If you’re planning to visit Florence in winter, you’re probably thinking: It’s still Italy, the land of sun and sea. It won’t be that cold, right?
Don’t be fooled by this idea – the winter cold still bites hard in Florence, and the sun can disappear for quite some time in the somber days of November and December.
Don’t let the winter blues put you off. You can still enjoy Florence in the winter months! Read on to learn all about it.
Let’s talk temperature
The worst aspect of Florence weather in winter is the humidity; it’s impossible to escape the water coming from the Arno River. And when visiting Florence in summer, that doesn’t change.
This means that winter weather in Florence is cold, but can seem freezing. Temperatures can drop to 35° F (2° C), and sometimes even lower—but you’ll perceive it as the cold trying to sink into your soul.
Yes, we’re exaggerating – but don’t come to Italy thinking the sun shines every day, because it’s not true (sadly, we may add).
I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas
You may be dreaming of Brunelleschi’s beautiful dome covered in a blanket of snow, or watching the Arno River freeze while sipping some hot chocolate…
Stop right there!
High humidity and not-so-freezing temperature mean one thing: no snow. Sadly, it doesn’t snow in Florence in winter. All you can hope for is some dazzling snowflakes melting as soon as they reach the ground.
Instead, bring your umbrella with you. It’s more likely that Florence will have rainy days in the winter. (Take the opportunity to seek shelter indoors and continue exploring Florence in the rain!)
If you’re come this far, you’re ready
After all this talk about the cold, the freezing temperatures, and the lack of snow, are you still thinking about coming to Florence in winter?
Well, you’re right.
Florence is a magical place during the winter. You have a little more space and time to enjoy the city, and you can enjoy some of the best seasonal dishes in town.
Enjoying cold-weather dishes
Winter is the only time you can find a really good ribollita, a typical Tuscan dish that will warm your heart. The key ingredient is kale, which is only in season during the winter—spring and summer visitors are out of luck!
And, there’s the best kept secret beverage in all of Florence: ponce alla livornese. It’s a kind of punch, made with rum, coffee, and sugar. It comes straight from the Tuscan city of Livorno and is the fastest way to warm up.
You can only find sweet Schiacciata Fiorentina during Carnival. But keep in mind that it’s different from Schiacciata, some of the best pizza in Florence! Schiacciata Fiorentina is a soft cake that smells like oranges and is topped with icing sugar—the perfect way to warm your heart.
Even if not white, Christmas is still a big deal in Italy. In December, you’ll find a magnificent Christmas tree near the Duomo and a winter market in Piazza Santa Croce.
Christmas lights spark all around the city, even outside the city center. And the city is so full of events! Experiencing winter in Florence can really bring out your inner child.
It doesn’t stop there!
Biannual sales and the Birraio dell’anno (beermaker of the year event) in January, Viareggio Carnival in February, the ice rink, the concert season at Teatro del Maggio Fiorentino… Visiting Florence in winter is the only time to really experience the city like a true local.
So the answer is YES: Florence in winter is definitely worth it. We hope you’ll agree!
Eliana Ferrari doesn’t like to stay put. She’s traveled all around Europe, excited by every encounter with people, food, and art. How did she end up in Florence? She fell in love: with the magnificence of every corner, with Bolgheri wine, and with the famous Florentine wit (one Florentine’s in particular!).