Postcards from Italy

Three Great Fall Destinations in Italy

Though most travelers take their big trips during the summer months, by far the best season to visit Italy is after the high season heat and crowds have peaked, pushing your dates into the autumn months from late September through October.

Though the weather can be slightly unpredictable the closer you get to November, overall you’ll still find balmy temperatures, long hours of daylight, and delightfully crisp evenings during most of the season, perfect for both city and country touring. In addition, as the summer season draws to a close and the academic year begins, the tourist crowds thin dramatically and hot spots like Florence and Venice become a bit less claustrophobic, especially toward the end of October.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Destinations that have a very distinct high season (the Amalfi Coast and the Salento peninsula in Puglia, for example) offer more advantageous rates for hotels and other services like private boat tours once October begins, and you have the added benefit of crisp days for stunning photo ops…without the hordes of tourists ruining your shot.

Finally, fall in Italy is paradise for gourmands, with the vendemmia (grape harvest) happening in wine countries from the Alpine foothill to the southern islands, and food festivals galore.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

If all of this sounds appealing, then start planning now for your fall trip to Italy. There are countless destinations that are perfect for a fall trip, but here are three of our favorites to consider for an autumn jaunt to the Bel Paese.

The Dolomites

This spectacular UNESCO-listed group of almost 20 Alpine peaks in the Trentino-Alto Adige/SudTirol region straddling the Italian-Austrian border traditionally had two very distinct high seasons: summer for hiking and winter for skiing. With climate change, the delicate ecosystem in this area is rapidly changing and the temperatures and clear skies of hiking season now stretch long into the fall.

Dolomites - Le Pale di San Martino 36

(Photo by Ignacio Izquierdo via Flickr)

A mecca for photography buffs and outdoor enthusiasts, the Dolomites are an unforgettable destination even if you don’t plan on spending your days on the vast network of hiking trails. Take in the stunning landscapes with a scenic drive through the Mis Valley, or hop aboard one of the Alpine train routes (the Renon line between Collalbo (or Klobenstein) and Soprabolzano, (or Oberbozen) on the Ritten plateau is considered one of the most panoramic in Europe) for a unique way to explore the peaks and valleys.

Typical Knoedels

(Photo by Simon Falvo via Flickr)

Of course, no destination in Italy is without its culinary treasures, and you can find everything from Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants to rustic mountain lodges, both serving Alpine dishes rooted in the unique mix of Italian and Austrian culture in Trentino-Alto Adige/SudTirol. Pair your polenta or canederli with one of the many micro-brew beers from the area, or local wines like white Nosiola and red Marzemino and Teroldego Rotoliano.

The Amalfi Coast


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Italy has been grappling with over-tourism in a number of particularly delicate destinations, including Venice, the Cinque Terre, and even Florence. The Amalfi Coast is one of those fabulous corners of Italy that have become so popular in the summer months that it can be more hassle than it’s worth to explore by land. The two solutions are to take to the water or put off your visit for a few weeks and plan a fall trip after the crowds have left.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

An early autumn visit can be surprisingly like visiting in summer, as temperatures are generally warm enough to relax on the beach, swim in the Mediterranean, and take a private boat tour along the coast and across the water to the island of Capri through mid-October. By late October, only the heartier swimmers may be willing to take a dip, but when the days are sunny and the seas are calm, both a day at the beach and a day on board a speedboat or traditional gozzo fishing boat are a pleasant way to pass the hours.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

This stretch of the coast is also much more affordable outside of the summer high season, as hotel rates, boat tours, and other services offer shoulder-season discounts. Those looking for a designer treasure in the boutiques in Positano and Capri town can catch end-of-season sales, and the staff are generally more relaxed and welcoming than in the harried mid-summer weeks.

Boating around Capri

(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)



(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

This picturesque region is one of our favorites, and is the perfect balance between an off-the-beaten-track feel and a relatively accessible location, set between Rome and Florence in central Italy. A small clutch of rolling hills topped with medieval villages, Umbria is a feast for the eyes most of the year, but fall ushers in particularly colorful countryside, an endless succession of Instagram-ready sunsets, and, perhaps most importantly, the lion’s share of the annual food and wine festivals.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Umbria has long been primarily a farming region, and its deep ties to both the land and the products traditionally grown here are among its most important hallmarks. Like in most of Italy, locals tend to spend the hottest weeks of the summer at the beach, but with September comes the grape harvest, mushroom and truffle foraging season, the olive harvest, and the height of the kitchen garden’s bounty…and the Umbrians come back in force to enjoy it all. Join the locals at one of the many food and wine festivals, known as a sagra, during September and October to sample some of the most authentic regional specialties in a charmingly no-frills atmosphere.


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

In addition to food and wine, Umbria is a treasure trove of delightful stone towns and villages that are particularly pleasant to stroll through with the mild fall temperatures. Be sure to take in tiny gems like Montefalco and Bevagna; Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and home to festivities marking his feast day each October; and the stately historic city of Perugia.

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore