A trip to Italy is something to be cherished in any month of the year. The month of October, which used to be considered "shoulder season," is now increasingly popular with travelers, who come for cooler weather and plenty of festive events celebrating the fall harvest season. With a wealth of activities happening throughout the month and both coastal towns and metropolitan cities like Rome awash in the brightly-colored leaves of autumn, Italy in October is a truly remarkable thing to experience.
During October, you'll find Italian food festivals featuring mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolates, and truffles, which pair well with wine harvest events happening across the country. You can also attend a screening at a film festival in Rome or sit by the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and watch a boat race in Trieste. World Pasta Day is the fourth Sunday in October, and there are even some Halloween events you can enjoy if you're in the country at the end of the month.
Some of the biggest truffle festivals in Italy take place in the Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, and Emilia Romagna regions during October and November.
Among them, the biggest is the Alba White Truffle Festival, which takes place on weekends throughout October and November in the Piedmont town of Alba and features local cuisine, wine sampling, a donkey race, and several other family-friendly activities and events.
In Tuscany, you can stop by Volterra's Mostra Micologica in mid-October, to learn about truffles and the many types of mushrooms, both edible and poisonous, found in Italy. At the end of October into early November in Le Marche, you can visit the "truffle capital of Italy" in Acqualagna for its white truffle fair. Other October fairs include Mostra Mercato del Tartufo ("Trade Fair of Truffles") in Pietralunga, Umbria, and a black truffle fair in Calestano every Sunday from mid-October through mid-November.
Enjoy mild and sunny weather while you get a taste of iconic regional wines like Chianti Classico or Brunello of Montalcino at Boccaccesca, an annual gastronomic fair in Certaldo Alto, Tuscany, that takes place in early October. The festival features food stalls where you can sample and buy some of Tuscany's best products, including its world-renowned bread.
Certaldo Alto is just a 30-minute drive from Florence, which makes it an easy and fun day trip if you want to get out of the city to see more of Tuscany's bright fall foliage, especially during Boccaccesca. Even if you can't make it for the festival, though, October in this well-preserved Medieval town offers a unique opportunity to wander the streets of old Certaldo Alto without all the crowds that gather during the summer tourist season.
Fans of rich, Italian chocolates will certainly enjoy Eurochocolate, an annual festival that takes place in mid-October in Perugia, which is famous for its Perugina Baci chocolates. Besides all things chocolate, there's music, wine tastings, and workshops.
The 25th Annual International Chocolate Festival is held at various venues in Perugia from mid- to late October. The main attraction is a chocolate sculpture on display at the Piazza IV Novembre throughout the event.
From mid- to late October, the Annual Rome Film Festival will take place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica and various other venues in the city. The Rome Film Festival includes international movie premieres, competitions in several genres and forms, several red-carpet events, and plenty of industry parties and mixers for professionals and tourists alike.
Barcolana Regatta in Trieste
In early October, the storied Barcolana Regatta (boat race) returns to Trieste for one of the biggest boating events in the world. All manner of boats will race, and there will be illuminated boat parades at night as well. More than 2,000 sailing vessels of all varieties converge in the Adriatic Sea near Trieste for this special festival, which includes plenty of music, food, and wine.
As a spectator, you can book a tour package through the official Barcolana Regatta website that includes walking tours of the city, unique viewing spots for the races, and a dinner party to celebrate the occasion.
Sagra del Tordo, or Feast of the Thrush, is a medieval re-enactment of an archery tournament that takes place in Montalcino, Tuscany, on the last weekend in October.
Long celebrated as a competition between the four neighborhoods of the city, each district wears designated colors: Borghetto (white and red), Pianello (white and blue); Ruga (yellow and blue), and Travaglio (yellow and red). Events include a folklore dance at the Piazza del Popolo, a historical parade to the Provaccia di archery shooting range, an auction, a blessing of the archers, and the official tournament itself on Sunday to close out the festival.
Although Halloween (or All Saint's Eve) is not an official holiday or a big celebration in Italy, it's becoming more popular. You might find Halloween events in the larger cities, including costume parties at local bars, restaurants, and dance clubs. In some cities and towns, kids might go trick-or-treating door-to-door.