Which one is harder, painting a DaVinci-style fresco or getting the information you need to book a simple tour of Florence? If your answer is the latter, we’re here to help.
Before you bite the bullet and make your Florence tour official, you need the facts all in one place. Our Florence tourism breakdown discusses everything you need to know, from common trends to street scams to why the world can't get enough of the Renaissance city. Interested? Keep scrolling!
Florence, aka the City of Lilies, is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, thanks to its deep architectural history, culinary exploits, and Renaissance roots. Though the region has a small population, Florence's metropolitan area is buzzing with artisans, businesses, restaurants, and tourists.
So let’s take a closer look at the Italian city that inspired Dante Alighieri and Michelangelo, and by the end of this article, maybe you!
At A Glance: Tourism Statistics In Florence
As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the City of Lilies draws millions of curious travelers. So how many tourists visit Florence each year? Let's look at Florence by the numbers.
- 65 million- The average annual pre-pandemic number of tourists in Italy. In 2019, there were 95 million!
- 10-16 million- The average yearly tourists in Florence. This number ballooned to a whopping 27.7 million in 2018!
- €3 Billion-The amount of tourist spending generated in 2018
- 710,000- The current population of the Metropolitan Area of Florence. The city sees 20 times that amount of tourists in a good year, though the population can swell up to 1.5 million during specific seasons.
- 2.2 million-The number of tourist arrivals in the first five months of 2022.
- 35%-The percentage tourism grew in the summer of 2022 from Spring’s numbers.
- 15 million- The amount of tourist “overnight stays” in 2019.
- 5km2- The size of the concentrated area where 95% of Florence’s tourism flows through.
- 60%- The UNESCO estimated percentage of globally significant artwork held in Florence.
- 70%- The percentage of international tourists that make up Italy’s yearly visitors.
The City of Lilies is a bucket list destination for many travelers, but there's a reason behind the intrigue. So why is Florence a popular tourist destination? Let's count the ways.
Why We Love Florence
What is Florence most known for? Keep reading;
History- It's the number one reason people travel to Florence. The city's cultural heritage and art are indisputable. These must-see historic sites are where most journeys begin;
- The Uffizi Gallery - This museum holds the most extraordinary collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, drawings, and prints, pulling in 1.8 million annual visitors.
- Piazza Della Signoria - The piazza is an open museum filled with chilling history, iron sculptures, and a culture of gathering that dates back to 1299.
- Galleria dell’ Accademia - Here you'll find Michelangelo's most gazed-upon work, David. Over 1.2 million visitors flock yearly to see the king in all his marbled glory.
- The Ponte Vecchio - Arguably Tuscany’s most popular tourist destination, this Old Bridge is splendid for anyone looking to buy Florentine artisanal items such as jewelry or leather crafts.
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore - This 13th-century cathedral was designed by the great Arnolfo di Cambio, taking 200 years to complete!
Travel Bonus - Did you know that Florence has over 70 museums? Wild, isn't it? You don't have to stick to the usual suspects, either. Instead, talk to your GWG local guide about rare museum tours within and around the city limits.
The Luxury - Everybody points to Milan as Italy's fashion capital, but Florence invented the Italian haute couture we all crave today. After all, this is the home of the infamous Medici family, so luxury is bound to follow. Here are some elements of Florentine fine living to remember;
- Fashion - Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Gucci, Ermanno Scervino, and Salvatore Ferragamo are some of the many influential fashion designers from the Renaissance city.
- Hotels - St. Regis, The Savoy, The Brunelleschi & the Hotel Piazza San Paolino, are some of the many five-star hotels that define Italian luxury.
- Transport - Ride through the city in style with a luxury Florence car rental equipped with a private driver.
Travel Trend - You might not be a member of a scandalous royal family, but you can certainly live like one. Here's our go-to guide for living like a celebrity in luxurious Florence.
The Food - The city's vibrant food culture deserves a dedicated list, but if you want to understand the city's roots, these five dishes are the perfect place to start.
- Bistecca Alla Fiorentina - Nothing like a juicy, rare cooked cut of T-bone steak to usher you into Florence’s gastronomy scene!
- Lampredotto - Every city has its signature street sandwich, and this lean beef tripe delight is a great way to refuel after a long tour.
- Chianti Wine - The Tuscan region produces over 360 million bottles of wine every year, so be sure to grab one. Better yet, spend a day tasting your way through the Chianti region with a wine tour.
- Pappa al Pomodoro- If you're in the city during the winter, warm up with a bowl of this soupy tomato goodness.
- Gelato- It’s rumored that gelato was born in Florence, and the hundreds of gelato shops are proof of the city’s deep love affair with the sweet treat.
Travel Treat: Florence is a foodie’s dream come true. With layers of flavor waiting to be discovered, indulging in one of our Florence food tours is a must.
The Weather - Florence has one of the most ideal locations when it comes to weather. So what can you expect from this Mediterranean climate?
- 70°F (21.1°C) - Average Annual Daily High.
- 7 hrs - Average Annual Daily Sunshine Hours. July and August are the sunniest months, with an average of 11 hours of daylight.
- 780mm - Average Annual Rainfall. November is the wettest month, with 118mm.
- January - The coldest month of the year with average lows of 36°F (2.2°C).
- July - The hottest month, with average daily temperatures reaching 88°F (31.1°C).
Travel Q&A - What is the best month to visit Florence?
Well, if you're looking for that summer heat, it's best to touch down in July, the hottest month. Want a cooler atmosphere? Try April, May, or September.
Who Else Loves Florence?
The city’s overall beauty has brought international attention, so is Florence very touristy? Well, yes. It is one of Italy’s Top 5 most visited cities and was one of Europe’s Top 20 most visited cities in 2019 for international tourists.
Open areas like the Piazza Della Signoria or the Old Bridge are almost always crowded. The Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore) gets an average of up to 4.5 million visitors yearly. So who visits Florence the most? The winner is…
- The United States -52% of Florence's visitors come from the land of red, white, and blue. The U.S. ranks second in international arrivals for Italy.
- China-18%- With China slowly lifting strict COVID rules, Florence may soon be an achievable destination.
- The United Kingdom -7% of Florence's international visitors come from the U.K.
- France- 6%
- Spain - 6%
Quick Florence Traveler Trends
- 42.7 - The median age of travelers to Florence
- 5.4 million - overnight stays by tourists in 2021
- 35.8% - The percentage of tourists traveling in pairs.
- 2 nights - The average amount of days spent in Florence.
Getting lost in the cobblestone streets of Firenze sounds like a dream come true, but how many days in Florence is enough? That depends on what you're looking for. So, to go deeper than the common touristy spots, here are our recommendations.
Travel Truth - Florence's popularity has come with some challenges. So is Florence crowded? Unfortunately, it can become quite crowded during tourist peak seasons (June to late August), especially within the UNESCO Historic Area. This has led to the following;
- Unruly behavior from partying tourists disturbing the local community
- High rent prices, forcing out native Florentine residents
- Noise pollution due to increased crowds
Amazing Florence tours happen when everybody is having a good time, so let’s explore what the best Florentine experience might look like.
Life In Florence: What To Expect In The City Of Lilies
Break out the sneakers and sun hats, and remember these tour tidbits.
You can get around the city with these popular methods;
- Walking - Did you know you can get from one end of the city to the other in 30 minutes? The slim, crowded streets make getting lost easy, so a private guide can help you navigate the new terrain.
- Bus - Florence has a solid public transport system, and most locals use ATAF buses for their daily commute. We recommend getting a Firenze Card for easy travel.
- Bike - Cycling is a great way to support the Florence economy. You can rent an e-bike for a breezy tour outside the city center.
Travel Q&A - Are people in Florence nice? Yes! Be sure to greet strangers with an excited "Ciao" during the day and "Buona sera" in the evening. A good, firm handshake with casual eye contact is highly appreciated.
What To Avoid: Red Flags For Travelers
Florence is a generally safe country with a low crime index of 38.3 and a high safety index of 61.7. With that being said, the high tourist activity makes it one of the more crime-active cities in the country, though it’s considered safer than Paris or Rome.
It’s best to keep vigilant no matter where you travel, so here are a few red flags you should be aware of while touring the City of Lilies;
- Keep your belongings close - bag snatching has decreased by 2%, but it's still a good idea to monitor your surroundings casually.
- Only buy it once you verify it - Florence is known for its designer brands, but a few fakes slip in every now and then. Be sure your designer item can be verified, as most original crafts will have a certificate of authenticity.
Now, if your mind is spinning and you've caught Florence fever, it could mean two things. One, you're excited to get there and plan a terrific series of tours, or two, you're wondering how you'll ever stuff all of these activities into your itinerary. How will you balance strange encounters, rules, and awkward situations while ticking off your must-see list?
Our Florence private tour guides take care of the stuff that causes headaches like transport logistics, tour schedules, and ticket lines, leaving you to;
- Have your own private experience without strangers or loud tour groups
- Enjoy a personalized tour from a local guide who knows everything about the city, so no awkward exchanges or social misfires
- Keep your tours short, or extend them for as long as you're in town; it's up to you!
- Encounter hidden gems only known by locals.
It’s time to discover what your GoWithGuide Florence adventure will look like. Let’s get your City of Lilies tour started off right.
P.S. Looking to travel with companions? The more, the merrier! Share this post with your friends and get them as excited about touring Florence as you are.