People walking on a pedestrian street in Florence, Italy. The Duomo can be seen at the end of the street.

Florence in October – A Local’s Advice + Printable Packing List

Are you trying to decide if you should visit Florence in October?

Or perhaps you’ve already booked your flight, and want to plan your visit.

I’m a mamma of three living just outside Florence and we’re exploring in the city twelve months of the year.  I’ve also worked in Florence, lived in Florence, and spent plenty of time here in my 2+ decades of living in Italy… including in October!

October in Florence is busy but there’s plenty going on – and there events and activities for all interests.   And it’s likely you’ll be able to dine all’aperto or enjoy a spritz on one of Florence’s picturesque squares.

You can also head just outside Florence to the Tuscan countryside to see the changing colors (gorgeous green, yellow, orange, and red vineyards), soak up the energy of the grape and olive harvests, and mingle with Tuscans at sagre (local food festivals)

Let’s take a peek at Florence in October – and help you plan your trip!

Check out my monthly guides to visiting Florence: OctoberNovemberDecember

The Weather

October in Florence brings average temperatures of 50-70°F (10-21°C), and with an average of 88 mm (3.5 inches) of rain, it’s one of Florence’s wettest months.

Good To Know:  I’ve used Il Meteo (ilmeteo.it) as my source here, but you’ll find variations between weather websites and apps. 

Florence weather usually sees a big change from the beginning of the month – when it may still feel a bit like summer – to the end of the month, with much cooler temperatures sneaking in.

It’s also cool enough at this point to have a pleasant daytime stroll along the Arno (in the summer you’d sweat buckets), and I always notice fewer mosquitoes at this point of the year.

No matter what time of October you’ll be in Florence, be sure you have a warm layer at least for the evenings.

Good To Know:  We’ve got great shops, so you can always purchase a layer or a scarf!

Crowds in October

While you won’t see the intense crowds in the Florence historic center that you see between April and September, October is still very much high season in Florence.  Restaurants, museums, shops and streets are full of visitors.

Italian kids are back in school, but you may see a scattering of European and UK kids if their families decide to travel to Italy during their October half term breaks. 

Helpful Tip:  Be sure to book your tickets to popular sites (like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery) and reserve your must-visit restaurants before you get to Florence. Although there are fewer crowds than April – September, October is still peak tourism season in Florence.

Good To Know: The first Sunday of the month (in 2024 it’s October 6th), Florence participates in DomenicaAlMuseo, when state museums offer free entry.  In the center of Florence, the participating museums include: the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, Accademia Gallery, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Bargello.  While it’s great that these museums are free, know that they get extremely crowded.  I actually avoid these museums on the first Sunday of the month (except for the Boboli Gardens, because there’s so much space).

Want to avoid crowds in Florence?  The best time to visit is February or November, but know you’ll have likely have less-than-ideal weather (perfect for museum visits and cozy meals!).

What to Do in Florence in October

View of Florence Duomo from Giotto's bell tower on a winter day. The piazza below is almost empty.
The view of Florence and the Duomo from the top of Giotto’s bell tower

You can do everything you’d do any other time of the year in Florence, like walk over the Ponte Vecchio or say hi to David at the Accademia.  Here are some of our favorite things to do in October in the city:

Visit Museums

Reserve the ‘big ones’ like the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery. 

  • Accademia Gallery
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Palazzo Strozzi (look up the current exhibition, as there’s usually contemporary art, which is a nice change from some of Florence’s other museums)
  • Palazzo Vecchio
  • The Bargello Museum
  • Lesser-known museums like the Leonardo Interactive Museum, the HZero Train Museum, the Galileo Museum, the Stibbert Museum, Palazzo Davanzati, the Medici Chapels

Spend Time in a Garden

You won’t find blooming flowers in Florence’s parks and gardens, but you’ll get nice views in many of them and who doesn’t love an autumn stroll?  Now that the intense heat of summer has passed, you can bring a book to read or hang out and sip a drink at a garden café – without sweating through your Instagram-worthy outfit.

I like visiting Boboli Gardens in October, walking along the paths of the Parco delle Cascine, and relaxing in the grass at the Rose Garden while enjoying views of the Florence skyline.

Check out our favorite Gardens in Florence

Head up to Piazzale Michelangelo

Soaking up the views of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo are always worth it, but sometimes it’s tough to enjoy the moment when the crowd at the lookout is three-deep. 

Again, October isn’t free of visitors, but if you head up outside of sunset hours (especially in the morning!), you may find a tranquil moment with Firenze.

Discover the Best Views in Florence

Climb a Tower

If the temperatures aren’t soaring, climb up one of Florence’s towers.  Our favorite is Giotto’s bell tower, and you can also climb the Arnolfo Tower (part of Palazzo Vecchio).

While it’s not a tower, you can also climb up to the top of the Duomo (the Florence cathedral) for epic views of the inside of the Dome and the Florence city center.

Or, head up to a rooftop bar!  Look for one that’s got plenty of cover from the elements if you’re visiting in late-October, like Divina Terrazza or Sesto.

Have Aperitivo or Dinner in a Piazza

October is typically the last month in Florence that you can really enjoy an outdoor aperitivo.  Make your way to one of Florence’s main piazzas (Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Santo Spirito) to toast your day or enjoy a hearty cena (dinner). 

Or, seek out a smaller piazza like Piazza della Passera or Piazza Tasso.

Go Shopping

This is the time of year to shop for autumn-focused products in Florence like candles from Aquaflor, melograno-scented soaps from The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, and Antonio Mattei biscotti (made in next-door Prato and perfect for dunking in hot cocoa or coffee).

Read about more Things to Do in Florence at Night

Take a Cooking Class

Try your hand at making Tuscan pasta, pizza, or other dishes at a cooking class in the city. We’ve got something for all levels. One of my favorites is Let’s Cook with Jacopo and Anna.

October Events in Florence

Boys running on a path in Boboli Gardens. Gravel path with tall bushes on either side.
Visiting Boboli Gardens with my boys on the free first Sunday of the month

Besides the classic things to do that I mentioned above, there are plenty of events and activities on in Florence in October:

Free first Sunday Entrance – On the first Sunday of the month, Florence’s state museums offer free entry.  While this is nice (save some €), it will be so busy!  I actually avoid these free Sunday entrances, except for the Boboli Gardens (plenty of space).

Festa di Santa Reparata – On October 8th, there’s a procession in the historic center which ends at the Duomo, where there’s a ceremony in the crypt of Santa Reparata.

Halloween Halloween here in Florence has grown in popularity, but it’s still quiet compared to the US.  You’ll see kids out trick-or-treating on a few streets in Florence (like Via Gioberti), and later on teens will dress up and take to the streets. 

Fierucola – This is an organic market (food and more) in Piazza Santo Spirito that takes place the third Sunday of the month, and in Piazza del Carmine on the second Sunday of the month.

Indipendenza Antiquaria – Piazza Indipendenza hosts its monthly antiques market on the third weekend of the month.

Concerts – Most of the big names visit during our summer concerts and festivals like Firenze Rocks, but you can check TicketOne.it for upcoming shows.  There are also smaller concerts in churches and sometimes at Stazione Leopolda.

Le Giornate FAI d’Autunno – Italy’s national trust (FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano) opens up some of its historic buildings twice yearly, including in October.  Check the FAI website for the sites that will be open for the event.

International Ceramics Fair – Florence’s Fiera Internazionale della Ceramica takes place in Piazza Santa Croce and showcases Italian and International ceramists. 

Florence Biennale – This art event runs odd years, so the next will be in October of 2025.

Things to Do Near Florence in October

Colorful vineyard in Tuscany on a cloudy day.

Take a train or rent a car and drive out of Florence to explore nearby cities, villages, and the countryside.

Road trip into the Tuscan countryside

Soak up the grape harvest – Head out into Chianti to witness the grape harvest (or at least sip on Chianti wines!).

Seek out Tuscan Outdoor Art

Look at changing colors of vineyards in Chianti

Go to a Sagra – Mingle with locals at Tuscan food festivals

Run in the Chianti Classico Ecomarathon

Cycle the Eroica – Or just go watch and enjoy the energy of the vintage bike race that’s based in Gaiole in Chianti.

Take a day trip – Head to Lucca, Pisa, Bologna, or even further like Venice; Read about Day Trips to Take From Florence

Attend Boccaccesca – Certaldo’s popular food festival

Stop by the Festa di San Luca – Impruneta’s annual fair has a little bit of everything, including a mini carnival, fireworks, and a parade.

Visit Tuscany’s hot springs –  I think Tuscan hot springs are best visited when it’s a little cooler out. Some of our favorite Tuscan hot springs are at Bagno Vignoni, Saturnia, Bagni San Filippo, and Petriolo.

Head to the beach – It may be too cold for swimming, but you can still enjoy a meal, the view and markets (like the famous one in Forte dei Marmi). Check out Beaches to Visit Near Florence.

What to Pack – Printable Checklist

October-specific items to pack for Florence:

  • Layers!  October in Florence could mean short-sleeves on a sunny afternoon or being bundled up with a sweater, jacket, and scarf on a chilly, late-October evening.  Bring packable, color-coordinated layers that you can take off and put back on as needed.
  • Comfortable shoes.    Florence’s city center is small, so you can walk everywhere.  Walking won’t be fun if you’ve got blisters or uncomfortable shoes.  Make sure you’ve got at least one pair of closed-toe shoes (for chilly evenings), and you may want to pack a water-resistant pair if the weather forecast looks wet.  Always remember – comfort first, style second!  And, if you want to wear cute shoes, don’t worry – there are so many more cute and comfortable shoes made now.  You can check out my full guide to the Best Shoes for Italy
  • Travel umbrella.  I always tuck a travel umbrella into my purse from about mid-October on.  You can always buy an umbrella here, but know that they’re either poor-quality or (in my opinion) overpriced. 
  • Swimsuit.  Bring one if you plan on visiting hot springs or swimming in a hotel pool (double-check that yours will still be open as many close in October).

Check out my Printable Packing List for Florence in October for more items to add to your packing list like toiletries, your passport, etc. Just click on the list you want, and a printable PDF will open up in a separate window.

What to Eat

October (and autumn in general) is one of my favorite times to chow down in Florence.  Be sure to try:

  • Ribollita – vegetable and bread soup
  • Tartufi – truffles
  • Pasta al ragu di cinghiale – pasta with wild boar sauce
  • Olio d’oliva – olive oil (depending on the season, you may be able to taste the freshly-pressed oil; we usually press our olives late October or early November)
  • Zucca – pumpkin
  • Radicchio – Italian chicory
  • Schiacciata all’uva – Florence’s focaccia-style bread with grapes
  • Porcini – porcini mushrooms
  • Castagnaccio – Tuscan thin chestnut-flour cake
  • Gelato – no explanation needed

More Things to Know

Daylight Savings Time – Italy (including Florence!) falls back an hour the last Sunday of October.

Pickpockets – We’ve got them in Florence, so always keep your bag close, especially while you’re at a restaurant, browsing shops or markets, or walking in crowded places.

Make reservations for must-see museums and restaurants – Not only will you avoid long lines, you’ll guarantee your visit!

Shopping – You can definitely shop in Florence in October, but if you’re looking for the twice-yearly sales, you’ll need to come back in January or July.

Getting Around Florence in October

Florence’s historic center is small, so you can move around easily on foot (just make sure you’ve packed your comfy shoes!). 

If your legs get tired, you can use the local buses and trams or call a taxi.

I hope this helps you plan your trip to Florence in October! 

If you’re curious about Florence at other times of the year, check out my guide to Florence in December.

And if you’re traveling as a family, check out my tips for visiting Florence in October with kids.

You may also want to read about Autumn in Tuscany.

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