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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Traveling in Italy During the Fall

Autumn is a wonderful time to travel in Italy. Tourist crowds are thinning, prices and temperatures are dropping, and the food is fantastic. Here's a look at what Italy has to offer in fall.

Brunnenburg Castle in autumn, a 13th-century castle in the province of South Tyrol, in northern Italy.

Fall Weather and Climate in Italy

Early fall is still pleasant in many parts of Italy but as the season ends, it's definitely gotten cold.
Autumn is more mild along the coast but colder inland, especially in the mountains. October generally brings crisp, cool mornings and evenings but many sunny days. November is one of Italy's rainiest months, but there are usually still a good number of sunny days. Toward the end of November and into December, snow starts falling in many parts of Italy.

Ripe autumn grapes

Italy has a diverse climate. Most of Italy is surrounded by water of different temperatures, and the Apennines form the spine, and all of this ends up creating a variety of micro climates.

Mediterranean low pressure areas start in the Gulf of Genoa and spread across Italy, bringing rain and thunderstorms inland. Summer thunderstorms in Tuscany can be quite spectacular, especially in August when the sign of them signals a break in the hot and humid weather.

High seasons for the traveler in Italy are the Christmas Season, February school break (for ski resorts) Easter and the whole month of August. August 15th is ferragosto, when practically everything is closed.

Since fall weather can be unpredictable, it's best to pack clothes that can be worn in layers. Even in November there may still be warm days along the coast. One November I was hot in a short-sleeved shirt while hiking in the Cinque Terre. Take a versatile but not too heavy sweater, a rain jacket, sturdy shoes that can be worn in rain, and a good umbrella. In late fall, you may want a heavier coat, too.

Fall Festivals and Culture in Italy

Highlights of fall are All Saints Day, music festivals, and food festivals including truffles, chestnuts, mushrooms, grapes (and wine), chocolate, and even torrone. Opera and theater season starts many places in fall, too. National holidays during fall are All Saints Day on November 1 and Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. On these days, many services will be closed.

Visiting Italy's Cities in Fall

Cities often clear out and restaurants and shops close during August when most Italians take their vacations. In fall, restaurants and shops in cities are open. Although there are fewer sunlight house, earlier sunsets mean more time to enjoy cities after dark. Many cities light their historic monuments at night so strolling through a city after dark can be beautiful and romantic. While you'll find smaller crowds and lower hotel prices most places, Florence and Rome are highly popular in September and October. There are fall music and theater festivals in some cities, including Rome and Florence.

Fall Outside the Tourist Areas

If you're away from major tourist areas, you'll find museums and attractions have shorter hours than in summer. Some things may only be open on weekends. Seaside resorts and camping areas may begin to shut down in late fall and there's less nightlife although cultural events, like theater and opera, are starting up and there are fairs and festivals, especially food festivals.

All Saints Day is celebrated November 1 and is a national holiday in Italy. During November you'll find some music and cultural festivals and performing arts seasons are starting.

Italian Food in the Fall

Autumn is the best time for gourmet food lovers. What can be better than fresh truffles? Visit a truffle fair to taste truffle foods or just enjoy the aroma penetrating the air. There are lots of fresh mushrooms in fall so many restaurants will feature them in special dishes. Wine and olive harvests are in fall.

October is a great month for Italian food festivals, especially mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolate, and truffles. On October weekends, you'll find fall food festivals and wine harvest celebrations all over Italy. Slow Food's big International Food Event is in October and World Pasta Day is the fourth Sunday in October.

Although Halloween is not such a big celebration in Italy, it is becoming more popular and you may find Halloween festivals, especially in the larger cities.

Truffles are a top fall food in Italy and are celebrated with truffle fairs and festivals.

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