If you’re visiting Tuscany in Winter, you’ll find it has a lot to offer. It’s a very atmospheric time of year, both in the city and the countryside. You’ll find dazzling spectacles and carnivals. You’ll also find there are fewer tourists around competing for the various attractions. And some great deals to be had too.
To start with if you like the idea of seeing some art in Florence, Winter is your best bet. There are fewer people around and cheaper off-season tickets for popular museums like the Uffizi Gallery.
If you rather spend some quality time in the midst of nature, Winter in Tuscany can be the perfect time. Opt for an atmospheric agriturismo in the Val d’Orcia countryside. Even better, try one of the delightful spa towns and enjoy the restorative benefits of their waters. Or why not choose the Tuscan mountains for an active ski holiday.
Visiting Tuscany in Winter – Trip ideas to inspire you
1. FLORENCE IN WINTER | MORE ART, LESS CROWDS
Visiting Florence during the Winter months might be the best choice for those who don’t love crowds. Arriving in Florence anytime between mid January to March, you’ll enjoy a much more relaxing experience compared to travelling in the height of/peak season. Florence gets a bit quieter, but it’s still full of surprises.
For art lovers, this is the perfect time to enjoy great museums like the Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia. The queues that get quite daunting in high season thin out, and you can linger in front of your favourite masterpieces in tranquility. The tickets price for the Uffizi is reduced during the winter (12 Euro from November to the end of February – 20 euros in high season). Art exhibitions and cultural events are plentiful during the Florentine winter.
Of course, exploring Florence’s masterpieces with an expert guide is the best way to savour this unique artistic experience.
And by the way, despite this lovely photo, it very rarely snows in Florence!
=> Discover why February is a great time to visit Florence.
2. SIENA – A MEDIEVAL WINTER WONDERLAND
We prefer Siena in the Winter. It might be because Winter gives this wonderful Medieval town an added touch of the mysterious: the dark alleyways, the beautifully illuminated squares, the cozy trattorias sparkling with warm lights. As the tourist buses are sparse, you can walk around the city centre in total tranquility, enjoying every detail of its splendid architecture.
During the Christmas period Siena is simply magical. The typical Christmas sweets ricciarelli and panforte actually originated in this Tuscan town, and many artisan pasticcerie still produce these sweets following ancient recipes. Check out some of our favourite pastry shops that sell ricciarelli.
For some savoury treats, enjoy a plate of handmade pici with wild boar sauce with a glass of good Chianti wine. A perfect meal during the colder months.
If you visit Siena on 7th and 8th December 2019 you’ll enjoy the traditional market that every year enlivens Piazza del Campo, with local artisans, great food products and Christmas themed-stalls.
3. VAL D’ ORCIA – COUNTRYSIDE WINTER BLISS
The most beautiful scenery in Tuscany is to be found in the Val d’Orcia. And the rolling soft hills and cypress tress don’t lose any of their charm in Winter. The countryside gets quiet and sleepy, the rhythm is slower and the colours softer. Visit in winter to enjoy the foggy morning, the chilly clean air during a walk on a ‘strada bianca‘ (country road), and the comfort of a roaring fire.
You can go wandering in total tranquility in one of the delightful small towns such as Pienza, Montepulciano or San Quirico d’Orcia. This is a great way to experience real Tuscan life, far from the madding crowds of high season. We find that the Val d’Orcia is a perfect place to savour the poetic side of Winter.
4. IN SEARCH OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPAS
In Tuscany you find some of the best spas in Italy, with mineral rich water used since ancient times. In a cold winter day what could be better than pampering yourself – soaking in a steaming hot bath, forgetting your tiredness and letting yourself dream. After a relaxing treatment choose a restaurant in the area to round off a perfect winter day. With a bottle of the excellent local red wine to keep you company.
You can choose between the open air (and free) Saturnia hot springs. Or pick your favourite spa towns: lovely Bagno Vignoni, famous since Medieval time for the properties of its 50 degree (bicarbonate-sulphere) water, Rapolano Terme set in the dreamy landscape of the Crete Senesi, and Chianciano, that offers the greatest varieties of treatments and accommodation options.
5. LUCIGNANO – WHERE ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR
Winter is a romantic season, don’t you agree? Early sunsets, lazy afternoons, a cozy seat by the fireplaces. And Valentine’s Day marking the lovers’ calendar’ on the 14th February.
Well, Tuscany is a very special place for couples wanting to declare their eternal love: Lucignano, a small hilltop town near Arezzo. Here couples arrive to admire an intriguing object that is thought to bring good luck to couples, the Tree of Love.
=> Discover the Top romantic destinations in Tuscany.
6. SKI RESORTS – HEAD TO THE MOUNTAINS
The most famous skiing destination is the Abetone, north of Pistoia, which has 50 kilometres. of ski slopes for every level and a ski school. Another favourite is Mount Amiata, with 10 kilometres of trails for alpine skiing.
In northern Tuscany the areas of Garfagnana and Lunigiana (Passo due Santi) are a haven for nature and mountain lovers. It’s not the Alps, so altitudes are limited, but the scenery won’t disappoint you.
7. LIVE THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT IN VIAREGGIO
Every year in February, Carnival returns bringing colour and fun to different parts of Italy. In Tuscany the most famous Carnival party takes place in Viareggio, along the sea promenade, during weekends in February. Local artisans show their incredible skill in creating a variety of wondrous floats that embody the irreverent Carnival spirit and make this show truly unforgettable.
=> For more travel inspiration in February, check out the best Carnival floats and parades in Tuscany.