It’s downpouring again today, all day long. Luna didn’t get out of bed until 3 pm and begrudgingly went outside to pee only when I made her. Though I can sit and stay in comfy clothes in my apartment and listen to the rain pour down on our terracotta rooftop, I do feel a bit bad for anyone that is visiting lately. When I first came to visit Florence the weather was exactly like this only a bit colder (it was spring) and I hated the city with a passion. Nine years later, I know what to wear, and what to do and not do if I have to venture out into the wetness – and it doesn’t have to just be a museum.
See All the Museums
But I can’t not put museums on here – because they are perfect for a rainy day, and in Florence, there are so many more than you may think. I recently wrote up an article about the 17 Best Museums of Florence for TimeOut and I bet there are many on that list that few know about – and most of them won’t have a line to get in, which is key for avoiding the rain.
Hit the Spa
Let’s face it – traveling is tough even when it’s fun. Living out of a suitcase is frustrating, and walking and carrying more than you normally do can make you exhausted. Throw the thought of walking around in the cold and the rain on top of it all and it honestly breaks some people, that end up pouting in their hotel rooms, wishing there was “something to do.” Doesn’t a nice massage sound incredible? Or a hot sauna or steam room to take away the jet lag? There are multiple spas in the center of Florence – two of my favorites being SoulSpace and Relax Firenze are two of my favorites – and if you want to make a day of it, take a taxi out to Asmana.
Attend a Lecture or Workshops
Florence is such an international community and there are so many lectures and workshops hosted in English that can really break up a rainy vacation day. To see what’s up-and-coming, check out St. Marks English Church, and the bookshops TodoModo (they have a storytelling event every month among others) and the Paperback Exchange.
Get your Hands Dirty with a Class
Still raining? Why not learn to make pasta instead of sitting in another crowded restaurant. Sign up for one of the thousands of cooking classes in the center and learn how to make your Italian favorites. Food not your thing? What about ceramics? My friend Enzo has classes and even a pottery cafe where you can spend hours working on creating your own masterpiece while staying warm and dry.
Get a Good Book and Find a Cozy Spot with a View
If it’s perfectly ok to sit on a beach for hours just spending time reading, it certainly is in one of the most beautiful cities in the world as well. More points if you get a historical fiction or a book on Florence history itself (there’s a section in every bookstore here, of course). Grab your favorite or a new book and make your way to a place that’s cozy and (ideally) offers warm coffee or tea. For a warm place with a view, I’d recommend the Caffe del Verone, or a seat tucked into Ditta Artiginale, but if I start a list here it’ll go on forever.
This is a tiny list of so many things that you can do when it’s terrible weather, but the bottom line is, I don’t want anyone sitting in their hotel room saying that these days are a “waste” or, worse, if you force yourself out into the puddled streets because its FLORENCE and you need that walking tour of the city. No, you don’t, you need warm feet and experiences that you’ll enjoy, so if the weather isn’t cooperating, don’t force things. Change your itinerary, open your mind to other opportunities, and I swear you won’t miss standing in that line in the rain on the side of the Duomo.