WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT ITALY? Spring, Summer, Autumn (Fall) or Winter?
Each season in Italy has its benefits and drawbacks – our 4-part blog will give you ideas and information on how best to enjoy Italy, no matter the season.
Having just returned from 5 weeks in Italy it seems appropriate that we start the blog with Autumn (Fall)…
ITALIAN AUTUMN (FALL) – AUTUNNO September, October, November
Traditionally these months offer pleasant temperatures and significantly fewer crowds than summer, however my visits in recent years have proven to me that September and October can sometimes be just as hot and as busy as summer…
Rome can have temperatures of 30 C mid-September, queues for the Vatican museums were already underway at 7am (2 hours before opening!), there were 6 huge cruise-ships in port in Venice in mid-October, airports were crowded, planes were full, trains were full, hotels and b&b’s were full – north to south, Italy was busy, busy, busy and hot, hot, hot!
Many of the Passion For Italy hotel owners I met with during my visit agreed that the busy season really has been extended through to the end of October. The hot weather is definitely a bonus for the sea and lakes regions – I met many Europeans who had flown to Taormina in Sicily at the last-minute because the weather was so wonderful!
At some stage the weather has to change, and November will definitely be a cooler month. The challenge with November travel can be the high likelihood of rain – traditionally it is the wettest month in Italy. However, with the weather patterns being anything other than traditional in recent times, the prices and relative peace and quiet may outweigh the (even less predictable) chance of rain.
Many sea and lake properties close, and opening hours for museums and monuments start to shorten in October and November. Culturally, the opera and theatre seasons begin, and many towns and cities have food and wine sagres. Autumn food in Italy is a delight – truffles, mushrooms, the new oil from the olive harvest.
Personally, autumn is my favourite time to visit Italy. Here are my tips to get the most out of your autumn holiday:
* Factor in the variable weather patterns and ensure you have plenty of time in each destination to allow for days when the weather keeps you indoors
* Pack layers for the variable weather – that way you can simply add or take off a layer as the weather changes
* Research your destinations and be aware of the (limited?) seasonal opening hours of the museums, monuments and other attractions you wish to experience
* Research your destinations for food and wine festivals – on a similar note, know which foods are in season and order dishes with these fresh ingredients when dining out
– click here for our list of Festivals in Italy
* Rent an apartment instead of a hotel room – on a rainy day, it’s nice to have a comfy lounge to sink in to and read a book
– read our blog entry on Renting an apartment in Italy
* Ensure your accommodation in Italy has air-conditioning and heating – you don’t want to be uncomfortable if you end up with unseasonal weather conditions
* If travelling with children, have a plan B – perhaps you need to bring along some digital entertainment equipment (ipad, portable dvd player, e-readers, etc) or have some more traditional games up your sleeve for those days indoors – but always be aware of any costs you will incur for internet connections
* Consider joining an organised small-group tour – experienced tour operators know what works at this time of year
– click here to see our hand-picked small-group tour packages
Finally, the best part of Autumn for me is that as November draws near and the tourist crowds thin, only the locals are left in the towns and villages – it’s a wonderful time to start to see and experience authentic Italy.
Let Passion For Italy help you plan your European Autumn holiday in Italy. Contact us with your requirements and we will ensure your trip is a success.