Four reasons why winter is the best time for a cultural trip to Florence

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Winter view on Certaldo and its surroundings.

If you dream about a cultural trip to Florence and Tuscany but you are scared of crowds, I have good news for you: winter is the best period to visit us!

Since many years already, because of the growth of mass tourism industry, Florence is visited by ca. 16 million people every year. The tourism became essential for the economics of the area and we are very happy to welcome the travellers who come to admire the monuments of this unique place. There is only one problem: most of these people come here in the same time, during just very few months of the year. Every year, the arrivals concentrate between April-July and September-October periods. The high concentration of visitors during only six months of the year creates many problems which strongly influence the tourists’ experience and cause growing problems for the local community. Florence in June and September means long, long lines to the most popular sights and crowds in the museums. Who wants to look at Botticelli’s Venus from five meters distance, separated from the masterpiece by a crowd of people with phones who take selfies with the painting? If you decide to come to Florence during the high season and you did not organize your stay in advance, you can often have difficulties in getting your tickets to the Uffizi Gallery or to the Accademia, because they are already booked and sold out by big tour operators. And then, even if you have your pre-booked ticket and you hope to skip the line, you discover that even with the ticket in hand you need to line up for a while before you can enter the Gallery.
The over-tourism does not add anything to your experience, but you can easily organize a memorable holiday with no crowds at all and visit Florence during the winter. Let me tell you all the advantages of Florence during the low season!

  1. Winter in Tuscany is warm and beautiful.

In general, winter in Tuscany is rather mild. The minimum temperatures never go under 0º Celsius (32ºF). Maximum temperatures in November reach 15ºC (59ºF), in December and January – 10ºC (50ºF) and in February they start to increase again. March is normally the first Spring month with medium temperatures around 15ºC (59ºF). Moreover, the winter is rather sunny. The rainiest month of the year is undoubtedly November. In particular, it always rains in Florence during the first two weeks of November, so you may want to avoid this period. However, the rest of the winter is relatively dry. With this kind of weather, you can enjoy Florence with no restrictions. It is enough to have a jacket, and you will never freeze even after a whole day outside. Florence has infinite number of fascinating museums which you can explore even if outside it rains. You will never be bored here! Finally, winter landscapes in the countryside are unique and you will definitely bring many beautiful and unusual photos from your travel.

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Winter in the Boboli Gardens is simply beautiful!
  1. Traveling to Tuscany during the winter is a real deal.

Believe me or not, your holiday in Florence in January and February will cost you less than a half of what you would have spent in June. If you do not believe me, go on a website of any hotel in the town and check their prices for these months. If you compare mid-February to mid-June, you will see that the prices for the same room are more than doubled during the summer. The only weeks with high prices during the winter are: the weekend of 8 December (the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, public holiday in Italy) and the Christmas period (23 December-6 January). Avoid these dates and you will get a four-star hotel for what you would pay for a two- or a three-stars during the high season. Traveling in winter is a real deal! I will tell you more! It seems that from 2018 the visitors will have to spend more even on the museum tickets, which will become more expensive during the high season. The new director of the Uffizi Gallery decided, that during the months of the biggest flows the ticket price will raise from 12 € to 20 €. I highly disagree with this decision, as it limits the access to the culture, but my opinion counts very little. The fact is, that from the next year also the cultural visits in Florence will be more expensive during the summer.

  1. From November to March Florence is simply empty.

 

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This is what Piazza della Signoria looks like at 9 am in January.

Locals really love winter, because from November to March (excluding the frenzied Christmas weeks) Florence becomes a normal, quiet, medium-size city and it loses the character of an over-crowded, touristy sight. The fact that the city empties really influences visitors’ perception of it. Imagine that if you come here in February you do not have to rush at all to visit Michelangelo’s David. You can wake up, take your sweet time to eat your breakfast and calmly go to the Gallery because there will be no line at all. Small number of visitors inside the Gallery will allow you to admire all the works of art directly and from very little distance. No crowds, no selfies, no rush. Just you and the David! Believe me or not, it really matters!

  1. Your guide, your concierge, and your waiter will be happy and relaxed.

The tourism industry employs more than 100 000 people in Tuscany, and our work, just like the flows of visitors, concentrates between April-July and September-October periods. During these few months we work much more than for the rest of the year. Our schedule is extremely tight and sometimes we have to refuse some services, because we are fully booked. We want to guarantee the best service to our customers at any time, but for obvious reasons sometimes, with a slightly busy calendar, we may seem rushed or tired. Personally, during the high season, I always take care of having days off regularly, because if I am tired my clients will never enjoy their time spent with me. It is not always easy, however. The same problem regards all the people who work in the tourism industry: concierge in your hotel, waiter who serves you your dinner, your taxi driver and so on. Even if we always take care of your experience, during the winter we can dedicate you more time and attention.

The mass tourism is not easy to deal with and if you look for a more authentic and “slower” way of traveling, consider coming to Tuscany off season. It is not difficult at all to organize a unique and exclusive winter trip! Did I convince you?

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