Hand holds cone of gelato against blue sky.

How to Beat the Heat in Florence – Surviving the Hot Summer Days

The temperatures in Florence can get toasty in the summer!  It’s not uncommon to see temperatures rise into the high 30’s and low 40’s (Celsius) – into the 100’s (Fahrenheit). 

Good To Know:  An easy (but not exact) way to calculate Celsius to Fahrenheit is to double the Celsius and add 30.  So, for example, 30°C is approximately 90°C (30 x 2 + 30).  The exact answer is 86° (close).

But, if you’ve flown all the way to Italy, you probably don’t want to spend the entire time in your air-conditioned hotel room.  So, how can you enjoy the city when the temperatures soar?

Here are tips that locals and visitors use to keep cool (and calm) on hot Florentine summer days.  With a little bit of preparation, patience, and gelato, you’ll still have a fabulous time under the Tuscan sun!

Disclaimer – I’m not a doctor, so please don’t take any of the information in this article as medical advice.  If you’re having health issues (related to the heat or anything else), please see a doctor for help. 

11 Best Ways To Stay Cool in the Florence Heat

Get a Gelato

Cone of gelato from Perche No Gelateria in Florence, Italy.

I know, I know – did you really need another excuse to get a gelato?  Take a break from sightseeing and have one as a snack, or finish each meal with a gelato. 

Fortunately, Florence is full of excellent gelaterie.  Some of our favorites include:

  • Gelateria de’ Medici
  • Perchè No
  • La Sorbettiera

Check out our complete list of our Favorite Gelato in Florence + helpful tips for picking quality gelato, like:

  • Avoid high mounds of gelato – it’s got preservatives.
  • Walk away if you see bright yellow banana gelato or bright green pistachio gelato.  We’re looking for all-natural flavors (which means dull, muted colors).
  • Look for signs for gelato artigianale – or artisan, homemade.

Spend Time in an Air-Conditioned Place

Michelangelo's David in the Accademia in Flornece, Italy.

This doesn’t mean you need to hole up in your hotel until it’s dark out and the temperatures have gone down. 

Find a museum with air-conditioning and spend the hot afternoon there!  And, likewise, avoid stuffy, sweaty museums that don’t have air-conditioning (at least during the hot midday hours). 

A few museums with air-conditioning:

A hot summer day isn’t the best time to climb Florence’s towers, as there are often narrow stairways and you’ll sometimes be passing others going in the opposite direction.  It can be hot and stuffy.

Most shops are air-conditioned, including our favorite toy stores and many bookshops!

Good To Know:  In general, Italians aren’t huge fans of air-conditioning.  So, if you’re used to blasting it at home when it’s hot, you’ll probably be disappointed by Italy’s ‘gentle’ A/C. 

Take a Dip in a Pool

There are a few hotels in Florence with rooftop pools, so if you know you’ll be in Florence in the heat, think about reserving one. 

Otherwise, head to a local Florence pool and mingle with the locals for an afternoon. A few in or near the center:

  • Piscina Goffredo Nannini
  • Piscine Le Pavoniere
  • Piscina Costoli

Good To Know:  You usually need to wear a swim cap in Italian public pools.  If you don’t have one with you, don’t worry – you can buy one at the pool.

Go on a Day Trip to the Beach

Mom and boy play in the sand on the beach in Forte dei Marmi, Italy.
My son and I playing in the sand at the beach in Forte dei Marmi

Do what Florentines do and take a trip to the beach!  You can either rent a car, or use public transport (trains are best) to get to the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Depending on traffic, it takes around 1.5 hours to get to the closest beach (Viareggio). 

Check out the Best Beaches to Visit on a Day Trip from Florence. We love the beaches in Versilia, and if you have children with you, Forte dei Marmi makes a wonderful day trip.

Good To Know:  If you can, plan a Forte dei Marmi beach day for Wednesday so you can spend the morning at the well-known weekly market.

Discover more
Day Trips from Florence with Kids
Day Trips from Florence (with or without kids)

Spend Some Time at Vallombrosa

Vallombrosa is a shady, forested area above Florence.  Forest + elevation = much cooler temperatures. 

You can drive up to visit the Vallombrosa Abbey, go for a stroll in the forest, or have a picnic and relax in the shade of the tall trees

It’s best reached by car (although you can take public transport) – either a rental car or a taxi or private driver.  It takes about an hour to get there, so plan on spending the day relaxing and exploring the forest and abbey.

It can get fairly crowded during the summer so expect some traffic on the small road in the morning and evening as lines of cars make their way from and to Florence.

Go Out Early in the Morning and Late at Night

Ponte Vecchio and buildings along Arno River in Florence, all lit up at night and reflecting on the glassy water of the Arno.
Looking at the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio at night

This is an easy strategy, and even when it’s not hot out, it’s still a nice way to see Florence.  If you head out in the early morning, it’s cooler and you can see the city ‘getting set up’ – fruit vendors setting up their stalls, shop owners sweeping the sidewalk, locals walking their dogs before work, kids holding their parents’ hands on the way to school. 

Spend the hot midday hours in your room resting or in an air-conditioned café or museum.

And in the evening, after the sun sets, the city cools off and it’s yours to explore.  Enjoy an outdoor meal, go for a stroll along the Arno, and enjoy your Florentine evening.

Read more about Exploring Florence at Night

Make Sure Your Accommodation Has Air-Conditioning

A/C may be common in your home country, but it’s not a given here in Italy.  If it’s important to you that you have it while you’re in Florence, confirm with your accommodation that there is working A/C in your room.  Air-conditioning in the general hotel area is nice, but you should make sure it’s in your room also.

Good To Know:  Not all accommodation will offer air-conditioning.  If yours doesn’t, make sure your windows have screens – you’ll want to open them at night and Tuscan mosquitos are vicious! 

Close Your Window Shades During the Day

Do like the Italians do and make your living space a ‘cave’ during the day.  Close all window shades and shutters so your room stays dark and cool(ish).  You can have them open from sunset to sunrise. 

Wear a Hat

Boy wearing straw hat against a wall, holding up his artwork.
Be like my son here and wear a hat to keep cool (and look cool)

You’ll look mysterious and fashionable, and you’ll stay much cooler.  If you can’t find a packable hat to bring, you can buy one in Florence.  Look for one at the department store Rinascente in Piazza della Repubblica or at Borsalino, across the street from the Mercato Nuovo.

Seek Out Shade

It seems simple, but try to walk on shaded streets, or at least on the shady side of the street.  Have lunch under an umbrella or shaded terrace. 

Good To Know:  You can try to walk in Florence with a sun umbrella, but it can be difficult to maneuver in the crowds, especially if you aren’t very tall.

If you’re visiting with kids, make sure your stroller has a sunshade.

Helpful Tip:  You won’t be able to be in the shade all of the time, so you may want to use sunscreen.  If you have a favorite sunscreen (or sensitive skin), bring it from home.  If you need to purchase sunscreen, look in the grocery store or pharmacy.

Drink Water and Eat Fruit

Summer nectarines on display at a market in Florence, Italy.

Sip on acqua throughout the day, just like you would on a hot day at home.  You can buy water at shops or grocery stores, or refill your bottle at one of Florence’s potable water fountains. 

Take the opportunity to enjoy seasonal fruit while you’re in Florence.  Look for ripe and delicious peaches (pesche), nectarines (pesche noci), melons (meloni), plums (susine), apricots (albicocche), figs (fichi), and cherries (ciliegie)!

I hope these tips help you stay cool in Florence! 

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