Fall is a truly glorious time of year in Rome. Though the city is blessed with plentiful sunshine and a Mediterranean climate that ensures the city keeps a pleasant temperature year-round, the summer can be scorching hot and the winter can be very wet. Starting around mid-September, however, the city begins to change its energy from the languor of summer to the crispness of autumn and you’ll have the chance to experience clear blue skies and dramatically colored sunsets with less humidity hanging in the air.
Italians pride themselves on shopping locally and and eating seasonally, which means you’re in for a real treat when you visit during the autumn months. It’s not only peak season for Italy’s celebrated tasty white truffles, but many other tantalizing vegetables are harvested at the end of summer and prepared in effusively comforting and warming dishes to see you through the seasonal transition. From sweet pumpkin and meaty porcini mushrooms to bitter leafy vegetables such as radicchio and broccoli rabe, you’ll find a variety of delicious options that are incorporated into pastas, risotto and stews.
Although truffles are predominantly sourced and harvested in the north of Italy, this tasty delicacy makes its way to restaurants all over the country. In Rome, head to Ad Hoc, a modest, intimate restaurant that specializes in truffles. If you’re as fanatic about the truffle as Italians are, make sure you hop on the train to one of the country’s many truffle fairs, held in regions such as Umbria, Tuscany and Piedmont. There are also plenty of excursions on offer to hunt for the fall fungi yourself.
Visiting villages and towns around Italy during their sagre is perhaps the best way to experience Italy’s small-town charm. A sagra di paese, or village festival, unites each locality with a jovial atmosphere, a weekend’s worth of events and lots of scrumptious local food prepared in countless ways. You’ll find a sagra for essentially any ingredient or food you can think of: grapes, truffles, chestnuts, potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, and even bread. Check the calendar to find out where and when the next sagra takes place and enjoy one of the best fall day-trips.
Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world, so you’ll always have to battle some crowds at the Vatican Museums or in line to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, but fortunately there are fewer visitors after the summer rush and before the Christmas holidays begin. Autumn is a great time to visit Rome because the city is buzzing and back in full swing after the summer break, giving you a good picture of daily life in the city. Fares are also lower and hotels will often offer ‘low season’ prices starting in November so it’s a great time to save on both time and money in the city.
With the return of normalcy to Rome after the summer holidays come a number of noteworthy cultural festivals. The Roma Film Festival takes place each October at the Auditorium Parco della Musica: this year it will be held from October 13-26 and will host a number of screenings and retrospectives as well as welcoming renowned actors such as Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep to its stage for panel discussions. The 2016 Opera Season also begins each fall and this year it will be inaugurated with a performance of Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro dell’Opera on November 27th.