Along with May and September, the month of October is one of the best months to visit Italy. After the summer heat (that extends into September), the entire peninsula gets a dose of mild weather and occasional rain showers. Towns and villages put on autumn festivals (sagre), casual gatherings full of delicious food and drink.
It’s a nice time to be outdoors – hiking, cycling, or exploring cities. Beaches in the south often have swimming weather (but it’s not guaranteed).
Are you thinking about visiting Italy in October?
In this post, you’ll learn…
- if visiting Italy in October is a good choice for you
- what weather to expect in Italy in October
- which holidays Italy celebrates in October and which days things are closed
- my recommended places to visit in October in Italy, including where to go with kids
- the best activities and events in Italy in October
- which foods to try in Italy in October
- what to wear on a trip to Italy in October
- the best ways to travel around Italy in October
If you’re looking for something specific, check out the Table of Contents below so you can jump ahead to what you’re looking for.
First trip to Italy? 10th? Either way, check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!
Should You Visit Italy in October?
After a long, hot summer (and they always are) in Italy, we’re ready for things to cool off! Here in Tuscany, the vines turn from green to gold, orange, and red, and there’s excitement for the olive harvest. Locals gather in piazzas for sagre and wine festivals, and we’re all squeezing in the last few outdoor meals before chillier weather arrives.
4 Reasons You Should Visit Italy in October
- October generally brings mild, beautiful Mediterranean weather.
- School is back in session (in Italy and abroad) so there are fewer tourists and crowds. That doesn’t mean there aren’t visitors though… Many of Italy’s main destinations (Florence, Rome, Venice, etc.) are still very busy. Some schools in Europe have a break in the second half of October, so you’ll see more families for a couple of weeks.
- Italy in the fall isn’t Vermont, but we do have beautiful foliage color changes, especially the vineyards of Tuscany and Piedmont and the larch forests of Northern Italy.
- We retire our summer fruits and fresh salads and cheeses and change our focus to delicious foods like truffles, porcini mushrooms, and other seasonal specialties. If you time it right, you can participate in a harvest of grapes or olives.
Good To Know: It’s always best to reserve tickets for any museums or events you don’t want to miss. Many museums limit entry numbers so you’ll want to book in advance. I always recommend booking advance tickets to popular museums and sites:
The Last Supper (Milan)
The Uffizi Gallery (Florence)
The Accademia (Florence)
The Colosseum (Rome)
The Vatican Museums (Rome)
4 Reasons You May Not Want to Visit Italy in October
- You’re looking for sun and sea on a beach vacation. While you probably can have a nice beach holiday in southern Italy (specifically Puglia and Sicily), nice beach weather isn’t a guarantee. If you’re set on a beach holiday, look elsewhere or come to Italy from June – September.
- You’re hoping to hit the ski slopes. October in Italy is too early for skiing – there’s no snow yet.
- You’re looking forward to exploring Italy’s famous museums and cities without crowds. There are definitely fewer crowds than in September, but you won’t be visiting alone.
- You’re hoping to score great discounts on hotels. Although the summer high season has passed, low-season prices haven’t officially arrived.
Weather in Italy in October
Weather – it’s the number one thing people ask me about when they’re thinking of visiting in October. “Will it rain?” “Can we swim in the sea in October in Italy?” “Do I need to bring a coat?”
I can’t predict the weather, but I can tell you that the weather in Italy in October is generally pleasant and doesn’t interfere with exploring the country.
Northern Italy is definitely cooling down (and has been since September) but can still see gorgeous sunny days. Average temperatures hover around the 13°C mark (55°F).
Central Italy can go either way in October – sunny days or scattered rain showers. Average temperatures are usually around 17° C (63°F).
Southern Italy is the warmest part of the country in October. Early in the month, there’s a good chance you’ll see some beach weather! Temperatures tend to hover around 21°C (70°F).
In October, we typically experience mild temperatures and sunshine, although the days are obviously shorter than in the middle of the summer.
The extreme heat has gone with the summer, which is fabulous news if your hotel doesn’t have air-conditioning.
We are in the autumn season, so expect more rain and cooler temperatures in the evening.
If you’re looking for beach weather, head south to Puglia and Sicily. We’ve had fabulous beach holidays in Puglia in early October (but the nice weather isn’t guaranteed!).
October Temperatures and Precipitation in Italy
|Milan||66°F / 19°C||51°F / 11°C||35mm|
|Venice||66°F / 19°C||51°F / 11°C||25mm|
|Florence||71°F / 22°C||53°F / 12°C||49.5mm||one of its rainiest months|
|Rome||73°F / 23°C||53°F / 12°C||34mm|
|Naples||74°F / 23°C||57°F / 14°C||30mm|
|Palermo||75°F / 24°C||64°F / 18°C||6.5mm|
Good To Know: This chart gives you an idea of past weather conditions and average temperatures, but before your trip, take a look at the weather forecast. A reliable site and app here in Italy is Il Meteo.
Holidays in Italy in October
October is a quiet month for holidays in Italy.
October 4th – Festa di San Francesco
Translation: The Feast of St. Francis
What It Celebrates: On October 4th, St. Francis of Assisi is honored in Italy (and around the world). He is the patron saint of Italy (along with St. Catherine of Siena) and of animals and the environment. Since his birthdate is unknown, his life is celebrated on the anniversary of his death.
What’s Going On: The celebrations are focused on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Assisi, in Umbria.
- Oil offerings for the lamp that burns at St. Francis’ crypt
- Pets and farm animals are blessed (not always on the 4th, can be in the period surrounding the holiday)
- Children learn about animals and nature
National Holiday: No
Open/Closed: Everything remains open
Reserve In Advance: No, except for Assisi. If you’d like to visit during the Festa di San Francesco, it’s best to book your accommodation early.
October 31st – Halloween
Halloween is celebrated in Italy but not in the same way as in the US. It’s much darker here, even for little kids. I try to explain to other moms here that it’s great to dress up as cats, princesses, and Super Mario – that little kids don’t need to dress up as zombies or all in black.
It’s not an official holiday here, but more and more Italians are embracing Halloween and its trick-or-treating and parties. The walled city of Corinaldo in Le Marche is the ‘capital of Halloween’ in Italy and has an annual Halloween festival with concerts, markets, street artists, Halloween decorations, and the election of ‘Miss Witch.’
In our area, shops stay open for kids and hand out candy, and some residential neighborhoods welcome trick-or-treaters. Kids dress up in the evening (but not at school).
Triora, in Liguria, is known as the city of witches (and the Ligurian Salem) because of the 1800s interrogation of over 300 women that were accused of witchcraft. Every Halloween, Triora hosts a Halloween festival with a bonfire, concerts, workshops on ancient witchcraft, and more.
Good To Know: October 31st is also La Vigilia di Ognissanti, or All Saint’s Eve. All Saint’s Day, on November 1st, is the celebration of, you guessed it, all saints. November 1st is a national holiday.
The 8 Best Places in Italy to Visit in October
|Location||What To Do|
|Tuscany||road trip to Tuscan villages, participate in the olive harvest, attend a sagra|
|Rome||have aperitivo outdoors, explore the Villa Borghese, visit classic sites|
|Umbria||explore small villages, honor St. Francis in Assisi|
|Puglia||relax at the beach, see Alberobello’s trulli, try the new olive oil|
|Sicily||visit the Aeolian Islands, sip Sicilian wines, see archaeological sites|
|Amalfi Coast||take a boat trip, go for a hike, relax at a seaside cafe|
|Venice||have hot chocolate at a café, wander the streets, and admire the holiday decorations|
|Piedmont||explore the city’s famous street of presepe (Nativity scene) artisans|
Tuscany in October
The Northern Tuscan countryside is beautiful in October with the changing colors of the vines and some of the trees in the forests. In the Southern part of the region, the rolling hills of the Crete Senesi are tilled and look velvety in the autumn light (perfect for photographers).
Florence will still have plenty of visitors, but it’s more pleasant to visit with milder weather (and less mosquitoes). The weather is nice enough for outdoor aperitivo, and strolling along the Arno.
We love road-tripping around Tuscany in October, to villages in the countryside. Villages to check out include:
You can day-trip to many of the villages from Florence, or base yourself in the countryside If you visit in late October, you may be able to participate in the olive oil harvest.
Good To Know: Don’t expect pool weather at your Tuscan agriturismo in October, and even if it is sunny and warm, many properties close their pools at the beginning of the month.
And beach towns like Forte dei Marmi or other beaches on the coast are nice to visit, but it may be too cold for swimming. You can still visit markets, have a seafood meal, and enjoy the towns.
Rome in October
October in Rome brings mild, pleasant weather. You may hear Romans talking about their ‘ottobrate romane’ – October days with the perfect combo of setting, temperature, and beautiful sunshine. Soak it up with the Romans by sitting outside at a café or restaurant or picnicking in one of Rome’s green spaces like Appian Way Regional Park, Trastevere Botanical Garden, Villa Borghese, or Villa Doria Pamphili.
There are still crowds (it’s still high season), but an October visit is worth it.
Our family loves the fresh air in October and the cooler evenings. We love to:
- get gelato at Fatamorgana
- have aperitivo in Monti
- visit Rome’s lively piazzas and markets
- leave the center on occasion
- photograph the colorful ivy on the walls of buildings
We always recommend seeing the classics like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, and then seeing something a little less visited like:
- the Domus Aurea
- the Terme di Caracalla
- Ostia Antica
- Centrale Montemartini (museum with ancient Roman and Greek sculptures in an old power plant)
Umbria in October
Italy’s ‘green heart’ may not be very green after a hot summer, but it’s worth traveling around the region to visit its cities and small villages in the fall, including:
- Castiglione del Lago
Sample the newly-pressed oil (or help with the olive harvest!), dine on local salame, visit the Perugina chocolate factory (home of Italy’s bacio candy), walk the streets of Perugia, cycle the path of Lago di Trasimeno, and visit St. Francis’ hometown of Assisi for his festival on October 4th.
Puglia & nearby Matera in October
Visit Puglia’s charming whitewashed villages:
- Alberobello – wander the trulli-lined streets of the UNESCO World Heritage site
- Martina Franca
- Monopoli – relaxed Puglia living (make this your home base)
- Polignano a Mare – head down to the oft-photographed Lama Monachile
- Trani – visit the best bakery in Italy (Lula)
You may or may not have sunny beach time, but you’ll have plenty to see in the area (the villages above) and the food (fresh produce, seafood, and mozzarella) in Puglia is incredible. You’ll be there for the olive oil harvest – check out Italy’s oldest olive trees (some are over 1000 years old!).
If you make it all the way down to Puglia, make a detour or a day trip to Matera, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city of sassi. The mild October weather makes exploring the town and hiking in the natural parks a pleasant experience – much more so than in the heat of summer.
Read more about the city in our Complete Guide to Visiting Matera.
Sicily in October
Sicily in October is a dream. It’s not stiflingly hot anymore, but you can still swim. It’s a nice time to visit outdoor sites (like the Temple of Apollo in Siracusa and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento) without the summer heat!
The best way to travel around Sicily is with a rental car (although adventures on Sicilian trains will probably give you a lifetime of memories). Don’t miss some of my favorites:
- Siracusa (and Ortigia) – the morning market
- Scicli – caves and piazza dining
- Modica – unique chocolate
- Taormina – luxury hotels, views from Piazza IX Aprile, Isola Bella
- Ragusa Ibla – evening strolls, delicious gelato
- Monreale – Cathedral’s mosaics
- Palermo – Sicilian life at its beautiful, crazy and chaotic best
Amalfi Coast and Pompeii in October
October on the Amalfi Coast brings pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. And, you can still swim and enjoy the coast!
Yes, you’ll find a few places closed because the summer rush is over, but it’s a really nice time to visit. When I worked as a hiking guide in the area, I loved bringing guests in October – it felt less overwhelming than the busier summer months.
Many popular destinations (like the Blue Grotto of Capri) see a dramatic reduction in tourists in October.
Nearby Pompeii is much more pleasant without the crowds and heat of the summer months.
Good To Know: I recommend visiting the Amalfi Coast in the first half of October. Late October may not be warm enough for swimming, and tourist services start closing up shop for the off-season.
Venice in October
Will you be alone in Piazza San Marco in October? No – it’s still crowded because the city sees mostly foreign tourists year-round. But, the stifling hot summer weather is gone and you probably won’t be walking elbow-to-elbow with other visitors, especially later in the month.
Sample cicchetti for aperitivo (or make a meal out of them!) and do a crawl between bacari. Visit Murano and see a glass demo. Take a ride around the canals in a gondola or on the small ferries.
Piedmont in October
The scenery in Piedmont is at its best in September and October. Morning fog in the vineyards and autumn light make it a good time for photographers to visit.
Post-harvest, stop in a winery to sample local wines. Rent a car (or hire a driver!) and visit the towns of Barolo, Grinzane Cavour, Bra, Alba, Barbaresco, La Morra, and Monforte d’Alba.
If you love truffles, you’re in luck – October is the beginning of Alba’s International White Truffle Festival!
Destinations to Skip on an October Trip to Italy
The only two places you may want to think twice about visiting in October are the Dolomites and the Cinque Terre, but both are definitely still fine to visit if you want/need to.
Dolomites in October
If you want to take advantage of the trail system, you’ll have to do without some of the lifts – many of them close in mid-September. Some hotels also start to close – it’s their break before the busy winter season begins.
Good To Know: If you’re set on visiting in October, or it’s the only time that works for you, don’t stress! We’ve visited plenty of times in October. Some visits have been rainy and we’ve explored more in towns (like Bolzano). Other visits have been amazing with gorgeous weather, colorful larch trees, and no crowds in popular areas like the Alpe di Siusi.
Cinque Terre in October
Most tourists are gone, so you’ll have less crowded trails and towns. You can even still jump in the water if it’s a sunny day. The problem is the rain. If you come to hike the trails (which most visitors do), you risk missing out due to trail closures and rainy muddy trails. If you can, come in September or in the late Spring.
Activities and Events in Italy in October
Here’s a sampling of what’s on in October:
|White Truffle Festival||international truffle festival||Alba (Piedmont)|
|Euro Chocolate||chocolate festival||Perugia (Umbria)|
|Rome Film Festival||international film festival||Rome (Lazio)|
|L’Eroica||vintage bicycle race on gravel roads||Gaiole in Chianti (Tuscany)|
|Lucca Comics & Games||international comics festival||Lucca (Italy)|
|Santa Reparata Festival||festival honoring the saint||Florence (Tuscany)|
|Italian International Marathon||marathon honoring Enzo Ferrari||Maranello (Emilia-Romagna)|
|Venice Marathon||international marathon||Venice (Veneto)|
|Venice Biennale||biannual international art exhibition||Venice (Veneto)|
|San Miniato Truffle Festival||truffle festival||San Miniato (Tuscany)|
|Festa della Zucca||pumpkin festival||Foiano della Chiana (Tuscany)|
|Sagra del Tordo||medieval festival||Montalcino (Tuscany)|
|Sagra delle Castagne||chestnut festival||Soriano nel Cimino (Lazio)|
|Barcolana Regata||international sailing race||Trieste (Friuli Venezia Giulia)|
|Sagra della Polenta||polenta festival that includes a donkey race||Sassetta (Tuscany)|
Good To Know: When deciding on a festival or sagra, check in with someone at your accommodation for the scoop on local events. They’ll point you in the direction of the best ones… which are often the small ones that are only advertised with paper signs on the walls of surrounding towns.
Good To Know: October in Italy is full of truffle festivals. In addition to the festivals in Alba and San Miniato, you’ll find more tartufo celebrations in Tignale, Gubbio, and Rimini.
If you’re in Italy in October, you may want to check out these activities:
- cooking class
- olive harvest
- wine tasting
What to Eat in Italy in October
Not-to-Miss Produce in Italy in October
- pumpkin – zucca
- butternut squash – zucca butternut
- porcini mushrooms – funghi porcini
- chestnuts – castagne
- truffles – tartufi
- chicory – radicchio
Food You Should Eat in Italy in October
- Risotto with porcini mushrooms
- Fettunta – toasted bread with fresh-pressed olive oil
- Truffle pasta
- Ribollita – vegetable and bread soup
- Castagnaccio – chestnut cake
- Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale – fresh pasta with a wild boar sauce
- Bicerin – hot drink combining coffee, chocolate, and milk
The Best Places to Visit in Italy in October with Kids
Tuscany & Florence
October is a little quieter in Tuscany, which makes visiting its towns easier if you’ve got kids with you. Lines are shorter, restaurants are less crowded, and museum visits are a little less overwhelming. Our family starts heading back out to some of the more popular towns that we take a break from during the busy summer (San Gimignano, Chianti towns).
We do see more rain in Florence in October, so you may have fewer playground visits, but there are museums with kids programs and other indoor activities (like cooking school) to keep kids engaged and entertained.
If you can get to Puglia be early October, you’ll probably have some beach weather for the kids. It’s a wonderful time to be at the beach in Puglia because the summer crowds have disappeared and you may have an entire beach club to yourselves.
Good To Know: Some beach clubs are already closed in October, and others are open but without facilities like restaurants. It’s not a problem – you’ll just need to call ahead to find one and you may need to bring your own picnic lunch.
Even if you don’t want to spend time at the beach, it’s a wonderful time of year to be in Puglia with kids. Let them witness the olive harvest, join a mozzarella-making class, and visit Puglia’s unique towns like Alberobello and Ostuni.
If you’re not interested in winter sports, Rome is an excellent option for families visiting Italy in December. Ride the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus, take a family tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum, eat pizza and gelato, throw your coin into the Trevi Fountain, attend Gladiator School, explore Rome’s children’s museum, and be entertained in Piazza Navona.
What To Wear in Italy in October
The main things to think about when dressing for October:
- Be prepared for temperature changes. You might be out on a sunny day in short sleeves but as the sun sets it gets chilly. Make sure you have layers! A scarf will also come in handy in October.
- Be prepared for rain. If you don’t want to wear a raincoat, bring a small travel umbrella. I actually prefer the travel umbrella because a raincoat leaves a purse or backpack still exposed.
- Bring close-toed shoes with good tread. Sandals can be tempting, but you’ll want your toes covered on cooler evenings. Good tread is important for staying upright on slippery cobblestones and streets after a rain shower.
Suggested Modes of Transport for Italy in October
October is an excellent month to travel by car or go on a road trip in Italy! You’ll want a car for driving to villages for festivals and for visiting vineyards.
Traveling by car gives you the most freedom, but can be pricey by the time you add up the rental cost, gas, tolls, and parking. Rental car demand isn’t high in October, so you should be able to get a great rate on your car.
Check out our post on Driving in Italy to learn about Italian driving rules and norms!
If you’re traveling long distances, look into flying. There are fewer route options in October than during the high season months, but you’ll still have quite a few options. And, with Europe’s many discount airlines competing for your €s, you may find excellent deals.
It may not always be the fastest way and it may need to be combined with other transport (like taking a taxi to the train station), but taking a train is a beautiful way to travel around Italy in October.
It’s still a great time of the year to cycle in Italy, especially in the central and southern parts of the country. Make sure you pack rain gear, as showers are likely in October.
Italy in October Vocabulary
|Buon Halloween||Happy Halloween|
|Buona Vigilia d’Ognissanti||Have a good All Saint’s Eve|
|raccolta||harvest (of crops, olives, etc.)|
|olio di’oliva||olive oil|
What Do Italians Do in October?
Most Italians take their vacations in August, and schools are back in session in September, so there’s not a lot of movement on the part of Italians. For the most part, they’re at home, going to work, and going to school.
Is October a good time to go to Italy?
October’s an excellent time to go to Italy – the weather is mild and pleasant, which is nice for sightseeing and the occasional outdoor meal. Crowds are smaller (but not non-existant) and food and wine festivals are plentiful.
Is Italy still warm in October?
It’s still fairly warm in Italy in October during the day, but the evenings can be chilly, and they definitely are up north.
What is Italy’s weather like in October?
In October, Italy typically sees mild temperatures and sunshine. Expect more rain and cooler temperatures in the evening.
What is on in Italy in October?
There are a ton of food and wine festivals in October in Italy, along with other events like marathons, celebrations of patron saints, and Halloween.