Autumn is a lush, colorful time to visit Tuscany. The golds are warmer and the siennas are richer and the toasty goodness of a chestnuts and ribolitta fill your belly with a hearty warmth. So, here’s our top 5 things to do in Tuscany during autumn.
1. Mangia at your favorite winery: Many wineries in Tuscany’s varied provinces offer special harvest lunch and dinner meals. Some, such as Castello Banfi offer casual and more formal dining, so plan ahead.
2. Enjoy a truffle or mushroom hunt: You need a permit to hunt for mushrooms. It’s all about getting the right patente (license) in Italy and woe those who don’t know the rules and regs. Porcinis are the king of fall dining and there’s nothing like the buttery goodness of a mushroom risotto. If your tastes run to the lux side of travel, then take to the hillside and hunt for god’s little bites of divinity, truffles. At the very least you’ll need a trained dog to hunt them out and avoid the menacing cinghiale (wild boar) also sniffing through the woods.
3. Fall festivals: There are too many festivals to list in one short article but festivals in Tuscany truly reveal a slice of local life that is so different from the tourist trodden meccas of Rome and the Amalfi Coast. Some for 2016 include: Festa di San Luca (Oct 15-23) in Impruneta is the oldest livestock fair in Europe, dating back to the 1600s; Palio dei Caci (Oct 23) in Volterra sounds corny but everyone in the town comes out to roll a wheel of cheese down the street; get your fill of chestnuts at Castagnata D’Autunno (Oct 30) in Bagno Vignoni. One of the tastiest has to be in Montepulciano in November, Festa del Cibo di Strada (the feast of street food – Nov 12 & 13) in one Tuscany’s most picturesque villages.
4. Get thee to La Maremma: Any beach in the fall is beautiful. The sea air is a bit saltier, the scent of burning embers is cozier and the horses which graze nearby paint the perfect autumn scene of life in one of Italy’s largest regions.
5. Take an outdoor dip: What? Is she crazy? Not really. The thermal spring waters of Saturnia bubble to the surface at 37°C whether it’s a chilly fall night or the dead of winter. Join the locals who brave the temps to enjoy one of the best watering holes anywhere. Bring a towel and a blanket to avoid the breezy nip when you step out.
DINING TIP: The village of Saturnia is only about 14 km (about 9 miles) away. Grab a meal at I Due Cippi da Michele. Try a seasonal mushroom risotto and a local red wine. You’ll never want to leave.
No matter where you go or what you do, we’re sure you’ll find more than five ways to enjoy autumn in Tuscany.