Much of Italy is mobbed in July and August, when vacationing families from Europe, North America, and Japan flock to the country’s top sites and cities, Florence included. Coincidentally, those are also the hottest two months, and the time of year when the humidity is most loathed. Many residents head for the hills or the beach in August, the customary Italian vacation month, which means that some businesses are closed.
Late September and October make up the fall shoulder season, with warm, sunny days and slightly fewer tourists—the best time to visit—but by November, the weather tends to turn cloudy, dull, and cold. September is also vendemmia (grape harvest), a joyful time of celebration throughout the countryside villages and farms.
In winter, hotel rates drop, a seat in the trattorias becomes easy to find, and lines to the museums are next to nil. Though the weather is brisk—temperatures are typically near the 40s in December, January, and February—winter is an excellent time to see Florentine life without the crowds of tourists. You can also take in some interesting events, such as the Epiphany in January. Locals have been celebrating the arrival of the three kings to Jesus’s manger through parades and performances for more than 600 years.