Italy in Fall…ahhh, is there anything better?! Fall is arguably the best time to visit Italy, especially for those who like to get off the beaten path, avoid crowds, save money, avoid the heat, and connect with the local culture.
Not to mention, Italy in Fall offers some stunning landscapes. I can perfectly imagine those endless Italian vineyards of bright yellow and red in the Fall months. Gorgeous!
What's crazy is that most people are sleeping on the fact that Fall just might be the very BEST time to visit Italy. With all the incredible benefits of traveling to Italy in the Fall, I am shocked more people don’t take advantage of the season’s offerings. There are some darn good reasons to consider making September - October - November your next hop over to Italy. Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Visit Italy in the Fall.
1. It’s easier to connect with locals in Italy in the Fall Season.
Fewer crowds in the Fall months generally means less annoyances overall, but it ALSO means more opportunities to connect with Italian locals who have made it through the busy season and are slowing down to enjoy the simple things in life again… like chatting with a foreign visitor! If you dream of connecting with locals on your trip to Italy in the Fall, take a look at my tips on How to Connect with Locals While Traveling.
2. Fall in Italy offers incredible flavors!
The Fall season in Italy is all about the harvest, which means some absolutely delectable dishes using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients are waiting for you. Imagine pumpkin ravioli, porcini mushroom tagliatelle, bread drizzled with the fresh-pressed olive oil, wild boar ragu, and truffle everything…need I say more? Anyone who’s been to Italy can tell you just how much more FLAVOR there is in the food because they use super local and super seasonal ingredients. Fall just happens to be a season in Italy when the flavors are really special!
Plus, Italians find such creative (and delicious) ways to prepare seasonal vegetables. The radicchio and pumpkin lasagna I had at La Zucca in Venice comes to mind or even fried thistles in Sicily– wow! Other produce harvested in the Fall are: Beets, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, Tuscan kale, pumpkin, turnips, spinach, Swiss chard, persimmon, pomegranates, prickly pears, quince, chives, garlic, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and watercress, and chestnuts.
If you’re up for a challenge, try to look at these Italian Fall dishes without salivating. I bet you don’t make it past the first one!
Pro Tip: Grapes are harvested in September and Olives in October. A fantastic experience in the Fall in Italy is to visit an agriturismo where you can participate in the harvest for an authentic and memorable experience! (Click here to look for an agriturismo.)
3. Italy has so many fun Fall festivals!
Speaking of food, Fall in Italy also offers a variety of festivals which are the perfect opportunity to be immersed in the local culture and traditions without eating into your budget, making Fall one of the best seasons to visit Italy if you want to save money. Most of the Fall festivals celebrate the harvest of one particular product, such as chestnuts, truffles, saffron, or pumpkin. You can also catch festivals for one particular seasonal dish, such as tortellini. But the most unique Fall festivals in Italy are those that celebrate the old, traditional games such as rolling a wheel of cheese through the streets! (Yes, really!)
What can you expect at a Fall festival in Italy? At a typical festival you’ll find tents and booths adorning the sidewalks. Each booth has an artisan, producer, restaurant, or farmer showing off their best flavors or handicrafts. There is usually an opportunity to taste their products and learn all about the work and passion behind it. There is often a community feast as well, where everyone comes together to enjoy a meal that celebrates a particular seasonal product.
At the annual Truffle Festival in San Miniato Alto in Tuscany, you’ll find a procession that opens up the events, educational workshops, cooking demonstrations from award-winning chefs, discussions, and booths offering truffle-everything: truffle cheese, truffle cream, truffle oil, truffle salt, truffle salame, truffle pasta and even truffle lard.
If you’re more of a chocolate lover, head to Perugia in the region of Umbria in November. That’s where you’ll find the biggest chocolate festival in Europe, Eurochocolate! Imagine wandering Perugia’s beautiful streets, sampling chocolate and watching demonstrations, what a dream!
You’ll also find a lot of chestnut festivals in Italy in the Fall, such as the one in Marradi which our guests participate in during our Living Slow in Tuscany small group trip. I can already smell the sweet scent of roasting chestnuts and taste the starchy treat of marron glace.
4. Hiking and biking in Italy is more enjoyable in the Fall.
Getting active in the summer heat is likely to end with exhaustion and irritability, along with sunburn, no fun! But Fall in Italy offers much more comfortable temperatures as well as unique and breathtaking scenery as the landscapes shift into autumn colors. Just be aware that November can be more cloudy and rainy, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the forecast.
Of all the places to hike or bike in the Fall in Italy, I’d have to say the Dolomites are at the top of my list. Seeing those huge mountains emblazoned in red and yellow will take your breath away. And of course in the Fall, you won’t encounter the crowds that are there in summer and winter. Check out this guide to hiking in the Dolomites in October.
5. Fall in Italy offers much lower prices.
Most people travel to Italy in the summer, so when the crowds thin in the Fall months, the prices drop. What’s not to love?! You can save money on your accommodations, tours, and even transportation if you travel Italy in the Fall.
Ready to experience Fall in Italy? Check out our small group trip happening in October!