There’s nothing like being in Florence in the summertime, under the Tuscan sun. But visiting in autumn can give you a deeper sense of culture and Florentine traditions. Here are 5 things to do and see in Florence in the fall.
1. Truffle Fair
Tuscany is the heart of the world’s best truffle harvesters and autumn is peak time to discover this rich ingredient! Going to a truffle fair is a must in the fall when only the best chefs make truffles their top culinary ingredient in Tuscany’s local dishes! Take a short trip to the medieval town of San Miniato, where harvesters produce 25 per cent of this lavish Italian crop. Indulge in white truffles, black truffles, savory truffle oil, truffle cheeses and pastas. Talk to producers to find out the ultimate secret behind their silky taste and why truffles are one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients.
2. Florence Paper Lantern Festival
One of the most anticipated celebrations is the Paper Lantern Festival, La Rificolona in early September when Florentines illuminate the city at night by hanging lanterns from their window sills and balconies. The famous cultural event brings the city and nearby villages together for medieval costume performances, traditional dances, and the lantern parade that goes through the streets and onto the waters of the Arno River where they are floated away on boats.
3. Teatro Grey
Stroll through the city-centre to find Italy’s most loved mime! Walk through Palazzo Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio, pause to admire Loggia dei Lanzi and Grey, the humorous mime travellers and locals alike, flock to see. His exaggerated gestures and imitations (of anyone who dares to walk by), are enjoyed by crowds all afternoons. On-lookers travel from far to see Grey interact in the square, kiss bald-headed passersby, and sneak up on distracted tourists!
4. Tuscany from the Top
A great place to see where the Florentines live is by going off the tourist trail and taking a walk up the hill behind the Arno River. The steep hills make for a refreshing outdoor hike or hop on a vespa ride with a local! At the top, stop at Piazzale Michelangelo. This is one of the best (and free) spots to get quintessential views of Florence’s terracotta roof tops. You can even picnic here and watch for Tuscan sun. Cross Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Florence (and also the only one to miraculously survive World War II). Visit the city’s great architectures and climb over 800 steps up Il Duomo and La Campanile in Piazza del Duomo.
5. Gastronomy: Make Chianti, Eat Tuscan Steak, Discover Tripe
Tuscany’s signature wine is known the world over and only produced in the hilltop of Chianti. Detour up the famous hill, admired for its ancient wine cellars, picturesque valley, and magical Castle of Verrazzano. Take a local wine tour through the valley and learn from local harvesters how to make true Chianti wine.
Dine at Buca Lapi to discover the best bistecca alla fiorentina in the city’s oldest restaurant. This place has vaulted dining rooms from the 1880s and walls covered in old newspaper clippings. If you’re brave, stop at one of Florence’s many tripe carts, close your eyes, and take a bite into this local delicacy. Stroll through the food market of Mercato Centrale and while there, learn to haggle for one of Florence’s famous leather goods at the Piazza San Lorenzo market. Make sure to find Il Porcellino, drop a coin in his mouth and rub his snout so you’re guaranteed to return to Florence some day soon!!