Autumn in Tuscany is an ideal time for a vacation, or even just a weekend away: here are 5 travel ideas taking you through local festivals, forests in full color, castles and vineyards.
1. The most colorful forest in Italy is right here in Tuscany: the National Park of the Casentino Forests is perfect for admiring fall foliage, and leaves that turn dozens of different shades, from electric yellow to crimson red, and from dark green to orange. From nature walks and children’s workshops to mushroom and chestnut tastings, the Park will amaze you with both its natural wonders and organized activities. For information visit www.autunnoslow.net.
2. From the Lunigiana to the Terre di Siena, Tuscany has tons of fairytale-like castles where you can spend an autumn day traveling back in time. Our top suggestions are the spectacular Malaspina Castle in Fosdinovo, which dates back to the fourteenth century and offers an incredible view over the Apuan Alps and the sea; the Banfi Castle in Montalcino, a perfect stop for all the wine lovers, where you can visit wineries, take part in guided tastings and even enjoy a luxury stay if you want; finally, the impressively imposing Castello dei Conti Guidi in Poppi ,with its beautiful Taddeo Gaddi frescoes (Gaddi was Giotto’s student), and more than 25 thousand antique volumes in its Rilliana Library.
3. Experience the very best of autumn in Chianti: the vineyards turn thousands of different colors and in the small towns you can sample new wines. Start your journey in the picturesque town of Montefioralle , then head toward the Chiantigiana – perhaps on horseback – and then finish in Greve in Chianti: stop in at the Wine Museum for a visit, or enjoy a tasting at the Verrazzano Castle, or snack on Tuscan salumi and snacks like finocchiona, Tuscan prosciutto and pecorino cheese at the Antica Macelleria Falorni.
4. Next we move to the Monte Amiata , where we’ll celebrate one of the icons of Tuscan autumn: the chestnut! September to November is the perfect period for exploring this wild territory, slowly turning shades of red, and going on a chestnut hunt or participating in the numerous chestnut-related festivals and celebrations in places like Piancastagnaio, Abbadia San Salvatore, Castel del Piano and Castiglione d’Orcia.
5. Autumn in Tuscany is also truffle time! This prestigious and delicious treat is found in various parts of the region, but mainly in the hills of San Miniato, the medieval town in the province of Pisa, crossed by the Via Francigena. Every year in the fall, it hosts a major truffle festival, with a marketplace and showcase, tastings and special menus in local restaurants, where you can try delicious truffle-based dishes (like taglierini pasta with truffle sauce). The festival also offers chances to go on truffle hunts with dogs!