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The other day I realized I hadn’t yet shared my highlights from our trip to Italy in November — what to expect, what the weather is like, what to wear, where to travel, and what to do. For those of you who are thinking of going to Italy in September, October or November, I definitely recommend visiting Italy in the fall! Autumn is a good time to visit Italy because the weather is mild and the crowds are almost non-existent.
My intention for this post is to answer some questions and share some things we learned along the way in order to make your trip a little easier. It was our daughter and son-in-law’s photos of their trip to Italy that motivated us to take the plunge and book our trip to Paris and Italy in November. My hope is that you’ll find something here that will inspire you to visit Italy in the fall, too!
Visiting Italy in the Fall: Weather, What to Wear, and Where to Go
To prepare for our trip to Italy, we spent a lot of time watching Rick Steves’ videos on YouTube. We also bought his paperback guide book, which was immensely helpful while we were there, and we downloaded his podcasts and used them as our virtual tour guide as we went through museums and major attractions.
Wondering what to wear in Italy in the fall? While I definitely think autumn is the best time to visit Italy (no crowds!), I recommend taking a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves, because the weather in Italy in the fall can be surprisingly chilly.
While the days were generally sunny and warm, the evenings required a coat, scarf, hat and gloves–even in Rome. Layering will be your best friend. Most days, my outfit consisted of a cotton tank top, jeans, a long sweater, a scarf, jacket, and boots or sneakers.
We booked our travel (hotels, flights, train tickets, and transfers to and from the airport) through European Destinations, and we were very happy with them–no glitches whatsoever! I’m not an affiliate of this company but wanted to mention them since we were very impressed with the level of service we received.
Venice in the Fall
Our first stop was beautiful Venice. We flew in from Paris with a stopover in Munich, and the flight over the Alps was breathtakingly beautiful–I’m still thinking about it all these months later! A water taxi took us from the airport to a dock near our hotel, the Ai due Principi. We specifically chose a hotel that sits on a canal and reserved a room with a canal view, which I highly recommend.
Our time in Venice was short–just one evening and one full day, but we managed to squeeze in:
a gondola ride (well worth the 80 Euros),
a visit to the Rialto Bridge (great photo ops),
St. Mark’s Basilica (make sure to go upstairs to see the bronze horses, tapestries, and mosaics and view the square),
Doge’s Palace (not sure I’d recommend it, but it did have a great coffee shop and amazing views of the canal from the large Senate room upstairs),
and the Frari Church (beautiful artwork and architecture, but a long walk from everything else),
as well as a couple of amazing dinners.
On our first evening in Venice, we enjoyed a great dinner at Trattoria Al Gazzettino, which was recommended to me by my lovely friend Lisa at Cottage Style, after their trip to Venice last summer. We shared an antipasti platter, pasta carbonara, and steak gorgonzola, followed by dessert and coffee. This was my husband’s favorite meal of our entire trip!
The second night, we made early reservations at Trattoria Povoledo, and were lucky enough to get a table out on the (heated) patio, right next to the Grand Canal! It was a wonderful meal, made even more special by watching the boats and gondolas float past as we ate!
You’ll do a lot of walking in Venice, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and carry a lightweight crossbody bag. And, since most of the bridges have steps rather than ramps, make sure to bring lightweight luggage (this is what I took) that you can easily carry to and from your hotel–or book a hotel that sits right on one of the main waterways.
Be prepared to take hundreds of photos, because around every corner (or beyond every bridge) you’ll be treated to a sight even more beautiful than the last!
Florence in the Fall
The next morning we took the train to Florence, which took about two hours. Train travel in Italy is wonderful! The trains are modern and comfortable, and we loved watching the beautiful Italian countryside zoom by as we traveled. Italy in the fall is truly breathtaking!
In Florence, we stayed at a boutique hotel called the Art Atelier, which we loved. Our room was large, the breakfasts were delicious, and best of all, it was located just a couple of blocks from the train station as well as the Mercato di San Lorenzo.
We began our visit with a trip to the Mercato Centrale, which has a food market on the bottom floor and a great array of restaurants and coffee shops on the top floor. We had a Margherita pizza that was so amazing we went back for another the next day!
After lunch, we walked through the nearby open air market, the Mercato di San Lorenzo, which sells leather goods, souvenirs and clothing. This is where I found the pink tassel that makes an appearance in a lot of my home photos!
Next, we walked to the Academia to see Michelangelo’s David, then strolled around the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its famous dome, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Palazzo Vecchio. After visiting the Uffizi Museum, we reached the Ponte Vecchio just in time to catch an amazing view of the sun setting over the Arno River.
Taking A Day Trip to Tuscany / Sienna
The next morning, we headed out on a tour of the Tuscan countryside, which we booked through Fun in Tuscany.
Our first stop was a beautiful vineyard called Fattoria Poggio Alloro, where we toured the farm and vineyard, sampled their wines and olive oil, and enjoyed amazing views! The Italian countryside is so gorgeous in the fall!
Next, we visited the charming medieval town of San Gimignano, set on a hilltop and circled by 13th-century walls.
We strolled down the cobblestone streets, took lots of photos, and stopped for saffron-infused gelato at Gelateria Dondoli.
We even met a dog or two! This little guy reminded me of our pugs. I had to laugh when I saw how many photos of dogs, cats and birds I came home with!
After a visit to another vineyard, where they fed us an amazing late lunch/early dinner, we headed back to Florence and stopped at Michelangelo Plaza just in time to catch the sun setting over the city. Such a magical experience!
The next morning, after enjoying our coffee at a charming “pasticceria” near the Mercato di San Lorenzo, we boarded the train for Rome.
Rome in Autumn
I love everything about this beautiful city! The streets and buildings are so charming, the people are friendly and welcoming, and of course the food is amazing!
Since my husband wasn’t feeling well on the day we arrived in Rome–and it was raining–we ended up squeezing all our sightseeing into the following two days. I still can’t believe how much we were able to see and do in those two days! We kept track of our steps on our phones and later discovered we walked around 12 miles each day!
Our first sight-seeing day in Rome looked like this:
Colosseum and Roman Forum (we bought tickets in advance online and got there just as it was opening so we didn’t have to wait in line)
lunch at Enoteca Corsi (see below)
Campo de Fiori (an open air market)
dinner at Est Artigiana del Gusto (my favorite meal of our trip–we shared a meat and cheese plate, homemade fettuccini, steak and fries, lemon torte–so good!)
Piazza Navona (beautiful fountain & very cool atmosphere, especially at night)
To be honest, this was too much to fit into one day–plus we walked everywhere we went! If we had it to do over again, we’d either do less or take a bus, taxi or Uber between spots. (The train system in Rome only covers part of the city, so most people use buses instead.)
One of my favorite meals in Rome: a relaxing lunch of meats, cheeses, arugula, olive oil and bread at Enoteca Corsi.
Our hotel was on this street, and it was nice to come back to such a charming view at the end of each day.
Of course, there were plenty of beautiful doors to admire!
Our second day looked like this:
Took the A-train to the Vatican (we bought our train tickets at a tobacco kiosk)
Visited the Vatican Museum (we bought tickets in advance online)
Sistine Chapel (took the secret exit mentioned in Rick Steves’ guidebook, which took us directly to St. Peter’s without waiting in line)
St. Peter’s Basilica (so beautiful–one of my favorite sights of our trip)
Lunch–panini and caffe latte–in a little place near the Vatican
Gelato at La Romana (best gelato of our trip!)
Walked through the Piazza del Popolo
Shopping on Via del Corso
Dinner at Taverna Trilussa in the Trastavere district (cozy atmosphere, delicious cheeses, homemade pastas and lots of meat dishes)
Walked around Trastavere (I wish we’d saved more time for this)
More street scenes. I just couldn’t get enough!
The autumn sun setting over our final day in Rome–and the final day of our trip to Italy. We’re already planning a return visit–although this time I think we’ll travel to Italy in October in order to enjoy slightly longer days and slightly warmer weather!
Thank you so much for sticking with me through this extra long post! If you have any questions about our trip to Italy in the fall, feel free to ask in the comments below or contact me here. And if you’re planning a trip to Paris, make sure to check out this post on our trip to Paris in the fall sharing all my tips and recommendations for that beautiful city!
Have a wonderful day! xo jane
P.S. When I told my husband I was writing this post, he said, “make sure to tell everyone how easy it was!” And, yes, it was surprisingly easy. In fact, the hardest part of our entire trip to Italy and Paris in the fall was just taking the plunge and making the reservations. After that, everything just flowed together perfectly, as though it was all meant to be! (And it was!) xo