Tuscany in February has more going for it than you might think. The Christmas holidays are already a faint memory. The air is crisp and cold, and carries with it the promise of snow. Days are shorter but they are also quieter. Could it be the perfect time for a trip to Tuscany?
Tuscany without crowds
Tuscany can get busy in high season. So the absence of crowds is the first and more obvious benefit of visiting Tuscany in winter. The Christmas period is usually very busy, especially in bigger cities like Florence. But once the festive season is over and the crowds depart, the towns of Tuscany enjoy a period of quieter tranquility. The queues outside Florence’s museums get shorter, and you can enjoy the sights in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Check out the museums in Florence you shouldn’t miss.
Where should I travel to in February?
Florence and Siena are perfect destinations for february. All the attractions and restaurants stay open all year around, and offer better deals during quieter periods. Smaller but still popular Medieval towns like San Gimignano, Volterra and Cortona can also be very rewarding as the atmosphere is somehow enhanced during winter months.
Bear in mind that it can get pretty cold and it’s better to check weather forecasts before travelling. Other areas that are more out of the way, can be very quiet in February. For winter sports your best bets are Mount Abetone near Pistoia, and Mount Amiata in southern Tuscany. If you are in the mood for the euphoric Carnival party, head to Viareggio on the Versilia coast.
If you like the idea of Carnival, check out these amazing float parades around Tuscany!
Tuscany in February – what’s the weather like?
January and February are the coldest months in Tuscany. Average temperatures in February range from lows of 3˚ to highs of 13˚. It’s usually slightly warmer along the coast, and in the mountains it can drop below freezing. In Florence it rarely snows, though it often does in rural areas and mountainous regions like Garfagnana, Mugello or Casentino in Eastern Tuscany. If you travel by car remember you are obliged to carry snow chains with you. Temperatures drop at night, but days can often be clear and pleasant. Expect some rain. Temperatures rise slightly towards the end of the month.
Good accommodation deals and Sales!
Hotels are ready to attract guests by offering special deals in late January and February, even in Florence. So you can save a bit on accommodation and have more money for shopping. Considering that the sales are on it can’t be a bad thing.
The countryside turns on the magic
Misty mornings, frost on the fields, snow in the air. There’s something charming and mysterious about the Tuscan countryside in winter. The smell of fires being lit, the comfort of a fire place and a glass of Chianti wine. You need to be prepared for the cold of course – those characteristic villas and country houses can get quite chilly. Take sturdy footwear if you want to go walking, you’ll be rewarded with some very magical views.
Some of the more typical Tuscan dishes are perfect for the cold weather. There are rich soups like ribollita, made with cabbage and beans, or the different cuts of meat like the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina or delicious meat stews like Peposo dell’Impruneta.
If you have a sweet tooth, February is your month. It’s Carnival time and irresistible treats start popping up in bakeries and pasticcerie. There are frittelle (fritters made with rice or semolino), cenci (fried dough with powdered sugar on the top) and schiacciata alla fiorentina (light, soft, vanilla flavoured cake). You’ll find them in most areas of Tuscany with variations.