Tuscany in mid-January - Proper Dress and Activities?

Hello Forum!

It's been 2 years since I've posted on the forum. Thank you to Lourdes and Donna for wonderful insights that helped make my 1st trip to Tuscany in 2015 an incredible experience!

I'm returning to Tuscany in January 2018. Got an INCREDIBLE deal through Gate 1 that I could simply not pass up. So now I have to figure out how to best spend my time and how to dress properly for the Tuscan winter.

As I am from Western, NY, I am no stranger to COLD weather and snow. Temperatures in my area are often near, or below, zero Fahrenheit for days on end along with plenty of wind and snow. With that said, what are the average temperatures throughout the region in mid-January and what are appropriate clothes to bring (overcoats, sweaters, jeans, etc.)?

We will be based in Montecatini for a week and will have a car (driving to/from from Milan airport). Are there situations we need to consider for traveling for the week, possibly road closures from snow? Should we plan on using trains instead as a safety net?

Given January is off-season, are there many things that will be closed? I imagine restaurants will be open for the locals, which is a bonus in my book - getting more authentic tastes of Tuscany. But are there towns we should avoid traveling to because many things will be shut down? And if you have any specific suggested itineraries for January (winter months), I'm all ears.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Ian
 

DonnaDenise

Well-known member
Montecatini this January

Buongiorno,

Ahh, gee thanks for the compliments - Lourdes & I love to know we are helping people have the best vacations possible!!:eek:

we have seen a lot of interest in this area - we hear of many people who take advantage of the off season and those great prices.

So much so that we have added a few articles that might help you plan your time in the area: the first is day trips you can easily make from Montecatini

https://www.discovertuscany.com/montecatini/day-trips-from-montecatini.html

and the other talks about the wine around Lucca and Montecatini:

https://www.discovertuscany.com/itineraries-in-tuscany/strada-del-vino/lucca-wine-roads.html

As for dress, check the forecast before you come (obviously) but you can pretty much count on it being very similar to what you are used to at home.

As for driving, snow as been a bit scarce as of the last few years - but that doesn't mean that you won't need to have chains in the rental car. Personally I would pick train it to Florence and pick up your rental car in the city or at the airport. The stretch from Milan to Florence is not one of my preferred driving itineraries.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise
 
Thank you, Donna!

Per your recommendation, we changed our car rental pickup to Florence. So... it looks like we will take a bus or cab from Milan airport to the train station, then take the train to Florence. Once getting our car in Florence, we'll drive to Montecatini (looks to be about an hour... which seems much better than the drive between Milan and Montecatini). It looks like there are two trains that go between Milan and Florence. Can you suggest which one is the better option?

Thanks!
Ian
 

DonnaDenise

Well-known member
Trains from Milan

Buongiorno -

good idea. I am only finding one type of train and that would be the Frecciarossa - the speedy gonzales train (1 hr and 39 min)

However, if you are seeing two types of trains then I suggest you choose the Frecciarossa train.

Buon Viaggio,

Donna Denise
 
Thank you, Donna!

Are there are any "must-do" things while in Montecatini? Understanding January will be a slow season, are there any restaurants or vineyards that you particularly recommend in Montecatini and the surrounding areas? As noted, we will have a car, so travel by road or train is not an issue for us.

Thanks again!

Ian
 
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