Florence in summer is not a good idea! The title of this post is obviously provocative but I have some reasons to support this statement. I know that for many people visiting the birthplace of the Renaissance is a lifetime dream and a must-see, especially for first-time travelers to Italy. I also know that most travelers only get holidays during summer time but, if you can, choose to go to Florence at another time.
Why summer is not the best season for visiting Florence. My point of view
You have been wondering 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 only an hour away from Florence, it happens that I go several times each year.
I am also a traveler who knows that, like every place on earth, Florence has its best season to shine. And this is not summer. I wouldn’t even suggest a trip to New York or Tokyo in the summer. It’s too hot. Or to Thailand because of the monsoons.
Having the fortune of living by the sea of Tuscany, to face the hot summer I only 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 a 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 your 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 the 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 visiting Florence in summer was not super nice.
The 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 by plunging your feet into 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 when many people get holidays. So, be prepared for walking along streets packed with tourists, or stay 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. Getting 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 the crowd could turn your dream into a letdown.
Moreover, a trip to Florence in the 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 the 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 tickets for Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, 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 are that you can dine outside and drink a glass enjoying the good weather. Many kiosks open along the Arno river.
- 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 one of the music concerts at Firenze Rocks Festival or on the occasion of the celebration of the Patron Saint on the 24th of 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 the summer
To get the best of your time in Florence, take note of these thoughts. Instead, if you haven’t decided yet on the destinations of your Tuscan Trip in summer, why don’t skip Florence to explore less touristic routes of our wonderful region?