Perhaps you’ve thought about a trip to Tuscany, but you’ve found yourself asking, “When is the best time to visit Tuscany?” When to visit depends on each tourist and their values because what one person loves will be a hassle to the next.
Most travelers say to visit Tuscany from late September to October or April to May for the best experience due to more agreeable weather and fewer tourists. Tuscany sits in a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Along with the weather, Tuscany and its rolling hills and sprawling vineyards will look more beautiful during specific seasons.
If you’d like to learn how to hit this region at just the right time and according to your tastes, keep reading as I explore the weather and the coolest festivals that you don’t want to miss.
Climate and Weather in Tuscany
The summer season in Tuscany brings an average temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), but they can soar to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) at worst. You may especially encounter the higher summer temperatures in areas like Florence, and during this time, you won’t see much rain.
Many like the autumn season because of the milder temperatures. It does bring more rain, but you still see dry and sunny days, which is why they consider it the best time to visit Tuscany. The winter season does give you some sunny days, but it tends to be wetter and colder with January and February being the coldest months.
Arguably, the spring season gives you one of the best times to visit Tuscany since everything is green and the weather is mild.
Spring (April – May)
Mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and fields full of wildflowers make this the best time of the year to visit Tuscany. The days grow in length during this time, and you see the best colors of the Mediterranean. Tourists start to return in late March, but it doesn’t become as busy as the summer season.
Autumn (September – October)
The autumn season brings with it a few sunny days with a couple of cloudy and rainy ones. Many tourists love the temperatures during this time from 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius).
Just as a side note, Tuscany is home to some of the world’s most treasured wines. Some of the areas to pay special attention to include the regions surrounding Florence like Fiorentini, Chianti Colli, and Chianti Rufina.
We would recommend you visit during the autumn season or the spring season. Which one you should visit depends on what you like. For example, if you love the wildflowers and can handle the slightly growing crowds, we would recommend an April visit.
April puts you in Tuscany around the time of Easter, which has plenty of old Italian traditions. One of the particularly fun folk celebrations here is an 11th-century tradition found in Florence called Scoppio del Carro (Italian for “Explosion of the Cart”), which is where they take a cart, pack it full with 2,500 fireworks and give it an Easter morning salute to the heavens.
Throughout the Tuscan region, Easter begins with Sunday mass—it ends with fireworks. Outside of Florence, I would recommend Greve for an especially colorful time.
Autumn or around October is the other best time to visit Tuscany because of the olive harvest. It’s one of the most fascinating cultural experiences in Italy. The days remain longer and often warm (Ottobrata in Italian), but the crowds have vanished, the stunning Mediterranean beaches are less crowded, and the waters are still warm enough to swim in.
Explore more: Best Beaches in Tuscany – Discover The Beauty
High Season in Tuscany: Pros and Cons
Tuscany experiences its high season in the summer. The advantages include more festivals, a vibrant, fun atmosphere and longer daylight hours. The disadvantages include higher prices, more intense heat, and crowded tourist areas. To put it into perspective, Italy saw 56 million tourists in the summer season. It can get to be a bit much for someone who dislikes crowds.
Tuscany experiences its off-season in November and February. For some, you may find that the best time to visit Tuscany is right around the off-season because of fewer crowds, lower prices, and most importantly, a more authentic local experience. The downside of the off-season in Florence or Tuscany is that some tourist sites may close during this time.
You may dislike the shorter daylight hours as well. In the month of November, Tuscany sees about 10 hours of daylight. Compared to June, the region sees 15 hours and 20 minutes of daylight, so it can cut into your sightseeing by quite a bit.
The Best Time to Visit Tuscany Vineyards
Autumn marks the best time to visit Tuscany vineyards because many vineyards busy themselves with the grape harvest during this time, also known as Vendemmia in Italian. In particular, the best time to visit Tuscany vineyards in the autumn would be to go there in September to see the culture come alive.
You can snap some incredible shots of the rolling hills and countryside during all seasons. However, I would consider spring as the most beautiful time to head to Tuscany, and for that reason, it also makes for some of the most incredible photography. You can snap photos of the blooming poppies and take in all the greenery.
Many landscape photographers use an ultra wide-angle lens in the 12 mm to 24 mm range. You can snap some photos with some nice foregrounds of the poppies with a wide-angle lens, but I would recommend a telephoto lens. This is because when you take shots in Tuscany, much of it is about getting a particular part of the landscape. You go less for the whole landscape.
The spring season catches the blooming, but for the other best time to visit Tuscany for photography, I would recommend the autumn season. During this season, you have a higher chance that you might catch some low-rolling fog on the Tuscan hills, which makes for some stunning shots. Also, the leaves of the surrounding trees are more colorful.
The summer season is one of the best times to visit Florence and Tuscany for festivals and events because of it being the high season. Usually, when you attend a festival or an event, you want more people there to liven it up. I would also highlight Easter as another great time to visit Florence and Tuscany. An estimated 96 percent of Italy’s population was baptized as Catholic, and you have some fascinating festivals that often revolve around old traditions of Catholicism. Let’s take a look at the different festivals and events in Tuscany.
Carnival of Viareggio
Located in the Tuscan city of Viareggio, this is one of the most popular carnivals in Europe. The tradition began in 1873, and it has become known for its giant papier-mâché allegorical floats. Throughout the month of February, you will enjoy some of the finest authentic Italian culture.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino
Attired in medieval-style costumes, Calcio Storico Fiorentino takes the medieval form of soccer and puts on a show. The competitors will punch, kick and elbow their way to score a goal. You can attend this event in June or in Italian Giugno. You will find the event in front of Santa Croce Church in Florence.
Infiorata Di Fucecchio
Happening in June, this is probably not the best time to visit Tuscany if you don’t like the crowds, but Infiorata Di Fucecchio uses the beauty of flowers to especially create religious art in the center of Fucecchio. For anyone who would like a different experience in Tuscany, this event would fit the bill. The school children start on Saturday afternoon and with the help of local flower masters, they work through the night to create some of the most unique art—a Pope John Paul made of flowers is one example among many. Other examples include flower art of doves, monks, the Virgin Mary, iconic Italian landmarks, and Mahatma Gandhi.
A traditional holiday in Italy on August 15th, Ferragosto represents the peak of the summer season, and while it happens on the 15th, they celebrate the whole week. I would recommend the Apriti Borgo, a summer art festival that happens in Campiglia Marittima. Many events and shows will take place throughout the historic streets. Another one worthy of mention is the Tovaglia a Quadri in the historic center of Anghiari. They call it “teatro povero” or “poor theater,” and every year, they perform a different story.
The rainy season in Tuscany lasts from November to February with November being the rainiest month.
October is one of the best times to visit Florence because you would be showing up right around the grape harvesting season.
January is the coldest month in Tuscany with temperatures averaging 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). In the mountains, the temperatures can drop to below freezing, which makes it a popular spot for skiing.
The spring season tends to be prettier in Tuscany with the blooming of the poppies, but if you like wine culture, you may find it better to visit during the fall season.