November is not the peak of the tourist season in Italy, but if you're in the country at that time, join the locals and enjoy the many popular autumn events. You'll find truffle fairs, music and cultural festivals, and the start of the performing arts season.
Truffles Are the Stars in November
The Alba White Truffle Festival, one of the biggest truffle festivals in Italy, ends around the first weekend of November. The highly prized Tartufo Bianco truffle bursts with aroma and flavor. It is too delicate for cooking, so is only served fresh. The pricey truffle is literally worth its weight in gold. Locals and visitors alike descend on Alba's shops from late October to Christmas, where the truffles are displayed under glass and sold by the gram, commanding as much as 500 euros per hundred grams.
The White Truffle Fair in the medieval Tuscan hill town of San Miniato is held on the second, third, and fourth weekends in November. Craft stands, entertainment, and restaurants that feature the celebrated truffles abound during the fair. You can even take part in a truffle hunt. Twenty-five percent of Italy's white truffles are produced in this region, and November is the heart of the truffle-gathering season.
The world's largest white truffle, weighing 2,520 kilograms, was found in San Miniato in 1954.
In many Italian towns and villages in November, chestnut and olive oil festivals take place on the weekends for tasting the best of these local products. Don't miss the special fall menus that highlight truffles, chestnuts, and wild mushrooms served especially on Sundays—November is a great month for enjoying the Italian autumn harvest.
Music and Performing Arts in Rome
Beginning in late September and running through early December the Roma Europa Festival presents musical works of art in venues all around Rome. Various performances include drama, music, and dance for every taste. Other Rome events in November include the Roma Jazz Festival in the first week of November featuring Italian and international artists playing an eclectic mix, and the acclaimed Rome International Film Festival, or RIFF.
Church Festivals and Holidays
- All Saints Day, celebrated November 1, is a national holiday in Italy so many shops will be closed, but most top tourist attractions and museums remain open. Some churches that are not usually open to the public may be open on All Saints Day. On All Souls Day, November 2, Italians bring flowers to the cemeteries to honor their deceased relatives.
- The Feast of Our Lady of Good Health is one of Venice's most important celebrations. The festival is held on November 21 at Madonna Della Salute Church to commemorate Venice's deliverance from the plague in 1621. A temporary bridge is erected across the Grand Canal and thousands of pilgrims cross over to the church in a very beautiful procession.
- Oberdrauburg Christmas Market usually occurs on the last weekend in November in the town of Signa, about 15 minutes' drive from Florence. The twin cities of Maromme, France, and Oberdrauburg, Austria, participate to offer traditional products and buy early Christmas presents.