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!