Tuscany puts on a very special show in autumn. The countryside is alive with red and yellow colours, porcini mushrooms make an appearance on the menus, and the city afternoons are bathed in golden light. This really is one of the most relaxing and rewarding moments to travel here.
See autumn’s colours in the Tuscan countryside
If the colours of the Tuscan countryside are legendary, Autumn is when those colours are at their finest. It’s a romantic and moody time, when the vineyards and woods seem to be on fire with every shade of orange and yellow.
Taste the seasonal delights
Autumn in Tuscany is a foodie’s paradise. This is when the delicious porcini mushrooms make an appearance. And it’s the official opening of the hunting season. So you’ll find plenty of occasions to taste fresh game, and traditional sauces that include wild boar and hare. Chestnuts are also on the menu, especially in mountainous areas like the Mugello and Garfagnana in the north, famous for its chestnut pancakes called ‘necci’.
This is the time when the new wine and new oil are produced, and occasions for tasting are plentiful and unforgettable. The intense green colour and spicy taste of the freshly pressed oil will give you a new respect for the humble olive.
If you’re looking for something really special, November is the month dedicated to truffles. The famous White Truffle Festivals are on in San Miniato and San Giovanni d’Asso. Here you’ll be able to gorge yourself on truffles, cheese and salumi, and wash it down with some delicious local wine. Best pack an extra stomach.
Check out an art exhibition in Florence
Autumn is always a good time to catch an art exhibition in Tuscany. This year Palazzo Strozzi in Florence hosts “The Cinquecento in Florence. From Michelangelo and Pontormo to Giambologna” (21st Sep. 2017 – 21st Jan. 2018), a spectacular exhibition dedicated to 16th century art in Florence, with works by Michelangelo, Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Giambologna and Bartolomeo Ammannati. The perfect opportunity to get closer to Florentine artistic tradition.
Experience the fall foliage in Eastern Tuscany
If you’re the active type, October is the time to take a hike in the Foreste Casentinesi National Park. It’s one of the best places in Italy for fall foliage colours. The Park is in Eastern Tuscany, an area normally off the main tourist trail. You can get there in about an hour and a half from Florence, or in an hour from Arezzo. The park protects the flora and fauna in the ancient forests on the Appenine mountains that divides Tuscany from Emila Romagna. It’s an intoxicating place in autumn, filled with the sweet smell of mushrooms and undergrowth, and the stunning view of beech, maple, cherry trees and basswood all changing colour at once.
Tuscany in autumn means no crowds
In case you need another good reason to travel to Tuscany in autumn, here it is. Autumn is the tail end of the high season. That means fewer people and better deals. Even in a busy city like Florence, the crowds thin out in late October and November, and the queues to visit popular museums like the Uffizi or the Academy Gallery in Florence become shorter. Even better, hotels put the prices down so you can expect more for your money.
What’s the weather like?
The weather is still lovely at the end of September and at the beginning of October. It can get a bit unpredictable in October, with warm days and the occasional rainfall and cold wind. Temperatures go from around 20-22 degrees (70-72 F) down to minimum 12 degrees at night. And the days still have plenty of light. Expect more rain in November, and temperatures varying between 16 degrees and 8 degrees.
For more suggestions about the best autumn destinations in Tuscany, check out our post about some scenic small towns that give their best at this time of year.