Italy is beautiful in every season, and each one offers different colours and flavours. Here are 10 of the most important festivals and events dedicated to local products to fully enjoy autumn.

There is no single answer to the question 'What is the best time to visit Italy?', but autumn certainly has a lot to offer in every region, bar none. The significant influx of summer holidaymakers is now behind us, and the villages and towns are returning to their everyday lives, revealing themselves to visitors in a truly authentic way. In the meantime, the whole world changes colour: nature takes on a thousand warm shades of red, yellow and brown, and typical seasonal products appear on the tables of the various regions of Italy, each one different from the other in its offer of local food and dishes. To celebrate these first fruits and vegetables, many village festivals and events have sprung up all over the peninsula to help us experience autumn at its tastiest. Here is a selection of some of the most important Italian festivals of 2021.

Tastes recall smells and take you back to places. It is the magic of certain dishes.

Fabrizio Caramagna

10. Pomaria, the Val di Non PDO apple festival

Let's start in the northern mountains of Trentino Alto Adige, specifically in Val di Non and Val di Sole. Here, the forbidden fruit of Eden is famous and beloved: that's why a festival dedicated to it was a must. 'Pomaria' is a festival dedicated to the world of apples that awaits you from 1 to 17 October to celebrate autumn's arrival and the harvest's end. This year's edition is called 'Pomaria on the road' and will animate 20 different locations throughout the two Valleys with a proposal of about 100 events dedicated to the world of apples.

A particular programme of events will take place in the villages that have hosted Pomaria in previous editions, namely Cles, Livo and Sanzeno di Casez. Pomaria, however, is not just about 'apples': it also offers wine, grappa and cheese tastings as well as workshops for adults and children, exhibitions, themed itineraries and meetings.

9. International Fair of the White Truffle of Alba

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The White Truffle of Alba is a renowned excellence of Piedmont. From 9th October to 5th December in Alba, in the province of Cuneo, a series of themed dinners and cookery courses with starred chefs will delight even the most discerning palates thanks to the combination of the truffle with other famous products of excellence. The dinners will offer a small audience of curious and passionate people a real sensory experience of contamination between history, culture, art and food and wine in the prestigious location of the pertinence of the Castle of Roddi.

However, the historic heart of the 'Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba' (International Fair of the White Truffle of Alba) is the Alba White Truffle World Market, an elegant open-air setting of over 2,000 square metres in the 'Cortile della Maddalena' in Alba's historic centre. The market is the ideal place to buy magnificent specimens of Tuber magnatum Pico carefully selected by judges. Also not to be missed are the Alba Truffle Show with its Foodies Moments (Cooking Shows celebrating the union between haute cuisine and the White Truffle of Alba), the Wine Tasting Experience, the Sensory Truffle Analyses and the Fresh Pasta Ateliers.

8. Weekends of Autumn's Flavours in Teglio

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Valtellina is an alpine region in the province of Sondrio, in Lombardy. It is the perfect destination for lovers of nature, mountains and good food. One of the most famous typical dishes here is the 'pizzoccheri', a variety of pasta in the shape of an elongated rectangle, prepared with buckwheat flour mixed with other flours. The village of Teglio is considered the home of this culinary speciality. During the autumn months (the 2021 edition will take place from 4 September to 28 November), it proposes the 'Weekend dei Sapori d'Autunno' (Weekends of Autumn's Flavours), a food and wine festival in participating restaurants and holiday farms. During the weekends, it is possible to taste pizzoccheri prepared by the Pizzocchero Academy and other traditional local specialities such as mushrooms and game.

7. Imperia New Oil Festival

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The city of Imperia, in Liguria, has a long history of oil excellence. Since the 7th century, its hills and the entire western Ligurian region have been rich in olive trees producing 'olive taggiasche' (Taggiasca olives are a particular variety of olive tree typical of this area). This precious fruit has always influenced life, the economy, and cuisine. To celebrate the extra virgin olive oil, Imperia hosts every year 'Olioliva'. This great event offers the best of local gastronomy but also various moments dedicated to entertainment and culture. In 2021 the event will take place from 5th to 7th November; during these days, the city of Imperia will turn into a giant open-air expo where more than 150 exhibitors will offer Ligurian delicacies.

The programme also includes the involvement of some restaurants that every year prepare menus designed to enhance the scent and taste of extra virgin olive oil. There will also be many cultural meetings and in-depth studies, exhibitions, cooking workshops, and entertainment for young and old.

6. Talamello Fossa Cheese Fair

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On the heights of Romagna is a charming medieval village called Talamello which, in addition to the beauty of the historic centre, offers the opportunity to take beautiful walks to discover the surrounding nature. The hamlet is famous for producing 'formaggio di fossa'(pit cheese), a delicacy that derives from a tradition introduced in the Middle Ages. The name of this typical cheese product derives from the fact that, during August, the cheese is placed in underground pits dug into the rock and then pulled out in November, when it has finished maturing, precisely on the occasion of the 'Fiera del Formaggio di Fossa' (Fossa Cheese Fair).

The 2021 edition will take place on 14 and 21 November. During these days, the village's streets will come alive with food stands offering typical quality products from all over Italy and, for the curious, it will be possible to watch the 'sfossatura' of the cheese (the moment when it is dug out).

5. Chianni Wild Boar Festival

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The village of Chianni lies in the province of Pisa, in an area surrounded by low mountains and chestnut woods. Wild boar hunting is widespread in these forests, and since 1976 one of the most popular festivals in Tuscany has been celebrated every year in November. The 'Sagra del Cinghiale' (Wild Boar Festival), now in its 45th edition, will take place from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 November and from 18 to 21 November. The program includes a series of lunches and dinners to promote the Chianni area and its cuisine. On Sunday 14, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 in the village streets, you can enjoy traditional flavours, folk parades, and live music.

4. Cremona Nougat Festival

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Cremona is a city in Lombardy with a beautiful old town centre. It is famous for its violin-making tradition (the Stradivari collection at the Violin Museum is very important, testifying to the city's cultural heritage) and for its 'torrone' production. The 'Festa del Torrone' (Nougat Festival) is one of the most popular festivals of the year and is dedicated to this iconic regional delicacy, that is one of the most classic Christmas sweets, made with almonds, honey, sugar and egg whites. From 13 to 21 November, masters and producers from all over Italy will perform on this occasion. The nine days of the event will be full of appointments, gastronomic challenges, guided tastings, photographic exhibitions, performances by street artists and shows. It will also be possible to see giant constructions and installations dedicated to nougat and its countless variations.

3. Porcino and Chianina Autumn Festival in Castelfranco di Sotto

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Let's return to Tuscany, this time in the municipality of Castelfranco di Sotto in the province of Pisa. The Chianina is an Italian cattle breed typical of specific areas of Tuscany, renowned for the excellent quality of its meat. The famous local 'Sagra del Porcino e della Chianina' (Porcini Mushroom and Chianina Meat Festival) was born to safeguard gastronomic traditions in an area where the industrial vocation is becoming more and more established. This year, the 'Autumn Festival' (the title chosen for the 2021 edition) will be held on 20-21, 27-28 November and 4-5 December in a slightly reduced version compared to previous editions. There is no better occasion to taste delicious traditional dishes, almost all based on Chianina, such as fresh tortelli (a type of stuffed pasta with a rectangular or square shape) and various types of pasta with Chianina meat sauce, Chianina hamburger, Chianina roast beef and numerous dishes based on porcini mushrooms.

2 . Bagna Cauda Day in Asti

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Bagna cauda is a gastronomic speciality of Piedmont whose name translates as 'hot sauce'. It is a typical autumn and winter dish, prepared with garlic and desalted and boned anchovies. It is simmered in olive oil and becomes a sauce eaten by dipping various types of raw and cooked seasonal vegetables.

In the city of Asti, the Bagna Cauda Day takes place during the autumn, an event that in 2021 will involve more than 130 restaurants and will take place from 26 to 28 November and from 3 to 5 December.

1. Cologna Veneta Mandorlato Festival

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Cologna Veneta is a municipality in the province of Verona in the Veneto region, known in Italy and abroad for its 'mandorlato', a refined Christmas cake whose origins date back to the first half of the 19th century. Its invention is due to an apothecary who, around 1840, had the intuition to mix honey, sugar, egg white and peeled almonds. The recipe, processing times and techniques are still the same today as they were then, and in recent years several soft sweets enriched with different flavours have been added to the almond cake.

Cologna Veneta celebrates its most famous sweet with the 'Festa del Mandorlato' (Mandorlato Festival), which this year will take place on 5, 8 and 12 December. In addition to this refined delicacy, the event will also feature other typical local products such as potatoes and red radicchio. Still, there will also be crafts, music and shows for young and old.

The history of cooking is the history of the world.


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