Fall Hard for Italy...

by Sunni Chapman


In Italy’s rural countryside, green hills are molting into a sea of yellow and red. Olives and grapes – after sunning all summer – are ripe now. Small villages buzz with festivals devoted to the flavors of fall – from truffles to squash, from chocolate to wild mushrooms. Fall in Italy is pure bliss.

By the end of October, popular seaside destinations – like Capri, the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre – will close for the colder months. Travelers in-the-know explore Italy’s forested hills and vineyard-draped valleys in the fall.

During autumn, travelers might…

· sip wine in the cellars of family-run vineyards

· walk medieval paths in the Tuscan countryside

· hunt for truffles in the hills of Piedmont

· nibble chocolates in the hilltop gem of Perugia

In Italy’s central-north, harvest season – when fall foliage is on full display – lures countless visitors. The stone streets of San Gimignano bustle with tourists -- eager to eye the city’s 15 medieval towers. In Piemonte, not far from France, locals and guests flock to Alba’s white truffle fair – a month-long festivity that honors this fabulous fungus. And, in Umbria, a landlocked region in central Italy, vineyards blaze red on crisp fall days.

 

 The hilltop jewel of Assisi, painted in autumn's golden light.

Umbria is one Italy’s more astounding areas in the autumn. It's easily reached from Rome or Florence but just enough off-the-beaten-track to preserve its rustic appeal. Umbria is the only Italian region completely surrounded by land. As a result, its scenery is peppered with lush woods and rolling hills. Famed for its natural beauty, Umbria burns with color come fall – when leaves in the forests and at Umbria’s many vineyards change to orange and crimson.

Below, you’ll find our 3 must-see fall destinations in Umbria:

PERUGIA

Perugia, the hilltop capital of Umbria, stands guard over a vineyard-rich valley. Perugia is a quilt of cobblestone streets, medieval alleys and historic piazzas. Wandering Perugia, you’ll spot centuries-old palazzi (mansions) alongside arched stairways. Food lovers will drool for Perugia’s handmade chocolates – famous throughout the world. Every October, Perugia hosts the 10-day Eurochocolate festival – an event honoring cocoa's many forms. During the festival, you can sip cocoa-infused grappa or be awed by sculptures carved from huge blocks of chocolate.

ASSISI

autumn in italy

Perhaps most famous as the birthplace of St. Francis, the beauty of Assisi needs to be seen to be believed. Like many towns in Umbria with medieval origins, Assisi is perched atop a hill. Here, visitors can tour the massive Basilica of St. Francis – adorned with the 13th-century frescoes and art of Italian masters like Cimabue and Giotto. The Rocca Maggiore is the city’s fortified citadel – dating to 1173. From the citadel’s perch atop the city, you can drink in sweeping views of the foliage-filled valleys below.

ORVIETO

Orvieto is consistently ranked one of Italy’s most beautiful towns. Built atop a flat bluff, Orvieto rises from the cliffs. Visible from afar, Orvieto commands the gaze of any and all onlookers. Inhabited since the time of the Etruscans, Orvieto became a center of power during the medieval period – frequently visited by Popes between the 12th and 16th centuries. Strolling the city’s medieval streets, visitors will notice Orvieto’s striking cathedral – featuring black and white stone and an ornate façade.

Click here to apply to see Italy with us in next fall: https://info.seeitalytravel.com/application-for-travel-agent-educational-trips. In fall 2019, we'll explore Rome, Venice and Florence with a group of select agents -- enjoying private-access tours and the experiences tourists can't find on their own.

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