Is August a good time to be travelling in Tuscany? If you’re planning a trip this Summer you’re probably wondering what’s in store for you. So here we give you the low down on weather, the best places to go, and what fun and festivals you can expect.
August is a lively month in Tuscany, when the summer season is at his height, and locals take their holidays. Coastal resorts are crowded with families. Summer parties carry on through the night. Music fills the evenings, and you find shows and traditional festival everywhere you go. Boredom is one thing you won’t experience.
August is the busiest time on the Tuscan coast. Cities like Florence, Pisa and Siena can get quite hot and crowded too. But there are some areas in Tuscany, like the Garfagnana in the north or Casentino in the East, where you can find some surprisingly tranquil spots, with lower temperatures and a more temperate climate.
Tuscany in August: City, country or beach?
Out in the Tuscan countryside the heat is less oppressive. Opt for a rented villa or agriturismo with a pool, and plan your visit to nearby towns in the early morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler. Insider’s tip: driving around the scenic countryside at sunset is an unforgettable experience.
Another good reason to be staying in the countryside is that it makes it easier to explore the hilltop towns. Even better if they are a bit off the beaten track. Popular places like San Gimignano and Cortona will be swarming with bus tours.
So how about some less travelled destinations? Check out Medieval Massa Marittima, Suvereto or Campiglia Marittima near the Etruscan coast, or scenic Barga surrounded by mountains and Poppi and Anghiari in the province of Arezzo.
If you choose the beach, have a look at our list of best beaches in Tuscany. Bear in mind that August is when most Italians take their holidays, so you’ll find crowds virtually everywhere. The coast gets invaded by holiday makers and prices go up. But there’s something lovely about Italian beach culture in the peninsula! To save money you could stay in an agriturismo close to the coast, to find free unspoilt beaches your best bet is southern Maremma.
One word of advice: Florence in August can be sweltering. If you’re sightseeing, the early hours of the mornings are the best times to explore the city before everyone else wakes up. And the evenings are just perfect for a walk along the Arno. In the middle of the day there’s only one place you’ll want to be. In the shade!
Check out this Evening Food Tour of Florence! Get to know Florence’s beer and brewery scene on this walking tour that includes beer and food tastings. Visit the Oltrarno pubs and taste some Italian craft beer, paired with some food.
August in Tuscany: What’s on?
The most famous of Tuscan traditional Festivals is the Palio in SIENA, the historic horse race where Piazza del Campo is turned into a track and Siena goes back to Medieval time – it takes place every year on 2nd July and 16th August.
VOLTERRA AD 1398 (11th and 18th August 2019) – Volterra dresses in Medieval costume for this spectacular festival, with jugglers, armoured knights, musicians, games and shows, all inspired by the Middle Ages.
MONTEPULCIANO hosts the Bravio delle Botti – on the last Sunday of August – where the contestants from the town’s district have to push heavy wooden barrels (hence the name ‘botti’) up the picturesque streets of Montepulciano. The finish line is in the spectacular Piazza Grande. Unique and exciting.
On the 15th August SARTEANO, a small town in the province of Siena, goes back to Medieval time with the “Giostra del saracino” , a colourful jousting competition in historic costumes.
=> The 15th August is public holiday in Italy: Ferragosto, a religious feast dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Most shops will be closed. Make sure you check museums’ opening time, because some close.
Calici di Stelle Festival
All around Italy the “Calici di stelle” Festival is on from 28th July to 20th August 2023, dedicated to art and wine, with evening openings of museums, craft markets and wine tasting. Around Tuscany many events throughout August: in Siena, Montepulciano, Castellina in Chianti, Pitigliano, Massa Marittima, Suvereto => see full program on the official site.
Markets, Music and shooting stars
“Cortona antiquaria” (19th August – 3rd September 2023): antique market in the beautiful town of Cortona, one of the oldest antique fairs in Italy. More info on the official site.
The 10th August is a magic night thanks to the Perseid shower, the shooting stars that decorate the night sky. There are many events around Tuscany at this time: sky gazing with experts at the Observatory in the Chianti near Barberino Val d’Elsa, the night market in Montespertoli, and the evening opening of the Museo Leonardiano in Vinci to name but a few. Don’t forget to make a wish! (the program for the 2023 events has not been confirmed at time of writing)
Florence on the 10th August celebrates its patron saint San Lorenzo: a historic parade in the city centre in the morning – from Piazza Signoria to San Lorenzo – and in the evening the party is on in Piazza San Lorenzo, with free lasagne and watermelon.
=> Discover the Best traditional Festivals in Tuscany.
Music is star in Siena for the famous Chigiana International Festival (usually in August – dates for 2023 haven’t been confirmed yet) – see official site for full program.
Lirica in piazza Massa Marittima: usually on the first weekend in August you can listen to Opera in the scenic square of Massa Maritimma. A must. (Dates for 2023 TBA)
The 69th edition of the Puccini Festival is on at Torre del Lago Puccini: you can enjoy the best Operas by Lucca-born composer Giacomo Puccini in a fabulous open-air theatre overlooking the lake (throughout July and August 2023).
The popular ‘Estate fiesolana’ music festival is on in Fiesole, up on the hill overlooking Florence => Official FB page for more info.
The Pitigliano wine festival: tasting of local wines in one of the most scenic small town in the Maremma. A perfect opportunity to explore this part of the region ( see official FB page ).
=> See the best event around the Chianti events on Wechianti.
Weather & Temperatures
By the end of July temperatures can reach 35 degrees Celsius (and occasionally even 40) (95-104 F), it’s quite humid especially in cities like Florence, Siena or Pisa. In the hilly countryside temperatures are slightly lower, and evenings are pleasant. Bear in mind that walking around from 12am to 5pm is quite trying if you don’t like the heat.
Things change by the end of August, when you might experience some rains and a drop in temperatures. Mosquitoes are a summer feature in many areas of Tuscany, countryside or towns, most notably in the Maremma.
Whatever you are looking for you need to pack the right stuff to be prepared => check out our Summer packing list for Italy