Where to go on vacation in Italy in November? Three places in the sun, three in the mountains and three archaeological itineraries. Here are 9 ideas.
November. Far from the crowds but close to art and culture, and also to those landscapes that you can dream and tease your imagination when, usually, you talk about Italy. Autumn exploded in all its colors and in that sweet climate that in Italy precedes winter for a long time. What better time to discover it than this? Perhaps choosing between three destinations of the spirit: the sun, the mountains, art. So, if you are wondering where to go on holiday in Italy in November, let us advise you.
The sun is really very present in Italian autumn and November can offer mild temperatures and light luggage; the mountain, on the other hand, is not yet prey to snow and weekend skiers, so it can be discovered in all its... naturalness! Yes, November is the month of nature, with the enchanting beauty of the landscapes, the ideal walks and trekking, without the heat and humidity of summer, with the plus of a good fresh wine from the barrel, because in November the new wine is uncorked.
Finally, the Italian Art, the most beautiful and desired cities in the world and the historical and archaeological sites which can be visited better in November than in the summer of obligatory holidays and the ritual of the "intelligent" holiday.
Where to go on holiday in Italy in November, 9 ideas
In Italy, November starts with a couple of days off for many categories of workers. Days which, well used alongside the weekend, can also be worth a week's holiday. Those who love the mountains but are not a skiing fanatic will find a vast and varied offer, focused in particular on sport. We offer you three itineraries: the Grigne mountains of Lecco and Valsassina starting from Milan; the Gran Paradiso National Park in Val dʼAosta that celebrates one hundred years since its establishment; the evergreen par excellence of every Alpine holiday in Italy, Cortina and its wonderful mountains.
November, we said, can still offer lots of sun, especially in some regions blessed with sweet temperatures. Visititaly also offers you three itineraries here: southern Sicily from Catania to Ragusa; the lower Salento which sometimes allows sea bathing and sunbathing even in November; the mild and temperate Western Liguria, protected by the Alps and the exclusive northern place for the cultivation of olive trees.
The third suggestion comes to us from the magnificent historical and archaeological heritage. Places that attract crowds all year round, but visiting Paestum in autumn is priceless, you can admire "more" without queues and without crowds, with the sun not beating down like in summer. And from there descend towards the legendary Elea (Velia for the Romans), where Western philosophy was born with Parmenides.
Rome is often chosen for a November holiday in Italy, but then it is right to go a little further north and take a trip to ancient Etruria. You will find yourself inside the Etruscan cities of Tarquinia and Cerveteri and the secrets of an ancient and mysterious civilization; the last itinerary takes us back to Lombardy, from the rock park of Capo di Ponte, in Val Camonica, up to the Grotte di Catullo in Sirmione from the Roman era.
9. The Grigne, the Resinelli Plans and that branch of Lake Como…
Piani Resinelli, viewpoint
The Milanese autumn is full of trade fairs and events, but to escape business at all costs there is no shortage of leisure opportunities. We can just start from Milan for a place where to go on holiday in November in Italy. Everyone knows that less than an hour from Milan there is Lake Como, the most admired lake in Italy. If the Como side presents itself as the most touristy and worldly, much frequented by foreigners, the Lecco side to the east offers a more genuine contact with nature, closely linked to the mountains of the Alps, with its bouquet of paths and caves, springs and breathtaking views. What better time than November to discover this fascinating corner of Lombardy?
The starting point is at Piani Resinelli, from here more experienced hikers can reach the peaks of the Grigne (there are four, the highest is over 2,400 metres). Newbies, on the other hand, have various options for walks across the plateau, such as the one that leads to the Cenghen waterfall, but the viewpoint of Parco Valentino is easy and unmissable. Here a new panoramic walkway has been set up which protrudes 12 meters into the void, so as to offer a breathtaking view, the most instagrammable of Lake Como!
To get to Piani Resinelli from Milan you need to reach the municipality of Abbadia Lariana, after travelling along the Spluga state road 36 to Lecco (Valsassina exit). It takes about an hour and a half, but it depends on your familiarity with the hairpin bends that lead to the plateau, located at the foot of the Grignetta. From here - and we are already above 2,000 meters - it is possible to see Resegone with its 9-pointed serrated peak, but on clear days also Monte Rosa, and many have been lucky enough to even see the spiers of the Duomo of Milan!
And then we return to the city... or rather to the suburbs. From 7 to 12 November at the Rho-Pero Fair, Eicma, the international cycle and motorcycle exhibition, will take place, the most important event in the world dedicated to two wheels. There are many visitors who flock to Milan in November to discover the new motorbikes and bicycles ready for the market, in the last year before the pandemic (2019) there were 800 thousand, this year dizzying figures are expected.
8. The Gran Paradiso National Park
The Gran Paradiso National Park
Happy birthday to Gran Paradiso! The park authority - as well as the Gran Sasso - celebrated 100 years since its establishment and today is proud of the 850 kilometers of paths that cross it and the 10 Visitor Centers scattered between Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta. The former Savoy hunting reserve has its symbol in the ibex (it also shows it in the logo) and November is a good month to go and find it, from a safe distance of course, since this is the mating period for chamois and ibex.
One of the experiences worth doing in November on the Gran Paradiso is admiring the beech foliage, one of the most beautiful in Italy, perhaps linking it to the many trekking opportunities that take place especially at the beginning of the month, while at the end of November you go snowshoeing. The right itinerary could be the Cambrelle Valley in the Orco valley, along the Roc valley path, which also leads to the Balmarossa waterfall. We are above Noasca, on the Piedmont side, and then you can continue climbing up to Lake Pratofiorito.
To get to Gran Paradiso, from Turin you need to travel along the SP460 for at least two hours, while the Aosta Valley side offers the more useful A5 motorway. Even from Ivrea and Biella we suggest to take the A5 and then exit at Aosta, otherwise there is the state road 565. In Val d'Aosta the Gran Paradiso offers the beauty of the larches in the Rhêmes Valley, the monumental forest of Artalle and in Valsavarenche the path that goes up to Vittorio Emanuele II refuge. Animal observation and birdwatching are fundamental practices if you want to visit the Park, there are foxes and the wolf has returned, but if you look upwards there are also golden eagles, bearded vultures and sparrowhawks.
For those who love sports, it is good to know that the Splitboard is gaining ground in the area, basically a snowboard that can be divided into two, so that it can be used as skis if necessary.
7. Cortina, from curling to "bombardino" to good Venetian wine
Cortina d'Ampezzo, the centre
Thinking about Cortina, you can usually imagine it from the top of the Tofane and other snow slopes from which to launch themselves in the middle of winter, or think of the long and serene summer days full of events, but the pearl of the Dolomites always has something to offer and November can be a surprise for a holiday. The larch woods around the city are colored gold and the red and orange hues give one of the most seductive foliage in the world. It makes you want to walk, at a fast pace on a sporty trek or at a slow pace for those who go looking for mushrooms, because in Cortina the nature, the silences and the endless spaces are a gift to be savored slowly.
Enough with the poetry, because there is the somewhat painful note of how to get there and above all where to park in Cortina. The motorways reach as far as Belluno (the A27) and Bressanone (A22), after which you have to take into account an hour and a half on the state road, be it the SS51 Alemagna or the SS48 bis Dolomiti. Once you reach Cortina, the advice is to move on foot, also because the Cortina ring road is a one-way ring, so if you take the wrong exit you have to take another lap! However, November meets our problem, there are fewer people around and there are many free car parks, from the one at the Bar Stazione in Cortina to those near the Faloria cable car and the Ice Stadium.
What to do in November in Cortina? Lots of sport, even without skis on your feet. First of all, skating at the Olympic Ice Stadium, open all year round and already buzzing for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Games. And then there is the curling school, here there is in fact the Dolomiti Curling Club, which boasts Beijing Olympic gold among its members 2022 Stefania Costantini, but at the school there is also space for novice children and adults. The woods are the kingdom of mountain bikes but also of fat bikes and gravel bikes to experience the thrill of pedaling in the woods.
You cannot miss the Shopping in Corso Italia, because Cortina has one of the largest pedestrian areas in the Alps. It's right then to take advantage of it for a walk with a visit to the fashionable boutiques, craft shops and a mandatory stop at the Cooperativa di Cortina, founded 130 years ago and today the largest commercial space in the Dolomites. Finally, relax at the refuges, where the snow may have already appeared in November, and then off to the hot chocolate or "bombardino" (eggs, cream and brandy) at the Lagazuoi Refuge, where there is also a Finnish sauna. Don't miss the Rifugio Faloria, reachable by the cable car of the same name, while you need a cable car and cable car to go up to the summit of the Tofane at 3244 metres, but halfway the Masi Wine Bar on Col Druscié is worth a stop.
6. Sun in Sicily, from volcanic Catania to sweet Ragusa
In November, Sicily still offers a mild climate for a sunny holiday in Italy. The best starting point to enjoy the south of the island is undoubtedly Catania, with its airport among the most important in the South. The city is always alive, it pulsates with a desire for fun, it is volcanic as it should be for "Iddu", l'Etna, a presence loved and never cumbersome for the people of Catania. Then in November the University is in full swing and the historic center comes alive with parties and places to hang out late in the evening, with outdoor tables that encourage you to eat out even in this season. The nightlife gravitates around the so-called "Golden Square", between Piazza del Duomo, the Teatro Massimo and Piazza Università. Don't miss the photo of the majolica staircase of Santa Maria del Monte and the Elephant fountain, for shopping Via Etnea and Via Bellini.
If in summer from Catania you almost always take the road south, along the Ionian Sea and its splendid beaches, in November we recommend you look inland. A hundred kilometers and you will arrive in Piazza Armerina, a delightful town famous for the mosaics of the Roman Villa del Casale. Preserved in perfect condition, they date back to the IV th century A.D. and make this ancient villa of 3,500 square meters a UNESCO heritage site.
More modern but no less charming is Vittoria, about 70 kilometers south of Piazza Armerina. Founded at the beginning of the 17th century, it owes its name to Countess Vittoria Colonna and has a contemporary soul. Thanks to Liberty and the conceptual philosophy that characterizes its large squares and its buildings, while the seventeenth-century churches enhance the stuccos and friezes, as in the Mother Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Going down towards the coast you come across Scoglitti beach and here, in November, you can still see tourists sunbathing.
Vittoria is in the province of Ragusa and, we understand, a short distance away are the Iblean pearls of Modica, Scicli and the capital. Three cities of the most complete Sicilian baroque, each one deserves an in-depth visit, with the plus of the chocolate in Modica, perhaps the flaked one that fills the "Turk's Heads" of Scicli with the ricotta, ending with the "scaurati biscuits" with anise and cinnamon. But to talk about Sicilian pastry making, another article would be needed…
5. Salento, the sun-kissed ring Lecce-Otranto-Leuca-Gallipoli
Ciolo, the beach of crows
Lower Salento is a perfect place for sun lovers to enjoy a November holiday in Italy. Here it always rains little, in all seasons, and embracing two seas - the Ionian and the Adriatic - there is always the scent of salt and summer in the air. To start visiting the "heel of Italy", it is a good idea to start from Lecce, the capital of Salento, a wonderful baroque city that shines with Roman splendor - the amphitheater in the center of the city is wonderful - and Byzantine. Piazza del Duomo is also scenic, from which to begin the walk to Piazza SantʼOronzo, the "Sedile" with its Arabesque loggia up to the Castle built by Charles V.
From Lecce we proceed clockwise towards Otranto, with its magnificent historic center and the easternmost city in Italy. Precisely this position forced it in past centuries to suffer Saracen excursions and the terrible massacre of 1480 (with over 800 "martyrs of Otranto" killed). Today the beach of that landing is one of the most renowned on the coast, the Baia dei Turchi, but the beaches of Porto Badisco to the south and the Alimini Lakes to the north are above all breathtaking.
Continuing along the Adriatic coast, we encounter one of the most famous sea caves in the entire Mediterranean: the Zinzulusa. It can only be visited in part, it is so majestic. Once past Castro and Tricase you can discover the “Ciolo” fjord from a viaduct (it stands for crow in Salento dialect), here in summer it is full of kids who dive from rocky outcrops tens of meters high. A few kilometers and Salento... ends. In the sense that you reach Santa Maria di Leuca, "finibus terrae" as it stands out on the basilica of Santa Maria De Finibus Terrae. The boat ride to the dozens of caves present on the two seas that meet off the coast of Leuca is an obligatory experience.
Going north on the Ionian Sea you come across the crystal green sea of Pescoluse, Marina di Salve and Torre di San Giovanni. However, our objective is Gallipoli, the pearl of the Ionian Sea and of the Salento nightlife, which recovers some of its authenticity in November. The modern venues of Corso Roma and the characteristic ones of the historic center (past the Marconi seafront) remain open, but Gallipoli is still a seaside city, of fishermen and ports, enjoying its quiet while being able to stay in your shirt sleeves is a pleasure.
4. Western Liguria, the serenity of green and blue
Before the Italians, the English arrived to discover the unseasonal sweetness and warmth of the western Ligurian Riviera. From Bergeggi to Ventimiglia, about a hundred kilometers of rugged coastline, with the sea overlooking the large cetacean reserve always well escorted by the hills and mountains of the Ligurian Alps. If you are in these parts in November, don't forget Halloween to start the month in the best way, and on the border with France, above Sanremo, there is Triora, also known as the village of witches. Since you are in the area, Dolceacqua is definitely worth a visit.
The food and wine flavors of Western Liguria are enhanced in this season. In fact, there is new oil, the oil mills are all at work and the delicacy of the Taggiasca olives, anchovies and other foods seasoned with the oils arrives not only on the table, because there is also a way to enjoy it on site. OliOliva will take place in Imperia from 3 to 5 November, complete with tastings, street food and cooking courses for everyone.
A November holiday in Western Liguria cannot forget excursions to the Ligurian Alps Park, while those who love cycling should know that they have access to the 24 km cycle path which uses the former disused railway line. In Oneglia - one of the two souls of Imperia - there is also the Park and Villa Grock, where the greatest clown of all time lived and, not surprisingly, today houses the Clown Museum. A walk in Alassio is never denied, and November is perhaps the best time to appreciate the Budello and the famous Muretto, the ceramic wall. You will want to read more than one dedication.
3. The Archaeological Park of Paestum and Velia
The Diver, Paestum Museum
The classical world a stone's throw from us, from our modernity of metallic and composite substances. It is the Hellenic universe of Paestum and then the Roman one of Velia, which remained hidden from our knowledge for many centuries. They are located south of Salerno, in the sunny Sele plain, with its generous countryside and the woods and chestnut groves of the Cilento-Vallo di Diano National Park. You can get there easily by exiting the A2 Mediterranean motorway (the former Salerno-Reggio Calabria) at Battipaglia or Eboli.
The 25 hectares of the archaeological area of Paestum shine with the three Hellenic temples of Hera (known as the Basilica), the oldest of the three, begun around 560 BC; the temple of Athena, the Roman Minerva who guarded wisdom and craftsmanship; the large building which seems to have been dedicated to Neptune is certainly the best preserved, which dates back to the mid-5th century BC. Worth visiting is the adjacent archaeological museum with the famous slab of the Diver.
Elea for the Greeks, Velia for the Romans, today we know it as Ascea and is appreciated for the blue of the Cilento sea. Here too the original nucleus dates back to the 5th century BC and owes its fame to the Eleatic school of Parmenides and his student Zenone. Western philosophy was born here and the city also flourished under the Romans, who in the 5th century AD. they renamed her Velia. The most representative building is dedicated to Asclepius, it is on three levels and with a fountain that drew water from the Hyele spring and served to power the baths and rooms heated with steam conduction systems. All in the lush Mediterranean scrub that makes Cilento unique.
2. Where to go on vacation in Italy in November: discovering Etruria
There is no season that is wrong to visit Rome. Eternal by definition, the city always attracts, at any time of the year, and November can be a good month to enjoy its sweetness without the excesses of the summer heat. But those who already know it and want to enjoy a November holiday in Italy can look beyond the borders of the Grande Raccordo Anulare to discover the Etruscan sites of Upper Lazio and nearby Tuscany.
About 50 kilometers from Rome there is Cerveteri with its necropolis, and after another 50 kilometers you arrive at that of the Monterozzi of Tarquinia, with their tumulus tombs dug into the rock, where frescoes and artefacts of Etruscan art have been found. Moving on to Tuscany, in Sarteano the incredible tomb of the Quadriga was discovered in the Pianacce necropolis in 2003, while the Casentino Archaeological Museum in Bibbiena houses thousands of finds, from bronze statuettes to coins, some of which also ended up in the National Gallery in London.
We are near the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, because there is plenty of nature to see around the Etruscan sites. Returning to Cerveteri, for example, there is the Via degli Inferi for trekking lovers: just 5 kilometers and less than an hour and a half of easy walking, but there are also more demanding paths, such as that of the "Cascatelle" which requires 5 hours but it goes as far as the Braccio di Mare, Mola and Castel Giuliano waterfalls.
1. From Valcamonica to Sirmione, Lombardy between prehistory and classicism
Sirmione, Grotte di Catullo
We started from Lombardy to suggest where to spend the holidays in November in Italy and return there to close the circle with the Lombard archaeological parks. The pride of Val Camonica is the National Park of rock engravings, the first of its kind in Italy, inaugurated in 1955. Various rock engravings and more than 100 finds of prehistoric art on smooth stones have been found in Capo di Ponte. Since 1979 it has obtained UNESCO recognition, as did the Archaeological Park of Castelseprio in the Varese area in 2011, where the Torba monastery is managed by the FAI.
Capital of Italian Culture for 2023, together with Bergamo, Brescia could not miss the appointment with the November visit. Nice to do, and there are no alternatives on foot, the UNESCO corridor that connects the archaeological park of ancient Roman Brixia to the Santa Giulia complex. A kilometer to travel surrounded by greenery for this corridor inaugurated last June, precisely for the destination of the Lioness of Italy as Capital of Culture 2023.
However, the most visited archaeological site in Lombardy is Sirmione, with the famous Grotte di Catullo and the nearby Archaeological Museum. The caves are actually an enormous Roman villa complete with spa, which did not belong to the great Latin poet. The place overlooks the delightful promontory of the city which splits Lake Garda in two to the south, in one of the most evocative settings of the Bel Paese.