When Is the Best Time to Visit Florence? The Answer May Surprise You
Wondering what time of year you should plan your trip to Florence?
You want to pick a time where great weather is almost guaranteed. You want to avoid peak season and the crowds and long waits it brings. If it happens that flights and hotels are cheaper, that’s great.
If this sounds like you, then I have a surprising answer to your question; when is the best time to visit Florence?
Visiting Florence during the winter months has many benefits.
Soak Up Glorious Weather
January is definitely the middle of winter for this central Italian town. Mornings are very cool, if not cold, with the temperature occasionally dipping below 0 (Celsius, mind you.) The city warms up quickly. By afternoon, you can expect highs reaching about 13 degrees (55 F for us Americans.) And you can expect mostly sunny skies. Florence averages only 5 days of rain in January. Temperatures requiring a coat and hat are worth it to have the city basically to yourself.
You’ll want to arrive after the Epiphany (January 6) which marks the end of the Italian Christmas holiday. Florence is gorgeously decorated for the Christmas season, which may inspire you to come earlier. However, it won’t be as enjoyable of a trip since many shops and museums are closed for the holiday. Being able to enjoy all the shops being open. This is when the universities are on winter break, so Florence has fewer foreign exchange students crowding up the local pizza joints and bars.
Stretch Your Budget
It’s a given that airfare and hotel prices are lower in the offseason. But an additional benefit of traveling to Florence during this time is discounted rates to museums. When my parents visited, we were able to take advantage of several offers to save on admission to things like the Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens, and Palazzo Vecchio.
Relax without the Crowds
Besides getting deals on museum entrances, you’ll be able to enjoy the space with fewer people around you. On average, expect about 30% fewer people to be out and about in Florence during the month of January. If you arrive after Epiphany, Italians will have just finished their two-week holiday and will be back to work, so you won’t have as many Italian tourists either. You’ll experience the city like a local, making it another reason why January is the best time to visit Florence.
A drawback of this time of year is the short daylight hours. Outdoor parks and museums will have shorter operating hours because sunset happens around 5pm. However, since there are fewer people going through all the museums, it’s easier to get in and get through everything because you aren’t forcing yourself through a huge crowd.
Enjoy Amazing Sales
Another reason January is the best time to visit Florence, is the sales. Each July and January, all stores have incredible sales. This includes major designers and luxury goods you wouldn’t usually find discounted. Because there are only two official sales periods in Italy, winter sales are something an event for Italians. And since most tourists don’t visit during the winter months, you’ll only be competing with the locals for these incredible deals. If you love quality Italian goods and a good deal, then you can’t miss out on winter sales.
Eat Italian Comfort Food
Produce isn’t at its peak in January. But Tuscans have some delicious winter meals. Tortellini in Brodo (yes I know, not Tuscan) would be an unbearable dish in the summer but it’s a welcome respite during cold winter evenings. Ribollita is a delicious soup that highlights Tuscan kale. Plus, the cooler temperature means you don’t have to worry about your gelato melting faster than you can eat it. Just relax and enjoy it at peak texture.
If you are looking to avoid massive crowds of tourists, explore without melting from the heat, and stretch your dollar further, January is the best time to visit Florence.
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