4 great things to do in Italy in the fall
If you are considering a fall trip to Italy, consider the options below to enjoy the country’s beautiful countryside and sample its fall food and wine. City travelers should also head to Genoa, where a unique biannual cultural event, the Rolli Days, spans a week. (For the latest travel requirements for Italy, and to find out where the Green Pass or a recognized equivalent certificate is required to access sites and transport, go to Ministry of Business website. Also check cultural destinations websites for updated times and visiting conditions (many require advance reservations.)
TUSCANY: Explore the Medici countryside
If you’ve been dazzled by the Medici exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (until October 11, 2021), or just want to learn more about Florence’s most famous family after seeing the sites of the town showcasing their ancient might and might, head to Tuscany the countryside. Here you will find the majority of the Medici estates, added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013, which can make good day trips outside Florence in the fall.
Among the places to visit are the Villa di Poggio in Caiano, commissioned by Laurent the Magnificent, the famous patron of the Renaissance. The villa has been the site of a number of high-profile Medici marriages, including that of Francesco de Medici, a Grand Duke of Tuscany, who here married his longtime sweetheart, Bianca Cappello; their romance was the topic of conversation in 16th-century Florence.
Upon Francesco’s death, his brother Ferdinando became the Grand Duke. He and his wife Christine de Lorraine, a relative of another illustrious Medici, Catherine, Queen of France, spent time in La Ferdinanda, a large villa in Carmignano, known for its many fireplaces and fireplaces and its impressive guest list, probably including Leonardo da Vinci. Nearby is the Paggeria Medicea hotel, housed in a 17th century Medici structure, where you can even take a Medici cooking class. For more information on property tours with a private guide and cooking classes, contact Tenuta di Artimino, [email protected]
A short drive from Florence to Castello is the Villa La Pétraia, remains of eminent Florentines before Cosimo I, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany and founder of the Uffizi, bought the property. Its take on Florence made it attractive over the following centuries to noble families, including the Italian dynasty of Savoy, which gave united Italy its first modern-day king.
The Villa Medici by Cerreto Guidi, about an hour’s drive from Florence, was another residence of Cosimo I, which he often used as a hunting retreat. Today the villa is the site of a hunting museum and displays a variety of paintings and decorative items as well as furniture from the 1600s to 1800s.
For a list of Medici villas in Tuscany, go to City e Giardini Medicei in Tuscany.
LIGURIA, GENOA: Admire the stunning architecture and art of Rolli
The biannual Rolli Days of Genoa are among the city’s most anticipated cultural events, a time when a network of extraordinary palaces, villas and estates dating back to the glory days of the Republic of Genoa, including a number of private structures fail are generally not available for tours, is open to the public. During the Renaissance and until the 17th century, these palazzi, residences of the city’s greatest aristocrats and merchants, played a key role in local diplomacy. The government has created lists, or “rolli”, of dwellings considered large enough to accommodate the most important guests of the Republic during official visits.
The palaces that made the cup were known for their striking architecture, lavish interiors, and significant frescoes and works of art. In 2006, UNESCO designated 42 of these historic places as World Heritage Sites. This fall, Genoa Rolli Days, which usually takes place on a weekend, will run for an entire week, in time to coincide with the Genoa Expedition Week. (Tours to most palaces are free, but reservations are required.) From October 4-8, a select group of palaces and monuments will be open; on the weekend of the 9th and 10th the options expand with more than two dozen palaces, including several new sites and other landmarks, to see. If you can’t make it to Genoa for the Rolli Days, keep in mind that you can still visit a number of these wonderful palaces, like the Strada Nuova museums (Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso), the Palazzo Reale or royal palace, and the National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola (with works by Rubens and Van Dyck, among others), throughout the year. For a digital preview of the Rolli Palazzi, visit VisitGenoa.it/rollidays-online/
PIEDMONT: Go up to the castle and soak up the autumn colors of the wine-growing landscapes
The Langhe, Monferrato and Roero wine regions of Piedmont, sublime wine-growing territories classified as UNESCO World Heritage, are popular weekend destinations for those who live in Milan or Turin. And for good reason, in addition to watching the vine-lined hills go from green to gold, amber and rust, there are castles to visit where you can admire grandiose panoramas over the surrounding misty countryside; and all the great wines of the region, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, to taste as well. Some of the castles are also wine-oriented, among them the Falletti Castle in Barolo, which houses a wine museum (WiMu) and an enoteca showcasing the famous local wine; and Grinzane Cavour Castle in the town of the same name, where you’ll find an enoteca dedicated to the best Piedmont wines, a museum showcasing Langhe culture, and a new open-air museum focused on wine traditions. The castle is also home to a Michelin-starred restaurant, Marc Lanteri al Castello, which offers a special menu dedicated to the glorious local specialty, the white truffle. You will eat very well in Piedmont, there are 46 Michelin starred restaurants, including the three star Piazza Duomo in Alba.
TUSCANY AND UMBRIA: Explore the wine routes in ancient territories
The Etruscans, whose presence in central Italy dates back to the 9th century BC, were successful and prolific winegrowers. In ancient times they established settlements and trading ports along what today is called the Etruscan coast, an area that extends roughly from Livorno to Piombino. If you don’t know the region, the Etruscan Coast Wine Route will help you get to know it better. Near the start of the trail is the town of Casale Marittimo, settled by the Etruscans, overlooking the sea. Bolgheri, where famous ‘super Tuscan’ wines like Sassicaia and Ornellaia are produced, is a short drive away. car. Bolgheri is also where you’ll find one of Italy’s most photographed places, Viale dei Cipressi, or Cypress Road. Not far from Piombino is the Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia with ruins of the Etruscan settlement of Populonia. The wine route ends at Elba Island, where Aleatico, a soft red, is produced.
Umbria has its own wine route, the Strada dei Vini Etrusco Romana, weaving through ancient lands with places like Orvieto, Narni and Amelia to visit along the way. In Orvieto, which was an important Etruscan city, there is a remarkable archaeological museum, as well as a medieval quarter and a sparkling Gothic cathedral to discover. Amelia, on a hill overlooking the Tiber with ancient stone walls, has a museum featuring pre-Roman and Roman artefacts, as well as artefacts and paintings depicting periods up to the 17th century. The wines to taste here include DOCs like Orvieto, Rosso Orvietano and Amelia.