivaled Italian vacation. Throughout this article, you will find a breakdown of the different tourist seasons in Florence as well as details about the weather and festivities that take place during the period. We also include an overview of each month so you can best determine when to visit Florence.

The Best Time to Visit Florence

Before we dive into each season, we thought it would be helpful to provide a general suggestion for when to visit Florence

The best time to visit Florence is the months before and after the peak summer season. Known as shoulder seasons, these periods occur between March and May and September and November. This is an excellent time to visit Florence as the weather is invitingly warm without being overwhelming and tourist crowds are thinner, allowing you to visit top sites in Florence and explore the city at your own pace. 

These periods are also a great time for Florence tours, as you have a lot more freedom and flexibility. At Italy4Real, we offer a range of private tours in Florence that make an excellent addition to any visit. Our team can organize a range of experiences for you, including Tuscany winery visits and cooking classes at a Florentine home.

The Shoulder Season in Florence

There are 2 distinct shoulder seasons in Florence, with the first occurring between March and May. This period is widely regarded as the best time to visit Florence as there are fewer tourists and temperatures are mild but pleasant. It’s a great time to visit Florence as you can experience all of the city’s top attractions like museums and churches, without feeling overwhelmed by crowds of other visitors.  

Florence in March

March in Florence is notable for its mild weather and spring blooms. This is one of the best times to visit Florence as you get to see the city prepare for the summer rush and immerse yourself in the authentic Florentine lifestyle. This is a great time to visit popular tourist attractions in Florence such as the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio

Florence in April

Things begin to warm up in April, making this one of the best times to visit Florence if you want to explore outdoor markets and see the Renaissance city at its most pristine. You can wander the historic streets adorned with cherry blossoms and wisteria, before dining alfresco in one of the many plazas. The pleasant temperatures of April also signal the beginning of cultural events in Florence, with many concerts and exhibitions beginning to take place. 

Florence in May

May is one of the best times to visit Florence if you want to do lots of sightseeing. The days are much longer, the skies are clear and the city exudes a sense of renewal and vitality before the peak summer season. This is a great time to go on vacation in Florence as you can explore the vibrant neighborhoods and feel the embrace of spring in public spaces like Boboli Gardens

The best things to see and do in Italy

The Weather in Florence in the Shoulder Season

The weather in Florence during this period makes it one of the best times to visit the historic city. Spring brings mild temperatures to Florence, with daily averages ranging from 59°F to 77°F. March in Florence is much cooler, but things will start warming up as the season progresses. 

While the weather in Florence during the shoulder season is pleasant, you should still be prepared for occasional rain showers. April is the wettest month of the shoulder season in Florence, with approximately 74 mm of rainfall. The weather will clear up by May, but you should still pack a waterproof jacket just to be on the safe side.

Events in Florence in the Shoulder Season

As the Florence tourist season starts to pick up in late spring, there are some wonderful events and festivities that visitors can get involved in. From the religious celebrations of Easter to marvelous music festivals, there are so many events in Florence throughout the shoulder season. 

Easter in Florence 

Easter is a widely celebrated holiday across Italy, with different cities having their own traditions and services to mark the occasion. In Florence, Easter festivities include a variety of masses, parades and markets, but the most anticipated easter event in Florence is The Explosion of the Cart. Taking place on Easter Sunday, fireworks are loaded into a cart in front of the Duomo and set off in a magical display to mark the official start of spring. 

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

This fabulous arts and music festival takes place every year in Florence between April and June. Having been founded in 1933, it is one of the oldest art festivals in Florence and a great way to tap into the creative atmosphere. Maggio Musicale Fiorentino typically includes 4 operas, plus classical music concerts and ballet performances which are held in various venues throughout Florence such as Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the historic Opera di Firenze. 

The Peak Season in Florence

Summer in Florence is the peak tourist season, bringing scorching temperatures and vast crowds to the Renaissance city. While it may not be for everyone, exploring Florence in summer allows you to experience the city at its busiest and the spirited atmosphere is truly infectious. This is made all the more alluring by the amount of festivals and celebrations taking place in Florence during the summer months, providing an intimate perspective of the city’s cultural heritage. 

Florence in June

June in Florence is a wonderful time, with plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures and a lively atmosphere as the city welcomes summer. Under the golden light of the Tuscan sun, you can explore art exhibitions, attend live music performances and enjoy a fabulous program of summer events. One of the best things to do in Florence in June is to wander along the banks of the Arno River and soak up the joyous ambience.   

Florence in July

July is one of the best months to visit Florence as you get to experience the city in the height of summer. This is one of the busiest times to visit Florence, but with the flocks of tourists comes a vibrant atmosphere of excitement and wonder. While the city will be filled with events and attractions, you can escape the crowds with day trips into Tuscany, allowing you to see the rustic side of Italy on your vacation. 

Florence in August

August brings some of the hottest temperatures to Florence, causing many locals to travel elsewhere to escape the heat. This does mean that some establishments will be closed in August, but it’s a great time to visit museums and galleries to stay out of the sun. Come the evening, you can rub shoulders with locals in piazzas and sidewalk cafes to enjoy delicious Tuscan cuisine accompanied by the finest local wines. 

The Weather in Florence in the Peak Season

Summer brings hot temperatures to Florence, with daily highs averaging around 86°F to 95°F. Temperatures in Florence will be more pleasant in June and scorching hot days can be expected for July and August. When visiting Florence in the summer, be sure to pack sunblock, stay hydrated and seek shaded areas during the hottest parts of the day. 

There is minimal precipitation in Florence during the summer, so inclement weather is unlikely to impact any of your travel plans. Plus, there are an average of 11 daylight hours in summer, giving you plenty of time to explore the best things to do in Florence before relishing the milder evenings.

Events in Florence in the Peak Season

The peak season in Florence is one of the best times to visit if you want to get involved with local traditions and festivals. The summer heat brings with it an exciting schedule of events, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the local Florentine lifestyle and gain a better understanding of the city’s culture. 

Calcio Storico Fiorentino

Sports fans will particularly enjoy visiting Florence in June as this is when the finals for the Calcio Storico Fiorentino occur. This historic sporting match combines soccer, rugby and wrestling with 4 teams each representing the districts of Florence. It is usually held in Piazza Santa Croce and is one of the most widely anticipated events of the season, attracting locals and tourists alike. 

Estate Fiorentina

During the summer months, the municipality of Florence puts on a thrilling series of events and activities, making this one of the most lively times to visit Florence. Estate Fiorentina includes a range of different experiences, like outdoor cinema screenings, food festivals, art exhibitions and so much more. The program takes place across Florence, meaning you can jump into all the fun from almost anywhere in the city.  

The Off-Peak Season in Florence

The off-peak season in Florence begins after the peak summer months, bringing cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. This is often considered the second shoulder season in Florence, the milder weather and cheaper prices make it a great time to visit if you want to avoid the summer rush. As the leaves begin to shift into rust reds and warm oranges, you can delight in the enchanting autumnal atmosphere. 

Florence in September

As the heat of summer fades, September is the perfect time to dive into outdoor activities in Florence. This is a stellar time to visit the top tourist attractions in Florence, as the queues for entry will be much shorter at places like the Uffizi Gallery and the Basilica of Santa Croce. September is also the beginning of the wine harvest in Tuscany, so it’s a great time to go out and explore the different towns and vineyards to learn more about the winemaking traditions of the region.

Florence in October

October is a lovely time to visit Florence, with crisp mornings and mild afternoons perfect for leisurely strolls through the picturesque gardens. Like September, there won’t be many tourists in Florence so you can make the most of top sites like the Duomo without having to worry about crowds. This is one of the most magical times to visit Florence, with the scent of roasting chestnuts in the air and early evening sunsets casting the city in a timeless beauty. 

Florence in November

November is one of the best times to visit Florence as you can experience the city transition gracefully into winter, but still enjoy mild weather. With lower temperatures, Florence embraces the coziness of winter, making it a great time to immerse yourself in local cafe culture. The days will be shorter this month, but you can still visit art galleries and attend theater performances to avoid the chilly air.  

The Weather in Florence in the Off-Peak Season

The weather in Florence is much cooler than previous seasons, but early September will still have the warmth of summer. During the off-peak season, temperatures in Florence drop to around 41°F to 59°F. The days are generally mild, but humidity can reach highs of 76%.  

It is advisable to pack a range of clothing for these months as the weather can shift quite dramatically. There will be some rainfall across the period, with November being the wettest month in Florence, and evenings will begin to feel much cooler. Be sure to pack some light layers and a warm jacket for your nights out in Florence.

Events in Florence in the Off-Peak Season

Florence will feel much calmer during the sleepy off-peak season, but there are still plenty of events that you can get involved in. This is a great time to visit Florence to experience the unique artistic culture of the city, with Florence Art Week taking place at the end of September. Below, we highlight 2 events in Florence that are the perfect addition to an off-peak itinerary.

The International Biennial of Antiques

Art Week in Florence brings exciting exhibitions and showcases to the city, allowing visitors to connect more meaningfully with the city’s artistic heritage. Alongside Art Week, Florence hosts The International Biennial of Antiques in late September. This prestigious event is one of the oldest and most renowned antique fairs in the world, attracting thousands of visitors who come to browse the fine selection of vintage goods.

Firenze Marathon

If you’re more interested in athletic pursuits then the Firenze Marathon is an ideal event to attend on your visit. Held annually in November, the marathon is one of the most respected long-distance running events in Italy and attracts participants from across the globe. The route winds through the pristine streets of Florence, offering runners and spectators the opportunity to admire iconic Florence landmarks like Ponte Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria.  

The Low Season in Florence 

The low season in Florence takes place from December to February, with much lower rates of tourists and many businesses closing for the festive season. That said, this can be one of the cheapest times to visit Florence, as prices for accommodation and tours will be much lower. It’s a great time for a vacation in Florence if you want to experience a winter wonderland and soak up the festive atmosphere. 

Florence in December

December in Florence brings colder weather and the Christmas spirit to the city. Festive decorations will adorn city squares and tourist attractions in Florence, with twinkling lights creating an inviting evening ambience. This is a great time to visit major attractions in Florence which are open year-round as there won’t be many other visitors, so you’ll have most of the sites to yourself.  

Florence in January

With the new year underway, January in Florence feels vibrant and tranquil despite the chilly weather. Though the festive decorations will be taken down, you can still marvel at the historic beauty of Florence’s buildings. This is also a great time to visit Florence if you want to sample Tuscan comfort food like hearty soups and stews that warm the soul. 

Florence in February

Florence will feel much warmer in February, but it’s still rather chilly. This is the best time to visit Florence for a quiet escape, as the city won’t be swarming with tourists just yet and the city feels truly serene. The majority of February will be foggy and gray but towards the end of the month, there will be more sunshine, making this a perfect time for a walking tour of Florence

The Weather in Florence in the Low Season

The weather in Florence in the low season is generally cold, with high temperatures averaging around 50°F and lows of 36°F. There can be some rainfall in Florence across the winter months and the average precipitation for the period is 53mm, so be sure to pack a rain jacket. 

The days are much shorter in winter, with around 4 to 6 hours of daylight. This still gives you time to explore the best things to do in Florence and allows you to dive into Florence’s culinary scene during the long evenings.

Events in Florence in the Low Season

Winter in Florence brings some welcome peace and quiet, making it one of the best times to visit for a relaxed city break in Italy. Nevertheless, there are still some exquisite events taking place in Florence over these months, allowing visitors to add cultural value to their vacation. 

Christmas in Florence

If you’re spending December in Florence, then you can make the most of the Christmas festivities. The streets are decorated with fairy lights and nativity scenes, landmarks are lit up in the evenings and decorative displays take over city squares. Piazza Santa Croce and Piazza del Carmine are popular locations for Christmas markets, offering a wide variety of artisanal gifts and local delicacies.

Florence Carnival 

One of the most colorful events in Florence takes place at the end of January, which is the Florence Carnival. Parades, processions and street performances animate the city and revelers adorned in historic costumes fill the streets, creating a jovial atmosphere. Carnival in Florence is synonymous with masquerade balls and themed galas, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the opulent world of Carnival season. 

Summary

Overall, the best time to visit Florence is during the shoulder seasons from April to May and September to November. These periods have some of the best weather in Florence and fewer tourists means you can explore without worrying about heaving crowds. 

Even so, the peak summer months in Florence are a great time to visit as well if you don’t mind things being quite busy. There are some splendid summer events in Florence that make it a great time for an Italian vacation, as you can dive into activities and programs that will give you more context about the city’s historical roots. Likewise, the low season in Florence is a great time to visit for a more relaxed break, with a charming, festive ambience that makes the colder weather much more bearable. 

Have you been thinking about a fantastic Florence vacation? Contact Italy4Real now to start organizing your dream trip and let our dedicated team create a bespoke Italy itinerary just for you!

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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