Sicily, a fascinating island located at the southern tip of Italy. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, Sicily offers a unique blend of Mediterranean charm. Explore the ancient Greek ruins of Agrigento and Syracuse, marvel at the majestic Mount Etna, and wander through the charming streets of Palermo and Taormina.
Sicilian cuisine, known for its mouthwatering pastries, fresh seafood, and flavourful street food. Immerse yourself in the island’s vibrant festivals, where folklore and traditions come to life. From the stunning beaches to the captivating historical sites, Sicily is one of Italy’s most enchanting regions filled with warmth, beauty, and a true taste of Sicilian hospitality.
Autumn in Palermo, Sicily
Image and recommendation by Iphi of Travel Choreography
Palermo, the capital of Sicily, is renowned for its captivating blend of fascinating architecture, vibrant nightlife, and the heavenly delight of its Arancini (fried rice balls filled with ragu). By day, the city’s streets are adorned with sleepy palm trees gently swaying in the breeze, but as the sun sets, Palermo comes alive with trattorias spilling onto the streets. Being located in the southernmost part of Italy, Palermo is a great place to visit all year round; However, there’s a certain allure to Western Sicily during autumn.
Autumnal Things to do in Palermo
- When in Palermo, make sure to visit the stunning Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo) and the Norman Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni), which are undoubtedly the most beautiful buildings in the city.
- The iconic Teatro Massimo is also worth a visit. While they have performances all year, opera season hits its peak during autumn. This means, this is the best time of the year to visit if you want to see the work of Puccini and Bellini come to life in their native land.
Yet, beyond the typical attractions, the allure of autumn in Palermo lies in its food. Just a 90-minute ride from the city takes place in the Couscous Fest, where the cultural heritage of Sicily shows its true colours in the shape of delicious nutty dishes. Held at the end of September, this festival is a true testament to the flavours of the region. Autumn also marks the vendemmia season, when freshly harvested porcini mushrooms perfectly complement the exceptional “new wines” produced on the island.
AUTUMN IN TRENTINO-ALTO ADIGE/SOUTH TYROL
Trentino-South Tyrol, a captivating region situated in the heart of the Italian Alps. With its snow-capped peaks, charming Alpine villages, and pristine natural landscapes, Trentino-South Tyrol offers a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation. This region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting magnificent hiking trails, exhilarating ski slopes, and picturesque lakes. This picturesque region is home to our experts who share their experiences about the unique blend of Italian and Austrian along with German influences. They share their insights into exploring delightful towns like Bolzano, Meran, and the curious off-beat charm of Lake Resia as well as the hearty cuisine of the mountains.
Whether you seek adrenaline-fueled activities, cultural exploration, or simply a peaceful retreat surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Trentino-South Tyrol promises an unforgettable experience.
Bolzano in the fall season
Image and recommendation by Candice Criscione of Mom in Italy.
Bolzano, at the foot of the Dolomites mountains in the Trentino-Alto Adige region in northern Italy, is notable for its picturesque scenery, excellent wines, and for being the home of Ötzi (aka the Iceman), a mummy found nearby who lived over 5,000 years ago!
The small city of Bolzano is one of the best places to visit in Italy in the autumn. When the summer hikers and cyclists head home to work and school, the locals retake their city and celebrate with fall festivals and cultural events.
The hills surrounding Bolzano are full of vineyards, and the harvest is a lively time in the area. In and around Bolzano, as the colors of the vines change from green to yellow, the grapes are harvested, and Törgellen begins. This local tradition includes tasting the new wine and eating local autumn treats like roasted chestnuts, canederli (area dumplings), and sausage with sauerkraut.
- Participating in Törgellen, and attending the Transart Art and Culture Festival;
- Having lunch or dinner in a cozy restaurant in the center like Wirsthaus Vögele or Cavallino Bianco and sampling locally brewed beers at Batzen Häusl;
- Wandering the farmer’s markets. Experience the magical Christmas Market in Piazza Walther (from late-November);
- Saying hello to Ötzi at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
One of the best reasons you should make your way to Bolzano in the fall is to experience this not-so-Italian area of Italy with the local people. Have coffee and pastries with them in the morning, shop with them in their boutiques under the porticoes of Via dei Portici (Laubengasse in German) and sample wines with them during the day, and cozy up in warm restaurants in the evening.
If you enjoying being active, put on your scarf and stroll along the river, hike in the hills, or go on a bike ride on one of the area’s bike paths.
Bolzano in the fall is an excellent place to experience daily life in Italy — with a side of German culture added to the mix!
Meran and Lake Resia in fall
Image and recommendation by Paul D’Souza, of paulmarina.com
South Tyrol and Trentino is Italy’s alpine region bordering Austria. Known for the stunning raw dolomite mountain range, dazzling lakes and unique culture and history, it is a prime spot to immerse yourself as a visitor.
In the enchanting region of Val Venosta, captivating stories come alive against the backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty. Set amidst the snow-capped mountains, a tale of wonder awaits at Lake Resia. The scene is set with the dramatic sight of the sunken bell tower of the 14th century San Giovanni Church, emerging majestically from the tranquil waters. As the seasons transition, the landscape surroundin Lake Resia transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues, with the foliage adorning the mountainsides in a symphony of colours. This mystical place in the mountains beckons, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its captivating aura and uncover the secrets hidden within its embrace.
Incidentally, the provinces have been known since Roman times as top apple and grape producers. The wine is considered the finest in its class and visitors come to enjoy the wine festival in the medieval city of Meran (also known as Merano), not too far from Lake Resia.
Autumnal activities in Meran and Lake Resia:
- Take part in fall festivities celebrating local food and drink specialties. This can be the Meran/Merano wine festival held annualy in mid-October, with large decorated parades. There is the Knödel dumpling festival in Sterzing/Vipiteno, where you get to try all the savoury and sweet regional dumpling varieties, as well as the special age-old tradition in fall known as Törggelen.
- Breathe in the crystal clear mountain air and go for an autumn hike through the forests of the Trentino and South Tyrol province. Bruneck makes for a great hiking tour starting point and the Fundres-Pfunderer Mountain Trail is one of the most stunning high altitude trails.
- Add to the choice, themed unique hikes, such as the Bunker trail or the art trail, there is something for everyone. Autumn lights turn the green meadows and trees into warm colorful landscapes which sweeten the unique autumn hiking experience, and perhaps you might even come across mushrooms as it is mushroom season in fall.
Fall is known as the prime time to visit a vineyard and to take part in the food and drink traditions of this awe-inspiring region in the Italian alps. When the temperatures drop, I recommend a relaxing day at a thermal spa with sauna. The Meran public spa was even known to host the late Austrian empress Sissi.
AUTUMN IN TUSCANY
Tuscany, located in central Italy, is renowned for its timeless beauty, rolling hills adorned with vineyards, charming medieval towns, and soothing thermal areas. Home to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany captivates with its art, culture, architectural wonders, and therapeutic hot springs. From the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa to the enchanting landscapes of the Val d’Orcia along with the wellness experiences, Tuscany offers a picturesque blend of artistic heritage, culinary delights, and scenic countryside whilst adding an element of tranquility to your exploration of this captivating region.
Florence, Tuscany in the fall season
Image and recommendation by Louisa Loring of EatingAroundItaly.com
Florence is one of Italy’s most popular destinations not only for its rich history, art and architecture but also for its accessibility. The most beautiful monuments and fulfilling activities to do in Florence are primarily outdoors, all of which can be seen in just a couple of days. The small, easy-to-navigate, city center makes travelling for the whole family a lot easier. All you need, including amazing food, strong coffee and some of the most stunning squares can all be taken in without going far. Getting off the beaten path and discovering some of the city’s more authentic areas with beautiful, lush views is also within arm’s reach, making Florence a top destination for fall travellers.
Highlights of Florence in Autumn
- Eat at a sagra or attend a food festival – regional food is at its best in the fall, making it the preferred time of year to try some of the local specialties such as porcini mushrooms, truffles, new olive oil and wine. Most famous in the fall are: the Sagra dell’Uva (September), The Chianti Classic Expo (September) and The Olive Oil Fair (November). If you can’t manage this, eat season, regional food at a typical trattoria.
- Take part in an olive oil meal or experience – the olive harvest is a sacred time of year for Tuscans because it’s when the olives are finally picked and pressed, producing some of Italy’s best olive oil for domestic use and international sales. Restaurants modify their menu to include local specialities made with the olio nuovo or newly pressed olive oil. Many farms also offer olive oil experiences, including cooking classes and harvest experiences.
- Indulge in the aperitivo culture in famous squares such as Piazza Santo Spirito, Piazza Duomo, Piazze della Signoria or Piazza della Repubblica. There is nothing quite as romantic and Italian as sipping a spritz and enjoying the evening light and colours that fall brings to the city of Florence.
Autumn Florence is the best time of year to enjoy some of Tuscany’s most well-known and beloved dishes such as fettunta, tagliatelle ai porcini, pappardelle al ragù di cinghiale, ribollita and chianti classico wine.
Saturnia, Tuscany in the fall season
Image and recommendation by Adrianna of Wanderlicious
The towns of Tuscany are some of my favourite places on this planet, specifically, Saturnia. It has delicious food, excellent weather year round, incredible landscapes, and beautiful waterfalls cascade gracefully, nurtured by the warmth of natural thermal springs. Many things lure you to Saturnia in the fall, as it’s not short of beautiful little restaurants, quaint wine bars, vineyards and the delightful natural spas.
Although not widely known among tourists, Tuscany has plenty of hot springs. Most people are not aware of the volcanic and geothermal activity of this region. The signs up and down the highway direct you to local thermal springs, bearing the word ‘Terme’, which translates to ‘thermal’.
As autumn brings in the cool air, why not indulge in something truly special. Dive into one of the many thermal springs in the region; this is the perfect place to bathe.
Highlights of Saturnia in Autumn:
- Terme di Saturnia — Thermal springs in the heart of Tuscany Capua Winery — for the red, gold and auburn coloured vines and delicious wines.
- Porta Romana — an ancient Roman structure, consisting of fortified walls, a fort and lookout post. Imagine sitting in a hot, natural bath, surrounded by tall cypress trees, whilst a waterfall spouts out hot geothermal water infused with healing minerals. It is, quite frankly, the most bizarre and beautiful experience and I loved it!
Terme di Saturnia, the most famous thermal spring in the region is also the most instagrammable, and photogenic place. As this one is the most known, it can get very popular throughout the summer months, and well into the shoulder seasons!
Many of these hot springs are free to access, something that many people aren’t aware of. Just pull up and dip in. You’ll often find locals and tourists having a midday dip or a relaxing soak at the end of a day exploring the local vineyards and historic Roman buildings.
It’s very easy to rent a car and explore the area, it’s stunningly beautiful… you won’t regret it!
Bagno Vignoni in fall
Image and recommendation by Candice Criscione of The Tuscan Mom
A small village in Southern Tuscany’s UNESCO World-Heritage Val d’Orcia (Orcia Valley), Bagno Vignoni is a lesser-known charm with an ancient history. While beautiful on its own, the village’s main selling point is the presence of healing thermal baths, natural hot springs, along with the abundance of regional wines and hearty fall dishes.
Bagno Vignoni’s baths were used by the Etruscans and Romans, and now you can enjoy them in the extra-scenic autumn months, when the area’s farmland has been harvested and the landscape takes on a velvety look. Plus, you can try the olio nuovo (new oil) that’s been freshly-pressed and is perfect drizzled over a hearty bowl of ribollita or plate of pasta.
Highlights of Bagno Vignoni in Autumn:
- Soaking in the free hot springs just below the village and using the thermal baths at one of the village’s hotels. You can easily walk down to the free hot springs just below town and you may even have them all to yourself, (rare for other Tuscan hot springs like Saturnia). Then, head back up to town and have a spa experience at Hotel Posta Marcucci — sip on a cocktail in the thermal baths or get a treatment in the spa area.
Either of the baths is lovely on a fall evening — and with the days getting shorter, you can catch the stars without having to stay up too late!
- Sipping on wine and enjoying local foods on the main piazza. Grab an outdoor table at the enoteca on the main piazza. Try a local southern Tuscan wine like Brunello di Montalcino or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and indulge in some of our neighbouring Pienza’s pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese.
- Indulge in Tuscan fall dishes like ribollita, pasta dishes with tartufi, pici al ragù di cinghiale, and the olio nuovo (delicious even on a toasted slice of bread – fettunta).
While you could certainly spend a few days relaxing and soaking up the delightful Bagno Vignoni, its location in the Val d’Orcia means you’re a quick car ride away from other local gems like Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, and San Quirico d’Orcia.
AUTUMN IN UMBRIA, ITALY
Umbria, known as the “Green Heart of Italy,” enchants visitors with its rolling hills, medieval hilltop towns, and rich artistic heritage.
Explore the ancient streets of Perugia and Assisi, adorned with stunning architecture and captivating history. Immerse yourself in the region’s vibrant cultural scene, from art galleries to music festivals. Indulge in the local cuisine, known for its truffles, olive oil, and hearty dishes. If you’re seeking tranquility amidst the picturesque Italian landscapes, cultural immersion, or a culinary adventure, Umbria is the place to head to in the autumn season.
Autumn in Montefalco, Umbria, Italy
Image and recommendation by Katy Thomas, of Katy in Umbria
Tucked away in the middle of Umbria is the village of Montefalco. Featured on the list of most beautiful villages in Italy, Montefalco is a walled medieval village famous for wine and olive oil. Walk up through the main gates, built around 1270 along with the walls, the main piazza is at the top of a hill surrounded by Palaces built in the 15th and 16th century.
It’s renowned for its red wine, a grape called Sagrantino, which is only grown around that hill. During the month of September the grapes are harvested and pressed, and there’s a big festival to celebrate every year in the middle of September. Once that is over they switch to olive picking and pressing for olive oil.
Autumnal highlights in Montefalco:
- Enologica Montefalco: Celebrating wine, music, art and food. For 2023 it will be held September 15-17. Any other time, book a wine tasting at a vineyard (cantina) like Cantina Colle Ciocco, Romanelli Agricola, or Cantina Briziarelli.
- For art lovers find the church of San Francesco. Built between 1335-8 there’s a painting by Perugino, or Pietro Vannucci, of the Nativity along with frescos from the 15th century. Or simply find a spot to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding area of vineyards and olive groves.
- Bike or drive through the grapevines and olive trees down to the village in the valley; Bevagna. Unlike Montefalco it’s flat, with more great wine and full of old churches from as early as the and little spots for an aperitivo.
One of the many reasons why Montefalco is worth visiting is that this is a lesser known award winning wine area of Italy. Follow the Sagrantino wine route, enjoy the small towns full of medieval palaces and churches, pretty piazzas and find out why it’s a popular spot for Italians on holiday.
More about Italy in autumn: Veneto, >>