Tuscany puts on a very special show in autumn. The countryside is alive with red and yellow colours, porcini mushrooms and truffles 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.
1. See the Tuscan countryside dressed for autumn
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.
=> Wine lover? Check out this Chianti Wine Tasting Tour from Florence.
2. 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 (9-10, 16-17, 23-24 November 2019- see official site) and San Giovanni d’Asso (on the 2nd and third weekend in November 2019). 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!
You can also try your hand at truffle hunting with a professional local guide, and have a truffle-based lunch and wine tasting in the Chianti region.
3. Check out an art exhibition in Florence
Autumn is always a good time to catch an art exhibition in Florence.
This year, for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death, take the opportunity to admire the Uffizi’s new Leonardo da Vinci room, where his three paintings – including the famous “Adoration of the Magi” – are now shown.
This Autumn Palazzo Strozzi in Florence dedicated an exhibition to Natalia Goncharova, “A Woman of the Avant-garde with Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso” (from 28th September 2019 to 12th January 2020) – see official site. And Pitti Palace hosts the exhibit “Forged in fire: bronze sculpture in Florence under the last Medici” (18/09/2019 – 12/01/2020).
4. Enjoy the beautiful Autumn colours in the Casentino
If you’re the active type, the end of October is the time to take a hike in the Foreste Casentinesi National Park. These forests are one of the best places in Italy for fall foliage colours. The Park is in the Casentino region, in Eastern Tuscany, a scenic 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.
Nearby you can visit the hilltop town of Poppi with its impressive 13th century Count Guidi Castle that dominates the valley.
5. Explore Tuscany scenic hilltop towns
Its Medieval hilltop towns are one of the highlights of a trip to Tuscany. Places like San Gimignano, Cortona, or Volterra don’t lose any of their appeal in Autumn. Once the crowds have left, you can fully flavoured their magical atmosphere.
⇒ 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.
If you’re based in Florence and would like to get a taste of Tuscany, check out this Tuscany in One Day Guided Tour, that includes Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa. Great value for money!
6. 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 in Autumn?
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.
⇒ Discover 6 Great Autumn destinations in Italy.