Autumn is a golden time of year in Italy. The greenery changes into coats of reds and yellows, and the warm sunshine casts the country in splendid terracotta tones. The summer tourists clear out in waves and as the new school term in September beckons, many of the vacationing locals come home.
This is the best time of year to visit Italy, and we’ll let you in on why!😉
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1. More elbow space, greater savings!
In the autumn, you are less likely to be jostling for space to take that perfect shot.
Credit: schizoform on flickr
Like many European countries, Italy is usually flooded with tourists at summertime, but the crowd begins to dissipate as the cooler months set in. This means that you have more space to twirl around in the vast piazzas, and you can gawk at Da Vinci’s The Last Supper for as long as you like, guilt-free!😬
Credit: Ady on flickr
Dwindling tourist numbers also means another important thing: savings! A quick check on online hotel booking portals tell us that nightly rates at hotels drop steadily from mid-October, and this trend can be expected to continue through November😆
2. Perfect weather for a walk in the park
Summers in Italy can be scorching hot; autumn provides a cool respite.
Credit: Steve Slater on flickr
Do note that early September still holds many a warm day with temperatures hovering around 27°C. Those who would rather avoid the swelter may want to book their visit from October onward where the days are comfortably cool.
Credit: Luigi Torreggiani on flickr
There is plenty of sun in the day, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is by taking a stroll in any of Italy’s beautiful parks. Witness how the soft light bathes every blade of leaf in lovely hues, and breathe in the crisp air. Snap away as the trees shed their crowning glory, and the amber flakes cascade about you 🍂
3. Go into a film frenzy
Attention all film buffs: there is no way you can miss one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, right here in Italy!
Credit: La Biennale di Venezia on Facebook
An annual affair, the Venice International Film Festival attracts a glamorous attendance, with Hollywood A-listers Dakota Fanning and Jake Gyllenhaal making an appearance at the 73rd edition in 2016. Prepare to catch the stars’ arrival to the floating city via speedboat, and take a selfie with your favourite film stars as they walk the red carpet!📸
Credit: La Biennale di Venezia on Facebook
4. Walk, walk, fashion baby
For our fashion-forward travellers, Milan Fashion Week must be the highlight of your itinerary😏 In the international fashion circuit, Milan Fashion Week (MFW) is known as one of the “Big Four fashion weeks”, with the others being Paris Fashion Week, London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.
Credit: mi chiel on flickr
Held semi-annually, fashion houses and independent designers will be showing their Spring/Summer collections a season ahead at this time of year. While most fashion shows are by invite only, you are more than welcome to delight the frenzy of photographers by flaunting your style alongside other fashionistas outside official show venues💃
Credit: mat’s eye on flickr
Don’t be too disappointed about not getting an invite! You can still catch fashion shows during MFW when they are held outdoors—often at historic landmarks too! Previous locations have included Milan’s central city square, Piazza Duomo and the courtyard of a 15th century castle called Castello Sforzesco.
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5. Get a rowdown of Venice
If fashion does not float your boat, we highly recommend getting the ‘rowdown’ of Venice at the Regata Storica!
Credit: simonetta viterbi on flickr
As its name suggests, The Regata Storica is greatly imbued with Venetian history. The boat procession dates back to the 13th Century, when it became part of the Festa Delle Marie celebrations. However, it was in 1841 when Venice was still a municipality that the local government called for an annual boat race along the Grand Canal to celebrate the Venetian gondoliers and to encourage them to keep up their renowned rowing skills.
Credit: Jon Mountjoy on flickr
Taking place on the first Sunday of every September, the regata is a two-part event. Costumed rowers in the lively gondola parade carry the Doge, his wife, and the highest-ranking Venetian officials in 16th century-style boats, followed by various rowing races down the Grand Canal. Definitely a visual spectacle to behold!
#HHWT Tip: The best way to enjoy the regata is by securing a good spot at a cafe overlooking the Grand Canal, accompanied by a good cup of coffee.
6. Warm up with live music
It can get quite chilly in the evenings, so make your way indoors for some snazzy performances that will warm your heart as well💖 Experience the romance, passion and sophistication that form the very essence of Italian culture at the opera!
Credit: Benh on flickr
Indeed, there can be no better place to see an opera than in Italy— birthplace of the art form itself and home to the world’s most distinguished composers and iconic theatres. Even if you don’t have enough time to sit through an aria or two, the grand architecture and ornately adorned interiors of Italy’s opera houses is reason enough to visit, and witness for yourself.
Credit: Alice Barigelli on flickr
Should the Opera not be your cup of tea, keep your eyes peeled for popular international acts scheduled to perform in the city. Some of the top mainstream artists who have chosen to perform in Italy in recent years include James Bay, Pentatonix and The Cure😎
7. Celebrate life at a sagra
Living la dolce vita in Italy is about enjoying the little pleasures in life and when it comes to food, being appreciative of the finest flavours that nature has got to offer. And what better way is there to celebrate life than at a sagra?
Credit: umbria_love on Instagram
Sagre (food festivals in Italian) mushroom across the country in October and November as farmers harvest the season’s bounty. Some of the foods found in abundance in autumn include porcini, potatoes and chestnuts. At the Sagra della Patata in Leonessa, an unspoiled town nestled in the charming countryside of Rieti, Lazio — the patata (potato) is the star of the show. Locals put the Leonessa potato to good use, working through a plethora of homegrown recipes from patate al forno (oven-roasted potatoes) to gnocci di patate (potato dumplings). However, one can also find other seasonal harvest such as colourful corn and chestnuts being proudly showcased at market stalls.
Credit: nouvellewave on Instagram
Early in October, you can find the sweet and earthy aroma of roasted castagne (chestnuts) permeating the piazzas of Soriano nel Cimino, a tranquil town an hour’s drive north of Rome. More than a celebration of chestnut harvest however, this sagra sees Soriano’s four districts attempt to outdo each other in an exuberant reenactment of the mediaeval period. Join the locals in the revelry as they parade down the town’s ancient streets in period costumes! 😆
Click here to learn more about the chestnut festival!
8. Go loco for cioccolato
Chocolate addicts will go insane at Eurochocolate, an annual festival for all things— you guessed it— chocolate😋
Credit: Eurochocolate official on Facebook
For about a week, the cobbled streets of usually quiet Perugia are lined with stalls hawking their delectable wares and bustling with fun activities from games to tastings and cooking lessons, and even beauty treatments! 😍
Credit: andremcpereira on Instagram
Sounds like a dream? We haven’t got to the best part yet: Everything. Is. Free.
#HHWT Tip: Do make sure to check the ingredients list when you purchase the chocolate here😁
Autumn brings out a blissfully different side to Italy that many easily miss on their travels. There is definitely more to see and do in ‘The Boot’ apart from gondola rides and taking comical selfies in front of the Pisa, but hey, you should decide how you want to experience la dolce vita in this beautiful country!
Explore Italy from just SGD 960 with Qatar Airways!
Fly to Rome, Milan Venice and Pisa from just SGD960 onward with Qatar Airways. Don't wait too long! This offer lasts till 6 July 2017 and only valid for trips from now till 31 March 2018.
This article is brought to you by Qatar Airways.