Regularly counted among Europe’s top destinations, Italy draws huge tourist numbers throughout the year. Take a fall holiday in Italy, though, and you’ll skip the biggest crowds, save on good accommodations, and enjoy nearly perfect weather for exploring the following five regions.
The best way to experience Tuscany like a local is to arrive in September or October, when the region’s charming towns and rolling vineyards seem absolutely soaked in golden autumn light. In addition to seven World Heritage Sites, you can also explore more than 120 protected nature reserves, ideal places for getting it touch with Italy’s stunning outdoors. Start in Florence, where you can spend a day sightseeing along the picturesque Arno River. From there, head to the breathtaking Val d’Orcia, a lush valley containing small villages and family-run vineyards producing prestigious Italian wines. Sightsee by hiking or driving, or look for guided tours that offer sunset packages.
Home of pizza and spaghetti, Campania offers a mild climate and a picturesque coastline tailor-made for a relaxing vacation in Italy. This region is renowned for its production of fruits and vegetables, most of which ripen in the fall and paint the landscape with vibrant colors. Campania’s star attraction is Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on the European mainland. Remembered by its dramatic eruption of 79 CE, the volcano is now the centerpiece of a national park. If you don’t like hiking up steep mountain slopes, visit Marina di Puolo, a secluded bay bathed by calm Mediterranean waters. While there, soak up some sunshine, stroll along the sandy beach, and sample the local cuisine at a seaside restaurant.
The beating heart of Italian tourism, Veneto draws a staggering 70 million annual visitors with its Palladian villas, vineyards, lakes, beaches, and parks. Venice remains the region’s biggest attraction, best known for its Grand Canal. You can ride up and down this waterway by gondola or water bus, taking in the sights at a leisurely pace. To escape big-city crowds for a while, head in the direction of Cortina d’Ampezzo, a former host of the Olympic Games offering easy access to great hiking routes stretched across the Dolomites.
As one of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy encompasses the territory between the Alps and the fertile Po Valley. Add it to your Italy itinerary to discover a land of sprawling vineyards and booming wine production. The region also includes the famous Lake Como, one of Italy’s largest and deepest lakes. While the lake offers plenty of opportunities for water sports, regional capital Milan serves as a paradise for shoppers, sports lovers, and opera fans. If you don’t want to use Milan as the base of your trip, settle in Tremezzo, located on the shores of Lake Como. This small town features one of the region’s major attractions, a verdant botanic garden filled with rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, and orange trees.
A land of diverse people and diverse landscapes, Emilia-Romagna features striking contrasts between its mountainous areas and long Adriatic coastline. Famed for its production of fine wines and a variety of culinary delights, the region boasts a tranquil countryside filled with parks and nature preserves. One of the region’s finest outdoor attractions is Parco Naturale di Cervia, where you can explore dense pine forests and the surrounding marshlands on foot, bike, or by boat. Use Bologna as the starting or ending point of your tour if you wish to discover one of the world’s oldest university campuses or enjoy strolling around a large and well-preserved historic town center.
The Autumnal Charms of Italy
Italy’s Eternal City is an eternal tourist destination, welcoming a huge number of visitors throughout the year. To see a different side of the country and take advantage of the best travel weather, schedule your holiday in Italy for autumn and explore the idyllic regions scattered across the boot-shaped peninsula.