October is one of the best times to visit Italy as it’s considered shoulder season. Sure, warm, summer days are appealing, but autumn weather has almost no humidity, making it much more pleasant for those who can’t take the heat. Because October isn’t the high season, you can expect smaller crowds and cheaper prices. If you don’t like long lines and hoards of tourists, visiting during this month may be just what you need. With beautiful weather and the bountiful harvest, there will be plenty of food to try and things to do. If you’re planning a trip to Italy in October, here’s what you need to know.
Weather In Italy During October
October is prime for that crisp, cool weather that you crave during fall. While September tends to feel similar to summer, October temperatures are much cooler and the humidity drops off. In fact, the difference between September and October is about ten degrees, so keep this in mind when you’re packing. If you want to avoid the heat and spend lots of time outside, this month is one of the best.
Expect average temperatures to look something like this:
- Northern Italy: 45-65°F (7-18°C)
- Central Italy: 55-70°F (13-21°C)
- Southern Italy: 65-75°F (18-24°C)
Visitors in October can expect slightly warm and sunny days while the evenings tend to be cooler. And, while this month isn’t considered rainy season, there are more rainy days than other times of year.
Some people may find it easier to explore outdoor attractions during this month as heat waves aren’t typical. Since temperatures around Italy vary so much, make sure to pack layers so you’re prepared for any kind of weather you may encounter.
Italian Holidays During October
When it comes to national holidays, the month of October doesn’t have many. However, it’s this time of year that festivals can be found all over the country. Autumn is harvest time and locals put on festivals dedicated to food, wine, and various produce. If you’re a foodie, you’ll definitely enjoy what this month has to offer. Some of the best festivals in October include:
Enzo Ferrari Memorial Marathon in Maranello
This race takes place each year in October and runs from Maranello to Capri. It’s a marathon featuring talented male and female athletes and can be watched by visitors from the sidelines. The event is hyper-local and the majority of the spectators are from the area. However, if you happen to be around, it’s great to catch this event. There will be food, drink, and an energy that can’t be beaten.
White Truffle Festival
This festival can be found throughout the month of October in the town of Alba. Many people believe this is one of the most important festivals in Italy as it focuses on the white truffle mushroom, one of the most delicious and rarest mushrooms in the world. Chefs from around the world agree that Alba is one of the best places to get these mushrooms, and people come from all over to witness the festival. Visitors will see professional truffle hunters who show off their bounty to the crowds. There are top chefs whipping up creative dishes using the truffles as main ingredients. Walk around and sample their creations, or join a truffle hunting tour yourself. Aside from the mushrooms, visitors will find wine tastings, art shows, costumes, live music, and a hot air balloon show.
Chocolate lovers need to visit Perugia for this yearly festival. You’ll smell the festival before you even see it, and be met with beautiful bars of chocolate all over the town. Look out for fresh hot cocoa, chocolate liquor, chocolate fountains, kebabs, and a variety of strange flavors. Take a tour of the town’s chocolate factory, and taste as many samples as you can get your hands on. This is the perfect time and place to eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (where else can you do that?) Make sure to buy some chocolate to take home as souvenirs (your friends and family will certainly appreciate it.)
Rome Film Festival
This festival usually takes place in October and is a great time for movie-lovers. Guests will have access to famous actors, directors, and international premiers. Catch a movie screening or scour the restaurants for world-famous actors who may be in Rome during this time.
Those visiting Venice in October will want to see the yearly marathon that happens here. Athletes come from international destinations as well as various locations around Italy. Follow the race as it goes through some of the most popular sites in Venice. You can see the competitors racing through St. mark’s Square and across the Bridge of Liberty, so try to keep up!
Italians often refer to Halloween as All Saints Eve. Locals celebrate much like other places in the world, with costumes and parties. Italy’s largest Halloween celebration takes place on Devil’s Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano, so if you love this holiday, this is where to celebrate. There will be haunted houses, interactive games, screenings of horror movies, and plenty of candy. If you want even more scary festivities, head to the town of Corinaldo, which claims to be the ‘Capital of Halloween.’ Visitors will find spooky entertainment, light and sound shows, and scary attractions all around the town. Many people travel to Triora, the City of Witches, for their annual Halloween party, or visit Italy’s amusement parks which typically adorn themselves for the holiday. No matter where you are visiting in Italy, you’ll probably find costume parties, haunted attractions, movie nights, and themed dinners.
What To See & Do
October is a great time to score deals on local airlines, hotels, and hostels. This means that touring the different cities and towns of Italy is more affordable than ever. Some parts of the country are especially beautiful during this time of the year, so if you’re around, these are the places you should see and the things you should do.
If you love food and wine, you must visit this region during October as this is when Piedmont is at its best. It’s right on the hilly region that borders Switzerland and France, giving it a unique and ideal climate for wine growing. Foodies must visit during this month because restaurants around the region offer special events and specialty dishes to celebrate the harvest. Aside from eating, top activities here include truffle hunting tours, and a visit to Barolo to do a wine tasting. No matter where you visit in Piedmont, make sure to bring your appetite and trousers with elastic around the waist!
Umbria is the beautiful, less-popular neighbor to Tuscany. This ‘Green Region’ is full of wineries, lush forests, and lots of medieval hill towns. It’s gorgeous, but often gets overshadowed by Tuscany. As the region becomes more popular, more tourists are starting to see the beauty and culture that Umbria has to offer. Expect lots of vineyards, olive groves, fresh produce, and restaurants that put it all together in a delicious way. If you love to eat, Umbria should definitely make your itinerary.
October is the best time of year to experience the harvest, and Tuscany is the best place to do it. This area is known for its rolling hills, natural scenery, wine, and food. To celebrate the bounty, this region hosts various festivals throughout the month. There are food festivals, wine tastings, craft shows, bike races, street performances, art festivals, and vintage markets. Make sure to try the chestnuts, mushrooms, olives, and truffles while you’re there. At the start of the month the region of Chianti hosts a vintage bike race which is quite an event, especially with a glass of authentic Chianti in your hand. Drop by the region of Palaia for truffles and wine, and Montescudaio for an abundance of wine festivals.
Venice is beautiful any time of year but in October, it’s full of top-notch entertainment. This month is the beginning of the opera season, so visitors can expect some incredible shows. Stop by Teatro La Fenice, the most notable opera house in the city. During the first week of the month, Festa del mosto is happening on the island of Sant’Erasmo. Attendees will find wine pressing demonstrations and lots of live music, food, and drink. It’s a great place to watch the rowing regatta, taste new foods from around the region, and enjoy the beautiful countryside backdrop.
In the summer, Rome is absolutely packed with crowds of tourists. The weather is often sweltering, and it can be difficult to get around due to large lines for public transit and extreme temperatures. However, in October, you can expect much smaller crowds and cool fall weather that makes a walk around the city actually enjoyable. Make sure to visit the top sites like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Vatican City. There’s also quite a few festivals going on as well. Check out the Roma Jazz Festival which usually goes on during October. Some of the top performers around the country and the world visit Rome’s incredible jazz clubs to perform. Catch the RomaEuropa Festival which features performances in theater and dance throughout the city. And, take some time to enjoy the beautiful fall colors, and the markets that are full of pumpkins, chestnuts, arugula, artichokes, and zucchini.
Florence is one of the top destinations in Italy, making it quite crowded during the summer months. October is ideal for visiting this city as the crowds have died down and the lines for the incredible museums will be much shorter. Make sure to visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David Statue, and the Uffizi Gallery to see many more of his artworks. If you happen to be around on October 8th, There’s a famous medieval procession that honors the 3rd-century A.D martyr, Santa Reparata. It begins at Piazza di Parte Guelfa and runs to Santa Reparata Crypt which is found in the Duomo. If you’re visiting during the middle of the month, you can catch the Fiera di San Luca, an agricultural fair that lasts for a week and offers traditional food, music, artisans, and livestock shows.
Tips For Visiting Italy in October
- While temperatures usually are quite cool, you may want to pack a bathing suit anyway because temperatures can get hot sporadically, especially in southern Italy.
- Consider visiting various regions around Italy. Since flight prices are often discounted during this time of year, it can be very affordable to travel from city to city by air.
- Weather and the temperatures can be unpredictable during this time of year so pack layers. Try bringing a heavy sweater, rain jacket, shorts, jeans, a t-shirt, sunglasses, umbrella, and walking shoes that can stand getting wet.
- If you’re a foodie, make it a point to visit some of the harvest festivals, especially Alba’s White Truffle festival. You’ll have the chance to try local specialties that many tourists never get to experience.
- Book your hotels early if you plan on attending the harvest festivals as these events are quite popular and accommodations book up fast.
- Take the time to compare prices of flights, hotels, and activities. October is a great time for deals and bargains so put in the work to find the most affordable options. This can save you plenty of cash that can be used on souvenirs or food instead.
- Don’t worry about putting on a few extra pounds during your Italian vacation. October is the prime time to taste the produce, enjoy restaurant specials, and eat your way around the markets.
Visiting Italy in Autumn is always a great idea. The summer crowds have died down and the prices start to drop dramatically. The weather is pleasant for both indoor and outdoor activities, and there is plenty of food and wine to try. If you want to avoid summer heat waves and large crowds, October in Italy is best for you.