Fall in Italy brings a gorgeous palette of oranges and warm reds to its many forests and valleys. Leaf-peepers and lovers of long walks can immerse themselves in foliage-strewn landscapes, while epicureans can gorge on fall foods like truffles and chestnuts. Here are some of the most spectacular destinations for admiring Italy’s seasonal colors.
Delve deep into the Foresta Umbra, Puglia
This vast wood is imbued with a sense of mystery as thick trees plunge the forest floor into enigmatic shade — hence the name “Umbra”. In fall, the ground is carpeted with vivid yellow and orange leaves in a magnificent autumnal spectacle.
Several trails wind between the beech, oak, maple, holly and hare trees. The wood is home to ancient, majestic specimens such as the Colosso della Foresta, a 40 meters tall beech tree, and the Zeppino del Scorzone, a 700-year-old Aleppo pine. With over two thousand plant species, the wood is a renowned nature reserve with UNESCO protection.
Soak up woodland scents in the Parco della Sila, Calabria
As this park dons its fall livery, it becomes a prime destination for leaf-loving photographers and hikers. The woods are filled with maples, poplars and beeches, while mushrooms and chestnuts hide beneath the fallen leaves.
Walkers can follow the Sila Piccola circular route, which passes among ancient beach trees and arrives at the crystalline waters of the Tacina river. To learn more about the historic forest species, there are two multimedia museums on site, Le Foreste della Sila and Le Foreste e L’Uomo.
Stumble upon sculptures in the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo, Viterbo
This extraordinary forest becomes sensational in fall when fiery red leaves frame its fantastical sculptures. Visitors encounter monumental Mannerist artworks among ancient oak, hazelnut, and chestnut trees.
Created during the 16th century, the wood is dubbed the Park of Monsters for its grotesque stone inhabitants. From the gaping “hell mouth” of Orcus, god of the underworld, to Hannibal’s elephant capturing a Roman legionary, the drama of this park is at its height when immersed in flame-colored foliage.
Hunt truffles and drink wine in Le Langhe, Piedmont
In the northwestern region of Piedmont, Le Langhe are a series of vine-covered hills and valleys that explode into color in fall. In the early morning, an enchanting mist envelops the undulating landscape.
In this season, the land is at its most fertile, offering up truffles, chestnuts and powerful wines. After brisk walks breathing in the woodland scents, gourmands can satisfy their palettes in the city of Alba with pasta and white truffle sauce accompanied by a full-bodied Barolo.