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It’s no secret that we love Italy in the fall, but we especially love Rome in the fall – in fact, we think it’s the best time to visit Rome, if you can get the time off. With a ton of sagre featuring Rome’s best fall foods and some of the best temperatures in all of Italy, it’s a no brainer for the trip of a lifetime. Here are the top 6 reason why Rome is the perfect fall destination.
1. Find lower airfares and accommodation prices
For many travelers the best time to visit Rome means the cheapest time. Italy remains a popular tourist destination year round, but the high season is still considered summer and Christmas. “Shoulder seasons” such as fall can be a budget traveler’s best friend. As the masses clear out and the hotels empty, it’s easier to find cheaper flights and lower accommodation prices throughout the city. Businesses that were closed for August reopen for fall and those that were swamped with tourists during the summer are able to appreciate new clients again. For more info read our blog posts on how to get cheap flights to Italy and how to find cheap accommodation in Italy.
2. Enjoy a calmer Rome with fewer crowds
September 1st means Romans are returning to the city after their August vacations and the summer tourists are spilling out. However, Rome is still busy in September. If you want to miss the crowds (as much as that’s possible in Rome) the best months to visit Rome are October and November. School has started, the summer tourists have left, Romans are working and you’ll be able to stroll through the city with plenty of room to breathe. As an added bonus, lines are shorter and patience is higher as the city quiets down in preparation for winter and the winter holidays. If you do, however, want to go in August, here’s what to do in Rome and how to do it.
3. Eat at the local food festivals
The best time to visit Italy is when the food is the best, and if you like harvest festivals, you can make a strong argument for fall in this category. The fall harvest in Italy is a food-lovers dream, and Rome has some of our favorite seasonal dishes. (If you’re curious about others, check out the post on our 6 favorite fall foods and where to find them!) During the first and second weekends of October head to Soriano nel Cimino, just a few kilometers north of Rome, for the Sagra della Castagna, or chestnut festival. Not only can you try chestnuts in dozens of different recipes, over the course of two weeks the town also reenacts local, historic events from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. In the fall, travelers can find dozens of sagre featuring fall specialties like truffles, grapes and wine throughout the entire region. If you want a more guided intro to Italian food, check out our food tours in Italy.
4. Experience the best temperatures in Italy
Unless you really love the heat, summer can be somewhat uncomfortable in Rome. Luckily, fall is perfect. If you want an absolutely lovely climate (with a bit more risk of rain), autumn is definitely the best time to visit Rome. It marks that magical time of the year when the oppressive heat of Rome’s summer is finally replaced by pleasant sunshine and optimal daytime temperatures. While early September can be just as hot as summer, sometimes being close to 100°F, temperatures begin to drop along with the leaves around late September until mid-November, providing pleasant days and only a bit of nighttime chill – perfect for sightseeing.
5. Get outside to soak in the colors of Rome
With such a pleasant climate, fall in Rome is the perfect time to explore outdoors, beyond the main attractions. Visitors can enjoy the changing colors of fall with a long walk in Borghese Park. Get a hot drink at a café in the park, walk in the leaves or simply take a stroll to enjoy the fresh autumn air. Another great way to enjoy autumn is with a fun (and historic!) bike ride along the Appian Way, Rome’s first super highway. Our Guide to Visiting the Appian Way can help you. The quality of light this time of year is a photographer’s dream and makes for breathtaking views of Rome’s top sights!
You can also stroll down the Appian Way and a some of Rome’s other most beautiful ancient sites with an expert, local tour guide on our Rome as a Local tour.
6. Celebrate Italian holidays and fall events
If you’re in Rome in October, head to via dei Coronari in the historic center to stroll through the antique market held there every weekend of the month. Even those not interested in purchasing antiques will enjoy the festive atmosphere and beautiful pieces from Rome’s past. October also means the annual Rome Film Festival. This year the festival runs from October 16 – 24. It includes international movie premiers, competitions and tons of events around the films.
Though Italians don’t officially celebrate Halloween, you’ll easily be able to find concerts, clubs or events that celebrate the American/Celtic holiday. The real autumn holidays in Italy, however, are All Saints Day on November 1 and the Immaculate Conception on December 8, when schools are out and people have the day off work. It’s around this time that Italians begin decorating for Christmas and visitors can still catch a final glimpse of Rome’s autumn before the winter arrives!
And if you’re planning to venture futher afield than rome, here are 6 (more) ways to enjoy the season in the rest of Italy