Though there's not a bad season to visit Italy, autumn is a favorite time of year for many travelers. Temperatures are mild, and crowds have mostly thinned out from their summer peak. Airfare prices tend to drop during this period as do hotel rates, meaning your money might buy you a nicer room in the fall than it would in the summer. In October and especially in November, you're more likely to encounter wet weather, so keep this in mind if you don't like sightseeing under grey, often rainy skies.
Autumn is also a glorious period for eating and drinking in Italy, with opportunities to taste freshly pressed olive oil, precious white truffles, and delicate porcini mushrooms. Restaurant menus often change for the fall, meaning you'll be able to dig into lots of hardy comfort foods like pasta al forno (lasagna), polenta with ragu or mushroom sauce, ribollita (the thick vegetable soup of Tuscany), and other rich pasta and meat dishes. There's also a full festival calendar in autumn, with many events dedicated to the culinary specialties of the season.
Italy has incredibly varied geography and climates, so no one set of weather trends or predictions applies for the entire country. But do keep in mind that October and particularly November can be very wet—November is the rainiest month just about anywhere on the peninsula. In mountainous areas, heavy rains have been known to cause deadly flash floods and mudslides—infrequent, but they do occur. In Venice, November is associated with the acqua alta, the extreme high tides that flood Piazza San Marco and make narrow canals overflow their banks. In the Italian alpine regions, including the popular Dolomites, may see snow as early as October, particularly at higher altitudes.
Italy Weather in Autumn
Given the climate diversity in Italy, it's difficult to provide one average temperature and rainfall statistic for the entire country. Assuming that most travelers to Italy spend much of their time in the central or north-central part of the country —encompassing Rome and Florence—we'll discuss weather trends there.
September in central Italy can still be quite warm, with daytime temperatures matching July and August's average highs of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) or higher. But you'll notice a difference in the evenings when cooler nights signal that autumn is on the way. By the end of September, daytime temperatures will be more fall-like. This section should start with the average high and low temperatures for the month in the specific place, to give the reader a general sense of what the temperature is like during that month.
October brings some of Italy's best weather, with clear blue skies casting a special light over cities and countryside. Temperatures in much of the country are mild and pleasant, and nights are chilly, yet seldom dipping below the 50s F (low teens in C).
November can be similarly glorious or overcast, cold, and rainy. High temperatures are typically around 55 degrees F (13 degrees C)—perfect on a bright, sunny day, or damp and chilly on a rainy one.
Keep in mind that these are the norms for the midsection of Italy. The further south you go, the warmer and drier autumn you'll experience. In the northern part of the country, expect colder, wetter conditions and the possibility of snow.
What To Pack
Coats are sometimes necessary during a rainy November in Venice, but days later, you might be wearing a sundress and sandals in Capri. So what you pack depends mainly on which parts of the country you plan to visit.
For city travel, long-sleeve T-shirts, cotton sweaters, and long pants will suffice for most of the season. In the early part of the fall, you may even want shorts and a T-shirt. A mid-weight, waterproof jacket is a good idea, particularly later in the season. Bring a heavier sweatshirt or jacket for the evenings and a lightweight rain poncho, especially towards the end of fall. For travel to northern cities like Milan, Venice, or Torino (Turin), add additional layers and a warmer coat to this packing list.
For autumn travel to the Italian countryside, add sturdier shoes—fall is an excellent time for hiking in places like the Cinque Terre—plus more layers and, depending on the region, a heavier coat.
Autumn Events in Italy
Italy celebrates the fall season with a range of culinary, religious, and cultural events across the country. Here are some of the most important ones:
- In Venice, the Regatta Storica is an exciting series of historic boat races held on the first Sunday in September.
- The Venice International Film Festival is held on Venice's Lido Island in early September.
- On Sept. 19, Naples welcomes the Festival of San Gennaro, the city's most important religious festival.
- Fall is white truffle season in much of central and northern Italy, and truffle fairs across the regions celebrate these pungent fungi. If you've ever wanted to sample some of the most prized produce in the world, now's your chance.
- The Barcolana Regatta at Trieste, in Italy's underrated Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, is a huge sailing regatta drawing up to 3,000 participating boats. It's held on the second Sunday in October.
- Though it's gone a bit corporate in recent years, Eurochocolate is one of the largest chocolate festivals in Europe. It's held over 10 days in mid-October in the Umbrian city of Perugia.
- The world-famous Roma Jazz Fest runs the entire month of November. Most concerts take place at Rome's Auditorium Parco Della Musica.
- In Venice, the Festa Della Salute on Nov. 21 commemorates the end of the 1630 plague with a bridge of boats connecting to the church of the Santa Maria Della Salute.
- Italy's biggest Christmas Market opens the last weekend of November northern city of Bolzano, the capital of the South Tyrol region.
Autumn Travel Tips
While autumn sees crowds thin out in some parts of Italy, many of its cities will remain crowded. In Rome and Florence, for example, September and October were once considered shoulder seasons, but now, they're often as busy as the summer months. Book your hotel rooms well in advance. For more information, check out our guide to the Best Time to Visit Italy.