If you're visiting Milan, Italy in October or November, you'll find plenty to do. Milan is famous for fashion and shopping, Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Last Supper, and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
Fall is a great time for strolling the streets and piazzas of Milan. The months between November and March are considered the off-season. It's much less crowded than during the busy summer season and certainly less hot.
You can often find street performers entertaining near the cathedral, Galleria shopping mall, or at Sforza Castle, especially on the weekends. In addition to these attractions, there are colorful events and festivals held each fall.
The building houses a bookshop, bar, and history museum, too. You can take a tour guided by docents with training in the history of music, theatre and performing arts.
Built in 1778, some of the world's best singers have performed on La Scala's stage. You can also see a ballet or the symphony at La Scala. The Milan opera season continues through late November. Tickets can be purchased online.
In late October, Milan celebrates Celtic New Year (Samhain) at Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle) with a multi-day music, dance, and medieval festival.
The festival, one of the largest European festivals of its kind, represents the little-known history of Milan's connections with Celtic people during the middle ages. You'll see battles reenacting medieval conflicts, enjoy traditional Italian food, and learn more about Milan's history.
While there, you can also browse the museums and art collections at this 15th century castle. The castle has extensive gardens and grounds to explore. The Castello Sforzesco website lists special events and exhibits.
Although Halloween (All Saints' Eve, October 31), is not an Italian holiday, it's becoming popular, especially among young adults.
Halloween kicks off three days of celebration which also includes All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. On Halloween, you'll find special dinners or events around town (usually advertised on posters).
Costume parties can be found in many of Milan's nightclubs, so pack something you can use as a costume.
Held in early to mid-November, the EICMA Motorcycle Show draws motorcycle fans from all over the world to see the latest models and gear. Custom bike builders also show off their latest choppers.
The expo began in 1914 and now features exhibitors from nearly 40 countries. There are tracks where you can test the newest motorcycles and booths where you can purchase everything related to motorcycles. It's a festive affair with music, demonstrations and the glitz of an International trade show.
Opera is not the only form of music beloved in Milan. Milan is also home to some great jazz. Each town in Italy has their own jazz clubs which organize special performances at regular intervals.
In Milan, the annual jazz festival, called JAZZMI, starts in the first week of November and can last for up to a month. You'll be able to visit a variety of venues to hear famous Italian and European jazz musicians.
The Milanoltre Festival of dance has been a Milanese tradition for over 30 years. This festival of contemporary dance features Italian and international artists. Each year, there are performances by major artists as well as opportunities to see up and coming artists and choreography.
The festival runs from mid-September through the third week in October with events held across the city.
Runners will appreciate knowing that the popular Deejay Ten running event takes place in October. It's a non-competitive 10k or 5k run from Piazza Duomo organized by DJ Linus, and it's one of the Italian running events that attracts more and more participants each year.
The route is closed to traffic and there are the traditional t-shirts and a finish party with refreshment and bands at the end.
Fall Tours and Trips
Fall is a good time to visit Milan's masterpieces on a planned itinerary or walking tour. Milan tourism has developed itineraries for the visitor such as Following in the Footsteps of Leonardo DaVinci.
If you are not a fan of walking, there are a variety of trolley and bus tours to enjoy the sights of Milan. There is even an elegant restaurant tram where you can sip wine and enjoy delicious foods while you sightsee.
A leisurely boat ride on one of Milan's canals would be beautiful in fall. There are five canals in the Navigli Lombardi system linking Milan to the lakes. These are the oldest artificial canals in Europe.