I often get asked when the best time to visit Italy is. An argument can be made for going at any time of year, really. Every season offers unique opportunities for the traveler wanting to discover different regions of Italy. The fall, however, is one of my favorite times of year in Italy. It is the season of the vendemmia, or the grape harvest. The air is crisp, the colors of the leaves are changing and the grapes are ripe, beautiful and ready for picking. Many vineyards open their doors to the public to participate in all of the activities involved in the vendemmia. The actual picking of the grapes is done by hand and is very labor-intensive. It usually is accomplished with the help of workers, extended family, friends and willing visitors. A hard day’s work typically culminates with a feast prepared just for the occasion.
The timing of the vendemmia differs from year to year and from region to region depending on the grape varietal, the local climate and the type of wine being produced. It usually starts sometime at the end of August and goes through to October in some cases.
From tours of the vineyards to festivals in the local towns and, of course, wine tastings, there are a lot of opportunities to truly experience this wonderful time of year. And the best part is that the vendemmia is not specific to any particular area, but an event all throughout Italy, therefore providing an opportunity to visit some of the lesser-known regions as well.
So pack your bags and embark on an Italian fall extravaganza. The food, wine and overall experience won’t disappoint!