What Weather in Tuscany to expect
when traveling to Florence, Chianti & Siena
Weather in Tuscany changes the landscape – and each season has a list of reasons why it is the perfect time to come and visit. Follow some simple guidelines on how to appreciate the weather of each season, with clothing suggestions and activities best suited for the temps.
Spring in Florence
March, April, and May are surprisingly mild and lush. The first buds of green start to appear and the gardens in Florence & Tuscany begin to explode with color. Perhaps this is one of the best seasons for enjoying the great outdoors. The pleasant temps and mild weather in Tuscany make spring the perfect showcase for the incredibly diverse landscapes enclosed within the region’s boundaries. Even Rick Steves recommends the months of April & May for exploring the wonders of the area.
A few things to put on your calendar include the iris blossoms of Florence and the camellia flowers of Lucca. As one approaches March, even with its nighttime lows, the month ushers in the marvelous colors of this Japanese flower, the camellia. For over 30 years, the Mostra delle Antiche Camelie della Lucchesia di Sant’Andrea di Compito has been organized to highlight the gardens that surround some of the most spectacular villas of Lucca. Villa Reale a Marlia is one of our favorite places to visit to admire the colors and perfume.
The bright red poppy flower that covers the fields of Chianti make for spectacular contrast against the green hills. These flowers grace the fields long before the bobbing sunflowers and are well worth a visit to the countryside.
April and May in Florence celebrate the Iris, doubly special since these flowers are not only amazing but they are the symbol of the Renaissance city. When biking through Chianti you will find then widespread in their natural habitat, but you should also plan on visiting the Iris Garden in the city center Florence.
The garden is open for around one month a year between April and May (the rest of the year it is open upon booking only), when you can admire over 1,500 varieties of iris from all over the world in full bloom.
The garden has an incredibly beautiful and panoramic position above the city, and with the lovely sunny days that abound in spring, this is a great time to appreciate the panoramic views and the lovely flowers.
There is a very small window of opportunity for these types of flowers, so plan your calendar accordingly.
What to wear
Dress Warm – Don’t let those sun-warmed temps lure you into thinking that it will be cozy toasty warm all day long – early morning and twilight can be decidedly chilly. As soon as you are inside or the sun has set you will need that extra sweater, closed shoes with socks and maybe even a hat. But during the day, you can feel that the Earth is warming up, especially when the sun is out you will want a visor and sunglasses.
Biking, hiking, and anything outdoors are especially pleasant in this period. Mild temperatures, clear sunny days and hardly any mosquitoes! Spring days are perfect for capturing that first haze of green that starts to grace the Chianti vineyards, hills in Val d’Orcia and the city gardens. You will be glad that you took advantage of any outdoor activity while visiting Tuscany in spring – it is here that you will truly enjoy a connection with the locals and the culture.
Summer in Chianti
June, July and August are perhaps the most traveled months of the year and Chianti doesn’t disappoint. Since school is out, you will find that travelers and their families immediately take advantage of the long sunny days, and great outdoor activities that Tuscany provides. This is the period of the year when roses and sunflowers start to blossom, the grapes start to ripen and the grain starts to turn golden.
This is the time of year that you will want to take advantage of visiting the vineyards, not just to taste the amazing wines throughout the Florence and Siena hills but also to visit the vineyards, wine cellars (cantinas) and farms, especially in Chianti. One of the more spectacular sites includes the sunflower fields that pop up in the months of June, especially July, and depending on the season you can still find some in August. These yellow blossoms attract all kinds of attention – and rightly so, they are spectacular.
The summer months also draw the Tuscans outdoors to enjoy all the wonderful food festivals (sagras) and town fairs (especially the medieval reenactments). If you want to enjoy the culture, this is one of the best seasons to rub elbows with the locals. One of our favorite festivals in the Palio of Siena.
What to wear
Think layers, early morning and twilight can still have a slight chill to them, but as soon as the sun begins to make its arch across the sky, the temps warm-up and stay that way. Look for lightweight clothes, that let your body breathe, yet something that offers protection from the UV rays if you are going to be outside. Definitely have a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a water bottle nearby.
The weather in Tuscan is decidedly hot – especially between the hours of 2 – 6 pm when the sun starts to set. But that is not a good reason to stop all outdoor activities, it simply means being wise about the hours. Most organized and private bespoke tours know to plan any physical activities in the morning so you will be indoors and “relaxed” in the afternoon. Hiking, biking, beachside activities should take place before noon and after 4 pm so that you don’t risk dehydration and too much exposure to the sun.
Fall in Tuscany
September, October, and November blanket the region in a wide range of colors and flavors. The harvest is just about complete and the Tuscans are prepared to celebrate with a wide range of special family recipes. The autumn weather definitely makes visiting the region in this period extra special: the days are still sunny and pleasantly warm, while the nights begin to hint at the winter months to come. Towards the end of the season, the green landscape transforms into yellow, orange and red. Without a doubt, this is one of our favorite times to be biking the countryside.
Vendemmia, the famous grape harvest, is in full swing from the end of August for the Vernaccia of San Gimignano to the end of September for the special Riservas and full body wines. Each vineyard has its own system and may draw all its employees into the field for the harvest, so if you want to visit the vineyards for a wine tasting you need to plan ahead and participate in a bespoke tour.
October, November and sometimes even December, depending on the season, represents the months of extra virgin olive oil. This liquid gold is the mainstay in many Tuscan recipes, and after you taste it you will understand why. Traveling the landscape you will quickly recognize who is picking when you see those green and orange nets spread among the trees designed to catch every last olive!
Chestnuts, another favorite season specialty, especially in the Mugello area. They aren’t just for roasting on street corners, though they do make a tasty treat when the temps dip. There are a few desserts with chestnut flour that you need to search out when you get here, for example, the Baldino or Castagnaccio.
What to wear
Once again you will want to think layers, carry a light jacket or sweater with you at all times. Sunny days will remind you of summer but, all you need is to be in the hills in the evening and you will fill the bite of fall. Keep the sunscreen handy, summer has not given up on roasting you if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
You will love being outdoors in this period, clear sunny days and bright blue skies make for excellent photo opportunities. The temps are great for any kind of activity from traipsing along the via Francigena to biking the Chianti vineyards, from strolling the multicolored forest to rafting in the Tuscany rivers. Be prepared for sudden weather changes.
Winter Travellers & Weather in Tuscany
December, January, and February promise bright lights, celebrations and lots of color. You might think the region would be lethargic and unactive but expert travelers know that this is the season to experience genuine Tuscany.
Those looking to explore without the hype of loud tourists and vendors hawking unwanted souvenirs should definitely consider putting Tuscany on their agenda for the travels. Though some will say that Florence is always busy, and this is true, there are moments when you can definitely enjoy the “off the beaten track” activities and more the local culture – especially by getting out of the city and into the countryside.
One of our favorite times is Christmas in Florence with the bright lights that decorate the medieval streets. It’s one of the few times when we can wholeheartedly say that the present enhances the beauty of the past.
As we spend time traveling through the countryside on our bikes, we also see how the smaller towns decorate, especially the churches which put on beautiful nativity scene displays, called presepe. – Elena & Piero from Bike Florence & Tuscany
And nobody does Carnivale quite like the Tuscans, from Viareggio to Foiano della Chiana, from Grosseto to Castiglion Fibocchi! The colors, costumes and parade floats will keep you gazing in wonder. They may not have exotic dancers or colorful antique masks, but they go all out to make it fun, joyous and delicious!
What to wear
You will want to bundle up, though the season varies quite a bit, a warm jacket, sweaters, hats, scarves, and gloves will most probably be welcome throughout the day. Definitely bring warm and comfortable shoes, especially if you are up for trying a few outdoor activities.
On a sunny day, you will find Tuscany to be amazing! Piero and Elena love to climb on their bikes and tour the landscape, there is always something new, different and heartwarming to explore.