Anyone looking for an Italian holiday that's mostly free of the tourist crowds would do well to travel in October. Despite the cooler weather, it's possible to still catch some rays and laze on uncrowded beaches. Plus there are a few delicious harvest festivals in October that you can take advantage of.

Weather

By October the summer heat waves may be in the past, but this month still gets some warm weather that occasionally even borders on summer temperatures (depending on your location within the country). If your main destination is Rome, count on temps to be around 64°F/18°C. In Northern Italy, you can expect temperatures of between 45-65°F/7-18°C. In the nation's center, they hover between 55-70°F/13-21°C, and in the south of the country temps range between 65-75°F/18-24°C. You'll want to pack light layers for daytime wear but warmer options and waterproof clothing to guard against any nighttime chills or autumn showers. 

Crowds & Costs

October falls in one of Europe's two "shoulder" seasons (the other being in spring). This is the time of year when the high-season crowds have left Italy, yet the weather is still decent and has yet to reach winter levels of chill. In fact, in the center and south, you might even still experience some residual summertime weather. All in all, you should be able to find cheap airfare to Italy during this time as well as reduced prices on many hotels within the country. Typically, hotel costs are around 50% less than in the high tourist season.

There's an added bonus that many of Italy's famous harvest festivals occur during this month. It's a bit of a double-edged sword, though. While you definitely don't want to miss these food and wine celebrations throughout the country, they draw plenty of tourists as well as locals. So if you head to the biggest ones, be sure to book accommodation and travel as far in advance as possible.

Where to Go

A major benefit to traveling to Italy in October is that locals and most tourists have abandoned the beaches. If you're used to colder climes, the slightly chillier water probably won't bother you all that much. For the best beach options during this month, head south to Sicily. You could spend days exploring this historic and cultured island (and a week or even two is the recommended length), but if you just want to laze on the sand perhaps head to San Vito Lo Capo, a small town in the northeast, or the sky blue waters and golden sands of Licta, on the south coast. If you happen to be in Palermo there are of course the options of iconic Cefalú and the much less crowded but equally wide and inviting Lascari.

You'll also want to head to the major sights in Italy, as October is a good time to visit them without the masses of crowds. Although Rome is never tourist-free, you can count on shorter lines for things like the Colosseum and Vatican museum. And if you happen to be in Florence during October, be sure to check out the famous Uffizi Gallery and its impressive collection of Renaissance art. Museums throughout the country are open 363 days a year, so you'll have plenty of time fit one or more into your travel itinerary. 

If you do decide to travel between cities in various parts of Italy, take the train, because the other public transport options are typically unreliable. 

What to Do

You'll definitely want to partake in Italy's famous harvest festivals during this month and indulge in regional delicacies. One option is to travel to the postcard historic town of Alba, in the Piedmont region near the border with France. The festival is held throughout the month (exact dates vary), and the town comes alive in celebration. There is much eating and merrymaking as well as cooking demonstrations by famous chefs, and even folkloric renditions of the history of the truffle. But the festival isn't only about lauding that most-coveted of fungi; wine is on the menu too, and there are plenty of tastings of the season's new bottles. 

If you're a chocolate lover then head to Perugia, the historic capital of the Umbria region, and indulge in the annual EuroChocolate festival. This celebration draws chocoholics from across the globe eager to present and sample various chocolate treats. There are plenty of food stalls, tasting tours, themed events, and even an open-air chocolate factory. One of the most famous events is the "chocolate sculpture" portion of the holiday. It features talented artisans who create ornate sculptures in real time out of one-square-meter blocks of chocolate, which are then displayed for the duration of the festival.

Events in October

White Truffle Festival. Throughout most of October Alba hosts this celebration of one of Italy's most sought-after bits of produce: the white truffle. 

EuroChocolate Festival.  This all-chocolate-all-the-time festival occurs in the second half of October. There are many stands and people come from all over the world to showcase and sell their tasty chocolate goodies.

Traveling to Italy in October? Check out these great itineraries.

Food & Wine in Italy - 7 Days. Eat and drink your way through Italy's famous culinary regions —Bologna, Tuscany, and Rome—on this packed weeklong tour.

7 Days in Sicily: Mt. Etna, The Ionian Coast, and Cefalú. This region of Sicily is perhaps the most popular part of the Mediterranean's most iconic island — and for good reason. Europe's largest volcano, ancient archeological sites, shimmering turquoise waters, and easy to navigate resort towns are all reasons travelers flock to this region of the island in droves each year.

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