Florence in summer is not a good idea! The title of this post is obviously provocative but I have a few reasons why I say that. I know that for many people visiting “the birthplace of Renaissance” is a lifetime dream and a must-see especially for first-time travelers to Italy. I also know that most of the travelers only get holidays during summertime, but If you can choose to go to Florence in another time.
Why summer is not the best season for visiting Florence. My point of view
You wonder who I am to advise you against visiting one of the most beautiful and loved cities in the entire world? I start by saying that I am a local born in Tuscany and in love with Florence. Living on the seaside, just one hour away from it, I try to go as often as I can.
I also am a traveler knowing that, as every place on earth, Florence has its best season to shine. And this is not summer. I would not suggest a trip to New York or Tokyo in summer either. It is too hot. Or in Thailand because of the monsoons.
Having the fortune of living by the sea of Tuscany, to face the hot summer I just need to wear my speedo and dive into the Mediterranean Sea.
During those days of scorching heat, I do not envy those who live in the city. That is the reason why in summer most of the Florentines can’t wait for the weekend to get the car and escape from the city.
The reasons why Summer is not the good season for Florence
Surely, Florence is charming all year round but during summertime, there are several factors that could ruin your experience.
The reason why I decided to write this post is my desire that you get the best from your holidays. It would be sad to know that you didn’t enjoy the time in Florence for some reason.
Working in a hotel in Pietrasanta, on the northern coast of Tuscany, I host many guests in summer that wish to go to Florence. I understand their desire to visit the birthplace of Renaissance and of course I give them all the information they need. But I also try to warn them about the condition they might find. Well, once back in the hotel, almost 100% of them told me that I was right, that visit Florence in summer was not super nice.
Reasons are mainly two:
1- Hot temperatures and a high humidity level
Summer is the hottest period in town. Due to its position in a basin surrounded by hills, there is no breeze in Florence in summer. This means that temperatures easily reach 30/35 °C (95 – 105 °F). On a sunny day, you quickly get wet and your blood pressure could turn low, feeling tired and nervous.
Think about climbing all the stairs to reach the top of the Giotto bell tower or the Dome of the Cathedral.
Unfortunately, there are not too many places in town to rest in the shadow, and you cannot refresh yourself plunging your feet on a fountain or swimming in the Arno river. It is strictly forbidden! And not very healthy.
2- The peak season for mass tourism
Summer is the crowdest period in town. As I said before, summertime is the only period of the year where many people get holidays. So, be prepared for walking along streets packed with tourists, or staying in the queue to enter a museum. You will wait for more than usual to get a panino, a gelato or a free table at the restaurant. Get a picture in front of the main attractions may be harder too, and also going to the toilet!
The bad mix between hot weather and crowd could turn your dream into a letdown.
Moreover, a trip to Florence in summer is not really cheap. Being very high season, rates of flights and accommodation are usually higher than the rest of the year. This will increase your expectations because whenever you spend a lot of money it is more difficult to accept any inconvenience.
A few tips to enjoy Florence in summer
If your only chance to visit Florence is in summer, a few tips (better call them common-sense rules) may help you:
- Avoid staying in the sun during the hottest hours of the day. Take a rest in the hotel or sit outside a bar and get a cold drink.
- Drink a lot of water during the day to stay hydrated.
- Visit museums or churches when it is too hot. You have plenty of choices.
- Book here the “skip the line” tickets for Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, or the Duomo. Otherwise take a look at less touristic museums like Museo del Bargello, Horne Museum, or the cathedral of Santa Croce.
- We highly recommend a half-day guided tour dedicated to the life of Michelangelo which includes a visit to the Casa Buonarroti, Bargello Museum and Accademia to see David.
- Get out of the most touristic area to find a bit of peace. For example, discover unusual places, explore the Oltrarno suburb, or get a bus to Fiesole to admire the town from the top of the hill.
- Tour around in the late evening and at night when the daily travelers left. The pros of summer in Florence is that you can dine outside and drink a glass enjoying the good wheater.
- Organize and book your trip well in advance to get good deals. If you travel on a budget, I suggest choosing another time of the year.
- Come in June to attend to one of the events of Firenze Rocks Festival or on the occasion of the celebration of the Patron Saint the 24th June when marvelous fireworks will enlight the sky of the city.
Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for a trip to Florence but still quite expensive. Winter doesn’t mean snow and freezing temperatures. It is colder of course, but definitely the less crowded time of the year with a lot of sunny days.
Alternatives to Florence in summer
With a short drive from Florence, you reach many Tuscan wonders as the Chianti wine region, or Siena and the UNESCO heritage site of Val d’Orcia. Tuscany has also 400 km of coast where resting in the sun and swim in the Mediterranean Sea as Versilia, Etruscan Coast or the southern Maremma. Tuscany is also less touristic areas as Lunigiana and Garfagnana with tiny countryside villages to discover where more and more expats decide to buy a house and live there.
To get the best of your time in Florence, take note of these thoughts. Instead, if you haven’t decided yet the destinations of your Tuscan Trip in summer, why don’t skip Florence to explore less touristic routes of our wonderful region?