Do you love long walks among beech, maple, and chestnut trees? Autumn is a perfect time, and Italy is the right destination to experience all the emotions of Foliage.
Autumn is that time of year when a charming and nostalgic atmosphere brings to mind the feeling of warmth that we find around the first fires of lit fireplaces and sipping a hot herbal tea in the evening.
It is one of the best times for those who love to take long walks, for photography enthusiasts, and for those who love to collect autumn fruits, such as chestnuts, to cook on the grill between one path and another.
This is when nature starts to change; the leaves take on colours between warm reds, yellows, golds, browns and oranges before falling and forming a colourful carpet, giving us picturesque landscapes.
It is the spectacular phenomenon of Foliage!
In Italy, there are many places where you can admire this miracle of nature. Here are 5 of the best places in our country where you can watch the Foliage.
"Autumn is so in love with sunsets that it paints one on every single leaf".
5. In Puglia for a Romantic Foliage
It's impossible not to get caught up in the spectacle of Foliage in Puglia, which always attracts many visitors, especially the romantically minded who want to spend a few days admiring the beauty of nature.
Between October and November, the climate is still mild. The warm autumn weather typical of Puglia is an excellent ally for trips and outings in the open air so that you can admire the phenomenon of autumn leaves in all its splendour.
One of the most beautiful places in Puglia is certainly the Foresta Umbra, located in the heart of the Gargano promontory. It is called the "Umbra" Forest because it tends to reduce the passage of sunlight towards the ground, resulting in a very shady, hence "Umbrian", forest. During autumn, the Puglia forest also turns red and yellow, offering a truly unmissable spectacle.
Departing from Rodi Garganico and arriving in Monte Sant'Angelo, the Umbra Forest offers the possibility of a journey of discovery through the Gargano, an authentic Italian naturalistic jewel home to over two thousand plant species and for this reason, a precious nature reserve, a World Heritage Site. Their beech woods boast transnational UNESCO protection.
One encounters prehistoric remains, folk traditions, and cliffs overlooking the sea amid forests, olive groves, hills, maples, oaks, and centuries-old beech trees.
It's like escaping into a fairy tale!
For those who want to admire the Foliage in Puglia also Capitanata, in the "Monti Dauni" and the Incoronata Wood, in the centre of the Tavoliere Delle Puglie, are ideal destinations. The Incoronata Wood is a natural place, a destination for many lovers of this autumn phenomenon. In autumn, elms, poplars and ash trees provide visitors with rather suggestive shades of colour.
4. Foliage in Lazio: Places to Discover
In Rome and around the small villages in Lazio, there are enchanting places to admire the autumn foliage.
One of the most amazing places is Villa Borghese. Here tree-lined avenues, flowerbeds, ponds and panoramic views guarantee an almost dreamlike atmosphere in one of the city's most beautiful public gardens.
Another green area in the Eternal City where the autumn season is in full swing is the Parco Degli Acquedotti, in the Appia area. Here the warm tones of the pre-winter period appear on trees and plants, reflecting in the park's pond, like a unique spectacle that enhances the traces of the city's glorious past.
Finally, walking along the banks of the Tiber, the river that crosses Rome is like becoming part of a painting. It takes little wind to watch the leaves fall as if in a dance, illuminated by rays of the sun that can be seen between the roofs of the city.
On the other hand, if you are looking for rural places and woods among tiny villages, there are equally suggestive areas, such as the surrounding Lake Bracciano.
Another place where you'll feel as if you're suspended in time is Mount Livata, home to the largest beech forest in Europe. We are just over an hour's drive from Rome, in the Monti Simbruini Regional Natural Park.
The beech forest of Monte Livata, also known as the Faggeta delle Genziane, is striking for its size and the beauty of its mighty trunks.
Here it is possible to walk through the wood, admiring the autumn colours of the beech trees, passing through meadows where horses and cows can be seen roaming freely.
It is also an area where you can find spirituality in the beautiful Santuario Della Santissima Trinità di Vallepietra, set into the face of a mountain.
The Sacred Wood of Bomarzo, in the province of Viterbo, is also full of charm, where ancient oaks, hazelnut and chestnut trees take on their typical autumnal colours in an atmosphere of extraordinary joy.
A popular area for hikers and foliage enthusiasts is the Cimini Mountains, a scenic area of Tuscia with truly unique woods that look their best in autumn with their orange leaves and the sun filtering through the tall tree trunks at dawn and dusk.
The perfect hiking route is the one leading to the hermitage of San Girolamo, through the beech woods of Monte Fogliamo and Monte Cimino. In these places, the fairy-tale atmosphere amazes, creating an extraordinary setting.
Crossing the valleys, the area above Gaeta, around the Aurunci Mountains, is precious in autumn and offers a natural spectacle of great value, also given by the sea.
Even the most experienced hiker will be thrilled when he glimpses the blue expanse of the Gulf of Gaeta amidst the majesty of the forest that is beginning to bear. A breathtaking scenario!
Foliage in Abruzzo: the Enchantment of the Forest
During autumn in Abruzzo, the colours of nature show themselves in all their beauty.
Numerous valleys stretch out like fascinating natural theatres in the Abruzzo National Park, visited by walking and trekking to discover the Foliage.
Amidst clear skies and wild nature, you walk through the woods, where you are also very likely to encounter animals such as deer at the end of their mating season. At the same time, you reach the summit of Monte Amaro in the Maiella, the Second-highest peak in the Continental Apennines.
In the Majella National Park, "Bosco di Sant'Antonio", in Pescocostanzo, is one of the most beautiful places to see the Foliage. A place considered sacred in Roman times and dedicated to Jupiter, and since the Middle Ages to Saint Anthony. It is one of the most beautiful beech woods in Abruzzo, extending over 17 hectares between the ridges of Mount Pizzalto and Mount Rotella and offering an incredible scenery of centuries-old beeches that often take on strange shapes. Here, greeted by a large, centuries-old oak tree, you will find yourself walking in surreal silence on a colourful red carpet among candelabra-shaped beech trees, inebriated by the intense scents that stimulate your heart and soul.
Another fantastic place is the Lama Banca Forest, just a few kilometres from Sant'Eufemia a Majella. It owes its name to the steep slope of limestone, known as the 'lama' and white, which characterises the area. Here the beech trees create a colourful roof under which to stand in silence and listen to the sounds of the forest.
You can choose to walk from Fonte Lama Bianca to Fonte Della Fratta, which is also suitable for families with small children. Or venture along a slightly more challenging route from Grotta Zappano to Fonte Della Chiesa, allowing you to reach a viewpoint just below Majella, where the view can sweep as far as Gran Sasso the sea. It's an incredible place to take a photo every two seconds.
As well as walks in the woods, relaxation, tranquillity and peace, the Lama Bianca forest has the good fortune to be located at a crossroads of magnificent places to visit, some of the most beautiful villages in Abruzzo.
Another place where autumn is unforgettable, in Abruzzo, is the Orfento Valley or also called "The Enchanted Valley". Autumn paints the valley with poplars and maples' yellow and red hues between October and November, the crystal-clear river rushes between stones and trees, and the wind blows the leaves down like golden snowflakes. It is a pleasure to walk in the deep gorge listening to the gurgling of the river and intoxicated by the intense smell of undergrowth.
From here, you can reach Pianagrande, where the marvellous panorama opens out over the peaks of the Majella and the Orfento Valley, leaving you breathless. Defined as one of the most beautiful panoramic points of the Majella National Park.
2. In Piedmont, between Foliage and a glass of wine.
The beautiful area between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti, with its mountains, valleys and splendid vineyard-covered hillsides, displays an explosion of colours and woodland scents.
Here the atmosphere becomes magical and rarefied. The temperatures drop, and intense flavours of land are rediscovered. Ideal for those who like to squeeze in between the Foliage and a tasting of excellent wine.
After the summer, the Langhe are invaded by a light mist that immediately gives way to the magical colours of autumn: red, orange, yellow, purple, and bronze become the undisputed protagonists of this period, leaving rainbow hills all around the region.
The perfect itinerary in Piedmont starts in Alba, with a stop in Monforte d'Alba and then getting lost in the landscape until you reach Serralunga, pushing on to Barolo and Castiglione Falletto, arriving in the heart of the Langhe.
the Foliage in the Oasi Zegna is not to be missed, a spectacular natural park set in the Biellese Alps, in Ponzone, in the province of Biella. This area comprises 15 municipalities and four different communities that become ideal destinations for foliage enthusiasts thanks to the dense vegetation of thousands of species of plants and trees in autumn. Walking through beech and chestnut woods, it is possible to reach and visit the Sanctuaries Madonna Della Brughiera and Novareia. It is the ideal place to walk alone on paths that are also suitable for families with children. It is like being in a realm of biodiversity where the calm and silence of the place combine the pleasure of Foliage with the benefits of Forest Therapy.
In Piedmont, the Monferrato area also lends itself well to the practice of Foliage, thanks to the long rows of vines on the hillsides that are lit up with multicoloured hues and shades that give the woods an enchanted atmosphere.
Here, one of the most evocative routes to immerse yourself in Foliage is the one that takes in the medieval villages of Olivola, Moleto and Frassinello, passing through woods, vineyards and a marvellous castle. It is a circular route that can be covered on board a mini-bus, by bicycle or, for the romantic, by flying over the area in a real hot-air balloon.
1. Trentino: The Kingdom of Foliage
What better place than Trentino Alto Adige, with its expanses of forests, to observe the famous phenomenon of Foliage?
Every year Trentino offers a unique and ever-changing spectacle to be experienced while immersed in nature and admiring this romantic and fascinating phenomenon.
The best place to lose yourself in nature is undoubtedly the Altopiano di Brentonico, on the Trentino side of Monte Baldo, between Garda and Adige. This is also known as the "Garden of Italy" due to the rich flora present. From Brentonico to Castione, it is possible to walk through the chestnut groves, admiring the autumn foliage and eating chestnuts directly in the woods.
The Val di Sole is magnificent, with its splendid "Instagrammable" views during the Foliage period, such as Termenago, Castello and Ortisé.
Here the woods are unique in that they have mixed vegetation of broad-leaved trees, larches and firs, which can be observed from below. It is ideal for making shortstops in the various hamlets along the trail, reaching the centres of the villages and observing the Brenta from above, which will give you a unique feeling.
It is worth discovering Val di Rabbi among the Trentino valleys, a small gem among the mountains, which becomes special, especially during the Foliage.
Here, as you walk along the path, you will come across sawmills, mills, small huts, waterfalls and refuges that will make you fall in love.
For the more courageous, if you continue along the path, you can reach the Tibetan Bridge, suspended 50 metres above the Ragaiolo stream and 100 metres long.
Finally, there is no doubt that one of the most beautiful places to admire the Foliage is the Val di Non, famous for its high altitude apples. Here it is the numerous varieties of plants that put on a show and the vineyards and apple trees.
Don't miss a walk among Lake Tovel. It is a gem set in the mountains of Trentino Alto Adige. During autumn, it is a paradise on earth, with dazzling colours ranging from red to yellow and orange and a magical atmosphere created by the lapping of the waves.
Between mid-October and November, the Foliage around Lake Tovel reaches its maximum expression, which can be observed on a 3-kilometre-long, completely flat ring route, where you will be surrounded by entire expanses of apple orchards.
Foliage: a Poem for the Eyes
Foliage, also known as "autumn colouring", is an event that attracts more and more interest every year, not only for keen hikers but especially for photography enthusiasts and those searching for unforgettable views.
But what is Foliage? Why does it happen, and when?
Between the end of September and November, the leaves of some grass species change colour due to the different temperature ranges between day and night. The leaves do not synthesise chlorophyll and enter a state of vegetative rest, taking on other colours. From bright green, the colours become warmer, creating a whirlwind of shades called foliage.
All you have to do is choose the right place, equip yourself with binoculars and a camera and let nature enchant you. Not to be missed is that moment at sunset, which further enhances the colours of the Italian forests.
A spectacle that satisfies body and soul, combining aesthetic beauty with the possibility of reconciling with the peace of nature.