The main cities of Italy are bustling at any time of the year, but autumn in Italy is special.
Autumn is the season when nature puts on one of the most dazzling shows ever!
The sun is warm and not shining too hotly; the days are shorter than in summer and, finally, trees have transformed their leaves into a kaleidoscope of colours: bright reds, dark-browns and shimmering yellows.
Soon enough you’ll be trading your beach towel for an oversized scarf and wool sweater in anticipation of the winter chill.
But don’t turn that last page on your Italy travel guide just yet!
While summer may be winding down, there are still plenty of exciting reasons to visit Italy in autumn, from visiting world-renowned museums and historical sites to enjoying the country’s stunning scenery and delicious food.
This happens to be a wonderful and very picturesque time of the year, and it’s no surprise that autumn is one of the best seasons to go on a trip to Italy.
So, let’s find out the best things to do in autumn in Italy for a perfect trip like a local.
Best Things to do in Autumn in Italy
1. Take advantage of fewer tourists and lower prices
The benefit of visiting Italy in autumn is that there are fewer tourists and fewer locals as schools reopen in mid-September and businesses that were closed in August also reopen.
But above all, the prices are more affordable.
Autumn is truly the budget traveler’s best friend, as prices drop in early September and last throughout the winter, with the exception of a brief increase around Christmas.
But be aware that this is not the case everywhere!
High season prices in popular destinations such as the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Cinque Terre last until mid-October.
If you want to visit these classic locations while avoiding crowds and paying less, plan your trip for mid-October or early November.
If, on the other hand, you want to visit places less known to foreign tourists, such as Abruzzo, Molise, Apulia, or Calabria, you can take advantage of lower prices as early as September.
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2. Join the locals at a “sagra” (local festival)
Autumn is the ideal season to visit Italy like a local and immerse yourself in traditions.
As a matter of fact, autumn is the season for “sagre” all over Italy, such as those festivals celebrating food or wine, where you can sample local produce and immerse yourself in local culture.
Depending on the city you are in, there is a festival for every taste.
Wine, oil, truffles, chestnuts, chocolate, and porcini mushrooms are just a few of the foods that have festivals in Italy.
Here are some of the most famous “sagre” (festivals):
The International Truffle Fair will be held in Alba, one of the “tastiest” towns in Piedmont, from October 8 to December 4, 2022.
Bagna Cauda Day, the most fragrant event of the year, will take place in Asti on November 25, 26, 27, and December 2, 3, and 4, 2022.
Bagna Cauda is a traditional Piedmontese sauce made with anchovies, garlic, and olive oil. It’s served with pinzimonio and occasionally with boiled meat.
Piedmont is also home to the slow food movement, so there are plenty of other treats to try while there, such as eggy pasta and full-bodied Barolo wines, both of which are ideal gastronomic choices for the cooler weather that autumn brings.
You can also seize of the opportunity to visit the beautiful Langhe region.
If you enjoy wine, I recommend the Merano Wine Festival, which will take place from November 4 to 8, 2022. It’s the benchmark event for wine.
“Sagra della Mostarda” will be held in Cremona from October 15 to November 30, one of the most popular autumn events in the Lombardy region, allowing you to taste and learn about exceptional gastronomic products while also providing historical pearls about the origins of Cremona’s mostarda.
And from the 12th to the 20th of November, Cremona will also host the Nougat Festival, where masters and producers from all over Italy will perform.
If you love mountains, nature, and good food, the perfect autumn destination in Italy for you is the Valtellina, an Alpine region located in the province of Sondrio, Lombardy.
One of the most famous traditional dishes here is “pizzoccheri,” an elongated rectangle-shaped pasta made with buckwheat flour mixed with other flours.
Teglio is considered the birthplace of this culinary specialty, and in the final months of the year, it hosts a number of weekends where pizzoccheri and other tasty local dishes can be enjoyed.
Italy’s largest oil festival, “Frantoi Aperti,” will take place in Umbria for the entire month of November.
This is where you can have a real tasting experience and explore the beautiful Umbrian villages that have a certain charm during the autumn!
Also, in Parma, Piacenza, and Reggio Emilia areas, a series of festivals and events will be held throughout October and November to promote high-quality products such as pumpkins, truffles, chestnuts, mushrooms, and grapes, through some of the region’s most beautiful villages.
To find out which sagre and fiere are taking place in Italy during your visit, you can check with the local tourist board in the area you’re visiting; they’ll have a complete list of the festivals happening during your stay.
3. Fall in Love with Foliage
One of the most popular autumn activities in Italy is going for walks in the countryside where you can see the leaves changing colour.
There are so many places where you can admire autumn foliage in italy, here are some suggestions:
Lake Garda is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy and one of the most touristic ones.
It’s surrounded by mountains and has a lot of small villages on its shores which makes it very popular during summer.
But what makes Lake Garda special during autumn?
The lake turns into an amazing orange colour due to local trees that lose their leaves at this time, making it an ideal destination for leaf peepers.
The lake is surrounded by mountains which makes it even more spectacular!
Also, the lake is not far from Verona and Venice, both of which have beautiful city centres with mediaeval architecture and fantastic buildings with colourful facades.
Autumn in Venice means fewer tourists, which makes it much more pleasant to walk through the narrow alleys and across the magnificent bridges.
In the autumn, Venice hosts the famous “Biennale,” an unmissable event that spans the entire city and has been going on for over 120 years.
Verona is steeped in history, romance, myths and legends.
If you want to visit walkable cities with small old towns during the shoulder season, this is the place to go.
Emilia Romagna: this region has many beautiful walks through vineyards and oak forests that will take your breath away!
Lake Baccio is a magical place to admire the foliage in Emilia Romagna. A magnificent mountain lake in the Modenese Apennines, in the Frignano park, close to the well-known Abetone and the border with Tuscany.
If you want to combine your walk with some good food, maybe a crescentina and a good glass of Lambrusco wine, then go no further than Castelvetro di Modena, a place full of amazing landscapes.
The Tuscan area is a must-visit for any traveller who wants to see stunning landscapes as well as incredible historical towns like Florence or Pisa (I recommend visiting them both!).
If you are in Tuscany during the autumn season, the Casentinesi Forest National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Italy to admire the foliage.
It’s one of Italy’s most important forest heritages, located less than 50 kilometres from Florence, and is considered a true paradise for mountain and nature lovers.
You can admire the foliage while walking among fir trees, fresh streams, and suggestive waterfalls.
The best times are the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November.
The Dolomites are one of the most famous areas in Europe for their autumn colours.
They have a very short season (usually from late September until early October), before the snow whitens everything, but it’s worth making the trip just for this!
You can find beautiful leaves in various shades of red, yellow, and orange.
Lake Braies is one of the most photographed and popular places in the Dolomites.
A single photo is enough to convince you that the scenery is absolutely stunning.
Trentino is another place in Italy where you can admire the foliage.
Lake Tovel, an evocative location all year, is even more spectacular in autumn.
The coloured leaves in the warm tones of the forest trees are perfectly reflected in the lake’s crystal clear water, creating a true explosion of colour.
Cinque Terre is another area that’s very popular with photographers in autumn.
This region is famous for its colourful cliffs, which make it one of the most scenic places on earth. You can see picturesque villages perched on top of rocky cliffs covered with leaves when you go hiking here during this season.
Umbra Forest, despite its name, which may lead you to believe it is in Umbria, is a large and beautiful green lung located in the Gargano National Park in Puglia.
This enchanting location is only a few steps from the sea.
During this season, you can go on various forest excursions to discover the most evocative spots in the forest.
Along with the play of light and shadow in the trees and dozens of varieties of spontaneous orchids, you may come across roe deer, cute owls, woodpeckers, and stone martens while hiking here.
The Langhe in Piedmont also has an evocative autumn landscape, with vineyards, orchards, and forests tinged with a thousand colours.
You will feel as if you are in a famous painter’s painting.
And why not sip a glass of good wine while admiring the colourful scenery?
4. Experience the harvest season
Autumn also happens to be wine season in Italy. It’s common for grape harvest to occur during this period.
Some vineyards have recently begun allowing visitors to assist with the grape harvest, and believe me, there is nothing more rewarding than picking grapes and then tasting the wine made from the same fruit in previous years.
Participating in the grape harvest is an authentic experience of traditional Italian culture.
A special moment that allows you to witness the magic of creation up close.
From north to south, Italy has some of the world’s best wine-making experiences and traditions.
Between September and October, you can take part in the grape harvest ritual at wineries affiliated with the “Movimento Turismo del Vino,” which organises special events such as art exhibitions, museums, and vineyard shows.
Here you will find a calendar divided by region of the wineries participating in the initiative “Cantine Aperte in Vendemmia.” (Vendemmia is the Italian word for grape harvest)
Alternatively, join an organised tour here or a tasting experince here!
5. Apple picking experience in Val Di Non
There is also the apple harvest season in autumn.
This occurs primarily in Northern Italy, specifically in the regions of Trentino Alto Adige, Veneto, Piedmont, and Aosta.
Val di Non is an incredible valley in Trentino that produces some of the world’s best apples.
There are numerous festivals that celebrate the apple harvest and offer opportunities for family fun.
Every year on the second weekend of October, a new edition of this extraordinary event takes place in the Non Valley, celebrating the apple in all of its facets.
For several years now, the harvest has been open to the general public, and many have organised to help transform a business into a true family experience.
Simply Google “Apple picking experience in Val di Non” to learn more about how to join in these activities.
6. Visit Italy’s most beautiful villages
Another fantastic way to spend the autumn in Italy is to tour the most beautiful villages.
Here are some of my favourites:
Canale di Tenno, one of the most beautiful villages in Trentino, will take you back in time.
This small stone village is an agglomeration of alleys, climbs and descents, and archways.
Walking from here along an ancient mule track, you will arrive at Lake Tenno, Trentino’s turquoise lake.
The Piedmont region is the premier autumn destination.
In this region of Italy, autumn is synonymous with truffles, grape harvest, and foliage.
So immerse yourself in the colours and scents of Piedmont’s hills and seize the opportunity to visit the small villages.
In particular, I recommend Barbaresco, a small village of about 600 people in the heart of the Langhe.
The ideal location for discovering the wonders of the Piedmont region and sampling the famous Barbaresco wine.
Also, while you’re there, don’t miss the lovely village of Neive.
And, of course, Tuscany is a region full of small villages:
Pienza in the Val d’Orcia is a magical autumn village. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is regarded as an example of the “ideal Renaissance city;”
The mediaeval village of Certaldo, located in the heart of Valdelsa;
San Gimignano, a small fortified town halfway between Florence and Siena, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. It’s also known for excellent local products such as saffron and Vernaccia di San Gimignano white wine;
and Monteriggioni, one of the places not to be missed on a Tuscany tour. It’s a truly enchanted and unique place in the world, perched on a hill in the heart of the Sienese countryside and surrounded by a circle of perfectly preserved circular walls.
7. Going to the beach with the locals
It’s also possible to go to the beach in Italy during the autumn season.
Many seaside resorts are more beautiful than ever during the off-season, as there will be no overcrowding, tourists, or intense heat.
When it comes to the sea in autumn, Sicily is an excellent choice.
Today, October 14, I’m writing from Sicily, specifically Portopalo di Capo Passero, a seaside village on Italy’s southernmost tip that serves as a watershed between the Ionian and Mediterranean seas. And, if you’re lucky like me, the temperatures will be more pleasant than in the summer.
This, in my opinion, is the ideal time to unwind with your feet in the sand while also exploring Sicily’s fascinating cities, Baroque art, and rich food and wine traditions.
I highly recommend you not miss “Le Vie dei Tesori” Festival if you want to experience the true Sicilian essence.
It’s the largest circuit for promoting the region’s cultural and natural heritage.
8. Enjoy glamping in Italy
During this season of rich colours, many people like to escape big cities and enjoy the scenery in small hillside villages.
If you are a fan of foliage, you could take advantage of this time to spend a few nights in nature in glamping structures.
You’ve never heard of glamping?
Let’s say it’s a new way to experience a green vacation, where you can sleep and relax in nature without sacrificing comfort.
The term “glamping” is a fusion of the words “glamour” and “camping,” and it represents the concept of luxury camping.
Facilities offering this type of accommodation must meet certain criteria:
they must provide electricity;
all accommodation must have a private bathroom and shower;
and a 24-hour “concierge” service.
The rule is to provide a certain level of comfort, which is usually overlooked in campgrounds.
The most popular glamping accommodation includes tipi tents, which are the traditional tents of American Indians; yurts; wooden huts; refurbished vintage caravans; and tree houses.
Even if you’re not used to camping, this is a simple way to reconnect with nature.
It’s a type of eco-sustainable tourism in which ecology and design are combined to offer eco-structures that are perfectly integrated and respectful of nature.
In addition, they have comfortable and luxurious furnishings to provide guests with the kind of comfort that can only be found in the best 5-star hotels.
Here are the best places to stay in Italy to sleep amid the thousands of colours of this season.
Tuscany, with its eco-friendly materials, breathtaking views, and luxury services, is undoubtedly one of the best regions in which to actively engage in this adventure.
I especially recommend the Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi, which offer world-class landscapes.
“The Lazy Olive Glamping” is located within Villa Podere Finerri in the province of Siena in Trequanda, right on the border between the Val d’Orcia and the Crete Senesi.
The eight tents, which the owners have tastefully furnished, are set in a breathtakingly beautiful organic olive grove surrounded by nature.
Each tent is furnished in a simple but stylish shabby style, has a private bathroom, and can accommodate up to two people.
During the autumn season, Piedmont also offers fantastic glamping opportunities.
There are numerous magnificent natural gorges where you can relax and regenerate. Langhe is my favourite, with enchanting terraces overlooking nature where you can relax and take in breathtaking views.
Here I recommend a perfect accommodation for those looking for a unique place to stay in the Langhe, as well as those interested in sustainable and slow tourism.
The Eco-Lodge Langhe is located in Cherasco, a municipality known for its gastronomy, making it one of the most popular food and wine destinations in Piedmont.
This lodge is completely eco-green and outfitted with zero-impact solutions, making it ideal for those looking for a sustainable way to travel.
Guests are housed in raised wooden cottages in the middle of a forest, with solar panels providing electricity.
Breakfast includes 0 km products as well as Langa specialties.
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Autumn weather in Italy
The weather in Italy in autumn is absolutely beautiful.
The months of September, October, and November are never too cold, so don’t expect drastic temperature drops.
Fall, like spring, is a transitional season, which means you should be prepared for weather changes.
However, autumn in Italy is the most predictable time of year, with temperatures varying depending on the month and location of visit.
Consider that September is frequently as hot as August.
In October, temperatures in Italy remain around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) during the day and begin to cool in the evenings, marking the start of autumn.
More rainy days mixed with sunny ones can be expected towards the end of October and in November, especially when visiting northern cities.
Northern regions are almost always significantly cooler than southern regions.
So, before you pack your bags, check the weather forecast.
What to pack for an autumn trip to Italy?
If you’re wondering what to wear in Italy in autumn, I’ve got some suggestions for you.
When packing for a trip to Italy, always opt for smart casual — especially if you don’t want your outfit to scream “tourist!”
Leave yoga pants and slogan t-shirts at home in favour of more tailored pieces.
Your luggage should change depending on whether you are travelling to the North, South, or Central Italy.
The South is slightly warmer than the North and centre.
Early September temperatures in the south frequently exceed 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degreesCelsius) during the day, while temperatures in the north range between 72 and 77 degrees (22 and 25 degrees.)
If you’re going to the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, or Sicily in September through mid-October, bring that beach towel and your swimsuit.
If you are visiting Rome, Tuscany or Umbria, avoid shorts and sandals in favour of long sleeves and pants in lighter fabrics and closed shoes, and bring a light jacket.
If you’re going to the north of Italy, add an umbrella and a waterproof jacket, and maybe a sweater if you’re going to the mountains, like the Dolomites in the Alps.
As the months progress, the weather will become more unpredictable, requiring the use of layers to adapt to temperature swings and unexpected rain showers.
Mix and match pieces in coordinating colours to stay comfortable.
Remember that the mild daytime temperatures drop significantly after sunset, so bring a jacket or sweater with you if you’re staying out in the evenings.
Now that you know where to stay, all you need to do is pick a destination and start packing your bags because you’ll have plenty of things to see, visit and taste.
Hope you enjoyed reading this guide to autumn in Italy, get in touch if you have any question.
Ciao and safe travel planning!