Autumn in Italy brings a beautiful palette of oranges and warm reds to the many forests and valleys. Leaf watchers and lovers of long walks can immerse themselves in leaf-strewn landscapes, while epicureans can marvel at autumn foods such as truffles and chestnuts. Here are some of the most spectacular destinations to admire Italy’s seasonal colors.
Dive deep into the Foresta Umbra, Puglia
This vast forest is infused with a sense of mystery as thick trees plunge the forest floor into enigmatic shade – hence the name “Umbra”. In the fall, the ground is covered with bright yellow and orange leaves for a beautiful fall spectacle.
Several paths wind between the beech, oak, maple, holly and hare trees. The forest is home to ancient, majestic specimens such as the Colosso della Foresta, a 40-meter high beech tree, and the Zeppino del Scorzone, a 700-year-old Aleppo pine. With more than two thousand plant species, the forest is a renowned nature reserve with UNESCO protection.
Enjoy forest scents in the Parco della Sila, Calabria
As this park takes on its fall colors, it becomes a prime destination for leaf-loving photographers and hikers. The forests are filled with maples, poplars and beech, while mushrooms and chestnuts hide under the fallen leaves.
Hikers can follow the Sila Piccola bypass, which runs between centuries-old beach trees and leads to the crystal clear waters of the Tacina River. To learn about the historic forest species, there are two multimedia museums on the property, Le Foreste della Sila and Le Foreste e L’Uomo.
Stumble upon sculptures in the Sacred Grove of Bomarzo, Viterbo
This extraordinary forest becomes sensational in the fall when fiery red leaves frame the fantastic sculptures. Visitors encounter monumental Mannerist works of art among centuries-old oak, hazelnut and chestnut trees.
Created in the 16th century, the forest is called the Park of Monsters because of its grotesque stone inhabitants. From the gaping “hell mouth” of Orcus, the god of the underworld, to Hannibal’s elephant catching a Roman legionary, this park’s drama is at its peak when submerged in flame-colored foliage.
Hunting truffles and drinking wine in Le Langhe, Piedmont
In the northwestern region of Piedmont is Le Langhe, a series of vine-clad hills and valleys that explode in color in the fall. In the early morning an enchanting mist envelops the undulating landscape.
During this season, the land is at its most fertile, offering truffles, chestnuts and powerful wines. After brisk walks inhaling the forest scents, gourmets can satisfy their taste buds in the town of Alba with pasta and white truffle sauce accompanied by a full-bodied Barolo.