Fall: why this is the best time to visit Italy

Fall is an excellent season to travel to Italy: it will allow you to avoid the hordes of tourists in the most famous cities and it will give you the opportunity to appreciate the charm of this fantastic season if you choose to beat the less touristy paths and try the so-called experiential tourism.

Fallen Leaves

When you grow up in a natural environment, surrounded by woods and meadows, experiencing the changing of the seasons and comprehending the value and the beauty of each one of them is kind of normal. For a city person this might not be so automatic.  A fellow citizen of mine from Veneto, the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, was able to capture their essence in his masterpiece The Four Seasons, which is kind of a synesthetic experience: once you listen to it, you can picture in your mind the colours, the atmospheric phenomenon and the activities typical of each season. In this post I will focus, in particular, on the fall: I will try to share with you the elements we should learn to appreciate and the reasons why it’s the best period to travel in my country, Italy. Let’s do this with a funny word game, an acrostic which I have drawn in my journal:

Travel art, journal

  • F as FOG

We always tend to see fog as an “impediment” when we travel. This is certainly true when we are physically moving from one place to another, as it can be quite dangerous for the lack of visibility, but when we are staying at one place, it can actually be a value, a new element for interpreting the surrounding environment. This is especially true in my area of Italy, the so-called Po Valley in North-Eastern Italy, where the fog during this season is the true key player.

Being a very humid area, fog and mist are quite common phenomenon to witness to. They can take the shape of a floating and soft cloud or be a heavy blanket covering the soil.

Fog adds an element of mystery to a trip and it can be quite cool visiting castles or medieval fortresses during such weather conditions.

Few years ago my best friend came to visit at the end of October and I brought her to see the Castles of Romeo and Juliet in Montecchio Maggiore

Castello di Giulietta tra la nebbia, ottobre 2012

…and to visit the Museum of Risorgimento and Resistance in Vicenza.

Museo del Risorgimento e della Resistenza, Vicenza

Still nowadays she says to me that she can’t picture in her mind her experience in Vicenza and Montecchio without the fog.

Another fascinating phenomenon you can experience in this period is the so-called thermal inversion: the fog literally falls from the sky and leans against the soil: if you’re on the top of a hill, you will have a wonderful perspective.

inversioneIt moves like a giant snake and it looks like it has a life on its own.

I remember that when I was a kid and something like this was happening, I used to go toward the mantle of fog, running into and out of it as many times as I could. It was like entering a cloud or going into another dimension for me 🙂

I also experienced another magical combination: thermal inversion plus sunrise.

Fog at SunriseJust like being inside an impressionist painting, if you ask me.

  • A as ART CITIES

Fall is the ideal period for visiting the Italian art cities. Not only you will avoid the endless lines in front of museums, but you will also have more reasonable prices for hotels and residences. Italy is not cheap, so if you can take advantage of low season prices it’s just great. But remember: high season in famous art cities comprises September and even the start of October, so pick the second half of October or even the early part of November if you want to focus on classic destinations.

Another perk is that, other than foggy days, you can also find several nice days, in which the sky is stunningly blue and without a single cloud.

October, for example, is my favourite month to visit Venice, as in certain days there is an exceptional lustre in the sky.

Canale della Giudecca, VeneziaThis is picture I took of Riva degli Schiavoni and Canale della Giudecca from the top of San Marco’s bell tower: it was the end of October and the sun was shining.

  • L as LEAF-PEEPING

Admiring the bright colours of the foliage is one of the favourite autumnal activities among trippers: what’s best than being surrounded by colourful trees during an excursion?

Yellow

Trees in Autumn

Dead leaves

It’s also re-known that colours influence positively the mood: red energizes, orange induces joy and enthusiasm, yellow is mood-enhancing.

  • L as LIP-SMACKING FRUITS

In our globalized world, we are used to eat all kinds of vegetables and fruits in whatever season of the year. If you choose Italian off-the-beaten-path destinations and visit natural environments, you will understand the importance of enjoying delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables. We often forget how important it is to stick to the products of the season we are going through: not only they are more flavoured, but they are also fresh and less chemically treated.

cavolfiore          chestnuts

Those who want to relax and enjoy nature should stay at an agriturismo, which is the Italian version of an holiday farm or a Spanish finca. The rules that the owners of an agriturismo have to stick to are pretty strict and so you can be quite sure you’ll eat food they produce in their own land.

Certain agriturismi also allow their clients to help them with the harvest and it’s quite an experience picking grapes, chestnuts or apples with them and, once finished, enjoying a meal together in the spirit of conviviality, which is the capacity of living and eating together enjoying each others’ company. The true Italian spirit of our origins, if you ask me 😉

As Carlin Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement, have said:

“Food must be good, healthy and equal: relevant organoleptic quality, ecological sustainability and social justice for those who produce and those who eat”.[1]

If you stay at an agriturismo, you will surely contribute in sustaining this important policy. And fall seems just to be a great season to try an agriturismo.


Are there some typical activities of this season that you do in your own country? Let me know in a comment below 😉 Thanks for reading.

 

[1] Sepulveda, Luis and Carlo Petrini, Un’Idea di Felicità. 2014, Guanda Editore (quotation translated by me)
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