Tuscany is at its most atmospheric in autumn. The countryside is flooded with colours, the vineyards have turned to vivid reds and yellows, and the morning fogs make the landscape look almost etherial. The woods are filled with the smell of chestnuts and mushrooms, those autumnal Tuscan treats. And the light drapes everything in a picturesque auburn glow.
We think autumn is the most romantic and delicious season of all in Tuscany… But where are the top spots to savour the atmosphere?
Autumn destinations in Tuscany. See the changing colours of Chianti’s vineyards
Immerse yourself in a vibrant painting by driving around the Chianti countryside during the autumn months. The hills covered in nicely combed vineyards are justly famous, and in October give their very best, dressing up in every shade of red and yellow. Every day is a new spectacle.
After September’s grape harvest, the new wine is now in the cellars. There are festivals and fairs dedicated to wine and olive oil that light up the smaller towns around the Chianti. It’s a very lively season to be here, when the farmers are busy with the olive harvest, and the region celebrates its precious products with pride and pleasure.
Foreste Casentinesi National Park. The best foliage viewing in Tuscany
In Eastern Tuscany you find the best fall foliage in Tuscany. Where exactly? In Casentino, on the slopes of the Appennines is the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, the perfect place to experience nature and beautifully peaceful scenery. You find plenty of walking itineraries, waymarked paths and various activities that help you make the most of the colourful show.
This is one of the most ancient forests in Italy and Europe, filled with beech, maple and ash trees, and chestnut groves. Nestled in this verdant haven there are two ancient monasteries, La Verna and Camaldoli; atmospheric places where nature and spirituality meet. And after a good day of trekking, round it off by eating some local specialities at one of the excellent restaurants in the area. Mushrooms of course, are a must at this time of year.
⇒ Check out our 2 Day Road Trip to see the best of the Casentino area.
In search of the best Tuscan chestnut
The Chestnut is the fruit of autumn, and the ‘marroni‘ (a slight larger and sweeter variety of chestnut) are a matter of pride in Tuscany. The areas with rich chestnut groves that produce this prized treat are the Mugello, Casentino and Valtiberina in the Arezzo province, Garfagnana and Lunigiana in Northern Tuscany, and the Mount Amiata, all of which make perfect autumn destinations.
⇒ See all the best events & food festivals in Tuscany in October.
Today the rusticity of the chestnut, once considered to be a kind of poor people’s bread, is largely appreciated, and it’s used in all sorts of different ways.
So if you’re a chestnut fan and mad for marrons glacés, chestnut crepes, chestnut flour tortelli, bruciate (roasted chestnuts) and cakes – don’t miss one of the local fairs dedicated to this famous fruit. The most popular are in Marradi, Palazzuolo sul Senio, Arcidosso, Caprese Michelangelo, and Stazzema in Lunigiana.
Discover the many faces of Volterra. A great autumn destination
Volterra is one of Tuscany’s gems, with its Medieval town centre, beautiful architecture, scenic surroundings and ancient remains. A visit to Volterra will satisfy your hunger for history as you travel from Etruscan times to ancient Rome and the Middle Ages in the space of a few narrow stone streets and evocative squares.
In the beautiful setting of Volterra’s historic centre – every year on the last Sunday in October – the Palio dei Caci, a traditional cheese race, will liven up the town.
The White Truffle Festival is held in the town of San Miniato every November (this year: 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 Novembre 2019). Another autumn destination in Tuscany that should be on everyone’s list, and one of the reasons why Tuscany is the perfect destination at this time of year.
Check out our autumn photographic journey in Tuscany!
Photo credits: Palazzuolo sul Senio, Mugello – photo: proloco mugellotoscana.it – Cheese race Volterra – photo: Cristiano Sabelli