Italy in September – The Best Things to See & Do
If you thought you missed out on Italy’s summer season, think again. September will still offer warm weather and sunny skies. In fact, Italian summers extend well into fall, especially in the south where it’s warmer. September is often thought of as the best month to visit Italy because the weather is fantastic, the crowds are slightly less than the summer, and the countryside looks beautiful. There are tons of events, festivals, historic sites, and cultural experiences going on this month so grab your itinerary and start planning. If you’re visiting Italy in September, here’s what there is to see and do.
ITALY WEATHER IN SEPTEMBER
Italian summers can be humid and hot but once September comes around, the temperatures drop just slightly. You should still be prepared for heat because September weather is more similar to summer than you’d think. This is the perfect month to go swimming on the coast or enjoy the outdoor nightlife since temperatures drop slightly in the evening. Bringing layers isn’t necessary since the temps are pretty consistent throughout the day. The average temperatures in September look like this:
- Northern Italy: 55-75°F (13-24°C)
- Central Italy: 65-80°F (18-27°C)
- Southern Italy: 70-80°F (21-27°C)
Italy in September truly feels like summer, especially in the beginning of the month. It’s only towards the end of the month that fall temperatures start to creep in. There isn’t a lot of rain during this time either, although visitors may experience a summer rain shower every once in a while. As you would during any visit, make sure to check the local weather each day before heading out for sightseeing.
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN SEPTEMBER
September is the beginning of Italy’s harvest season which mean there are events and festivals going on all over the country. If you’re into food, this is an ideal time to visit the country as foodie festivals and events are going on everywhere. There are festivals celebrating everything from chocolate and white truffles to prosciutto. It’s an amazing opportunity to taste authentic, Italian food without stepping foot in a restaurant. Depending on your location, the festivals will vary so do a bit of research to find which events are happening near you while you’re traveling.
Aside from foodie fests, September offers a hearty lineup of cultural festivals as well. There are film showing, religious festivals, historic boat races, and national holidays. Here’s some of the best things to see and do in Italy during September so get your itinerary ready.
Taking place in Venice, this festival is one of the most famous in September. The historic boat race starts on the first Sunday of the month and brings in giant crowds from around the globe. Spectators can watch four races; men, women, children, and champions. This sport has been practiced in Venice for thousands of years and the event still uses boats from the 16th century. There is a rambunctious parade that takes place before the main event, as well as floating stalls around the canals. Visitors can sit in the stalls to watch the festivities take place from the water. This event is popular so make sure to book well in advance if you need accommodations.
International Film Festival
This film festival takes place in Venice and is the perfect event for movie-lovers. Even if you’re not a film fan, the culture and entertainment that surrounds this event is enough to get excited about. You’ll find the festival early in September, and may even catch a few famous actors wandering around the city. It’s considered one of the world’s top three film festivals alongside the Berlin International Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. Again, this is quite the star studded event so it may be worth it to make an appearance just to catch a glimpse of one of your favorite stars. Visitors will be treated to art exhibits, dance performances, movies, theater, and architecture exhibitions. The event is prestigious so make sure to book accommodations early, get your tickets quickly, and dress your absolute best.
Palio di San Rocco
This event can be found in Figline Valdarno, a town in Tuscany. It’s a five-day event that is made up of historic, medieval competitions. This is said to be Tuscany’s first ever Palio event, which features archery, horse racing, and jousting. Visitors will get to experience traditional, Italian entertainment and culture. Expect to see live music, entertainment, plenty of local food, and locals dressed exclusively in costume.
This festival takes place in Verona and celebrates Shakespeare’s Juliet. It takes place on September 12th each year and features dancing, parades, costumes, and street entertainment. Visitors like to stop by Juliet’s balcony and the wall of letters that people from around the world have written to her over the years. Another perk is that you can visit her tomb! If you love literature, this is a great festival to attend. And hey, if you’re traveling as a couple, the atmosphere around the festival is known to be romantic so this could be a great stop for you.
This festival is located in Bologna and celebrates nearly everyone’s favorite food, potatoes. If you’re a foodie you’ll love this festival because there is usually an impressive lineup of potato-based dishes. The festival is a week long and offers the opportunity to learn all about the different potato varieties that are grown in Italy. You can taste test the local recipes while wandering around the food carts and booths. Get ready to carb up as you try potato salad, potato soup, fries, potato gnocchi, crisps, and potato pizza. Wear comfortable pants because you’ll need the wiggle room after all of these carbs.
Verona is the place to visit if you want to experience some of the best opera in the world. It takes place in Verona’s Roman amphitheater so you can sit under the night sky and watch incredible performances. There are well-known singing and dancing acts that will keep you entertained whether you like opera or not.
Women’s Fashion Week
If you love fashion you should make your way to Milan for this glamorous event. For an entire week in late September the city is filled with beautiful fashion and models. Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world so what better place to find the best of the best in the industry. Visitors will see top notch brands like Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Moschino, Gucci, Max Mara, Armani, and Versaci. Expect to see fashion models roaming around between the exhibits and fashion shows. If you love the world of fashion, this is simply the best place to be.
WHAT TO SEE/DO IN ITALY IN SEPTEMBER
Climb Mt. Vesuvius
When the weather is as nice as it is in September, you simply have to do some hiking. Climbing up Mt. Vesuvius is a must-do while visiting Italy. It offers stunning views, gets you active, and is a serious accomplishment that you can brag to your friends about once you return home. Plus, it’s one of Italy’s top sites so it’s worth the trek just for the photo. A hike up Vesuvius in September is perfect because it’s still warm enough to offset the cooler temperatures at altitude but not too humid and hot like in the summer. If you’re not in great shape, don’t worry because there are a range of routes for different abilities. Once you reach the crater, be prepared for an other worldly view because it looks like a scene from outer space. Don’t forget to snap a photo because you’ll definitely want to remember this moment.
Explore Clinique Terre
This colorful coastal region is an absolute beauty and is perfect for visiting in September. It’s postcard perfect as the colorful buildings dot the rugged cliffs. The entire scene is framed by endlessly blue water and dotted with locals who are enjoying the views. It’s considered a World UNESCO Heritage Site as well as a national park so you can expect lots of beauty and culture. There are five different villages that make up the region so the best way to see them is by renting a car. Stop off to admire the olive groves, view points, and the romantic hideouts that are great for snapping a photo. Don’t forget to stop into the small eateries to get your fill of authentic, local food.
Visit Lake Como
September is a great month to spend some time outdoors. If you want a lavish day on the water, Lake Como is the place to be. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Italy and is known as a luxury destination around the world. There are incredible restaurants, opulent hotels, and hangouts of the rich and famous. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have a major budget to visit Lake Como. This ritzy destination can be visited on the cheap as well. However you decide to spend your time, make sure to take a moment to soak up the sun and the views while wandering around the charming villages that surround Lake Como.
Wander Around Rome
Rome should make everyone’s itinerary no matter what time of year it is. Give yourself a few days just to wander around this incredible city and check out all of the famous sites. Don’t miss the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. But, don’t forget to spend some time exploring on your own without a map. There are incredible restaurants, cafes, and little-known museums all around Rome. Spend plenty of time eating, especially the pasta, pizza, and gelato. If you have some time, make sure to take a day trip to Vatican City which is right next to Rome. You can spend the entire day wandering around the museums and cathedrals. The museums are made up of artifacts and art collected by the Pope over the years so you can get in a hearty dose of history and culture. Don’t forget to check out the highlight- The Sistine Chapel.
Make sure to get in a visit to the city of Pompeii, especially if you hike the nearby Mt. Vesuvius. This volcano erupted and obliterated the entire town, covering everything in ash and killing hundreds of people. The ash had preserved many people and buildings so you can actually see the positions that people and animals held as they were killed by it. It’s now an open-air museum so you can see Roman ruins, homes, baths, and the views of Mt. Vesuvius in the distance.
Take a Boat Journey Along The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. September is a great time to take a boat ride along the waters to see all the sites. You’ll be offered sunny views of rugged landscape, colorful homes, quaint boats, and deep blue water. Keep an eye out for the tiny inlets, hidden coves, and towering rock faces that make this shoreline so stunning. Tiny fishing villages dot the coast so make sure to stop off for a drink or some local eats.
Get Lost In Venice
Getting lost in Venice is one of the top things to do in this beautiful city. It’s a great place to visit in September because of the festivals but also packs in the history and culture. The city is made up of small alleys, hidden canals, secret doors, and small cafes. Make sure to just wander the streets and see what incredible things you find. Find your way to the Grand Canal to watch the boats whiz by as you eat gelato. Pull up to a canal-side restaurant and sip some wine as you watch the tourists roam by. When you aren’t wandering, spend some time exploring the cathedrals and art museums or take a romantic gondola ride with someone you love.
Hike up Stromboli
This volcano is still active and available to hike if you’re in Sicily. People who love trekking know this hotspot and many visit Italy just to hike it. You don’t have to climb the whole thing so don’t worry if you’re not in the best shape. A climb halfway up will offer great views and easier trails. For those who are more adventurous, you can hire a guide to take you all the way to the top. It will take around 5-6 hours and won’t be easy but it’s certainly worth the view and the photographs.
Do a Pizza Tour in Naples
Naples is the go-to place for all pizza lovers. Start the day with an empty stomach and take a self-guided walking tour to as many pizza spots as you can find. It’s said that Naples invented pizza so what better place to put the city to the taste test? September weather makes a walking tour very pleasant, especially when you find pizzerias that offer outside seating.
Wander The Chianti Wine Route
Anyone visiting Italy must spend some time tasting the wine. The Chianti wine route is one of the most well-known and is found between Siena and Florence. This area is packed with natural beauty and has some of the best wine in the country. Tour the vineyards, do some tastings, or hop on a wine tour to learn all about the process of growing. The area is full of countryside beauty like charming villages and rolling hills. This scene is perfect for viewing with a bold glass of wine in hand.
OTHER TIPS FOR VISITING ITALY IN SEPTEMBER
If you’re visiting Italy in September, here are a few more tips:
- September can be a busy time for tourists so make sure to book hotels and activities early.
- Book hotels and tickets early especially when attending a large festival.
- Pack clothes that are breathable and light if you want to stay comfortable in the high temperatures. Bring a sweater as well because the indoor air-conditioning can be quite cold.
- Pack hiking shoes and comfortable clothes if you plan on trekking.
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 October
- The best things to see and do in Italy in November
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December
September is a wonderful time to travel to Italy, especially if you want to be outdoors. This is a great time for hiking, tasting the food, and taking in the natural beauty. Happy travels!