While every season has its charms in Italy, autunno (autumn) is one of my favourite. In early autumn, the weather is still warm, and the cities and the beaches are not as full of tourists. Then as late autumn comes the trees change colour and the temperatures start to cool down. Generally speaking, that is!
Whatever the weather, there is always a wonderful selection of seasonal food and drinks you can try in autumn in Italy.
If you’re visiting Italy this autumn, why not head to one of Italy’s wine festivals? These will be called ‘la festa del vino’ or ‘la festa dell’uva’. At the wine and grape festivals, you’ll get to taste one of Italy’s most famous products – ‘il vino’ (wine). Here you can taste all sorts of local wines – light, fruity, full-bodied, sweet and dry. ‘La vendemmia’ (grape harvest) also takes place in Italy in the autumn months. Some vineyards – i vigneti – are even open for public visits.
Another wonderful thing to do at this time of year is check out one of the local ‘sagre’. ‘Le sagre’ are food festivals which take place up and down the Italian peninsula and islands. You’ll find chocolate festivals, salami festivals and olive oil festivals. There’s something for everyone!
In autumn, an array of seasonal food can be found, such as:
Le castagne – chestnuts
I funghi – mushrooms
La zucca – pumpkin
Il tartufo – truffle
Le mele – apples
Le nocciole – hazelnuts
I pistacchi – pistachios
I fichi – figs
Il finoccio – fennel
There are some funny expressions using two of these autumn foods – le castagne (chestnuts) and la zucca (pumpkin). Let’s have a look at them:
Togliere le castagne dal fuoco
Literal translation: to take the chestnuts off the fire
Real meaning: to save the day i.e. to resolve a difficult situation for someone else
Prendere in castagna
Literal translation: to catch in the chestnut
Real meaning: to catch someone red-handed
Avere sale in zucca
Literal translation: To have salt in the pumpkin
Real meaning: to be sensible
Essere una zucca vuota
Literal translation: To be an empty pumpkin
Real meaning: To be an air head, or not very intelligent
If you’re in Italy this autumn, I hope you get to try some of the great food, drink and festivals!