Credits: Melinda Gallo
Florence sits quietly among the ancient palazzi. There is a cold wind that cascades over me as I ride my bike. Over the bumpy cobblestones, I ride to get from Porta Romana to Piazza della Repubblica, dodging large buses and noisy motorini. During January and February, Florence isn’t as bustling as usual. There aren’t as many tours walking through Piazza del Duomo. Tourists aren’t taking over popular restaurants. Buses are running less crowded as well. The only down side during this time is that it is very cold. The upside is that the hotels are scarce and the flights are much less to purchase.
For all travelers that venture to Florence for the outlet shopping, this is a great time to walk into the popular stores. “Saldi” (Sales) are plastered on all the windows. Some windows even publicize 50% off. It is an amazing time to be in Florence, minus the weather.
Another advantage is that most of well-known restaurants are easy to get into to. Some you can just walk into without a reservation. Others such as I Latini and I Vini e Vecchi Sapori are taken over by the locals. You will have to wait but it will be worth it in the end.
The famous gardens and museums will have just a little wait, no 2 or 3 hour wait like in the summertime. I suggest this time of the year for visiting all the famous works located in Florence. One great reason is that you won’t be sweating while waiting to visit.
Something to keep in mind is that museums open at different times as well. Mondays they are closed more often in the winter. Also you won’t need to reserve your tickets for the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery since there aren’t a million people waiting in line. Then comes what I dread the most, being cold. Florence even though located in a valley becomes extremely cold. The winds blow from the tops of the highest hills down onto the streets of Florence. Think of about dressing in layers. Don’t forget to put on your scarves. I say scarves because two is always better than one. Now this wind isn’t like the wind chill that I experience in Chicago but it definitely a different kind of uncomfortable cold. Remember to also wear your most comfortable walking shoes. You will be walking a lot outside as well as
If you want to warm up with a glass of wine in a typical panetteria, pass by Vinaino di Parte Guelfa. I always feel warm as I walk in since nowadays the glass doors of this little hole in the wall are always closed. The warm toaster oven keeps its patrons nice and cozy. Paired with your glass of wine, create your own panino with your choice of meat, cheese and condiments such as tartufo and piccante.
Just because it isn't warm and you can just sit in the sun and catch some rays, Florence is still gorgeous to visit in the winter. There are many more pluses than minuses to visit during this cold season.