There’s something pretty perfect about visiting Florence in fall. The weather is gentler, the peak of tourist season has ended, and everything good about Tuscan culinary culture explodes during the autumn harvest.
So what are you waiting for? Get ready to really live la bella vita with our tips for the best visit to Florence in fall.
What’s so great about fall in Florence?
Tuscany really comes alive in the fall. The deeply agricultural region harvests wine grapes, olives, and hundreds of other products beginning in August, so the food from the end of summer through to the beginning of winter is off-the-charts good.
The weather also tones down considerably in mid-September, so pack your layers! In September and October expect the day to be decently warm, but plan for long sleeves in the cool evenings. Rainy days are common throughout October and November, so have an umbrella handy.
Florence’s historic center is still stunning in the rain. Photo credit: Tolga Kilinc
Insider’s Tip: Don’t let the rain slow you down! Check out our top five activities for Florence in the rain.
What to do
What is there to do in Florence in fall? A better question might be what isn’t there to do!
Naturally the museums, churches, and note-worthy destinations will always be open. Enjoy the flexibility the more temperate weather allows you by booking a food or walking tour at any time of day. What’s more, you can eat like a local when you enjoy every single one of your meals al fresco at one of the many outdoor dining restaurants in Florence.
If you don’t mind traveling outside of Florence, dozens of towns all over Tuscany host harvest festivals or sagre, celebrating the abundance of a high-quality harvest. Many towns also have medieval reenactments or tournaments that you must see if your Fall trip aligns with them. Plan ahead for a day trip so you don’t miss these unique events.
Hop on a train or rent a car on the last Sunday of September to go to the Grape Festival in Impruneta. This highly popular festival includes a parade with decorated floats, traditional dances, performances, product tastings, and local handicraft sales.
The beautiful historic city of Arezzo (about an hour train ride away from Florence), is another great place to visit during the fall. They hold a medieval reenactment, the Saracen Joust, on the first Sunday of September. Knights from the city’s four quarters gear up and compete to win the coveted Golden Lance. The decorations and processions around the town are also beautiful to behold if you can’t make it to the game. Arezzo also hosts an antiques fair the first weekend of every month, where you can pick up loads of unique souvenirs.
What to eat
When you dine anywhere in Florence in fall, it will be a challenge not to order everything on the menu! Expect to see pumpkin ravioli, pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffles, antipasto with figs, and eggplant parmesan. Wash it all down with vino novello, the brand-new Tuscan wine from that year’s harvest available after the 30th of October.
Still hungry and wanting even more traditional local fare? Schiacciata con uva (flat bread with sweet grapes) is a traditional snack that’s amazing with a coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up. Tuscan apple cake, torta di mele, is an unassuming dessert that really slows off the glory of fresh Tuscan apples.
Don’t forget about the chestnuts. You’ll find street food vendors freshly toasting chestnuts to go, but if you really want to try something different, keep an eye out for castagne on menus. Chestnuts make for rich and savory pasta fillings, or enjoy them boiled and roughly chopped to be thrown in with tagliatelle or gnocchi.
After you’ve experienced fall in Florence, you’ll want to come back every year! And we don’t blame you–with all the delicious dishes to try and plenty of things to keep you busy, autumn in the heart of Tuscany is peak la bella vita.
Verity Pryor-Harden is a freelancer of many talents living in the historical Tuscan city of Arezzo while studying Visual Communications in Florence. She’s a sucker for a cold spritz in a piazza on a hot day, enjoys making bizarre wine pairings, and is a Tuscan street food enthusiast. Follow along on Instagram @verityeph.