Tuscany is one of the top regions in Italy to visit at any time of year—home to the art city to end all art cities, Florence, smaller gems such as Siena, Lucca, and Arezzo, and picturesque rolling hills dotted with cypress trees, it’s a region that visitors have been falling in love with for centuries and return to time and time again. Whether you’re into food, art, or stunning views with vivid autumn colors, Tuscany will take your breath away.

Visiting in the fall, especially October, often gives you the perfect combination of temperatures that are still relatively mild and fewer visitors compared to summer, when the main attractions can sometimes be overwhelmingly packed.

The weather in Tuscany in the fall certainly should not put you off. You can still enjoy the outdoors comfortably in September and October (with a warm jacket for the latter). November can be rainy, so try to plan indoor activities such as museum visits (catch the Uffizi while it’s quiet!) and long trattoria lunches, but don’t forget to add a raincoat and umbrella to your packing list. December definitely needs visitors to wrap up warm, but bright sunny days are not unusual, even at this time of year.

Hilltop villages and hot springs

Some of Tuscany’s best-loved and Instagrammable hilltop towns and villages can be uncomfortably busy in summer. Fall sees the crowds leave, the colors of the leaves darken, and the mornings become atmospherically misty. The region’s plethora of hilltop towns is a result of its history, when the area was organized into independent municipalities that were often at war with each other and needed strongholds to protect themselves from attacks launched by their neighbors. Centuries later, this turbulent history has left us with jewels such as San Gimignano, Volterra, and Montalcino, as well as lesser-known spots in the east of the region, like Lucignano and Anghiari.

If the air feels a little chilly, what better way to warm up than a soak in a welcoming hot spring? Tuscany gives you the option of choosing from elegant thermal baths with a full range of facilities, such as those in Bagno Vignoni or Chianciano, or free springs for the more opportunistic, as in Saturnia or Bagni San Filippo. If you opt for the former, why not relax with a pampering treatment? For those on a budget, Saturnia is hard to beat thanks to its handily large car park and small café nearby serving snacks and drinks.

Autumn festivals

Once the heat of summer has abated, festival season in Tuscany is in full swing by October. It goes without saying that many of these festivals have a culinary angle, with every small town staging its own sagra dedicated to one local product or another: cheese in Volterra, chestnuts in Arcidosso and Bagno Vignoni, olive oil in Trequanda, to name but a few. Visitors are always warmly welcomed, just make sure you’ve packed your appetite! As well as food and wine, there are a number of antiques and vintage goods markets at this time of year, if you’re looking for a unique souvenir. As the holiday season approaches, Christmas markets also begin to spring up around the region.

Seasonal delicacies

Tuscany is heaven for foodies all year round and the fall brings a bounty of delicacies to the countryside as harvest-time approaches. When the temperature drops a few degrees, it’s also a great excuse to tuck into some comfort food, such as a hearty bowl of typical ribollita, a Tuscan bread and vegetable soup, followed by a seasonal chestnut dish, and all washed down with a glass or two of vino novello, which will start to make an appearance from the end of October once the grapes have been harvested. Mid-October also marks the start of the white truffle season—hunting for them in the hills between Pisa and Florence is a true Tuscan experience not to be missed!