John Bensalhia helps to draw in the Autumn days and nights with a selection of great October events and festivals...

October's batch of things to do and see provides a fair crop of education. For example, you can learn about ways to help the environment and how to live a healthier lifestyle. Fancy getting ideas for international recipes? Or how about tips for getting a new pet? As well as this, we've got a fun run, street entertainment and food, and the wonders of chestnuts!

International Street Food Festival

Cesena, 4th- 6thOctober 2019

With the colder nights drawing in, there's nothing quite so comforting as delicious hot food. To get some inspiration, why not visit Cesena's International Street Food Festival?

As well as food ideas from nine Italian regions, the International Street Food Festival brings you ideas from nine countries. Food stalls and trucks provide ample helpings of worldwide cuisine, and there are other ingredients to help you prepare some fabulous dishes. You can learn about recipes from the likes of Lebanon, Vietnam and Thailand, and as well as this, there are tasting workshops and expert talks, which will offer lots of ideas about expanding your cooking vocabulary.

Arrancabirra

Courmayeur, 5th October 2019

Races take on many shapes and forms. Some are more competitive than others. In some cases, the emphasis is more on the fun factor, and Arrancabirra is no exception.

Arrancabirra has three notable aspects. The first is the incredible views that participants can see of the Mont Blanc Massif. The Courmayeur region at the base of the southern side of Mont Blanc affords many splendid views.

The second aspect is the dressing up, with many runners choosing up in specially prepared costumes. There's actually a prize awarded to the best or most amusing costume – which commonly links in with a specific theme of the race.

The third element of the race is – well, the clue is in the title. Birra can be drunk at regular intervals (one at each refreshment stop). Not the average procedure at a race, but don't forget, this is a race that is to be enjoyed – to the point where competitors can run with their pet dogs if they choose!

Ibla Buskers Festival

Ragusa, 10th- 13th October 2019

Much as Italy Magazine is happy to promote the big music festivals happening in the country, it's also delighted to mark the unsung talents.

Events such as the Ibla Buskers Festival allows the hidden stars to catch a break too. All the family can revel in the wide variety of acts that come to Ibla from around the globe. While busking commonly connects with a singer and a guitar, the breadth of scope extends to all kinds of performances such as magicians, illusionists, acrobats, actors and actresses, jugglers, tightrope walkers... In short, if there's an act that can wow the crowds, you'll find it this October in Ibla!

This month's crop of events includes one or two milestone anniversaries, and the Ibla Buskers Festival is no exception, marking its 25thanniversary year. Promising a great selection of acts for this landmark occasion, be sure to come to the district of Ibla, where you can witness what could be the great acts of tomorrow in full flow.

Bitto Exhibition

Morbegno, 12th- 13thOctober 2019

The big cheese of Valtellina will get a warm welcome this October with a Bitto what you fancy.

The Bitto cheese harks back to the Celtic era, comprising fresh cow's milk and a smidgen of goat's milk. The Celts came up with the name, Bitu, which translates as everlasting. As well as sampling this delightful cheese, you can learn all about its history and its background. You can find out where the cheese was made as well as the Bitto cheese-making process.

If you're not mad about cheese, don't worry. There's plenty to keep you occupied. Local street food stalls provide a great range of Valtellina produce. There are special live demonstrations and experiences, in which you can make your own candle or even sample a musical tasting. Talking of music, there will be plenty of musical performances, catering to every taste, including folk, rock and '30s era tunes.

Fa’ la Cosa Giusta! Do the Right Thing!

Trento, 18th- 20th October 2019

A worthy entry in this month's list of things to do, Fa’ la Cosa Giusta! encourages and instructs visitors about the world around us.

Through the method of a fair exhibition, over 200 exhibitors come together to showcase the merits of environmentally friendly items and produce, organic foods, fair trade shops, and much more. As well as the fair, there are a number of special workshops, talks and seminars for everyone. Visitors can also sample a special menu prepared with organic food items. It's a popular event which is about to celebrate its 15th year, and in educating people about an eco-friendly, environmentally aware lifestyle, it's the ultimate event for providing visitors with food for thought.

Varola Festival

Melfi, 19th- 20thOctober 2019

Just imagine if you could take a favourite flavour and add it to every kind of food. If you're a chestnut fan, and love that unique flavour, then this thought becomes reality at the 60thedition of Melfi's Varola Festival.

All kinds of food and drink will have a touch of that special chestnut flavour. Visitors can sample a wide range of products made with chestnuts including ice cream, cakes, pasta and beer.

The region of Melfi is well known for the growth of the acclaimed Marroncino del Vulture chestnuts. In keeping with its high quality, the Marroncino del Vulture chestnut is due to receive the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) certification. So it's a double celebration this year, along with the 60th milestone!

Melfi will be marking the occasion in style, inviting visitors into the cosy wooden huts to sample the various chestnut-flavoured goodies. All the while, musical performances add to the fun factor of this Autumnal ingredient festival.

Pets Festival

Piacenza, 19th- 20th October 2019

Where would we be without our pet chums? Dogs, cats, rabbits, goldfish... so many homes are blessed with pets, and what better showcase of our pet friends than Piacenza's Pets Festival?

The seventh edition of the Pets Festival will occur during the third week of October, and invites visitors to learn more about animals from a wide spread of professionals, association reps and breeders. You may have a pet of your own and want to find out more. Or you may be thinking of getting your first pet, and want some advice. On which note, while it won't be possible to actually buy a pet, you may be able to adopt your own puppy.

However, this wonderful world of wildlife and animals will be selling various plants, bonsai items and flowers – just the job for brightening up your house or garden!