Selasa, 24 Agustus 2010

TRAVELING: Autumn in Italy

autumn, fall, or the Italian autunno – this season is an excellent time to visit Italy. As is the case with many destinations in the Northern Hemisphere, when the worst of the summer heat has faded it makes way for some of the loveliest weather you could experience all year long. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold – it’s just right, whether you’re Goldilocks or not.
Autumn in Italy is often characterized by the last lingering warm-to-hot days from summer (especially in September), but typically without the humidity or the hot nights. So even if it feels a little warmer than you think it should during the height of the day, it’ll cool down in the evenings so that your after-dinner passeggiata is more pleasant. And yet it’s still likely to be warm enough after dinner to warrant a gelato while you stroll. Toward the end of fall in Italy, however, the weather is definitely going to be cooler – and even by late September you may feel like you’ll need an umbrella or a rain jacket more than your sunglasses. In any case, it’s wise to check the current forecast for Italy weather, as the annual averages for temperatures and rainfall aren’t always the most accurate.
In addition to more temperate weather, traveling to Italy in autumn brings other perks. While there are festivals and celebrations year-round, some of the most fun (not to mention delicious) are the harvest-related food festivals that often take place in the fall. From wine to chocolate to prosciutto to truffles, the foods being celebrated in autumn are the stuff of dreams – and the festivals are fun cultural experiences even if you’re not a big-time foodie. There are other non-food-related festivals that happen in the fall, and this is also when the regular seasons for things like Italian soccer and the various Italian opera houses start up again, too.
Unfortunately, although it used to be that the fall and spring were considered “shoulder seasons” when things were less expensive and places less crowded, Italy’s high season has expanded over the years and now includes much of both fall and spring. So while you may find smaller crowds in some places in the fall, and prices on some things (especially airfare to Italy) will drop from the highs of summer, those empty streets and super bargains are now basically just the stuff of legend. Now, if you’re already planning to avoid the most popular destinations in Italy, then you’re much more likely to find great deals and few other tourists in the fall – but in the most off-the-beaten-path places, that would be true at other times of year, too. Which is, I suppose, yet another endorsement for exploring the places that aren’t listed in the guidebooks.


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