Italy is a country rich in culture, history, and gastronomy. Every season offers something unique and special to visitors, but autumn is especially charming and colorful. As the leaves change and the air gets cooler, many towns and villages celebrate their local products and traditions with fairs and festivals.
These events are a great opportunity to experience the authentic Italian lifestyle, taste delicious food and wine, and learn about the ancient customs and crafts that make each region so distinctive. Here are eight of the most unmissable autumn fairs in Italy that you should not miss if you want to discover the true essence of this beautiful country.
Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo, Alba
One of the most famous and prestigious food fairs in Italy is the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo (International Truffle Fair) in Alba, a town in the Piedmont region. This fair takes place on weekends from the beginning of October to the end of November, and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world who come to admire and buy the precious white truffles that grow in the nearby woods.
The white truffle of Alba is considered one of the most expensive and exquisite delicacies in the world, with a unique aroma and flavor that can enhance any dish. During the fair, you can browse the truffle market and fair, enjoy truffle-themed menus at local restaurants, watch truffle hunting demonstrations with dogs, attend cooking shows and workshops, and even participate in a truffle auction. The fair also features entertainment, music, art exhibitions, and cultural events.
Mostra del Bitto, Morbegno
If you love cheese, you should not miss the Mostra del Bitto (Bitto Cheese Show) in Morbegno, a town in the Lombardy region. This event takes place on the first two weekends of October, and celebrates the production and consumption of Bitto cheese, a typical cheese made from cow’s milk and goat’s milk that is aged for up to 10 years.
Bitto cheese has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, which means that it can only be made in a specific area following strict rules. During the show, you can taste different varieties of Bitto cheese, as well as other local products such as honey, salami, polenta, wine, and grappa.
You can also watch cheese making demonstrations, visit cheese cellars, join guided tours of historical sites, and enjoy folk music and dances.
Saus dl Altonn, Alta Badia
Saus dl Altonn (Autumn Flavors) is a gastronomic event that takes place in Alta Badia, a valley in the Dolomites mountains in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. This event runs from mid-September to mid-October, and showcases the culinary traditions and specialties of the Ladin people, an ethnic group that lives in this area and speaks a Romance language derived from Latin.
During this event, you can visit participating restaurants and mountain huts that offer special menus featuring seasonal ingredients such as mushrooms, chestnuts, apples, pumpkins, game meat, cheese, and herbs. You can also join guided walks and hikes to discover the natural beauty and culture of Alta Badia.
Olioliva (Oil Olive) is an annual festival dedicated to olive oil that takes place in Imperia, a city on the Ligurian coast. This festival happens on the second weekend of November, and celebrates the new olive oil season with tastings, markets, exhibitions, workshops, concerts, and competitions. You can sample different types of olive oil from local producers, learn how to recognize their quality and characteristics, and buy bottles to take home or as gifts.
You can also taste other typical products of Liguria, such as pesto sauce, focaccia bread, cheese, wine,
and sweets. You can also visit olive oil mills, olive groves, and historical monuments.
Festival dei Caseifici Aperti (Open Cheese Factories Festival), Campovolo
The Festival dei Caseifici Aperti (Open Cheese Factories Festival) is a unique event that allows you to visit some of the most renowned cheese factories in Italy and see how they make their famous cheeses. This festival takes place on the last weekend of October in Campovolo, a town near Reggio Emilia in the Emilia-Romagna region.
During this festival, you can enter inside cheese factories that normally are not open to the public and watch the production process of cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano, Gorgonzola and Mozzarella. You can also taste and buy these cheeses and other local products such as ham, salami, bread, wine, and vinegar. You can also enjoy live music, shows, games, and educational activities.
Tradizionale Festa della Castagna (Traditional Chestnut Festival), Vallerano
The Tradizionale Festa della Castagna (Traditional Chestnut Festival) is a popular event that celebrates the chestnut harvest in Vallerano, a village in the province of Viterbo in the Lazio region. This festival takes place on the last two weekends of October and attracts many visitors who come to enjoy the roasted chestnuts that are cooked in large pans over open fires. The chestnuts are served with wine, cheese, bread, and honey. The festival also features a chestnut market, a chestnut museum, a chestnut exhibition, and a chestnut contest. You can also watch folk performances, parades, fireworks, and a torchlight procession.
Festa del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival), Dugenta
The Festa del Cinghiale (Wild Boar Festival) is a gastronomic event that honors the wild boar, a game animal that is hunted and eaten in many parts of Italy. This festival takes place on the first weekend of November in Dugenta, a town in the province of Benevento in the Campania region. During this festival, you can taste various dishes made with wild boar meat, such as stew, ragout, sausage, salami, ham, and roast.
You can also try other local specialties such as pasta, pizza, cheese, wine, and desserts. You can also enjoy live music, dancing, games, and raffles.
Festa della Mandorla e del Nero d’Avola (Almond and Nero d’Avola Festival), Avola
The Festa della Mandorla e del Nero d’Avola (Almond and Nero d’Avola Festival) is a celebration of two of the most famous products of Sicily: the almond and the Nero d’Avola wine. This festival takes place on the second weekend of November in Avola, a town in the province of Syracuse in the Sicily region. During this festival, you can taste and buy almonds and almond products such as cookies, cakes, nougat, marzipan, and liqueur.
You can also taste and buy Nero d’Avola wine, a red wine that is produced in this area and has a fruity and spicy flavor. You can also enjoy cultural events, art exhibitions, concerts, and shows.
These are just some of the many autumn fairs that you can find in Italy. Each one of them offers a different and unforgettable experience that will make you fall in love with this country even more. So don’t hesitate to plan your trip to Italy in autumn and discover its tradition and flavors.