As the chill of winter wraps around the Tuscan countryside, a sense of magic blankets this timeless region in Italy. Imagine strolling through charming medieval towns adorned with twinkling lights, cozying up in quaint cafes with a cup of rich Italian hot chocolate, and discovering a Tuscany that’s as captivating in the frosty months as it is in the height of summer.
If you’re seeking an unforgettable family get-together this festive season, Tuscany’s allure promises the perfect winter escape where the entire family can indulge in heartwarming cuisine, explore cultural treasures, and embrace the tranquility of a season.
This post is part of our series Discover Europe
- Choosing the Perfect Tuscany Winter Retreat
- Practical Tips For a Winter Trip to Tuscany
- 5 Fabulous Family Activities to Enjoy in Tuscany
Choosing the Perfect Tuscany Winter Retreat
The first step to planning a family reunion trip to Tuscany in winter is arranging accommodation. Unlike summer, there will be a wider range of choices available, though for the last few weeks of December and early January – popular school break times worldwide – you will likely want to book many months, if not a year, in advance.
We suggest you look at the Kinglike Concierge portfolio with family villas in Siena offering ideal accommodation for a family group. Most of their villas can sleep around 8 to 14 people, some even up to 28, making them ideal for family reunions.
If you prefer a city stay, Florence is a great choice with the convenience of an international airport. Or why not try the alluring charm of Lucca, just 80 minutes further north by train?
Practical Tips For a Winter Trip to Tuscany
Weather in Tuscany in Winter
You can expect average temperatures in winter of around 50°F (10°C) during the day and 34°F (1°C) overnight. Snowfall is not frequent except in the more mountainous areas but can occur in the winter months in Tuscany. Rarely does snow settle long in larger cities such as Florence or Siena.
What to Pack for Tuscany in Winter
It should go without saying you want to pack your winter woolies for a trip to Tuscany in winter. You shouldn’t need your skiing gear unless you plan to head to areas such as Abetone Ski Resort or Val di Luce.
We have a great list of winter wardrobe essentials for a family trip to Europe here.
At the very least, each of your family will need:
- A good thermal base layer
- An inner layer
- A warm, waterproof outer layer
- Long pants
- Winter-quality boots or footwear
- Thick socks
Getting To and Around in Tuscany
Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR) (Aeroporto di Firenze-Peretola, formally Amerigo Vespucci Airport), is the international airport of Florence, the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany where most visitors will start their Tuscan journey.
Alternatively, you can arrive at Pisa International Airport (PSA) (Galileo Galilei Airport), or take the high-speed train from Rome to Florence in just 1.5 hours! A train with connections to Siena will take you more like 3.5 hours.
Once in Tuscany, hiring a car or small van may work well for a family group. Alternatively, you will find local transport systems fairly reliable throughout the region (albeit, you may want Google Translate ready on your phone for deciphering timetables!)
There’s the relatively fast Intercity between major towns or the rather charming ‘treno regionale‘ stopping all stations. Between Florence and Siena, you’ll find the bus is faster.
5 Fabulous Family Activities to Enjoy in Tuscany
1. Thermal Baths and Wellness Retreats
Tuscany’s natural springs are a unique and memorable way for a family to unwind together in the cold. One must-not-miss experience is in Saturania, a historic Tuscan town with hot springs called Cascate del Mulino. These hot springs have pools that look like something from a storybook!
You could also try Bagno Vignoni with free hot springs or Terme di Chianciano for an incredible traditional Italian experience.
2. Celebrate Local Tuscan Festivals
Tuscany’s winter festivals are an excellent way to immerse yourselves in the local culture, from charming Christmas markets to lively street processions and savoring seasonal treats.
One highlight is the Luminara di Santa Croce in Lucca, where thousands of candles illuminate the city’s streets, creating a magical ambiance perfect for a family stroll. Think festive decorations and enchanting Nativity scenes that dot the squares and alleys.
In Florence in winter, you will find traditional Christmas decorations in Piazza della Repubblica and Via Tornauoni, or check out the Christmas market in Montepulciano, where the ancient fortress is transformed into a Father Christmas castle from the end of November to early January.
In Siena, Piazza del Campo is transformed from early December into a festive wonderland with over 150 stalls selling handy crafts and food products.
3. Embrace Tuscan Winter Cuisine
We can hardly talk about a visit to Tuscany without mentioning food! Did you know the region is home to over 40 Michelin-starred eateries? While some smaller family-owned trattoria in Tuscany may shut up shop for winter, the vast majority will stay open.
Hearty dishes that show off the region’s rich culinary heritage include Ribollita – a thick vegetable soup that is the ultimate comfort food. For mains, try Bistecca alla Fiorentina – a colossal T-bone steak made to be shared with friends and perfect for winter gatherings – perfectly paired with a Chianti classic.
Finish things off with Panforte, a traditional dense nut and honey cake treat, or traditional Ricciarelli biscuits.
Wine tasting can still be enjoyed at many Tuscan vineyards throughout the winter, making for a cosy indoor family experience (make sure to call ahead in the winter as some may be closed or by appointment only).
Another great activity that can still be enjoyed in the winter is a local food tour. There may be fewer dates available, but with a small group, you could arrange your own private guide. Alternatively, a family cooking class could make for a wonderful multigenerational bonding experience.
4. Winter Adventures Outdoors
Beyond admiring the wintery landscapes, many cities and villages will offer activities such as ice skating or even skiing in Abetone, with over 50 kilometres of slopes and 20 lifts, they have runs suitable for all experience levels.
5. Enjoy Crowd-Free Famous Attractions
If you’re into art and museums, you will enjoy relative queue-free experiences such as Acameida Gallery and Uffizi Gallery without the gorges of crowds. The Leondardo Interactive Museum is an excellent Tuscany attraction for kids, which experiences fewer crowds in winter.
You can also enjoy some of the region’s most famous tower climbs without the queues, such as the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral) in Florence or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Just note that over the busiest weeks of the festive season (generally the last ten days or so of December and the first week of January), you may still encounter queues – come later in January, and through February, you can practically have some places to yourself!
A winter trip to Tuscany offers the perfect setting for a heartwarming family reunion. Amidst the picturesque landscapes, you’ll find a serene and intimate atmosphere, ideal for creating lasting memories.
From savoring hearty Tuscan cuisine and exploring charming winter festivals to relaxing in natural thermal baths and indulging in the region’s cultural treasures, Tuscany’s off-season allure ensures that your family can reconnect, bond, and share unforgettable moments against a backdrop of enchanting winter magic.
What are you waiting for? Get booking that perfect family villa for your Tuscan group escape today!
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