Italy in November – The Best Things to See & Do
November is a wonderful time to take a vacation to Italy. Though the days are short and the weather is variable, Italy in November has few crowds, multiple festivals and events, the very best autumn cuisine, and gorgeous foliage. Plus, it’s the cheapest month to fly to this amazing boot-shaped country.
Most tourists will leave in October when the rainy days increase and the sun sets as early as 5 pm. However, sticking around into November is well worth it to give your budget a break. Airfare to and from Italy is the cheapest in November and most hotels and villas will be discounted. With cheaper travel costs, travelers can spend more on food and festivals – of which there are many in November.
Italian cuisine is full of wonderful comfort foods, but the autumn gastronomy is especially appealing. Harvests around the country take place from August to October, meaning November is the best month to go on a cooking tour and enjoy all the fresh produce of the season. During November, try ordering some handmade pasta with truffle oil or a pumpkin ravioli dish. And don’t forget to order a big glass of spicy red wine to warm you up from the chilly weather!
ITALY WEATHER IN NOVEMBER
The weather in November will be colder, wetter, and darker than the summer months. However, there’ll be a few days with sunshine and clear skies before winter comes into full swing. Since Italy is a long country that runs from north to south, there are varied weather patterns throughout the country. Southern Italy will always be much warmer than northern Italy, especially in the Alps or Dolomite mountain ranges.
Cities in northern Italy such as Turin, Milan, Bologna, and Venice have average high temperatures of 52 degrees – chilly enough for a sweater and a coat. November will see anywhere from 65 to 80 millimetres of rainfall, so it’ll be best to wear a waterproof raincoat to resist both drizzle and fog. However, street vendors bring out their chestnut stands during November so warm up with freshly roasted chestnuts over an open fire as you walk around town. In addition, mulled wine becomes popular during the later weeks of the month, and is even available in to-go cups at winter markets – perfect to warm cold hands!
Central and southern Italian cities – Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Naples – have average high temperatures of 59 to 63 degrees. Rainfall in these cities reaches up to 150 millimetres, with less than a dozen sunny days during the month on average. Though it will still be best to pack a raincoat, many days will be pleasant enough to walk around outside. Plan to visit outdoor monuments such as the Colosseum or Pompeii on one of the rare sunny days for the most pleasant experience.
The warmest part of Italy during November will be in the southern islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Average high temperatures reach nearly 68 degrees with more than 15 sunny days during the month – warm enough for beach strolls and walks around town. However, even the islands experience increased rain, so no matter which region you visit on your vacation, it’s best to carry a small umbrella. Keep in mind that moving south for the winter is common in Italy so although there shouldn’t be crowds, the southern islands will have the most November visitors compared to other parts of Italy.
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN NOVEMBER
Rome Jazz Festival
The Rome Jazz Festival is a weeklong celebration of jazz in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, normally held the first week of November. The annual festival is over 40 years old and has hosted an impressive array of Italian and foreign musicians including Gregory Porter and Dhafer Youssef Quartet. The line-up is always eclectic – perfect for every type of music lover.
If a whole week of jazz is too much for you, there are free jazz concerts at the Teatro di Villa Torlonia in Rome each Sunday in November.
Turin Film Festival
The Turin Film Festival is held annually on the last weekend of November in Italy’s former capital city. It’s the second largest film festival in the country behind the Venice Film Fest, which takes place in August. As a prestigious event, it draws famous Italian actors and actresses to the city along with world-renowned directors and producers.
The 35-year-old festival has a number of international film screenings, preceded with introductions and wrapped up with question and answer sessions with fellow film enthusiasts. Don’t worry if you don’t speak much Italian – nearly every movie will have English subtitles to accommodate the international crowd.
Roma Europa Festival
Beginning in October but continuing into November is the popular Roma Europa Festival. The multi-week celebration is less of a festival and more of a series of cultural happenings. The eclectic mix of events are scattered around Rome, so check the online schedule for details. Available experiences typically include contemporary dance shows, music concerts, live theatre, art installations, virtual reality demonstrations, and even web exhibits. The events are available for many price ranges ranging from free to nearly 50 euros.
If you’ve never eaten a truffle, then book your next trip to Italy in November immediately. Not to be confused with the chocolate treat, truffles in Italy are a type of fungi, similar to a mushroom, that complement many Italian dishes. They have a slightly garlicky flavor with an earthy, musky scent and taste absolutely delicious in comfort foods.
In Alba, the International White Truffle Festival takes place from October to the first week of November. This is the largest truffle festival in the country and includes truffle education pamphlets, more tastings than you can imagine, and gourmet truffle dishes and wine pairings. For a true shock, take a peek at the price tags on some of the largest truffles for sale. They are not cheap!
A number of other truffle festivals occur in various cities around the country besides the large International White Truffle Festival. In Tuscany, San Miniato’s White Truffle Festival takes place in the middle of November offering many of the same tastings and delicious food and wine pairings.
Feast of Saint Cecilia
Romans celebrate Saint Cecilia on November 22nd each year with a feast. Saint Cecilia is one of the Roman’s favorite Saints. She was said to be an upper-class woman who lived in the 3rd century. As the musicians played on her wedding day, she ‘sang in her heart to the Lord,’ making her the patroness of musicians.
In the 4th century, a church was constructed in her honor in the location of her previous home in Rome in the Trastevere neighborhood. A moveable statue of Saint Cecilia herself was constructed outside by Stefano Maderno in her remembrance. While November 22nd is celebrated by many sects of Catholicism, it’s a special treat to attend the feast of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere and to celebrate with her statue.
The Feast of Our Lady of Good Health
The Feast of Our Lady of Good Health takes place on November 21st at Basilica di Madonna Della Salute in Venice. As a celebration of Venice’s escape from the Bubonic plague in 1621, thousands of Italians gather to cross a bridge over the Grand Canal to the church. Although the church is no longer in active use, it is still used for this annual celebration.
After the procession, hundreds of people join in for a feast in St. Marc’s square. Although this celebration mostly consists of religious pilgrims, non-secular tourists are also welcome. It’s both a religious holiday and a celebration of a historical year for Venice. For a truly unique experience, hire a private gondola to witness the bridge crossing.
Oberdrauburg Christmas Market
The last weekend of November, the Oberdrauburg Christmas Market opens up in Signa – 15 minutes outside of Florence. This market is just one of many Christmas markets all over Italy that open in winter, though it does begin the earliest. If you didn’t already guess by the name, this is a German-inspired market complete with the traditional mulled ‘vin brulè’ wine, string puppets, and delicious treccia mochèna cake.
A cold evening is the perfect time to take a stroll through the Tuscan Christmas market. Pick up delicious treats and warm drinks while you ogle over the incredibly detailed nativity scenes that local Italians pride themselves on. As a bonus, this is a perfect time to shop for souvenirs and Christmas gifts to bring your loved ones back home! You can find out more about our Christmas vacations here.
NATIONAL HOLIDAYS IN NOVEMBER
All Soul’s Day
Though not a public holiday, All Souls’ Day is celebrated throughout Italy the day after All Saints’ Day, on November 2nd. Called Giorno dei Morti in Italian, the holiday is meant to honor each family’s dead ancestors. Families typically visit the cemetery again to clean, polish, and decorate the gravestones of their passed loved ones. Chrysanthemums are the Italian flower for the dead, so expect to see the orange flowers all over local graveyards.
Since the holiday is not a day off work or school, All Souls’ Day celebrations are typically toned down compared to All Saints’ Day. After visiting their deceased loved ones, families typically enjoy leftovers from the previous day’s feasts or a simpler meal.
All Saints’ Day
All Saints’ Day is one of Italy’s 12 national public holidays. In Italian, the day is called Ognissanti or Tutti i Santi and is celebrated on November 1st each year. As is clear by the name, the holiday celebrates all of the saints.
Since November 1st is a public holiday, Italians do not go to school or work and spend the whole day celebrating. Traditionally, they attend mass, then visit their nearest cemetery to honor the dead. Sometimes mass is held at the cemetery and other times, it’s held in the church and the procession walks together to the cemetery where the priests bless the dead saints.
Food also plays an important role in the celebration of this holiday. Each region of Italy has their own distinctive food specialties so their traditional meals vary. However, most regions feast on some type of soup to combat the cold weather and freshly made dark bread.
TIPS FOR VISITING ITALY IN NOVEMBER
- Since November is low season for tourists, many tours, churches, museums, and monuments will have modified times of operation. Call or email ahead to ensure you know the correct hours.
- Instead of packing a bulky umbrella on your flight, ask to borrow one from the concierge at your hotel. They often have them on loan for visitors walking around in the off-season.
- If you’re on a budget, plan your trip for late November for even cheaper airfare and hotel prices.
- Pack layers to be prepared for a variety of weather. Lightweight materials such as wool will keep you warm and can be easily removed and stored in a backpack when the sun shines.
- With the variable weather, focus your itinerary on indoor items or be flexible with your plans.
- To embrace the approaching winter, plan your vacation in the Alps or the Dolomites and enjoy a number of snow sports!
- Some tourist destinations are only open on weekends during low season, so schedule your vacation to spend as many weekends in Italy as possible.
BOOK YOUR NOVEMBER ITALIAN VACATION
If you factor in the lack of crowds, the exquisite seasonal cuisine, and the number of cultural events, November is truly a wonderful time to take a vacation in Italy. With so few tourists, autumn is one of the few times a visitor can get a feel for authentic Italian life.
For example, Venice in the summertime can be crowded and hot, leaving very little space to explore or enjoy the unique canal city. However, visit during November and you will see a nearly deserted floating city. The fog and rain will add to the mysterious allure of the canals and give you a perfect atmosphere to view museums and explore the city.
Whether you’re ready to book your next Italian vacation in November or would rather discuss a different time of year, please get in touch with us. Our Italian travel experts will help you plan the perfect trip.
Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:
Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:
- The best things to see and do in Italy in January
- The best things to see and do in Italy in February
- The best things to see and do in Italy in March
- The best things to see and do in Italy in April
- The best things to see and do in Italy in May
- The best things to see and do in Italy in June
- The best things to see and do in Italy in July
- The best things to see and do in Italy in August
- The best things to see and do in Italy in September
- The best things to see and do in Italy in October
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December