Starting from the premise that a holiday in Tuscany is always a good idea, you may have reasonable doubts about Tuscany in winter considering the period of low season. After spending a long weekend of January around my loved region a few days ago, I made this simple, and hopefully helpful, list of pros and cons of traveling in Tuscany in winter.

Pienza Tuscany in winter
Pienza in January

Travel in Tuscany in Winter: the Pros

Cheaper rates for accommodation and transportation

During low season you can save a lot of money taking advantage of special offers for hotels and apartments. All European low-cost airlines offer great deals and you could fly to Tuscany with only a few Euros.

No Crowd

Being out of the peak season, Tuscany in winter has no crowd. Both small towns and cities such as Florence, Siena, Pisa, or Lucca, are not packed with tourists as in spring and summer. So it will be more enjoyable visiting the main museums and attractions or finding a seat at the restaurant. In some small hamlets, as happened to us in Val d’Orcia, you can be the only people walking in the street with the few locals living there.

A view of the Arno River in Florence during wintertime.
Florence’s Reflections in December

Hot Springs

You can enjoy a bath in the warm and relaxing hot springs while it’s cold outside, surrounded by the wonderful scenery of Val d’Orcia or Maremma. Tuscany is the Italian region with the biggest number of wild hot springs, thermal baths, and luxury wellness centers and resorts.


If you love skiing or snowboarding, you can think about spending a couple of days in one of the ski resorts of the Tosco-Emiliano Apennines. Of course, they are not The Dolomites, but they have enough slopes to have fun and are easy to reach from every part of the region.

Carnival Parades

If you like music, colored floats, and masks, from the end of January until the end of February, visitors can enjoy Carnival festivals in many towns of Tuscany and taste delicious cakes such as rice doughnuts or Cenci pastries. The main event and the most famous is the Carnival of Viareggio in Versilia. For five days, the biggest Carnival floats in Europe parade along the seaside promenade, surrounded by thousands of happy locals and tourists dressed up in funny costumes dancing to the rhythm of the music.

Carnival of Viareggio trunk
Truck float at the Carnival of Viareggio

Travel in Tuscany in winter: Cons

The Weather

It may be cold or rainy and have some snow up on the hills. Anyway, wearing a warm coat, scarf, gloves, and a hat you can go wherever you want. To have an idea of how is the weather in Tuscany, click here.

Some museums are closed on Mondays

No matter what if you are in Florence or a small town, Monday is the day off for important museums. For instance, in Florence Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia are closed. In Cortona, on Monday morning both the Museum of Etruscan Academy (MAEC) and the Diocesan Museum are closed.

Some attractions may be closed

For example in Pienza, the famous Palazzo Piccolomini closes for the winter season until March. In Montepulciano, it is not possible to climb the tower of the Palazzo del Comune until March. I am sure it is worth it for the view of the town and Val d’Orcia. Still, in Montepulciano, the wonderful Renaissance temple of San Biagio is open only during the weekend for security reasons.

Isola Santa in Garfagnana Weather in Tuscany
The village of Isola Santa in Garfagnana under the snow

Churches may be closed

Being places of worship in my opinion they should always be open for visitors and pilgrims. Unfortunately, many times they are not. On a Monday morning in Cortona in January, we could not visit both the Duomo and the other two churches because they were closed. It seems that the wish of Pope Francis to keep churches open all day long has not been enough to convince priests to change this unpleasant situation. Thinking of visiting churches, my suggestion is to do it during the afternoon at the time of the Mess.

Smaller choice of Restaurants, bars, and shops

Traveling in the countryside or exploring little hamlets, it could be difficult to find a place where to eat, especially at lunch. Many activities close for holidays, especially after Christmas time. Or at least they are open only during the weekend.

Smaller choice of accommodations

Especially in the countryside, some Agriturismo or rustic bed & breakfasts may be closed during the low season.

Cortona in Tuscany in winter
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie al Calcinaio in Cortona

What about you? If you have more pros and cons of traveling in Tuscany in winter, leave a comment down here.

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Tuscany in Winter

5 thoughts on “Visiting Tuscany in Winter? The Pros and Cons

  1. Jdberger says:

    Thank you, Nicola. I’m spending some time in Tuscany this winter and your post was vey helpful. Can you tell me more about the hot springs?

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