Italy in October – The Best Things to See & Do
While Italy is a popular destination in the summer, it’s a great country to visit during other times of year. October is typically considered a ‘shoulder season’ in Italy, making it one of the best times to stop by. Many tourists have caught on to the beauty of Italy in October, so don’t expect the crowds and prices to have died down too much. However, visitors to Italy during this month will be greeted with fantastic weather, slightly less hustle and bustle, and plenty to experience. If you’re considering Italy in October, here is what you need to know.
WEATHER IN ITALY IN OCTOBER
If you want to treat yourself to some true, Autumn weather, October is the month. While September can feel a lot like summer, temperatures drop pretty quickly. In some areas of Italy, the drop is somewhere around 10 degrees; quite a significant difference. For those who want to avoid the heat, throw on a sweater, and enjoy the outdoors, this is one of the best times.
In October, the days are usually slightly warm and sunny with cooler evenings. There is more rain during this month than others, so make sure to pack a raincoat and an umbrella. By this time of year, Italy is no longer popular for its beach weather. However, this doesn’t mean that a day spent on the beach won’t be enjoyable. Italy’s beach weather during this time of year isn’t exactly reliable, so basing your holiday around coastline relaxation isn’t the best idea.
While sightseeing, October tourists enjoy more mild temperatures, so they won’t be battling the usual summer heat waves. Some may find it easier to explore outside, visit attractions, and get around the city without excessive temperatures. Temperatures vary around Italy, so it’s important to prepare for your exact destination.
On average, northern Italy sees temperatures ranging from 45-65°F (7-18°C,) southern Italy from, 65-75°F (18-24°C,) and central Italy from 55-70°F (13-21°C). Always make sure to pack layers and check the local forecast before venturing out for the day.
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN OCTOBER
October can be an exciting month to visit because of the unique events. While there aren’t many national holidays during this time of year, the month fills up with festivals. Since this is the time of year for harvest, many of the festivals have to do with food and wine. If you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, visiting in October would be a real treat. Some of the best Italian festivals in October include:
White Truffle Festival
Located in Alba, this festival takes place throughout the month of October. Many consider this to be one of Italy’s most important festivals, as it celebrates one the world’s rarest ingredients. World-renowned chefs are in agreement that Alba is the most prime place on earth to get white truffle mushrooms. The event is crawling with truffle hunters who set up stands to show off their finds. Top chefs create dishes with these delicious ingredients for guests to sample. The festival offers visitors the chance to go truffle hunting or buy some of these mushrooms to take home. In addition to the truffles, there is also a donkey race, musical entertainment, costumes, art shows, wine tasting, and a hot air balloon show. Foodies will love this festival.
Chocolate lovers should head to Perugia for this annual event in October. The entire town comes alive with the happy chatter of chocolate enthusiasts. The air smells like fresh hot coco, and the sight of glistening chocolate bars is everywhere. Visitors can find chocolate in a variety of flavors as well as chocolate liquor, kebabs, and fountains. Guests can tour the local chocolate factory, and help themselves to samples throughout the day. You’ll definitely want to take some chocolate home as souvenirs.
Enzo Ferrari Memorial Marathon in Maranello
This annual race takes place each October, starting in Maranello and ending in Carpi. The marathon features both male and female athletes, and can be viewed by visitors from the sidelines. While it isn’t an event that people typically travel overseas for, it can be fun to watch if you happen to be in the area during this time of year.
If you’re visiting Venice in October, you may catch the annual marathon that takes place here. There are typically athletes both from Italy and afar, all competing amongst the canals and beautiful views of Venice. The race runs through the famous, St. Mark’s Square and over the Bridge of Liberty. So, you’ll get a little tour of Venice as you follow along with the race.
Also referred to as All Saints Eve, Halloween is celebrated with parties and costumes throughout Italy. The country’s largest Halloween celebration is held in Borgo a Mozzano, on Devil’s Bridge. Visitors will find interactive games, horror movie screenings, and haunted passages. The town of Corinaldo claims to be the ‘Capital of Halloween.’ They host spooky attractions, light and sound shows, and themed entertainment throughout the town. Triora, the City of Witches, hosts a Halloween festival annually, and many amusement parks decorate for the holiday too. The entire country hosts themed dinners, movie nights, costume parties, and haunted houses.
Rome Film Festival
Usually taking place in October, this festival is great for movie buffs. There are international premiers, famous actors, and events going on throughout the city. You may even spot some world-famous actors as they visit restaurants and sites around the city.
WHAT TO SEE/DO IN ITALY IN OCTOBER
Aside from the weather and events, Italy in October is memorable for the atmosphere. Foodies will experience the best of the country’s harvest. And budget travelers will have some relief from the sky-high summer prices. Crowds really begin to drop off during this autumn month, making Italy much more pleasant for laid-back travelers.
In October, airlines tend to drop their prices when it comes to Italy flights. Hotels and hostels drop their prices too, and travelers can score some fantastic deals. Certain areas of Italy are thriving during this time of year. If you’re visiting in October, these are the places you should especially check out.
With the harvest season in full swing, the countryside of Tuscany is abound with food and drink. There are food festivals and wine tastings going on all throughout the month. And, the colorful natural scenery makes for the perfect backdrop when touring around. Visitors will have access to fresh olives, chestnuts, mushrooms, and truffles. Visitors won’t just have food to look forward to either. There are art festivals, craft shows, vintage markets, bike races, and street performances too. Visit Chianti in the beginning of the month for the vintage bike race, or Cinigiono for the festive floats during carnival. Palaia is a great destination for wine and truffles. And, Montescudaio is the spot for wine festival festivities.
This area of Italy is an absolute dream for food and wine lovers. During harvest season, Piemonte really thrives. Located in the hilly area that borders France and Switzerland, Piemonte has a unique climate for growing produce and grapes for wine. Visitors to Piemonte in October are in for a treat when it comes to dining. Restaurants around the region have specialty dishes and events to celebrate this bountiful time of year. Make sure to visit the town of Barolo, a place known for its wine and pretty views during fall. Book a truffle hunt when visiting this region, because the thrill of finding these mushrooms yourself is almost as good as eating them.
Bordering Tuscany is Umbria, also called the ‘Green Region.’ It’s made up of medieval hill towns, thick forests, and wineries. Since it is so close to Tuscany, Umbria has often taken a back seat to this famous, Italian destination. However, the region is starting to become more popular, as much of its countryside scenery is the same. Visitors will find olive groves, vineyards, fresh produce, and plenty of restaurants that incorporate all of these local flavors.
Since Florence is such a popular destination, it’s best to visit when the summer crowds die down. The city will still be bustling with visitors, but the crowds won’t be as bad once Autumn comes around. The temperatures cool down a bit, and there are plenty of events to add to the usual attractions. If you’re visiting on October 8th, make sure to catch the medieval procession that honors Santa Reparata, a 3rd century A.D martyr. The display begins at Piazza di Parte Guelfa and runs to Santa Reparata’s crypt at the Duomo. In mid-October, the week-long fair, Fiera di San Luca, takes place just 20 minutes from Florence. It’s the oldest agricultural fair in Europe, and offers livestock shows, traditional food, artisans, and music.
During the summer months, Rome is absolutely packed with tourists. The weather can be extremely hot, making it difficult to get around. In October, the crowds die out and the cooler weather brings some relief. Sightseeing in Rome becomes a lot easier and more pleasant during this time of year. For music lovers, the Roma Jazz Festival usually takes place in October. Rome has some of the best jazz clubs around Europe, and this is where you’ll find many of the performances. There’s also the RomaEuropa Festival, which showcases theater and dance performances. Aside from the events, Rome is decorated in Autumn colors, making the ancient buildings look even more impressive. The markets, like Campo de’ Fiori, are full of seasonal produce like chestnuts, artichokes, pumpkins, arugula, and zucchini.
October in Venice is a great time for entertainment. This is the start of the opera season, and visitors can catch some outstanding shows. Visit the city’s most famous opera house, Teatro La Fenice, to get your first taste of Italian opera. During the first week in October, attend the Festa del Mosto, located on the island of Sant’Erasmo. This is where the wine pressing begins and is a local spot to ring in the harvest with delicious food and wine. In this countryside setting, visitors also get to listen to live music, watch the rowing regatta, and taste new products from the region.
WHAT TO PACK WHEN VISITING ITALY IN OCTOBER
Since both the weather and temperatures can be unpredictable, it’s best to pack layers. A rain jacket, heavy sweater, walking shoes that can withstand the rain, jeans, shorts, and a t-shirt should make it into the suitcase. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, an umbrella, and a hat because the weather can be either sunny or rainy during this time of year.
TIPS FOR VISITING ITALY IN OCTOBER
- Don’t expect to spend a lot of time at the beach. However, pack a swimsuit because high temperatures do occur during this time of year.
- Bring rain gear. It rains more than usual during October. You’ll want to have a rain jacket, umbrella, and shoes that can withstand getting wet.
- If you’re a foodie, definitely visit the truffle festivals that will be happening throughout the country.
- If you’re planning on visiting the festivals, book your travel and accommodation well in advance as these are very popular events.
- Spend some time bargain hunting. October is the beginning of the shoulder season and prices may be more competitive. Put in some time comparing flights, hotels, and tours if you want to snag a great deal.
- Eat as much food as possible while visiting in October. Italy has always been known for its food, but during this month, the foodie culture is amplified. Visit the markets, try the restaurant specials, and don’t worry about putting on a few extra pounds. It’s worth it.
Autumn in Italy is a prime time to visit. The summer crowds are dying down and the prices are beginning to drop. Since it’s the harvest season, there will be plenty of food to try and wine to taste. If you want to beat the summer heat but still see some of Italy’s best, October is a great time to do it. If you’d like to discuss your travel plans, please get in touch with us today.
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 November
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December