When is Florence NOT crowded?

Aug 13th, 2001, 05:42 PM
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When is Florence NOT crowded?

We are planning to visit Florence, Venice and Rome some time in the next two years -- our first time in Italy!
We don't mind the cold at all, but would dearly love to see the Uffizi without waiting in line, and walk through streets not clogged by crowds.
No guidebook seems to address this question -- IS there a time when Florence (and Venice and Rome) are relatively quiet? Thanks!
Aug 13th, 2001, 05:50 PM
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February is a good time for that purpose. Late November and early December are pretty good too, as well as late January. Of course we'd miss the ability to stroll the streets and piazzas in the evening in short sleeves. To eat lunch or dinner outdoors. We'd dislike being chilled waiting for a bus. The rain would often discourage us from walking from sight to sight. We might object to having to wear waterproof boots in Venice to stroll through St. Mark's Square.

There are good reasons more people go at certain times, and fewer at other times. If your interests are purely churches and museums, if you do little walking and don't enjoy al fresco dining then season may matter little to you.

Aug 13th, 2001, 06:01 PM
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Ed -
I like it uncrowded too & don't mind cool weather (San Francisco style) - but what of the Italian hotels in Feb - Nov - are they comfortably heated (or more like England)?
Aug 13th, 2001, 07:09 PM
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Thank you, Ed! It WOULD be nice to dine al fresco, but we're from the Pacific Northwest and England respectively, so walking long distances in cold rain is quite second nature to us. (It's walking in hot weather we can't stand!)

I would be interested to know the answer to Sue's question. Also, is everything open in these cold months?

Thanks again.
Aug 14th, 2001, 03:44 AM
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Hotels are heated, and generally better than in England.

On the other hand
1) There are many older hotels in Italy with cranky furnaces and steam pipes, so problems aren't unknown. I doubt these differ from many other places.
2) Energy is quite costly in Europe in general. It's common practice to turn off the heat at, say, 1 am, and not turn it back on until more near rising time.

I can't think of major indoor attractions that close for the winter. Hours are often shorter for both indoor and outdoor attractions. And of course fewer hours of daylight may have an effect for outdoor attractions and exteriors on what you can see, how it appears, etc.

For several reasons we've spent three or four Christmastimes in Rome. We've relatively enjoyed those visits. There's no question, though, that we've enjoyed our visits during spring, summer and fall months much, much more.

I'd never recommend against going to Rome, or Florence, at any time, if that's the best time for you. However, if you have a choice, the best time for a visit is April through October. The best times are late May and early October, to us. Early May, late April, early June and most of September are, usually, the next more pleasant.
Aug 14th, 2001, 05:42 AM
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We were there late Oct 2000 and it was not very crowded. The only time we stood in line was to climb to the top of the duomo, and I believe that was only because you can let a few people in at a time. Plus the weather was lovely that time of year.
Aug 14th, 2001, 06:21 AM
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I was in Florence in early February and then again in early April (right after Easter), and I liked it much better in February. The weather might be a little chilly, but we had few problems with lines (although I think there was still a long line at the Uffizi), and the streets were not crowded. It was a great time to go. Going right after Easter, the place was like a circus, and trying to get from place to place without running into mobs of bermuda shorted, gelato sucking tourists was impossible.

Also, we visited Venice in early March, and it was ideal. I think that's probably one of the best time's to go to Venice, before the heat when the water begins to smell bad. It was barely crowded too.

Good luck! Off-season traveling, even if you don't get to dine outdoors (it's hard to anyway, during the later months, since the places are so crowded), is a great way to really see the city, and not just see the tourists.

Aug 14th, 2001, 06:27 AM
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ciao lisa

often hotels offer (ask for it) off season prices, they value normaly during january and february. they will be more then happy to offer you a room. do you know when i go and visit the uffizi or accademia here in firenze? january and february. often my clients ask me when there's no crowd and when i would come to firenze (i live here) and i allways say: january or february. no crowds, everything is open, no queing, in january you hit even the winter sales. the only thing is the weather. but if you bring wind and waterproof stuff with you, layerlook and some fleeces, gloves and maybe a hat, you can't go wrong. we can have fab days during january but it could rain for weeks.... you never know.

a message for ed: my website is up and running now!! (www.christinastour.com) i cancelled your mail and maybe you see it here.

tanti saluti and have fun to plan your trip.

Aug 14th, 2001, 02:26 PM
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Now, I know this may sound weird but we were told by our hostess in Florence that August is actually less crowded than May-July and September-October. She said that the hotels give them special deals for conferences (which she organizes) to fill their rooms.
Aug 14th, 2001, 02:45 PM
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We were in Florence in March, November and August last year (daughter in school-oh, the sacrifices parents make!) November 12-15 was a little chilly but mostly bright (thick sweater weather.) Hotels were less pricey and all was open and it was concert season and we would go again then in a minute for the tourist-free streets (well, except for us cluttering things up!) Late March was getting crowded but the weather was good. August it was hot and crowded and several of the Uffizi rooms were "chuiso"(spelling may be wrong ,but the meaning is clear CLOSED-very frustrating!)
Aug 14th, 2001, 09:43 PM
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Thank you all, very much -- this is just what I needed to know.

My husband and I find rain romantic, and chilly brisk walks invigorating -- so combined with the off-season prices and lack of crowds, we'll probably chose November or January-February.

Thanks again!
Aug 15th, 2001, 02:48 AM
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Be forewarned, Florence is full of gypsy thieves, throughout the year. Be very aware at all times. Rome is another crime ridden city. Sad but true. During winter months would be the best time to go. Crime is not as prevalent. I guess the thieves are scared of cold weather. Many hotels do not have a heating system. But they do provide extra blankets.
Aug 15th, 2001, 03:12 AM
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I was in Rome and southern Italy last November/December (2000). Again in Rome February 2001 and lastly back in Rome and, first visit, Florence in May/June.

During my winter visits both hotels I stayed at were very well heated, in fact I had window open on November stay because heating was higher than I like. Have yet to see a pickpocket or witness any bad incidents.

Rome was certainly far far more crowded on last trip (May/June) than on the winter trips and, having done both, I must say my preference is putting up with colder weather but less crowds.

Aug 15th, 2001, 03:22 AM
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I was in Florence in mid July.
I had a tour guide one day for the Uffizi and some other places.
We started out at 8 a.m. There was hardly a soul in the streets! We had at least and hour and a half of complete quiet, no lines and I really saw many major sites the way I wanted to.
By 10 a.m. the lines started forming...
Get up early and get to the sites early.
It makes all the difference.
Buon viaggio!
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