It’s often recommended to visit Italy through the months of April-October, but what about going to Tuscany in winter? If you are considering visiting Tuscany, you shouldn’t rule out visiting during the winter months! You may be pleasantly surprised about how much there is to do in Tuscany even in the winter months.
If you don’t mind the colder months, winter can be the perfect time to visit Tuscany. It can be an amazing experience that boasts the benefits of going instead of in the warmer months. Not only will your trip cost substantially less, but there are also other benefits of visiting during a slower time.
If experiencing beautiful cities without the crowd sounds appealing to you, then visiting Tuscany in winter may be perfect for you! But less crowds isn’t the only compelling reason to plan your Tuscany trip in winter. In this post, we’ll overview even more benefits of visiting Tuscany in winter.
Is Tuscany Worth Visiting in Winter?
Visiting Tuscany in winter can save you a lot of money. Winter in Tuscany means fewer crowds and more affordable prices. All while still getting to experience most of the same activities people do in warmer months (not to mention the thermal baths feels amazing in chilly weather).
So, is visiting Tuscany in winter worth giving up the beautiful weather Tuscany experiences during the summer? In most cases, the answer is a resounding yes! However, it is important to consider exactly what you want to do, as there are different festivals and events that happen between the seasons.
If you’re a bit more fluid in your Tuscany plans, don’t worry! We have a list of 10 activities to do during winter in Tuscany.
Explore more: Florence in Winter – Visiting During the Off-Season
10 Things to Do in Tuscany in Winter
Depending on what you want to experience during your vacation, Tuscany boasts a wide variety of options, with each town having it’s own charm. So, it’s important to make sure you curate your itinerary to tailor the experience you’re looking for.
This section will overview things to do and the following section will walk you through some of the cities in Tuscany that are tourist favorites.
1. Visit Towns and Museums
Tuscany encompasses an area of about 8,900 sq miles, so it’s a large region to explore. It’s generally recommended that if you do want to visit different parts of Tuscany you should get a rental car. Having a rental car opens the opportunity to visit the smaller towns that would be a bit harder to get to without the car.
Tuscany towns offer a large variety of activities such as going to hot springs, and taking cooking classes. Since it’ll even be winter in Tuscany, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Italian ski resorts.
There are also plenty of museums throughout Tuscany to explore. However, keep in mind that a lot of museums are closed on Monday, so be sure to plan around that.
The region of Tuscany has several natural hot springs, especially in the southern part of the region. If you find yourself a bit too far from the natural hot springs in Bagni San Filippo and Saturnia, there are thermal bath options as well.
Tuscany weather in winter means there will be snow in the mountains. Although it’s not likely that you will experience snow in the cities, the ski resorts in Tuscany are thriving at this time.
The Val di Luce Spa Resort in Abetone is a luxury resort right by the ski slopes. The hotel provides amenities such as ski requirement rentals, a traditional Italian restaurant, and even a day spa to relax at after you hit the slopes.
4. Food and Wine-Tasting Experiences
There’s no shortage of food and wine-tasting experiences in Tuscany, so it’s important to narrow down your options in advance. This is especially true if you plan on visiting different towns and have a care, as there are local locations that will have certain dishes or prepare food differently. The same can be said for wine-tasting experiences, as different regions will have different climates that are best suited for growing different grapes, resulting in different wine specialties.
Explore more: Best Wineries in Tuscany – Dreamy Wine Trips
5. Olive Oil Tasting with Freshly Produced Olive Oil
Not only do people tour Tuscany and indulge in food and wine tasting, but many also go to do olive oil tasting tours as well. Tuscany offers a variety of freshly pressed olive oil that has distinct flavors.
Some olive oil tours even will walk you through the whole process. You’ll learn all about how olive oil is made and how the olives are pressed for oil.
6. Exploring Christmas Traditions
If you happen to be in Tuscany during Christmas time you’re in luck! Tuscany boasts Christmas markets that carry plenty of homemade traditional Italian goods. There are also even special holiday wines that are sold at these markets, which would make a great gift.
7. Carnival Time
The fact that it is winter doesn’t stop Tuscany from having celebrations and carnivals. The Carnevale Follonichese features parades that have floats, concerts, and even a fireworks show. This carnival takes place throughout the month of February.
The Carnival of Viareggio is another carnival that takes place in the winter months and features some of the biggest floats in the world! The carnival takes place in Viareggio and starts in January and continues every week through March.
Many people opt to learn a bit of Italian before visiting, and locals appreciate the effort people take when trying to speak Italian. There is no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in it. So, it’s a prime opportunity to brush up on your knowledge. You can also expand your vocabulary by speaking with people who speak it natively and learn dialects and phrases you typically wouldn’t without being there.
9. Cooking Classes
What better place to learn how to cook authentic Italian meals than while you’re in Tuscany? Many travel to Tuscany for a culinary experience and journey, so there’s no shortage of amazing cooking classes. You may even go home knowing how to make your favorite Italian dish better than your local restaurant in the comfort of your own home.
10. Winter Marketplace Sales
As mentioned before, there are markets where you can purchase Italian goods. Even though there are some special items available during the holidays, these markets also sell other things throughout the year. Many people love picking up new genuine Italian leather goods at these markets too (that are also handmade!).
Best Places to Visit in Tuscany in Winter
Tuscany has a lot of towns that have preserved their Renaissance charm extremely well. So, the museums and towns are robust with history and maintain their historic feel very well. Particularly the city of Siena does this really well, but we’ll go more into the details of great cities to visit in Tuscany in winter below.
Florence is a city known for its ties to the Renaissance and Italian culture. It is also a great option for people looking for an authentic Italian experience, with less of a crowd. Especially with Florence being one of the most visited destinations in Europe, there are plenty of activities and robust experiences even in winter. Not to mention, with Florence being such a hot destination, avoiding larger crowds is likely a priority for many travelers.
Pitigiliano is one of the smaller towns on this list, so it’s a great option for people looking for a quaint town to enjoy. Pitigliano is unique as its history is extensive and is even known as “Little Jerusalem”. The buildings are also made of volcanic ash and are preserved very well. Pitgilano is also close to the hot springs of Bagni San Filippo, so you can make a day trip out of both of these locations.
Saturnia is a smaller spa town that’s about a 3-hour drive away from Florence. This town is well known for its natural hot springs, the Terme di Saturnia. The hot springs in Saturnia are a tourist favorite and are on many traveler’s bucket list. Not to mention, visiting the hot springs is free and available 24/7 for anyone to go to.
If wine tasting is on your to-do list in Italy, Bolgheri is the perfect town to stop by in. Bolgheri has a climate that produces grapes that create excellent red wines. Bolgheri also has The World Wine Town of Castagneto Carducci, where you can learn more about the history of wine and of course, indulge in some wine tasting.
Porto Ercole is a seaside town in Monte Argentario. Since it’s a seaside town, the weather is a bit more mild with the average daily temperature of around 60°F during winter. This makes Porto Ercole the perfect place for people who still want to avoid weather that is too chilly.
Additionally, with Porto Ercole being a seaside town, you can do additional activities such as snorkeling, boating, and even beach days.
Siena is a city that has preserved a lot of the architecture from medieval Italy, as it used to be one of the most important cities in medieval Europe. Today it is known for its art and museums, as many Renaissance painters were also born and painted in Siena.
Not to mention Siena is also only just an hour’s drive outside of Florence, so if you have a car, you definitely can’t go wrong with visiting Siena.
Explore more: 17 Day Trips from Siena – Discover Slices of Tuscan Life
Most of the towns in Tuscany really excel at capturing and maintaining their medieval beauty and charm. Sam Gimignano does this particularly well, as it is a walled city with several tower houses. These towers offer an unforgettable skyline that still maintains its medieval feel. So, be sure to take advantage of these amazing photo opportunities without a bustling crowd in the way.
If you are looking for more of a coastal experience during your Tuscany trip then Viareggio is the perfect destination. Viareggio has a seaside resort that is right by their famous carnival. A lot of carnivals are known to take place in the warmer months, but that’s not the case in Viareggio.
Pienza and the Val d’Orcia
The Val d’Orcia and Pienza are places that have a lot to offer. Pienza is known to be a beautiful town, literally curated to be an “ideal city” by Pope Pius II.
The Val d’Orcia is a valley known for its gorgeous rolling hills. Not to mention that the roads that cross the Val d’Orcia to get to Pienza are renowned for their beauty.
Both locations are stunning and also offer delicious local cuisine for you to try.
FAQs About Tuscany Weather in Winter
Does it Snow in Tuscany in Winter?
For those who do consider traveling to Europe in winter, one of the first questions they will investigate is whether or not it snows in the area they are going to. Tuscany does have snowy climates, and you will be more likely to encounter snow in Tuscany during the months of January and February.
However, do keep in mind that even though it does snow in Tuscany, it is usually just at higher elevations like mountains and rarely ever in the actual cities.
How Cold Does Tuscany Get in Winter?
Tuscany encompasses a general region of Italy, so the weather will vary depending on the city focus. However, you can expect some of the lower temperatures to be more inland, going as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit in higher elevations. If you are looking to avoid the coldest temperatures, it’s best to stay around the coastal towns.
What is the Disadvantage of Visiting Tuscany in Winter?
The main con of visiting Tuscany in winter (aside from the chilly weather) is that not all attractions will be open and available to see. Events such as festivals and other outdoor activities occur in the warmer months. Additionally, you have to factor in the fact that attractions will be closed for the holidays.
So, if you prefer to travel to Tuscany in winter, make sure to double-check that the attractions you want to visit will still be open!