Have you ever considered visiting Italy in autumn? If you haven’t, you should! Weather is great, temperatures still warm, tourists are fewer and prices cheaper!
Autumn is fast becoming my favourite season to travel around Italy. Places like Florence and Venice are pretty much out of bounds in summer, due to high prices, extreme heat and terrible overcrowding – but when September comes to an end, chilly winds blow away the last of the summer warmth, and trees start to turn multi-coloured… well, I believe there’s no place more magical than Italy in autumn.
Why Autumn is the best time to visit Italy
There are countless benefits to visiting Italy in autumn – cooler weather, cheaper prices, far fewer tourists and great photo opportunities. Those of you who are into landscape photography will know that there’s nothing better than a cool and crisp autumn day to capture insta-perfect shots – and you won’t have to wait for ages for people to move out of the way, as you would in summer.
Yet, Italy is a huge country – so, what are the best places to visit in Italy during the autumn? To be honest, pretty much everywhere from South Tyrol to Sicily is a good bet – but if I were to choose, these 5 places would be my pick!
1) The Alps
Italians visit the Alps in two separate seasons – in summer to hike (or just enjoy nature) and in winter to ski. Between late September and the beginning of December, when the skiing season kicks off, visitors to Alpine towns and villages are few and far between – but in my opinion, autumn is the best time to visit the Alps!
In recent years, the warm weather has lasted all through October and even early December, making hiking a lot more easy and comfortable than in the sweltering summer months. For instance, recently we went hiking in Garda Trentino in both summer and autumn – our summer hike to Rifugio Pernici was a real struggle, whereas our late September ramble to Monte Altissimo was a delight.
On top of that, from October onwards the foliage is in full swing – places like Val di Mello are becoming favourite destination to admire the autumn colours. Can it get any better? Actually, it can – October and November are classed as low season throughout the Alps, and bargains are easy to get!
2) Cinque Terre
The five magical villages on the Ligurian coast are everyone’s favourites – in summer, overcrowding can truly spoil your experience, to the extent that I always recommend my readers to stay in nearby Levanto instead of Cinque Terre themselves. All through October the flow of tourists eases down to a trickle, and if the weather stays stable, autumn is a great time to visit Cinque Terre.
However, I would recommend watching the weather forecast closely if you’re planning to visit Cinque Terre in autumn – the area is prone to flooding and landslides due to its precarious position between mountains and sea.
If you’re visiting Italy in autumn but still want to feel the summer atmosphere, our recommendation is to head south. Italy is over 1200 km long, and southern regions often still experience balmy weather when the Alps are covered in snow.
October and November are a great time to visit Sicily – it’s often still warm enough to visit beaches and go swimming, and it’s also a great time you want to go volcano hiking on Etna or visit the Sicily countryside.
Naturally, I simply had to include my own city! I always warn people against visiting Milan in summer – the heat and humidity are often unbearable, and as Milan is very much a ‘working city’ most locals leave the city in summertime for their holidays, and shops and restaurants outside the centre consequently close as well. With so many things to see in Milan, you don’t want to miss out on anything!
In autumn, Milan is bustling with events – Fashion week takes place in late September, bringing to the city a flurry of models, designers, journalists and all-round fashion victims. All through October, the weather often stays warm and the city comes back to life after the summer slumber, with new shops and restaurants opening up, and new exhibitions and shows.
Milan gets very busy in December and January with tourists for Christmas shopping and sales, so if you ask me autumn is the time to go!
5) Le Marche
I’ve said that for a long time – Le Marche are the new Tuscany. If you’re after a countryside destination to experience the charm of Italian dolce vita, this region has it all. Visiting Marche in autumn will give you, once again, the opportunity to enjoy nature in total solitude – I visited a few years ago in October and had the wonderful Senigallia beaches and Mount Conero walking paths all to myself.
Late September is also harvest time, and many food and wine-related events take place – if you happen to come across a village sagra, a celebration involving copious amounts of food and wine, make sure you join in!
Weather and Temperatures in Italy in Autumn
Nowadays, making weather-related prediction is getting increasingly hard, with freak weather patterns popping up every year. Generally speaking, Italy in September is still warm and sunny – temperatures start decreasing at night, but it remains warm during the day, usually in excess of 25° (even up to 30° in Southern Italy).
In autumn there’s usually more rain than in summer – the rains normally start in late September, with frequent heavy rainfall in October and November. Temperatures decrease throughout October and November – in October you should still be able to get daytime high temperatures around 18-20°, whereas in November it’s more like 10-15°. Temperatures vary throughout the country – Sicily and Southern Italy can remain very warm (20° or more) even in late November, while the Alps may experience the first snow in late September or October at around 2000 m or so.
These five Italian destinations to visit in autumn are just a suggestion – there are many more places that are wonderful in October and November, and naturally that includes the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Italian destinations, Venice, Florence and Rome. Bookmundi offers tours around Italy year round, including well-known destinations as well as more offbeat locations.
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