Weather in Tuscany
The weather in Tuscany is generally mild and similar to another famous wine region, the Napa Valley in California. Summers are hot but the air is really dry, making the high temperatures bearable while you splash around the pool. Summer is the most popular time for relaxing vacations, while spring and autumn offer better weather for outdoor activities and festivals of food & wine. Winter brings people exploring cites and immersing themselves in culture.
Pool Season: June, July, August and September
July and August are the warmest months with average high at 32°C and lows around 18°C while June and September offer comfortably warm weather without it being too hot with temperatures from 27°C high to 16°C low on the average. Some years the summer weather can start already in June and sometimes the summer heat can last well into September. These 4 months make up the pool season, when the sun warms up the pool water for swimming.
Air conditioning and how to keep the villa cool in summer
Many rental villas don’t offer air conditioning, since it most likely isn't needed (really!). Farmhouses and villas in Tuscany are often located on top of hills and protected by trees, to enjoy cooling breezes that make it pleasant to be here. Every villa has electric fans that help to keep you comfortable. Italian country houses are traditionally built with thick masonry walls that make them cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In summer, we close the outside shutters during the daytime to keep out the hot sun, and open the house in the evening for a cooling breeze.
Because most of our guests live in their homes with air conditioning, and are used to even temperatures inside, we are starting to see owners in Tuscany adapt their villas to include air conditioning as an additional service (usually metered and paid according to usage).
Autumn and Spring are great times for Tuscany outdoors
October and May offer the best times to outdoor activities, such as bicycle rides, golf and tennis, horse back and hiking the many well-marked tracks in Tuscany. These months usually allow you to enjoy lunch outside, while the cooler evenings would keep you indoors for dinner. Temperatures range from around 24°C high to 13°C low. Late October shows you some pretty autumn colours, while May brings you late spring with red poppies in bloom. Start of October is time for the grape harvest, Vendemmia, at the vineyards.
November and April might bring a few frosty nights while days can still warm up nicely. November is harvest time for olives, and for hunting of truffles with especially trained sniffer dogs. November usually gets the most rain as well. April is a very pretty time in the middle of spring with wild flowers, blooming wisteria and fast green growth in the countryside. Temperatures range from around 18°C high to 7°C low.
Winter and start of Spring for visitors
From December thru February is the winter season with shorter days and rain showers, but also some beautiful clear and sunny days. Light dusting of snow is possible during the cold nights making travel on the roads more difficult. Higher elevations can get snow for several days. Many Italians rent villas for Christmas and New Year, but we see only a few tourists during the winter. Average temperatures are cool to chilly, from about 13°C high to 4°C low.
I mention March separately since it’s the beautiful start of spring, with narcissus, tulip, hyacinth and other bulbs in bloom with also the first of the fruit trees, like cherries, in flower. March also feels better with longer days pushing away the winter blues. End of March and start of April are usually the time for Easter, which the Europeans treat as a major holiday and time for travel, making it the start of the rental season for villas in Tuscany. Average temperatures in March are cool from about 16°C high to 7°C low.
Rain or Sunshine on your holidays
Rain and showers in Tuscany can occur during autumn, winter and spring, while the summer season is very dry. Except, possibly thunderstorms that could bring a few showers also during the summer. This is the general view of the seasons but each year is different, so please have a look at the local weather forecast for Tuscany just before you leave home, so you can pack accordingly.
Please read thru these helpful hints for a happy holiday!
Italy is generally considered to be a safe country. Most Italians are courteous and helpful, especially in the countryside and small towns of Tuscany. If you are ever in trouble, people would probably go out of their way to help you. Just look at the way they care for immigrants arriving by on leaky boats. Besides road accidents, the main concern for tourists is theft. In crowded cities, on the bus or train, at an open-air market, there could be pickpockets around and they can spot the tourists. Keep your money safe; don’t put a wallet in your back pocket and don’t have it exposed in an open bag. The other easy target is your parked rental car. You shouldn't leave any personal items visible inside the car, it’s best to put all your stuff in the trunk.
Prepare Before Leaving Home
Before leaving home for your vacation in Tuscany, make photocopies of your passport, all travel documents, insurance and credit cards and ATM card, and keep these in your suitcase and separate from your money. We urge all guests to take out adequate travel insurance to cover any eventuality, as we cannot be held responsible for any theft, loss, accident or injury during your travels - or your stay at the villa.
At Your Rental Villa
At your rental property, we strongly advised that you close and lock windows, shutters, and doors before going out for the day. Not only for the safety of your belongings, but also because quick storms can blow up from nowhere and do considerable damage with strong winds and heavy rain.
Cash is King
In Italy you should always have some cash on hand because the open-air markets, some small shops, cafés and restaurants may not accept credit cards. Carry some small bills and change with you for small purchases. Exchange money at the airport when you arrive for the best rates.
Get Cash from the ATM
You'll do best by bringing your ATM card and remember the PIN number; the automatic teller machines (bancomat) are everywhere. Notify your bank in advance that you’ll be traveling in Italy and ask about service charges when using the bankcard overseas. Some ATM machines offer a choice of languages and preset amounts to draw. Prelievo = withdrawal. The maximum daily withdrawal amount is currently € 250.
Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are widely used, especially Visa and MasterCard. You can use credit cards at supermarkets, most stores, restaurants and gas stations. You can pay with a credit card at the Autostrada tollgates, you'll see the signs (Carte) at the exit gates and they even take Diners and Amex! Drive to a full-service attended tollgate if you don’t want to use the automated machines.
Travelers' Cheques have become things of the past, but if you still have them, be prepared to spend time at a bank when cashing. Banks are typically open in the mornings only and can have long lines during the tourist season. The special money exchange shops in bigger cities offer faster service, but watch out for their rates and higher charges. Remember to bring your passport when cashing travelers’ cheques.
Supermarket carts require a 1 Euro coin to release them from the “garage”. Return the shopping cart and insert the key from the previous cart to get your coin back. Stores are closed on Sundays, except during summer, when big supermarkets are open 7 days a week. Some small shops are closed also on Monday or Wednesday mornings, as the same staff works half-a-day on Saturdays. Note the opening hours of the grocery store or supermarket closest to your villa.
You Weigh Fruit and Vegetables
You must weight and get the price of loose Fruit and Vegetables before you cue at the check-out counter. At the fruit and vegetable bins you find that each item has a number (Taso) and the scales have this number and a picture of the product. You place the bagged item on a scale, make your selection, and punch the corresponding number. A coded price sticker pops out with a bar code, and you fix it on the bag. You might notice that these bags are now green, biodegradable and flimsy. Remember to put on the plastic gloves when handling loose fruit and vegetables. You will find gloves and bag dispensers, and the scales, all around. If you are in doubt, watch what the Italian shoppers do, and you'll learn this system quickly.
Delicatessen number system
Deli counters have a number system for service, pick up your ticket from the dispenser roll. Since you need to speak with the deli attendant, might be useful to have pen and paper handy so you can write the amount of stuffed olives you want. Pointing helps, and finally, you can show with your hands and fingers the size of Gorgonzola cheese you want them to cut. Some deli items are priced per 100 grams = etto, so be careful if the price seems very low. Especially steaks, fish and seafood are often marked with this 1/10th of a kilo price. You see this also in restaurants, so beware, you might be really splurging!
Check-out and self service
Bring a shopping bag or buy a durable large carry bag at the chcek-out counterm they cost very little. Single use plastic bags are only at the Plastic carrying bags are charged for at the supermarket check-out. If the bags are behind the counter, ask for una busta = one bag, due buste, grazie = two bags, thanks. The self-service automated check-outs have arrived in Italy, too. They are most convenient if you buy only a few items, and also, you can choose the machine to use English!
Wine and Liquor Stores
Wine shops populate Tuscan towns prominently, and you can usually taste before you buy. Many wine shops offer some food as well, making these a favorite lunch place for tourists. We don't have Liquor Stores in Italy, you can buy the ingredients of the negroni cocktail (gin, Campari and Martini Rosso) at any sizable supermarket.