November is the off-peak tourist season in Italy, making it the perfect fall destination for anyone who enjoys crisp weather and a lack of crowds. Additionally, traveling to Italy this time of year allows you to participate in a number of popular local and tourist-free autumn events. From harvest-time truffle fairs to lively cultural festivals that celebrate the start of the performing arts season, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in Italian culture this November.
November is truffle season in Italy, especially in and around the Piedmont region, and to celebrate the fall harvest, the Fiera Internazionale Tartufo Bianco D'Alba (Alba White Truffle Festival) is held from early October through late November each year. Considered one of the biggest truffle events in the country, the Alba White Truffle Festival features a wide range of truffles including the highly-coveted Tartufo Bianco, an aromatic and flavorful variety that's one of the most expensive truffles worldwide.
This colorful festival is held in the medieval Tuscan town of San Miniato on the second, third, and fourth weekends in November. Craft stands, entertainment, and restaurants feature the celebrated truffles during the fair, and you can even take part in a truffle hunt where you can pick and eat your own.
November is also the height of the chestnut harvest season in many Italian towns and villages. Piancastagnaio, in the Province of Siena, hosts this festival from October through early November each year, when you can enjoy roasted, boiled, and dried chestnuts while perusing local art and vendor stands. Afterward, don't miss the special fall menus at regional restaurants, which highlight truffles, chestnuts, and wild mushrooms, and be sure to look for special harvest dishes served on Sundays throughout the month as well.
Beginning in late September and running through early December each year, the Roma Europa Festival presents musical works of art in venues all around Rome almost every day in November. Various performances include dramatic plays, live music, dance performances, and a variety of other interactive acts to suit almost every taste. Whether you're a fan of digital art or you're traveling with children, the shows and performances featured at this four-month event provide an opportunity for visitors and locals alike to experience the full range of artistic expression in Italy.
Celebrated throughout the month of November, the Rome Jazz Festival is organized by the International Music Festival Foundation and features some of the biggest names in the genre performing at venues across the city. Tickets are required to attend concerts during the festival and can be purchased online in advance or at the door while available. Originally founded in 1976 as a summer event, the Roma Jazz Festival has taken place in the fall since 1996. Past performers at the festival include Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, The Manhattan Transfer, B.B.
King, and a number of local and international stars.
All Saints Day
Celebrated on November 1, All Saints Day is a national holiday in Italy, and while many shops will be closed, most top tourist attractions and museums remain open. Use this national holiday to attend services at ancient churches that are not usually open to the public including Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, and St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. On the following day—known as All Souls Day—Italians bring flowers to cemeteries across the country to honor their deceased relatives.
One of Venice's most important celebrations, the Feast of Our Lady of Good Health is held each year on November 21 at Madonna Della Salute Church. It commemorates Venice's deliverance from the plague in 1621 with a temporary bridge erected across the Grand Canal marking the occasion. On the day of the event, thousands of pilgrims cross over the bridge to the church in a very beautiful procession.
While Christmas markets are widespread throughout Italy this time of year, the annual Christmas Market in Oberdrauburg should not be missed. This festival straddles the country's border and is held in the twin cities of Maromme, France, and Oberdrauburg, Austria. Take this opportunity to visit Italy's neighboring countries while buying culturally unique Christmas presents to bring back to the States. The Oderdrauburg market is held on the third Saturday and Sunday of November each year at the Portici of Viale Mazzini and Piazza Cavour.