Could Winter be the best time to visit Florence? It is for me. Winter in Florence means all the atmosphere of festive Christmas traditions, enjoying museums without the crowds, a magical atmosphere in the air, and plenty of sweet treats.
January shows off the new trends during the Pitti Uomo fashion show, while the sales are on to make shopping around Florence‘s shops even more enjoyable. While February brings all the colours of Carnival to town. While there’s not really a chance to dine al fresco, days can be still pleasant enough for walking around and enjoying the city’s beautiful squares and sights that become even more charming during the Winter months.
Florence in Winter
Christmas time & traditional Festivals in Winter
If you’re planning to visit Florence at Christmas time, you’ll find that the city shines brighter than ever with all the festive decorations and the F-light festival that brings new colours to its ancient buildings, turning the Ponte Vecchio into a fantastic screen for some video mapping shows. And of course, all sorts of traditional Christmas delicacies like panettone and ricciarelli biscuits crowd the pasticcerie’s shop windows.
Epiphany & Cavalcata of the Magi, 6th January
On the 6th of January – a public holiday and the the very last day of Christmas festivities – there’s a special religious celebration in Italy, the Epiphany. It’s the day when the Three Wise Men (or Magi) visit and offer gifts to the newly born Jesus.
In Florence this event is celebrated with the spectacular Cavalcata dei Magi takes place. This is a traditional parade in historic costume that leaves from Piazza Pitti and winds through the streets of the city centre, ending up at the Cathedral, Piazza Duomo. Florence relives its history, with people dressed up in elegant 15th century attire, reenacting the journey of the Magi, just as they did six centuries ago, when members of the Medici family used to join the parade on their horses.
=> See the Magi Chapel in Palazzo Medici-Riccardi to see the most spectacular representation of this scene.
=> Discover how to spend the Perfect 3 Days in Florence with our complete itinerary
Admire Florence’s artistic heritage
Winter months are also the perfect time to admire some of Florence’s artistic masterpieces and fascinating frescoes, without the crowds to distract you from the experience. Explore the Uffizi Gallery and find out about all the highlights of this artistic mecca by joining a fun and informative Uffizi 2-Hour Guided Tour (this tour is great value for money, and you skip the line too!). You can then move on to the Accademia to awe at the physical and artistic height of the statue of David.
Then choose some less visited gems, like the San Marco Museum, or the Bargello for some extraordinary works of sculpture by Renaissance masters. If you love contemporary arts, head to the Marino Marini Museum hosted in the former church of San Pancrazio, a unique opportunity to admire one of Italy’s most renowned sculptors of the 20th century.
=> Check out the temporary exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi for more art. And the Best Museums in Florence that any art lover should visit.
=> Live Florence like a local: 10 Non touristy things to do in Florence!
Shopping, sales & fashion shows
Every January, Florence hosts the Pitti Uomo fashion show that’s marked on every fashion victim’s calendar. It’s when you spot extravagant attire around the city. Note that hotels are booked well in advance for these dates (this year from 6th to 10th January 2020).
Usually the sales are on from the second week in January. Here the shopper in you can enjoy the retail extravaganzas and pick out something from the plentiful leather shops (see the best places where to buy leather in Florence). Check out the city’s markets and luxury designer stores in via Tornabuoni. There’s something for every taste and pocket.
=> Discover 20 Ways to Experiences to the real Florence!
Enjoy an Aperitivo in a hip neighbourhood
The party in Florence never ends. Join the locals in enjoying endless aperitivi around town, in the favourite areas of Sant’Ambrogio, Santo Spirito and San Frediano – check out the best spots to go out in the coolest neighbourhood in Florence.
Join this popular Florence Gourmet Food Tour and visit several of the city’s top food stores, meet the welcoming owners and try sumptuous specialties like the justly famous truffle panini in a historic delicatessen, artisan chocolate, olive oil and schiacciata.
Carnival and sweet treats
Finally, Winter is when the Carnival spirit explodes around Italy! You can hop on a train and visit Viareggio for the day to see the Viareggio Carnival, one of Italy’s most spectacular Carnival parades and floats. It’s only an hour from Florence and well worth the trip. An exciting experience of masquerades, follies and showers of confetti.
Foodie alert! You can’t miss the specialities that can be found at this time of year : the schiacciata alla fiorentina, a delicate and delicious version of sponge cake with icing sugar on top, or the scrumptious cenci (sweet ‘ribbons’ fried dough covered in powdered sugar) or frittelle (fritters made with rice) that make an appearance in Florence’s inviting pasticcerie and artisan bakeries.
And don’t forget to look out for the best hot chocolate in town… try two of our favourites, Hemingway and Vestri.
Winter in Florence. What’s the Weather like?
From December to February the average temperature in Florence is 6 degrees Celsius. The highs during the day reach 10 degrees and it rarely snows. By the end of February the days are longer and warmer. These months get an average 8 days of rain (per month). Temperatures are lower in the surrounding countryside areas.
=> Florence Ice Village is on from 6th December until 28th February 2020, with a great ice skating ring.