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Best Time to Visit Florence

Best Time to Visit Florence

Florence is a beautiful art-filled city that can be visited year-round, with the best time to visit depending on your own travel style and preferences. Many feel that May through September is optimal for a visit to Florence as there’s no need to worry much about rain or cold. While that’s true, it’s also the peak tourist season, which can mean big visitor crowds and paying the highest prices of the year. You can tamper the negatives while enjoying comfortable weather by visiting at the start or end of the season. Or consider one of the shoulder seasons. Mid-March through April, outside of Easter week, or October through early November are periods with fewer crowds, mild temperatures and off-season prices. Late fall and winter may be cool and damp, but you’re unlikely to encounter crowds while enjoying much shorter lines at popular attractions like Uffizi along with reduced hotel rates.

Palazzo Vecchio view in Florence, Italy.

Best Time to Visit Florence for Sightseeing

The best time to visit Florence for sightseeing is when the weather is mild, typically in the middle of Spring, April and May, or early to mid-fall, from late September through early November. In either period, you can expect temperatures that range from the mid-60s to mid-70s, give or take, with a higher chance for rain in October and November. By visiting the sights early in the morning or toward the end of the day you’ll usually find the shortest lines. If you aren’t averse to the cold and want to enjoy those sights without the crowds, come in November or early December. With the days short and often chilly, wet and gray, now is the perfect time to focus on the city’s exceptional array of museums and galleries. While it can’t be guaranteed, March and early April (other than Easter week) tend to be quieter times to visit for sightseeing with decent weather.

The Brunelleschi Duomo in Florence, Italy.

Best Time to Visit Florence’s Duomo

The Duomo is the most iconic landmark in Florence, and among the most popular in the world, which means it tends to be busy all year long and the lines outside can feel endless. On average, it takes an hour or two just to get in as only 80 guests are allowed inside every two hours. The best time to visit the Duomo is before it opens in the morning so you’ll be one of the first inside or just before it closes on the afternoon. Don’t come on the first Tuesday of any month as it will be closed. While you can never avoid the crowds here, there will be fewer people between November and March, other than around the Christmas and New Year holidays. The line probably won’t be long, but be sure to dress appropriately for potentially wet, chilly weather. If you can’t come during the off season, try to visit at mid-week.

Uffizi Gallery sculpture in Florence, Italy.

Best Time to Visit Uffizi Gallery

Uffizi Gallery is one of the world’s oldest and most famous art museums and the No. 1 when it comes to Italian Renaissance art. With highlights that include greats like Michelangelo, Botticelli, da Vinci, Raffaello and Caravaggio, you’ll want to plan your visit carefully to make the most of it. Tourists arrive from across the globe in every season so it’s almost impossible to avoid the crowds but there are times when it is less crowded. Weekends during the busy season, May through September tend to be the worst. The best time to explore Uffizi Gallery is before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. during the off-season, particularly November, January or early March. If you have to come from mid-June through mid-September, avoid the busiest hours which are between 10 a.m. and noon. On Tuesday and Friday evenings between July and September, the gallery has extended hours, with those evenings typically good times to visit. 

Via Tornabuoni in Florence, Italy

Best Time to Visit Florence for Shopping

Shopping in Florence is an experience in itself. It’s famous for its textiles and crafts, fashion boutiques and leather goods. There are many design houses and iconic names that have perfected the art of looking perfect, so if you’re looking for attire to help you look your best, you’re heading to the right spot. When it comes to bargains, you’ll want to know the best time to visit Florence, which is generally when the summer or winter sales take place. Winter sales begin right after New Year’s Day, typically on January 5th, and will run until everything is sold. July and August are the months to come for summer sales. While it will be hot and crowded, you can expect big discounts, ranging from around 30 to 50 percent off. While the inventory gets depleted over time, towers the end of sales, what’s left is sold at bargain prices.

View of Ponte alle Grazie from Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

Best Time to Visit Florence for Good Weather

If idyllic weather is your top priority, with temperatures around the low to mid-70s Fahrenheit, you’ll want to plan your visit in May or October. The nice weather can start around the middle of April and last through early November, but you’ll have the best chance for sunny skies and pleasant temperatures in May and October. Between those two months, May is your best bet for avoiding rain. Spring is wonderful in the city with the city coming back to life, the markets bustling and filled with colorful produce while alfresco dining is a joy. While there’s an increased chance of wet weather in October, days are often lovely with high temperatures around 70 degrees and vibrant foliage blankets the parks. If you don’t like the heat, avoid July and August when it’s hot and humid. June and September are still quite warm but not as bad as the peak summer months.

The Brunelleschi Duomo in Florence, Italy.

January in Florence

January is the chilliest month of the year, with frequent rain and fog appearing in Florence this month. Snow is rare but frost and frigid temperatures aren’t, with the average ranging from 37 to 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Bundle up in multiple layers topped with a waterproof coat. You’ll need a hat, gloves and ideally some waterproof boots too, but your reward for enduring the cold will be a wonderland of treasures, including the city’s famous Renaissance-era works of art and architecture without the big crowds or long lines. You’re likely to find discounted airfare and cheaper room rates too. Plan to wrap up your days early though, as they’re short this time of year with sunset at around 5 p.m. There are some rooftop eateries that stay open year-round, ideal for evenings not only because of the views but for hot drinks and heating lamps, along with mouthwatering cuisine. 

A carousel located in Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Italy.

February in Florence

While Florence begins to warm up a bit, with temperatures that range from 39 to 53 degrees Fahrenheit on average. The rain is dissipating with about half the month seeing fog or gray days and the other half getting more sun. Rain is still possible, and with those temps still chilly, you’ll want to pack clothing that can be layered and topped with a warm, waterproof coat like last month. As some afternoons can feel warm, removing layers as needed and replacing them easily when it feels colder again is key. As a month of celebration, Carnevale comes to the city, drawing visitors from across the globe. While it won’t be as quiet as January, this is still the off-season, so you’ll be able to enjoy a more laid-back pace when it comes to sightseeing. Sunset around the middle of the month comes at 5:44 pm, providing a bit more daylight too.

The Boboli Garden in Florence, Italy

March in Florence

The weather continues to warm with the arrival of March. It’s still the off-season, a great time to enjoy the mild temperatures with afternoon highs now a more comfortable 59 degrees Fahrenheit. A stroll through the gardens like Boboli on a sunny afternoon is sure to be enjoyable but if the weather turns you can always pop into one of the many museums or roam the vast Uffizi art galleries. There will be more sunny days as the month progresses. While precipitation increases a bit over February, it comes mostly in the form of fog or mist. This is another month for layers that can be peeled off or on with the changing temperatures. The days are getting longer bringing more time for sightseeing, with sunset just after 6 p.m. early in the month. By the end of March due to the time change, the sun doesn’t go down until 7:40 p.m. 

View of Ponte alle Grazie from Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

April in Florence

With the arrival of April, spring is now in full swing although the weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Typically, it’s quite pleasant with more sunny days than gray ones. Temperatures continue to rise with afternoons in the mid-60s, but the mercury can dip down to just above freezing or climb as high as 77 degrees. Those wonderful days are ideal for taking advantage of the outdoor cafes that open up again this month. But you will need to prepare for just about every type of weather other than snow, once again packing in layers. A heavy coat won’t be necessary, but a light rain jacket is a good idea. This is a shoulder season which means the city won’t be jam-packed with tourists but there will be plenty here. You can expect shorter lines (as compared to the peak summer months) and you can probably still find accommodation that’s reasonably priced. 

The Brunelleschi Duomo in Florence, Italy.

May in Florence

There’s a significant change in the air by the time May arrives. It’s one of the best months to visit Florence, with comfortable temperatures that reach around 74 degrees in the afternoon with the skies typically bright and blue. May also marks the start of the busy season, although it won’t be as crowded as it will be from June through August. The city will be teeming with life, with the markets filled with fresh produce, locals and visitors alike as everyone seems to come out to enjoy the warmth. You’ll have more daylight for taking in all the sights with the sun going down around 8:30 p.m. by the middle of the month. Pack clothing for the warmer weather like dresses, skirts, shorts and t-shirts. You’ll want a few items for cooler weather too, including long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a light sweater or jacket with evenings dropping to the mid-50s.

The Battistero door in Florence, Italy.

Florence in June

Early June continues the delights of May with more comfortable weather and thinner crowds, but as it progresses, it will start to get hot and an increasing number of tourists will be arriving as well – book your reservations well in advance. On average, afternoon highs hit 75 but the mercury can climb into the upper 80s, so now is the time to bring clothing that will keep you stylishly cool. Rain is relatively rare now. You’ll want lightweight summer wear like dresses, shorts, capris, tank tops and short-sleeve shirts. If you plan to visit one of the churches, your knees and shoulders will have to be covered but a light scarf can work well for covering up. Don’t forget sunhats, sunscreen and sunglasses as there will be plenty of sunshine now. With the sun setting just after 9 p.m. on the Summer Solstice (June 21), you’ll have lots of time for sightseeing too.

A view from the inner yard of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Florence in July

July is the peak of the high season in Florence, with the city buzzing with excitement. It will be hot and sunny with rain unlikely. If it does fall it will be short-lived, usually in the form of a thunderstorm that leaves not long after it begins. This is a time to bring that lightweight clothing and sun protection, including sunscreen and a hat. Breezy dresses and skirts, shorts and short-sleeve shirts will be needed now. Temperatures often climb to the upper 80s and occasionally higher, although a gentle breeze in the afternoon can help cool things off a bit. When the heat is scorching, head to one of the indoor attractions and enjoy pleasantly warm evenings for open-air performances and outdoor dining. You’ll need to book your accommodations and entrance to major attractions well in advance to avoid disappointment with so many visitors arriving this month. 

Ancient roman marble sculpture in Florence, Italy.

Florence in August

August is similar to July in terms of weather. It will be just as hot or slightly hotter, with the afternoon high averaging about 88 degrees and occasionally climbing above 100. As many Italians take their vacations in August, mostly tourists fill the streets now and some shops and restaurants may be closed. It could be a bit less crowded with so many locals out of town, although lines at the major sites are likely to be long due to the throngs of visitors. Plan to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid them. You’ll want to pack the same as you would for July, with clothing that protects from the sun while helping you to stay cool. During the day you might want to focus on indoor attractions like the cathedrals and museums while making the most of the cooler evenings by spending time outdoors then.

Brunelleschi view from Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

Florence in September

The very warm weather continues in early September, but by the middle of the month, it begins to cool significantly from the upper 80s and low 90s to an average of 80 degrees in the afternoon. The chance of rainfall increases a bit too, especially toward the end of September and evenings can drop down to the low 60s, which means you’ll probably need a range of clothing to prepare for the changing temperatures. The focus should still be on items for warmer weather during the day, adding a sweater or jacket for cooler early mornings and evenings. Keep in mind that the humidity can be quite high due to the rain. While this is still a very busy time in Florence, crowds begin to thin. Don’t forgo those reservations, they should still be booked well in advance to score the best deals, especially on the most desirable rooms. 

The Boboli Garden in Florence, Italy

Florence in October

We can safely say that autumn has arrived, with the scorching hot temperatures a thing of the past, at least until next summer. October can be a wonderful time to be in Florence, with cool but not too cool temperatures averaging around 69-70 degrees in the afternoon. There is a higher chance for rain with nearly four inches falling over 12 days, so bringing a waterproof jacket with a hood and/or an umbrella is a good idea. You can expect plenty of sunshine in between, which means you’ll still need those sunglasses. It’s all about layering when it comes to clothing – think a mix of short- and long-sleeved shirts and pants or skirts with leggings. You can also look forward to colorful fall foliage in the parks and forests, making for some postcard-perfect scenes. Prepare for shorter days toward the end of the month with the time change as the sun will set just after 5 p.m. on October 31.

Arches beside Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy.

Florence in November

The off-season begins with the arrival of November, along with gray, rainy days. This is the wettest month of the year with more than four inches of rain falling over 15 days. It’s crisp sweater weather with early mornings a rather chilly 45 degrees and afternoon highs averaging 59 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be quite windy too. You’ll want to pack items for cold, wet weather, including a warm hat, a waterproof coat and boots for more comfortable sightseeing. The upside of November is that it’s one of the quieter months in the city so you can enjoy a more laid-back feel without long lines or crowds to push through. There’s a significant change in wait times for most museums and other attractions making it easier to see more in less time. Sunset will come much sooner, at about 4:40 p.m. by late November, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Brunelleschi view during Christmas in Florence, Italy.

Florence in December

Early December is quiet, damp and chilly. There won’t be many visitors as the month rolls around but by the middle of the month, many will come to enjoy the holiday festivities. Storekeepers will be decorating their shop windows and the city places decorative lights across all the streets. December 8th is a national holiday that unofficially kicks off the countdown to Christmas. It will continue to get colder, with average highs around 51 degrees and lows at just 37 degrees. This is when you’ll need warmer attire, including a heavy coat, gloves, hat and waterproof boots. There’s plenty of rain now too, although a bit less than November with an average of just under three inches over 13 days. As the holidays tend to attract the crowds, especially later in the month, expect to pay higher prices for hotel rooms and be sure to make your reservations well in advance.