Italy in October: best places to visit and 7 tips

Bright leaves, colorful harvest festivals, and delicious fall treats: visiting Italy in October is a great idea if you want a chill, yet eventful vacation.

Here is everything you need to know, from the best places and events to the average temperatures and weather.

Visiting Italy in October

Whether you are looking for a naturalistic vacation or an eno-gastronomic trip, visiting Italy in October is the right answer for you. 

Faenza, a northern Italian city, in October © Original italystart.com Photo

The leaves are rapidly changing their colors, offering some incredible views, while the land offers some of its sweetest fruits (above them all, juicy grapes, crunchy apples, and sugary pears).

Many small towns celebrate this time of the year with colorful and vibrant festivals and the local osterie (‘taverns’) are offering a wide choice of traditional dishes based on the autumnal harvest. 

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Moreover, Italy in October can be considered as shoulder season (the window time between the peak and off-peak touristic seasons), which means that you will be able to find cheaper accommodations, flights, and outdoor activities.

Plus, the country is not as packed with tourists as during other periods of the year. However, this rule does not apply to visiting cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice.

italy in october
Biking along the ruins of Aquileia © Original italystart.com Photo

Last but not least, the weather in Italy in October is still quite warm, with some sunny days that make it possible to spend the entire day outside, engaging in activities such as hikes, vie ferrate (climbing routes iin the Alps , and even boat trips.

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Weather in Italy in October

The weather in Italy in October is pretty warm, with average temperatures ranging from 10 °C (50° F) to 24° C (75° F). Some locations might even register peaks of 26° C (79°C). If in the past this was a prerogative of the southern regions of the country, this is no longer true.

Indeed, temperatures up to 26°C have been registered during October 2022 in Northern and Central cities such as Milan, Bologna, and Florence. 

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Even beach life is occasionally an option in October © Original italystart.com Photo

However, this does not mean that the weather cannot be quite variable as well. Indeed, it’s pretty common to experience both sun and rain on the same days (even though the heavy summer thunderstorms are quite rare during this month). On average, rain is registered on 7 to 8 days out of the 31 of the month. 

In addition, keep in mind that nights can be pretty chilly, if not cold. Therefore, our suggestion is to always bring a jacket with you, even on sunnier days. 

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On the last Sunday of the month, daylight saving time changes to solar (or winter) time. This means that the average sunset time will be around 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., leading to colder afternoons, and less time to spend outside.

Pros of visiting Italy in October

The advantages of visiting Italy in October are manifold. Here are the main ones.

Admire the fall foliage: October is the heart of autumn in Italy. The leaves are quickly changing their colors from green to bright red and yellow. What best time of the year to admire the fall foliage than during this month?

Italian parks and forests become an explosion of ever-changing colors (head down below to find out the best places where it is possible to admire the Fall foliage).
Enjoy the last warmer days: The weather in Italy in October is pretty mild, with a prevalence of warm and sunny days. This is the perfect climate to engage in outdoor activities, without suffering from the excessive heat typical of the Summer months. 

In addition, you might still be able to enjoy the last beach days, especially in southern regions, such as Apulia, Sicily, and Sardinia.
Take advantage of the shoulder season: October is right in the middle of the shoulder season. This means, in general, lower prices for accommodations and flights, as well as shorter lines in front of the major touristic attractions.

But note that accommodations in cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice actually charge high-season rates. Moreover, the entry tickets for most national parks and reserves are generally lower during the fall months.
Celebrate the fall harvest: Pumpkins, apples, grapes, and chestnuts: the land offers some of its most delicious fruits at the beginning of Fall. Visiting Italy in October is the perfect occasion to take part in vendemmia (grape harvesting) or olive picking, or even to visit one of the many pumpkin patches. 

In addition, harvest festivals are incredibly popular all along the peninsula. Usually, each festival celebrates a specific fall speciallity. Accordingly, events such as La Festa della Zucca, or La Sagra della Pera (respectively, events ‘honoring’ the harvest of pumpkins and pears) are incredibly popular in Italian countryside villages.

Here is the most comprehensive list (in Italian) of all of them.
Eat some delicious fall treats:
Castagnaccio (a Tuscan cake made of chestnut flour, oil, pine nuts, and rosemary), Strudel di mele (apple strudel), and Frittelle di Zucca (pumpkin fritters). These are only some of the delicious sweet treats you will find almost everywhere in Italy in October.
italy in october
Castagnaccio – Via: depositphotos.com | Fotografiche
The incredible autumnal Sunsets: last but certainly not least, visiting Italy in October comes with the opportunity to admire some of the most breathtaking sunsets. If mountain localities are the place to be for looking at colorful Winter sunsets, Italian plains are instead blessed with incredible autumnal sunsets.

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Cons of visiting Italy in October

If there are multiple pros to visiting Italy in October, there are also some cons. Here are the main ones, so that you can make your own evaluations about booking (or not) your next Italian trip during this month.

The weather can change pretty quickly
The weather in Italy in October can be quite variable, and change very rapidly. Indeed, it is not uncommon to experience both rain and sun on the same day. It is also possible that it rains for many days in a row.

This is particularly unpleasant if you have some outside activities booked in advance. Besides, the evenings are becoming colder and colder approaching the end of the month. Take this into consideration when planning your nights out.
The days are getting shorter
The number of daylight hours is slowly decreasing as well (especially after the switch from daylight savings to solar time). This could mean you have to set your alarm pretty early to make the most of your Italian vacation. 
italy-in-october
© Original italystart.com Photo

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Earlier closing times 
With the days getting shorter and darker, the closing time of many shops and shopping centers is likely to be anticipated. In some smaller cities, such as Trento or Bolzano, shops might even close as early as 7 p.m. (this is generally not true for big cities such as Milan or Rome).

The same goes also for the majority of parks and outdoor spaces.
Some places might still be quite crowded
Planning a fall trip to Italy has become quite popular among the travel community. Hence, some of the most touristic cities (such as Rome, Florence, and Milan) might still attract a lot of foreigners.

Similarly, lakeside locations such as Lake Garda and Lake Como might be particularly crowded, especially if the weather is still warm.

Events in Italy in October

Even though there are no major national festivities during the month of October, the opportunities to celebrate the arrival of fall are certainly not lacking. Here are the major ones. 

Sagre del Tartufo (truffles fairs and festivals)

Truffle fairs are incredibly popular during this month, especially in regions such as Umbria, Tuscany, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. Among the most popular ones is La Sagra del Tartufo di Alba (a city in Piedmont), which hosts every year hundreds of exhibitors from all around the planet.

Eurochocolate 

Eurochocolate is an annual exhibition dedicated to the culture of chocolate. The event has been hosted since 1994 by the city of Perugia (in Umbria), renowned for the production of the timeless Bacio Perugina (a praline filled with chocolate cream and hazelnuts plus a wise one-liner on a tiny piece of paper).

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The aim of this event is to bring together cocoa-producing countries and give each of them the opportunity to present their customs and traditions around chocolate production.

Rome Film Festival 

Every October, the città eterna is hosting the globally-renowned Rome Film Festival. This event takes place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, where guests have the privilege to assist in international movie premieres, as well as to walk down the famous tappetto rosso (“red carpet”).

italy-in-october-
Italian directors Rubini and Verdone meet each other at the Auditorium, venua of the Rome Film Fest © Original italystart.com Photo / Moreno Maggi

La Barcolana

The historical Regata Barcolana (boat race) is one of the highlight events that take place during the month of October in the seaside town of Trieste. More than 2,000 boats and sailing vessels take part every year in this suggestive competition, which is then accompanied by lots of good food and parties organized in the city center. 

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Halloween

As you might all know, the 31st of October is Halloween day. Even though this festivity is not as felt as is in Anglo-Saxon countries, there is no shortage of parties and events dedicated to the scariest day of the year.

In addition, it is common to see masked children going from door to door and asking for dolcetto o scherzetto (“treat or trick”).

7 useful tips

Have you decided to plan your Fall trip to Italy? Here are 7 useful tips for you.

1. Be smart with your luggage

The weather in Italy in October is quite variable: some days might be pleasantly sunny and warm, while others are quite rainy and cold. This is why you have to be smart when packing your luggage. A raincoat and a light jacket will keep you warm during the chilly Fall nights.

But don’t forget to pack also some T-shirts and short sleeves for the outdoor hikes, and even a swimsuit if you are planning to go to the beach.

2. Check the weather forecasts in advance

Linked to the previous tip, check the weather forecasts in advance. This might be very helpful when prepping your luggage, and also for planning your outdoor activities. A hike on a rainy day is surely not the best!

3. Plan your visit before the end of daylight savings

The switch to the ora solare (“solar hour”) is good if you are used to waking up very early. However, it is not ideal if you are planning an outdoor activity, as you might be forced to go back to your accommodation before you would have liked to.

Therefore, a great tip is to schedule your Italian trip before the last Sunday of the month (the day on which the hour changes) so that you will still be able to enjoy more hours of sunlight. 

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4. Check the closing times

Many commercial activities, as well as almost all the natural parks and reserves, start to close earlier from the beginning of the month. Check the closing times beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

5. Book your tickets in advance

Festivals and museum tickets are generally less expensive when booked in advance (this is called “in prevendita”). The same is true for outdoor activities: make sure to book your spot in advance, as the demand is generally quite high.

6. Put the incredible fall sunsets on your bucket list

Autumnal sunsets are the best: the sky is dyed with all the nuances of red, yellow, and purple. This is why you should absolutely include them on your bucket list.

Cities that are not surrounded by mountains, such as Milan or Bologna, as well as plains, are great for sunset hunting.

7. Ask the locals for the best fairs

The last tip is to ask locals for recommendations about the best Fall fairs and festivals. Indeed, most of the time these smaller events are not widely publicized, although they are one of the best ways to connect with the culture of the territory.

In addition, they usually are the best places where it is possible to find some regional delicacies that are unknown to most. An example is the traditional tortel di patate or smacafam in Trentino Alto Adige.

Places to visit in October

October is an incredible time of the year all along the peninsula. However, some places truly give their best during this month. Here are some of them. 

1. Rome

What better month to visit Rome, la città eterna, than October? The ottobrate romane, that is how October is often called in the capital. By this is intended that thanks to the sunny days with mild temperatures it feels more like a second summer than the beginning of autumn.

Also read: The many familiar and unfamiliar free things to do in Rome.

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The crispy air and lower temperature are perfect for wandering around the city. Last but not least, the particular position of the sun during this month creates a magical atmosphere around some of the oldest buildings in the world.

2. Siena and the Chianti valley

Surrounded by majestic cypresses and ancient vineyards, Tuscan hills are the perfect place to enjoy the change of season. The bright leaves stand out against the warmer tones of the autumnal sky, while the land offers some of its most delicious products. 

italy-in-october
Tuscany in autumn © Original italystart.com Photo

October is also the best month to visit the historical Tuscan villages of Montepulciano, San Gimignano, and Montalcino, renowned for their rich cultural heritage, as well as for their eno-gastronomic tradition.

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Another must-see is also the city of Siena, home of the homonymous palio (a historical horse race – held in july and August), and of one of the most beautiful squares in the world, Piazza del Campo.

3. Lombardy

Although Lombardy is most renowned for its capital, Milan, this region is also rich in natural parks where it’s possible to admire the enchanting fall foliage. Among them are the beechwood of Monte Genoroso, near the city of Como, the Foresta dei Bagni Masino, close to Sondrio, as well as the Foresta Carpaneta, nearby Mantova.

4. Perugia

Perugia, the capital city of the region Umbria, is well-known for its stunning Medieval buildings, as well as for truffle, wine, and olive oil production. A must-do during the month of October is to visit the Eurochocolate festival, dedicated to chocolate culture and production. Don’t forget to visit also the cities of Assisi and Gubbio, which are just a few kilometers away from Perugia.

5. The Amalfi coast

The Amalfi coast is one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ spots in Italy. No wonder why this locality attracts thousands of international tourists each summer. If you don’t fancy the idea of being stuck in a crowd of Instagram models and celebrities, you can consider visiting the Costiera in October.

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The weather is still generally sunny and warm, the food is incredible, and the views are breathtaking. The only downside is that some outdoor activities might be off-limit during this month. Make also sure to check in advance the schedule for ferries, as the rides might be reduced during the lower season.

italy-in-october
© Original italystart.com Photo

In conclusion…

Visiting Italy in October means admiring the bright fall foliage, taking part in local fairs and festivals, and visiting some of the most renowned historical sites without the crowds typical of busier times of the year. 

In addition, you will have the chance to treat yourself to some incredible regional delicacies, such as Castagnaccio, pasta al tartufo, or frittelle di zucca.

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