Tuscany in February


New member
Hello all,

I am planning on spending 16 days in Tuscany in February of 2017 after reading the article in the NY Times about "winter in Tuscany". However I have a few questions:

1. We are planning on spending 4-5 nights in Florence, 5 days in Volterra or Lucca and 5 days in Montepulciano, and because I know it is down season, but will there be things open to do? Such as shops, restaurants and other of the museums and historical sites? I know the hours will be shorter, but will they be open?

2. Can anyone recommend cooking classes in Florence, Volterra or Lucca and/or Montepulciano?

3. If you could chose, which town would you stay in; Volterra or Lucca?

4. I've read there are wine tasting previews in February, how would I take part in those?

Thanks so much!



Well-known member

though many tourist accommodations and vineyards close their doors for Feb & March - you will have no problem finding places open in the cities/towns that you have mentioned. However, I will add a word of caution, if you want to do any wine tasting, you should be sure to book ahead - many will only open up for a reserved tasting.

If I had to choose Volterra or Lucca, I would definitely go with Lucca...but only if you are staying in the city. If you are choosing to stay in the countryside - then both are perfectly valid options. Lucca has a rather active local scene, so you will probably find a rather busy city even in the winter months. Volterra is a lovely city, but perhaps not as organized for happy hours and evening events as Lucca would be.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise


New member
Thanks so much!

Through my research I had already figured out i'd have to be more organized to get into wineries, or to book a tour itself. You confirmed my thoughts, so thank you!

How far is Volterra from Lucca, drive wise? and is it worth a day trip?

Thanks for your advice!



The Tuscan Expert ;-)
Staff member
Everything is open in towns - shops, restaurants, museums. Lots of locals living in the towns, so services are not cut down.
Countryside and seaside are another matter, since they are more seasonal. There are some farmhouses that are open during the off-season, they struggle because many countryside and small town restaurants do shut down or have reduced hours and thus have to recommend places to eat further away, such as in Siena, SG or Florence. But you can most definitely find them, and places with your own kitchen are great if you want to stay in and cook once in a while.

For cooking classes, take a look at this section https://www.visitflorence.com/what-to-do-in-florence/cooking-classes/ or consider staying at a place that offers cooking classes directly, such as
Villa Poggio di Gaville or Casolare di Libbiano.

The "previews" are often for the sector and are often held in Florence, so Florence makes a great base for that reason.... you can enter paying a day ticket. This past February/March there was one on Chianti wines, another called Taste which is wine and food from all over Italy and, if all else fails, you can head to the top floor of the Mercato Centrale and do wine tastings at the Chianti Classico Consortium counter, which carries ALL of the wines for the estates in the Chianti Classico area.