Florence Italy is one of my favorite cities and holds a dear place in my heart as I studied abroad here during my college years. The food, art, history, architecture, and gelato make for a charming and memorable city. The historic core is small and walkable with nothing more than a 20 minute walk away. The compact center makes for a quaint city during the quiet months but is also a recipe for disaster when the crowds descend upon Florence. The streets can quickly become a mass of shoulder to shoulder tourists during the summer months which is why it's imperative to research the best time to visit Florence Italy before you book your ticket!
Florence really is two different cities depending on when you visit. If you have been during peak tourist season and compared it to shoulder or slow season you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Florence in August when many locals skip town and the streets are filled primarily with tourists is completely different than Florence in November where you get a mix of locals and tourists and can actually find peaceful streets and quiet restaurants.
This is why it is imperative to do your research and pick the best time to visit Florence Italy and make sure you get a mix of decent weather and fewer crowds.
Continue reading to learn the best time to visit Florence Italy and my personal favorite months or save it for later!
The BEST time to travel to Italy and Florence specifically is late fall and spring
Florence in Fall - Late September through November is the best time to visit florence Italy
My personal favorite and the best time to visit Florence Italy is fall. October is the sweet spot bringing nice weather and fewer crowds. I would also say that October is the best time to travel to Italy in general. Temperatures will range between the 50's and low 70's and rain can be hit or miss depending on the year. Each time I've been in October I've barely seen any rain and an abundance of autumn sunshine but October has been known to vary. Some years being rainy and chilly and others being absolutely glorious. October is becoming a more popular month to visit as earlier months are becoming overly crowded so I would still recommend making reservations for Florence attractions and top restaurants in advance.
Late September will bring weather with highs in the 70's and a little less rain than October but also more crowds with tourists taking advantage of the last stretch of warm weather and sunshine before the cooler and rainier fall weather sets in. If you're really trying to avoid the crowds I would recommend visiting in October and November. Late September will be better than late spring and summer but it's still crowded because the weather really is wonderful this time of year. If warm weather is important and your picture of visiting Florence includes enjoying gelato on a sun warmed bench and eating pasta at outdoor cafes then late September is the best bet.
November is perfect for those not worried about needing a light jacket or a higher chance of rain as the tourists really empty out by this month. Lower hotel rates and lines into tourist attractions along with the ease of getting into top restaurants without reservations might be worth the hassle of packing your jacket and umbrella.
See other Italy posts:
Florence in Spring - Late March to early May is also a good time to visit Florence Italy
Spring is also the best time to go to Florence with lower crowds than summer and good weather. The chance of rain will typically be lower this time of year as opposed to fall. This is my second favorite time to visit Italy and comes after the fall season as spring tends to be more crowded.
Late March to early April is the sweet spot in spring with very few crowds and good hotel deals. The weather will require a coat as highs will just reach the high 50's but it's perfectly pleasant for runs along the river and touring the city by foot as long as you dress appropriately.
Late April and May bring more sunshine and more tourists. Try to end your trip by mid May as Florence becomes packed and much of the charm is lost with shoulder to shoulder crowds.
FLorence in Winter - December to early March is the next best time to visit Florence Italy
December to early March is the best time to visit Florence Italy if having the most authentic experience paired with the least amount of visitors is your aim. The city is blissfully quiet this time of year and almost seems like a normal town as the number of tourists are at a minimum. You will find great hotel deals this time of year and have no problem getting into top Florence sights and restaurants.
Florence doesn't go all out for Christmas like other European cities but the quaint decorations and twinkle lights do add to the charm. Temperatures in December aren't bad either ranging from the mid to high 30's for the lows and high 40's to low 50's for the highs. January and February see similar temperatures and less rain than fall.
Early December and early March would be the sweet spot for this time to get the best weather.
Florence in Summer - late may through early september is the worst time to visit Italy in general and FLorence specifically
Florence becomes almost unrecognizable from late May to early September. The city swarms with shoulder to shoulder crowds down busy streets. The first time I visited Florence during this time of year was when I planned summer trips and traveled with college basketball teams. We were in Florence in August...and I can't believe I'm about to say this because Florence is one of my favorite cities...but I couldn't wait to get out. I could not believe how crowded this city could get.
Combine packed streets, long lines and waitlists with hot weather and you'll be wishing you considered fall or spring to visit instead. All reservations need to be made long in advance and hotel prices will be steep.
If summer is your only option my best recommendation is to avoid August at all costs and aim for as early in the summer as possible. Generally speaking August is the one month I would say is NOT the best time to travel to Italy and for all travelers to avoid. August not only becomes unbearably hot but is also the least authentic experience. Italians shut down their shops and leave town to take their own vacation and escape the worst of the crowds.
Need some tour ideas for your visit to Florence?
See my other Italy posts!
What do you think is the best time to visit Florence Italy? Let me know in the comments below!
Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, I earn a small commission. This will never cost you extra and the income goes to keeping this site updated and free for everyone!