Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

The Artful Season: Exhibitions and Unveilings in Italy This Fall

With fewer crowds, lower temperatures, and some of the best foods of the year, the months from September to November are among our favorites for visiting Italy. That said, as the summer-like days of September wane and November approaches, the weather becomes increasingly unpredictable and can swing between clear skies and balmy temperatures and blustering winds and cold showers in minutes.

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Portrait of a Lady and her Daughter.png
By Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

This is the season in which you’ll want to have some indoor touring options up your sleeve so you can fill a few hours when the weather turns biting cold or uncomfortably wet. With luck, your autumn trip will be a mix of days temperate enough to enjoy meandering through the streets and sipping an espresso al fresco and the odd sudden shower driving you indoors to check out a museum or art gallery. For the latter case, here are some suggestions for art exhibits to check out across Italy this fall:
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A Papal Retreat: Castel Gandolfo

Rome is one of the world’s great cities: repository of stunning art and architecture; birthplace to iconic pasta dishes; and vibrant capital formed over almost three millennia of history. Despite its La Dolce Vita-tinged joie de vivre, the Eternal City can also be slightly overwhelming, with a relentless pace and urban bustle that is unsurprising for a metropolis of millions but not the relaxing atmosphere you may want on holiday.

Villa Barberini Pontifical Gardens, Castel Gandolfo(Photo by Sonse via Flickr)

If you find you need a break, there are a number of easy day trips that take you out of the city for a few hours of respite; one of the most delightful is Castel Gandolfo, where popes have retreated from the heat and politics of the capital during the summer months since the 17th century. Set just 14 miles (24 kilometers) outside the city limits, this sprawling estate is located deep in the hills of the Castelli Romani overlooking Lake Albano, an area known for its pretty towns, bucolic countryside, and respectable wines.
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Trip Inspiration: Venice to Zermatt in Ten Days

If you’ve been to Italy a few times and already visited the A-list destinations like Florence, Venice, and Rome—or if you are looking forward to your first jaunt but want to steer clear of the tour bus set—we have some delightfully quirky itineraries up our sleeve that offer all the photo ops, great food and wine, and cultural treasures for which the Bel Paese is known, with the added perk of fewer crowds, as well as that elusive sense of discovery that is sometime hard to come by in our heavily-traveled world.

DSC_0221(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Here is the first of our Trip Inspiration series, meant to inspire your sense of curiosity and adventure, or simply to highlight the fact that Italy (and Switzerland) offer much more than the blockbuster sights. Check back in the future for more Trip Inspiration travelogues and photos to bookmark for future holidays!

IMG_9797Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

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Unsung Cilento

There are a number of destinations in Italy that are beginning to heave under the weight of their tourist influx, and the world (or, at least, the travel press) always seems eager to offer up “the next ...” options. Twenty years ago, Umbria was the next Tuscany; ten years ago, Puglia was the next Sardinia; and just recently, Treviso was posited as the new Venice.

Clearly, none of these substitutions satisfy: Tuscany is the cradle of the Renaissance whereas Umbria is a land of contemplative hill towns and Romanesque beauty; Sardinia is beloved primarily for its pristine coastline where Puglia delights with Baroque architecture and fairytale-like trulli villages; Treviso is lovely, but let’s face it...Venice is Venice.

One destination that has been creeping onto the radar as a possible “next Amalfi Coast” is Cilento, the area at the very southern reaches of the region of Campania stretching from below Salerno to the border with Basilicata. To the west, it is lined by the pebbly beaches and craggy cliffs of the Tyrrenian Sea, and to the east, by the steep peaks of the Alburni Mountains; these two geographic barriers kept the area isolated and pristine for centuries, and much of this stretch of coastline is now part of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Morning walking(Photo by Irene Grassi via Flickr)

Though it would be naive to propose Cilento as a substitute to the Amalfi Coast, it is an area worth exploring. Home to one of Italy’s most spectacular archaeological sites, delightfully authentic villages and coastal towns, traditional buffalo farms where true Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is produced, one of the most scenic parks in Italy, Cilento is still far enough off the tourist track to lend the thrill of discovery while close enough to the Amalfi Coast to merit a side trip for a day or two.

Here are some of the highlights of the yet-to-be-discovered Cilento:

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Three Great Fall Destinations in Italy

Though most travelers take their big trips during the summer months, by far the best season to visit Italy is after the high season heat and crowds have peaked, pushing your dates into the autumn months from late September through October.

Though the weather can be slightly unpredictable the closer you get to November, overall you’ll still find balmy temperatures, long hours of daylight, and delightfully crisp evenings during most of the season, perfect for both city and country touring. In addition, as the summer season draws to a close and the academic year begins, the tourist crowds thin dramatically and hot spots like Florence and Venice become a bit less claustrophobic, especially toward the end of October.

via-tornabuoni-florence-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Destinations that have a very distinct high season (the Amalfi Coast and the Salento peninsula in Puglia, for example) offer more advantageous rates for hotels and other services like private boat tours once October begins, and you have the added benefit of crisp days for stunning photo ops...without the hordes of tourists ruining your shot.

Finally, fall in Italy is paradise for gourmands, with the vendemmia (grape harvest) happening in wine countries from the Alpine foothill to the southern islands, and food festivals galore.

Untitled(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

If all of this sounds appealing, then start planning now for your fall trip to Italy. There are countless destinations that are perfect for a fall trip, but here are three of our favorites to consider for an autumn jaunt to the Bel Paese.

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