Florence is known to be one of the most historic, richly cultured and picturesque cities in the world, which means it can often be one of the busiest! Read this secret guide to Florence and find out some of the best times to visit the city, attractions that offer a peaceful sanctuary away from bustling tourists, and where to eat like the locals.
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The best times to travel
Florence is a city visited by tourists all year round, however, checking out climate guides and yearly calendars can allow you to make the smartest decision to avoid crowds and get the most out of every attraction.
Generally, the best times to travel to Florence fall in the spring, between March and May, and in the autumn between September and November. Visiting during these months ensures a trip with far fewer crowds as well as a much more comfortable temperature with lower heat and humidity. However, for those travellers who plan on exploring Tuscany beyond Florence, it is worth noting that the best time to see Tuscany in full bloom is in June.
Another great way to figure out the best time to visit Florence for you is to take a look at the yearly calendar. Many months have public holidays and traditional events that offer fantastic ways to see cultural traditions and gain a new perspective on the city. These include the Epiphany on January 6th, a legal Italian holiday that offers a captivating festive experience. This is a traditional day of giving in Italy where the Befana, much like Santa Claus, decides whether children have been good or bad. Good children receive stockings filled with sweets, while naughty children receive lumps of coal. Experience this holiday in Florence with the Cavalcade of the Three Kings in the afternoon, enjoying the fantastic Renaissance costumes.
Another great event is the Carnevale in February. Tourists can enjoy a grand parade that journeys boldly through the city, filled with Renaissance costumes, floats and an enormous puppet dragon.
Where to go to avoid the crowds
The highlights of Florence’s long list of attractions are the abundant art galleries that populate the city. The majority of tourists head straight to the Uffizi, queuing to get a glance at some of the world’s most famous, historic masterpieces. However, there are many fantastic smaller galleries in Florence that offer works of similar magnitude in much calmer environments. One such attraction is the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. For just €6, tourists can see the many spectacular sculptures that once belonged in the Baptistery and Duomo. This museum offers a little sanctum away from Florence’s bustling streets, allowing you to enjoy Michelangelo’s Pieta in all of its thought-provoking glory. Another great attraction with minimal queues is the Bargello, the home of many of Italy’s most influential sculptures. The museum occupies Florence’s oldest public building, once the city jail. Here you can see the bronzed David that once scandalised Florence with its nudity.
Eat at local favourites
It is undeniable that Italian cuisine is one of the most popular in the world, and Florence alone has many unique delicacies and specialties. However, the best way for tourists to experience some of Italy’s delicious food is to eat at the favourite spots of local residents and seasoned food critics alike.
One of the most satisfying culinary delights in Florence is bread, and Panificio Brunori is often said to be the best place in Florence for panini. All the bread at this eatery is freshly baked on site and comes at a very fair price. Find this hot spot through Florence’s winding cobbled streets and be rewarded with sweet and savoury pastries that are sure to tempt your tastebuds.
Another spot renowned amongst locals is Club Culinario. Head to this restaurant for some of the most traditional and hearty Italian meals, made with fresh and well-sourced ingredients. Diners enjoy regional Tuscan dishes made with integrity and pasta that is made freshly by hand each day.