When people ask me my favorite time to travel in Italy, I invariably say one of the shoulder seasons – spring or fall. But the truth is that the fall has my heart, largely because it’s when there are food and wine festivals all over the country. October is definitely in Italy’s fall shoulder season, which often means lower prices on things like accommodation and airfare, but those harvest festivals still draw crowds from both inside and outside the country – so don’t expect to have Italy all to yourself. Keep reading to find out what to expect from October in Italy, including the weather and what’s on the calendar.
While September temperatures can still be summery and hot, October usually heralds the true start of fall. Temperatures in October go down all over the peninsula, and there’s a higher probaility of rainfall. This is one of those months when you’ll probably need both sunglasses and an umbrella on hand, just in case.
You aren’t likely to find Italians or Europeans on the beaches in October – they think that’s way too cold, and besides they’ve had their beach holidays in August – but if you’re coming from a cooler climate you might be thrilled to find warm days and nearly-empty beaches.
Some average temperature ranges for different parts of Italy are:
And, as always, check the current extended forecast for where you’re actually going just before you leave – when you’re packing is a good time, actually – so you can find out in advance if there’s an unseasonably cold or hot spell predicted.
Like I said at the outset, fall is when food and festival enthusiasts will want to be in Italy. October harvest festivals include the White Truffle Festival in Alba and Perugia’s famous EuroChocolate, both of which draw huge crowds of foodies from around the world. There aren’t any big national holidays in October to think about (those can sometimes mess with transportation schedules), but it never hurts to see if there’s a calendar of events for the towns you’re visiting, just in case you’ll be around for a celebration of a local patron saint or a little-known harvest festival. Browse my (nowhere near comprehensive) list of holidays and festivals in Italy to get a start on your hunt.
So, umm, have I mentioned the food festivals? And that includes wine, too? You get the idea, I think – foodies love October in Italy. Not a foodie? No problem – October has plenty of perks for you, too.
As mentioned, October is truly in Italy’s fall shoulder season. If you’re on a tight budget, that can help you save quite a bit on airfare, accommodation, and even sometimes activities like walking tours. Attractions don’t typically have off-season prices, though. Aside from the people who flock to food and wine festivals, there is usually a noticeable drop-off in the number of people who flood Italian shores during the summer. No, Rome isn’t empty – ever – but the lines to see things like the Colosseum get shorter.
Those of you who are primarily focused on sun and beaches won’t find October suitable, since it’s just as likely to be cool in the evenings and rain a bit as it is to be lovely and sunny. People who seek out gardens will be disappointed that things aren’t in bloom all over the place. And October still has so many things going for it that it remains one of my favorite times to be in Italy.