You’ve probably heard travelers gush about Tuscany in the fall. And they have reason to – autumn is a fantastic time of year to travel to bella Toscana.
As a local, it’s one of my favorite times of the year, and along with spring, it’s the time I encourage friends and family to come visit.
But, I won’t say it’s ‘all roses,’ as there are a couple of challenges that come with visiting in the fall that may or may not affect your particular trip.
Let’s take a look at why you may or may not want to visit Tuscany in the fall.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Visit Tuscany in the Autumn
Autumn Colors in Tuscany
Autumn colors are at their best in the fall months, when vineyards change from a vibrant green to shades of yellow, orange, and red. They can be so beautiful that I often pull over on our way to school in the morning to take photos (of the vineyards, not my kids rolling their eyes).
The Vendemmia in Tuscany
The vendemmia (grape harvest) typically takes place in Tuscany in September and October, and it’s a great time to be in the Tuscany countryside. You’ll see people out in the fields, notice tractors on the roads filled with freshly harvested grapes, and there are wine festivals like the Chianti Classico Wine Expo in Greve in Chianti.
Good To Know: While major wineries will still be open for tastings, some smaller wineries won’t be open for visits because everyone is out working on the harvest and the new wines. Be sure to call ahead.
Read my guide to Visiting Chianti During the Vendemmia
The Olive Harvest in Tuscany
Later in the autumn, sometime in November, it’s olive harvest time! If you’ve never tried olio nuovo (‘new’ oil), you’re in for a treat! If you have a chance to participate in the harvest, you can see the entire process – from picking the olives, to taking them to the frantoio to be pressed, and sampling the fresh, green oil on toasted bread – fettunta (the ‘oily’ slice).
Helpful Tip: If you want to participate in an olive harvest, stay at an agriturismo and ask if you can help! You don’t even need a car – places like Fattoria di Maiano are just a few kilometers from Florence.
Fewer Crowds in November
While fall in Tuscany is not ‘low’ season, you may find fewer crowds in November. It’s an excellent month to scope out Florence’s museums and enjoy the region’s cold-weather dishes.
Good To Know: September is still high season in Tuscany, so expect crowds in cities and the countryside.
October is also a busier month, and continues to become more popular as people seek to avoid the September crowds and are ok with the possibility of some rain.
Good To Know: Italian children go back to school in mid-September.
Reasons to Skip a Trip to Tuscany in the Fall
Late Fall Weather in Tuscany Can Be Iffy
The weather can be poor in late fall – think grey skies, rain, and chilly weather. If you’re hoping to hike in the Tuscan countryside, swim in the sea at Forte dei Marmi, or cycle the Tuscan hills, you may want to avoid late October and November.
September is High Season in Tuscany
September is high season in Tuscany, which means high rates for accommodation, car rentals, flights, and more. You’ll also need to plan ahead to book your accommodation, transport, museum visits, dinner reservations (if you’re set on certain restaurants), and car rentals, as things fill up and get booked in advance.
Small Villages Close Up in Late Fall
While cities like Florence, Siena and Lucca and small towns like San Gimignano continue to welcome visitors even in the late fall, small villages tend to get quiet. So, if you’re excited to visit places like Montefioralle, Pienza, Monteriggioni, Monticchiello, Montemerano, or San Donato in Poggio, you may want to think about visiting another time. These places are magical – at the right moment.
Weather in Tuscany in the Fall
As you can see below, September and October are still pleasant months temperature-wise, but October brings more rain.
September usually has cooler mornings and evenings, but the days are sunny and pleasant.
November in Tuscany begins to get chilly and it’s typically a wet month.
December (yes, the first part of December is still fall) gets even colder, and the humidity makes it feel even colder. Rainfall continues, although it lets up a little compared to October and November.
Average Fall Temperatures in Tuscany (°F high/low)
|80 / 60
|79 / 59
|76 / 59
|78 / 57
|71 / 53
|70 / 54
|68 / 53
|69 / 51
|60 / 45
|61 / 46
|58 / 45
|57 / 43
|52 / 38
|53 / 39
|51 / 38
|49 / 36
Average Fall Precipitation in Tuscany (mm)
Fun Fact: November is the wettest month of the year in Florence and Montepulciano. It’s also the wettest and windiest month in Pisa.
Where to Go and What to Do in Tuscany in the Fall
One of the best things about Tuscany in the fall is that there’s so much going on – you won’t be bored, and there’s something to interest any type of traveler.
Attend a Tuscan Sagra
A sagra is a type of food festival in Italy, and they’re plentiful in the fall in Tuscany.
A sagra typically celebrates a town’s food product or something produced in the area. For example, the sagra could celebrate chestnuts (castagne), truffles (tartufi), or steak (bistecca).
They usually involve outdoor cooking and dining – on casual wooden tables in the middle of a piazza or village street.
We love heading to a sagra on a fall evening. Children play freely, there are often bands or local musicians, and the people of the town are out to enjoy the afternoon or evening – join them!
You can find info for larger sagre online, but most are advertised with paper posters on village walls or street corners. You can also ask your hotel or agriturismo about upcoming sagre in the area.
Taste Wine in Tuscany
The vineyards are gorgeous this time of year, as they turn from green to yellow, orange, and red. Grab a glass and sample some of the area’s famous wines, including – Chianti Classico wines, Super Tuscans, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
You can try wines at wineries or at enoteche (wine bars) in towns and cities.
Helpful Tip: Stop in to see Ciro at Le Volpi e L’Uva in Florence to try some of Tuscany’s best wines. Or, do a self-service tasting at Enoteca Falorni in Greve in Chianti.
Good To Know: Many larger wineries still offer tastings, but smaller wineries need ‘all hands on deck’ for the harvest.
If you don’t want to drive, read about How to Visit Tuscany Without a Car.
Participate in the Olive Harvest
One of our family’s favorite parts of fall in Tuscany is the olive harvest! We have olive groves and we let the kids help with a few of the trees and they love visiting the frantoio to see the ‘liquid gold’ being made.
If you’re staying at an agriturismo with an olive grove, ask if you can help (or even just watch) some of the harvest and the process at the frantoio.
And, make sure you sample the new oil on a piece of toasted bread!
Helpful Tip: Wrapped properly and packed well in your checked bag, new olive oil is one of my favorite gifts to bring home to as a gift for friends or family. Remember that you must declare it at US Customs (and if you’re not flying into the US, make sure your destination country will allow you to bring in olive oil).
Visit a Tuscan Museum
On chilly or rainy days, tuck into a museum like:
- Accademia Gallery in Florence
- Piaggio (Vespa) museum in Pontedera
- Stibbert Museum in Florence
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence or Vinci
- Museum of Italian Paratroopers in Pisa
- Galileo Museum in Florence
Stay warm and dry, and enjoy these gems with fewer crowds that spring, summer, or early fall months.
Go on a Road Trip
Get your own two wheels and explore the Tuscan countryside on your own terms. Tour the Chianti hills, head down to the UNESCO Val d’Orcia, visit Super Tuscan wine country by the coast, or stop in small towns like Volterra, San Donato in Poggio, and San Gimignano.
Read our Tips for Renting a Car in Tuscany
Soak in Tuscany’s Hot Springs
This is one of the best times to visit Tuscany’s hot springs, because the summer crowds are gone, and it’s more pleasant to soak when it’s not so hot out. Evenings are gorgeous, especially in places like Saturnia’s Cascate del Mulino or the village of Bagno Vignoni.
Go Cycling in the Tuscan Countryside
September and October are some of the best months for cycling in Tuscany. You can cycle through the day without wilting in the heat, and the scenery is spectacular. Some of the best riding in the fall is in Chianti, and in southern Tuscany in the Val d’Orcia.
Early fall is a great time to do multi-day ride, but make sure you’ve got accommodations set.
Or, join a granfondo or the Eroica route.
Go for a Hike
See some of the Tuscan countryside on foot. I recommend sticking to established trails, because fall is hunting season in Tuscany – find out the hunting days in your area!
Good To Know: I love hiking in the Crete Senesi in Southern Tuscany, but it’s not ideal if it’s rained because the mud gets really sticky. If your walk goes through vineyards, know that more and more fences are coming up to keep animals and people out (so trails may be blocked). As an alternative to hiking, you can also walk in parks like Cascine in Florence or visit Chianti Sculpture Park for a stroll with art!
Learn a New Craft
In between museum visits and vineyard hikes, take a moment to learn something new!
Make a Perfume at Aquaflor (Florence) – Work with a master perfumer to create your own personalized scent.
Marble Paper at Giulio Giannini & Figli (Florence) – Learn the art of paper marbling in Florence at this historic workshop.
Hang Out at a Tuscan Beach
In early fall, you’ll probably be able to enjoy a dip in the sea, but as the temperature cools, you can still have a nice visit to Tuscany’s beach towns.
Good To Know: Even if you visit when the beach clubs are closed, you can still access the beach for a walk or to play.
Sample Tuscan Dishes
Get cozy in a restaurant and try some of our Tuscan cold-weather specialties like ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, or peposo. From casual trattorie with red-checkered tablecloths to Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll surely find something to suit your taste(buds). And don’t forget gelato!
Have Aperitivo in a Piazza in Tuscany
If the weather’s right, enjoy these last moments of pleasant outdoor aperitivi. Snag a seat at a café on the Piazza del Campo in Siena or the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca and have a people-watching session while you sip your Aperol Spritz.
Visit Popular Tuscan Monuments
Yes, September’s busy still, but later fall months in Tuscany are quieter, and the perfect time to explore some of Tuscany’s most popular monument like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Uffizi Gallery.
Good To Know: Check opening dates (from October) and make reservations (especially in September) for museums and monuments with entrance fees.
Visit Small Tuscan Towns and Villages
If you’re in Tuscany in the early fall, be sure to visit Tuscany’s small towns and villages. They’re still lively, celebrating with festivals and sagre, and the views of the countryside are gorgeous. Some of our favorite places to visit in the fall include:
Pienza – Visit Pienza before it closes up for the winter. Stroll a former pope’s ‘utopian town,’ smell the ragù wafting from windows, check out the view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d’Orcia, and settle in a piazza for a tagliere of cured meats and the local pecorino cheese.
San Miniato – Have lunch or aperitivo and dinner here. I love the energy in San Miniato and it still feels ‘undiscovered’ by the tourist crowds.
Collodi – Visit Pinocchio Park (with kids) and check out the small village.
Lucca – Okay, it’s not a small town – it’s a city. But once you get inside the historic center’s walls, it feels like a small town! Cycle on top of the city walls, climb the Giunigi Tower, and wander the narrow streets.
Celebrate the Truffle
While Alba in Piedmont is Italy’s most famous truffle destination, we have San Miniato and San Giovanni d’Asso! Both areas are known for truffle hunting, and San Miniato hosts a truffle festival in November. Sample truffles throughout Tuscany at restaurants, or head out on a truffle hunt with a local truffle-hunting dog.
Good To Know: San Miniato is also a foodie’s dream. It’s home to excellent restaurants and a lively aperitivo scene.
Florence is lovely in the fall, especially in September and early October when the weather is pleasant (no more extreme summer heat!) and outdoor dining is still guaranteed.
Even in poor weather, I enjoy visiting Florence in the late fall because the crowds have thinned.
What to Pack for a Trip to Tuscany in the Fall
Remember that the weather in early September in Tuscany is quite different from the weather in late November – keep that in mind when you’re packing.
Umbrella – You’ll likely need it at some point, and quality umbrellas here are pricey. You can buy an umbrella in a pinch from a street vendor, but it will likely only last for one storm.
Layers – You’ll experience sunshine, rain, warm and cool weather – and maybe all of it in the same day. Wear layers so you can adjust during the day.
Weatherproof Shoes – If you’re visiting from October on, I recommend having a pair of weatherproof shoes (or at least something that covers more than ballet flats or sandals). If it rains, you’ll want to keep your feet dry and warm. Booties and boots work well, as do leather sneakers.
Sweater, Jacket, or Coat – I always have at least a sweater or a light down jacket for the plane, and if you’re visiting in late fall, you’ll want a coat too. Check the historic weather averages and double check the forecast just before you leave.
Good To Know: If you need to, you can always buy a coat here in Tuscany!
Scarf – Italian men and women love scarves, and they do come in quite handy in transitional weather. If you’re visiting in September, bring one made of a lighter material. In later fall months, bring a warmer scarf.
Quick to Dry Clothing – If you do get caught in the rain or your shoes get wet, it helps if they’re made of quick-dry material.
Helpful Tip: Place your wet clothing near (not on!) the radiator to dry. Stuff your shoes with newspaper and let them sit overnight.
Slippers or Thick Socks – Not required, but I find they’re nice to have in chilly hotel rooms.
Tuscany in the Fall with Kids
If you’ve got active kids, late fall can be tough to be active outdoors because playgrounds are often wet.
Bring a rain cover for your stroller and rain jackets for the kids.
Be ready for kids jumping in puddles – pack the right shoes!
In September, visiting the beach is still fun because your kids can play in the sand.
Seek out kid-friendly museums like the Piaggio Museum, the Leonardo da Vinci Interactive Museum, the Stibbert Museum, and Palazzo Vecchio’s kid-friendly tours. Read about our Favorite Museums in Florence for Kids and the Best Things to Do in Florence with Kids.
My kids love going to the theme park Il Cavallino Matto for the Halloween celebration.
Fall is a great time to climb towers like Giotto’s bell tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the many other Tuscany towers.
If you get caught in a storm, tuck into a toy store or a library until it passes.
Travel Tips for Visiting Tuscany in the Fall
Weatherproof Suitcase – If you have a roller bag, make sure at it’s at least water resistant (if not, waterproof) because you may be splashing through a few puddles or walking in the rain with your luggage.
Utilize Taxis and Public Transport – Even if you’re an enthusiastic walker (like me!), don’t be afraid to take an occasional taxi or bus to avoid a long walk in the rain. It’s not fun to arrive at the Uffizi cold and wet.
Be Flexible – If you’ve got a walk in the vineyard planned for the day, and it starts pouring, change your plans and visit a museum or do a wine tasting instead. Try not to have your fall trip planned out to the minute to allow for these changes.
Agriturismo Stays – If you’re staying at an agriturismo, check to see when the heat will be turned on and when the pool closes for the season. Also get advice about local villages – which will be closing up, when the local sagre will be, etc.
Tuscany in Fall FAQ
Our family visits the Pistoia Zoo during the fall months, but we always check the weather before we leave the house. If it’s raining, we reschedule our visit because there’s no rain cover at the zoo and the paths (lots of ups and downs) can be slick if they’re wet.