Italy hosts millions of tourists every year. This country has everything to offer from delicious food, spectacular landscapes and an abundance of world history. Most visitors come visit Italy in the Spring and Summer months to sunbathe and swim when the weather is warmer. The Summer months are the busiest and most expensive time of the year to visit. If you would like to see this beautiful country from a more relaxed point of view, consider a visit in the shoulder season months. Specifically, here are six reasons to enjoy Italy in the Autumn.
Virtually no crowds
By the end of September, Summer holidays have concluded and students are back in school and others are back to work. From the major cities to the rural areas, the country and its citizens are more relaxed now that the peak tourist season has ended. Now is the best time to visit the most renowned landmarks of this country. The lines for these attractions are considerably shorter than in the spring and summer months. This gives you more time to unwind on your Italian holiday instead of waiting in long lines in the heat. Visitors in the off season can also have a better opportunity to mingle with the local residents and get a taste for what real life in Italy is like.
Lower hotel rates
After the madness of the Summer tourist season, Italy tends to go through a period of a calm – a quieter and more peaceful time. You can usually get great discounts on hotel rooms during this period. When the property occupancy is lower, the hospitality industry can go out of their way for customer satisfaction. This makes a room upgrade an even better possibility. In Venice we were upgraded from a standard room to a honeymoon suite with breathtaking canal views at Ai Mori d’Oriente Hotel, located in the Jewish ghetto. If you are celebrating an occasion such as a birthday or wedding anniversary during your trip, be sure to mention it to the concierge staff upon check in. The hotel may offer an upgrade and a complimentary bottle of wine to mark the occasion.
Everywhere in the country the shopkeepers are preparing for the winter. From Lake Como to Sorrento to Rome, stores are less crowded and the proprietors are more willing to haggle with you. For instance, in Florence, at a little shop called Flo Gold in Piazza Santa Croce, I bought a 18k medallion, chain and matching earrings for €1080.00 (full price €1500.00). Also in Florence, at Renna Leather Factory near Piazza Signora, I bought a handmade lambskin leather trench coat for €295.00, negotiated down from €450.00. In Capri, the Jet Set island for the rich and famous, I found many deals. In a shop in Anacapri, I bought a €500 men’s linen dress shirt for €100. The only condition the shop was willing to make a deal is if I paid in cash. These retailers want to unload their inventory and are willing to offer you special discounts, all you have to do is ask.
The northern mountainous region of Italy is very cool in the Autumn. It is also the rainy season at this time of year. A sudden heavy rain shower is not uncommon in the autumn months. Keep an umbrella or raincoat handy at all times in case this happens. You can also make alternative inside plans such as a museum visit when the showers occur. In the southern region, the temperatures are mild and days are sunny. Here you can get around with a light jacket or sweater while touring.
Catch the harvest season
Italians live to eat! In the autumn visitors can attend the local sagra (food) festival and sample local products such as cheese, olives and truffles. Autumn is also the time of year when the vineyards harvest their grapes. Many of the vineyards throughout the country allow visitors to participate in the harvest. They are rewarded for their work with some of the wine the vineyard produces.
Attend a football (soccer) game
Italians, like most Europeans, are crazy about football competitions. There is nothing more exciting than attending a game in person where the enthusiasm of the crowd is infectious. Most of the time, tickets for matches are readily available the same days as the matches. This is one of the best ways for a tourist to socialize with the locals and really feel like you are part of the community.
A visit to Italy in the Autumn season is an experience that must not be missed. If Autumn is your favorite time of the year in your hometown, after one visit Autumn will be your favorite time of year to visit Italy.