Weather in Florence – when is the best time to visit?
The capital of Tuscany, Florence, or Firenze in Italian, is very much a year round destination.
The somewhat chilly and damp winter may be an argument against visiting in the winter time for those who use Florence as a base for a driving holiday in Tuscany. A number of interesting cities and towns, amongst them Siena, Pisa, Lucca or Viareggio are within an hour, to two hour drive from Florence and the beautiful landscapes, an attraction by themselves, are best enjoyed with a sunny weather.
If Florence is, however, your final destination, the wealth of cultural attractions, exquisite works of art and unique historic monuments will guarantee a satisfying stay, regardless of the weather conditions.
See Lonely Planet tour of Florence:
The fascinating history of Florence, one of the wealthiest cities of the Medieval Europe, very much shaped its present. Once an important centre of trade and home to wealthy patrons of arts, such as the Medici family, Florence is considered the birthplace of Renaissance and associated with artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. The profits made on the trade sponsored the stunning architecture of Florence and filled the city with unique art works amongst which Michelangelo’s statue of David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus are just the most iconic ones.
History and art are the best selling products in today’s Florence. The city, a great part of which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and which makes part of the prestigious list of the European Capital of Culture cities, receives as much as 10 million tourists per year, arriving regardless of the season.
Find out, below, what weather conditions to expect at different times of the year.
Summer in Florence
The climate of Florence is a combination of a Mediterranean humid subtropical climates. This means fairly hot summers, with temperatures often reaching 30°C in July and August. Heat waves, during which the thermometers often indicate even 40°C are not uncommon during those months and a fairly high humidity often felt in Florence makes high temperatures even more of a challenge to handle.
The location at the foot of the Apennine Mountains, which work as a barrier for trade winds, makes the climate of Florence a little bit stuffy; high humidity can be experienced during the hot periods in the summer, as well as during the cool, rainy winters.
If you are visiting Florence in the summer, during the hottest times of the day resort to museums and air-conditioned art galleries and enjoy pleasant evenings walks and al fresco dinners.
See more detailed Florence weather information.
July and August are the direst months in Tuscany’s capital and the chance of rain is very slim.
Be aware, however, that August is the month when most of Italians go on holiday, which may affect the opening hour of some services. Confirm beforehand that the attractions you are planning to visit will be open and, if possible, book tickets ahead.
Autumn in Florence – bring your sunglasses and an umbrella
September is usually still a fairly warm month in Florence. The average daytime temperatures of 20°C often peak 25 and even 30 °C. The sun is still strong at noon, but the much cooler evenings will remind you about the departing summer.
The autumn fully arrives in October, when the average daytime temperatures drop to 15°C and rainy days become more frequent. Both in autumn and in spring weather in northern Italy can be very changeable, so do pack having in mind that often you will be able to experience two seasons in one day.
November is one of the rainiest months in Florence (together with April) and also a chilly one with temperatures ranging between 5 and 10°C. The rainy weather puts some of the tourist off, do not expect, however, a tourist crowd-free city. Even if you don’t see that many people on the streets, you will surely find them in the major indoor attractions of Florence.
Winter – off-season holiday in Florence
December, January and February in Florence are fairly cold. The temperatures below 0 are extremely rare, but for most of the winter season the thermometers rarely ever show more than 5-7°C. Although the number of rainy days decreases from December forward, the days are fairly short and with cloudy skies and the again increased humidity may make the days to feel colder than they really are.
Winter is when the last tourist arrive to Florence, which reflects in the lower prices of hotels and a slightly easier access to the tourist attractions.
Florence in spring
For many tourists, spring is the best time to visit Tuscany, especially if you are planning to explore the countryside. The endless rolling hills cover in colourful bloom and the air is infused with the scent of herbs and flowers. Nature waking up to life is also present in the cities, as the Italians love to decorate the façades of the their homes and the alleys with potted plants, creating charming and colourful little oasis amid the traditional stone architecture.
March is still relatively chilly, with average daytime temperatures of around 10-12°C, gradually increasing as the season progresses. Average temperatures of 16°C in April are perfect for the city sightseeing, despite the considerable amount of rainy days (approximately 9 per month). Mid-May welcomes temperatures of 20°C, while the chance of rain decreases slightly.
Spring is a very busy time for tourism in Florence. Once again, be aware that a 2 hours waiting time for entrance to the most popular museums and art galleries in Florence is a standard even during what elsewhere in Europe is considered a shoulder-season. Advanced ticket bookings are the best way to maximize your time during the visit in this mecca of art, especially if you are on only a short city-break in Firenze.
The city gets particularly crowded during the time of major public holidays in Europe, as for example the May Day or, later on, the All Saints’ Day on 1 of November. Sometimes, postponing your visit to Florence in just a couple of days in respect to a public holiday may help you improve your tourist experience.