One of the largest and most beautiful regions in central Italy, Tuscany has so much to explore. Tourists flock to Pisa and Siena for some of the best restaurants and galleries, while the small town of Montepulciano is renowned for its red wine, which is best consumed during the autumn months. Those wanting to soak up the last of the sunshine should head to Elba along the coast, while visitors can bathe in the hot springs and waterfalls in Saturina. Unsurprisingly, one of the region’s highlights is Florence, one of the most romantic spots in the country famous for its world-class galleries, museums and architecture. The Duomo cathedral, which dominates the skyline, is a must-see, as is the Basilica di Santa Croce. Other culture can be soaked up at Galleria degli Uffizi (home to the world's greatest collection of Italian Renaissance art), Museo di San Marco in San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapels.
Where To Stay: Villa Lena
This hidden villa in the Tuscan countryside is located in the small village of Toiano, in between Pisa and Florence. Having undergone an extensive renovation in this summer, the hotel now has a new restaurant and retreat programme where guests can relax and unwind – think yoga by the pool, creative workshops and truffle hunting in the hills. Book a room in the converted stables or a secluded apartment with private pools, all of which have beautiful views over the rolling hills. San Michele Restaurant has a farm-to-table concept, serving traditional Tuscan dishes, while two colourful bars set a relaxed vibe in the evening at Aperitivo hour.
Rooms from €295 per night.
Autumn is one of the best times to visit the ‘city over water’, when you’re more likely to get a reservation at the best hotels and restaurants, the galleries are quieter, and the canals look beautiful awash with autumn colours. A long weekend is enough time to see the main sights, though you could easily spend a week in Venice, including day trips to Moderna and Verona. Top highlights include the ancient cathedral of Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale (a beautiful gothic museum on the waterfront), Gallerie dell'Accademia and the Jewish district, Venetian Ghetto. The Roman Guy runs great tours around the city, from private boat trips to evening food tours that hit some of the best markets.
Where To Stay: Cima Rosa
Cima Rosa is a boutique hotel on the Grand Canal. Set in a 15th-century palazzo in the Santa Croce district, it has a mixture of traditional Venetian design with contemporary details. Ask for a room overlooking the canal or choose one of the secluded suites which sleep up to four – all the rooms are painted in soft Farrow & Ball colours, with comfy beds and modern en-suites. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast in the dining room overlooking the canal and make use of the hotel’s small kitchen for tea, coffee and snacks.
Rooms from £128 per night.
Italy’s second largest region is where you’ll find some of the country’s best vineyards and most beautiful landscape – think mountains surrounding vast lakes. A week-long trip is best spent making your way around the top cities and towns – on that note, hiring a car is great idea. Bordering Switzerland and France, there’s an interesting mix of culture and culinary options that showcase the best local produce, too. Head to the capital, Turin, to explore the city’s elegant tree-lined boulevards and quaint cafés, then go to the Alps to see the mountains adorned in autumn colour. Lake Maggiore has stunning views of the Apls, while Lake Orta also makes a beautiful pitstop. Outdoorsy types should also visit the region’s national park, Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso, to see the alpine botanical gardens and explore the hiking routes.
Where To Stay: Casa di Langa
Having just opened earlier this year, Casa di Langa has already established itself as one of Piedmont’s best hotels. Surrounded by rolling hills and impressive views, the sustainable hotel has been made with local materials and is inspired by traditional architecture. Set on a 42-hectare estate and close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of Italy’s best wine and truffles (a must-visit), it has everything you need for a special stay. Rooms are simple and contemporary, with private terraces, spacious living areas and stylish en-suites stocked with Le Labo toiletries, while the on-site spa has a heated infinity pool and gym. Guests can book a cooking lesson, wine tasting tour, and enjoy delicious fresh pasta and cocktails at the on-site restaurant.
Rooms from £400 per night.
Visiting Rome is always a good idea, but autumn is one of the best times to go, when temperatures are cool (but still remain around a pleasant 20°C) and the main attractions have fewer tourists – ideal if you’re making your way around its world-famous galleries and museums. Of course, the Colosseum, Trevi Foundation and Vatican City are top choices, but one of the best ways to experience the city is to explore its winding back streets, where nearly every corner has a family-run restaurant or café. Stroll along the Tiber river to see the surrounding golden-yellow foliage, then take a day-trip to Rome’s hilly countryside to sample newly harvested wine – Viator’s tour to the Frascati wine region is a must-visit.
Where To Stay: The Hoxton
The Hoxton, Rome opened its doors back in May. Located in the beautiful Parioli area, some of the city’s most beautiful parks and best neighbourhoods are right on its doorstep. Villa Borghese is within easy walking distance, as is the Coppede district, a lovely area peppered with Art Nouveau buildings. The hotel itself has 192 stylish bedrooms, a large coffee bar and takeaway counter, a restaurant, and an outdoor terrace. Guests can relax in cosy and inviting rooms with a nod to mid-century Italian design and dine at two on-site restaurants – Cugino for brunch and Beverly for crowd-pleasing dishes.
Easily one of the most beautiful and exclusive regions in Italy, Lake Como ticks every box for a great weekend away. Easily reached from Milan via a 90-minute train or drive, spend your Italian break visiting its historic religious sites (the Duomo cathedral is a must) and exploring the wider area for beautiful views across the lake. Visit the quite village of Brunate to sample some of the region’s best wine and rustic dishes, then clamber up the stairs to Castello di Vezio, a grand 13th-century castle. Lopez Village has some lovely boutiques and artisan shops, while Bellagio has a string of cosy bars for Aperol Spritzes by the water.
Where To Stay: Villa Lario
After reopening earlier this year with a newly renovated palazzo featuring seven new bedrooms, Villa Lario is a great choice for a luxury group trip or romantic break. The exclusive boutique hotel, which sits on the secluded shores of Lake Como, is housed in a beautiful 19th-century building with breath-taking views from every suite. The new bedrooms have direct access to the hotel’s private jetty and Riva boats where guests can take a boat trip on the lake and explore the surrounding area. Walk in the hotel’s beautiful gardens, take a dip in the infinity pool and ask for a picnic basket to be brought to you on the hotel’s pontoon.
Lovers of the outdoors should head to Abruzzo in the south. Set along the Adriatic coast and the Apennine mountains, there are countless outdoor activities to enjoy here, from hiking and mountain biking to canoeing and wild swimming. Amazing Abruzzo Tours operates cultural tours in the region, while Viator offer everything from bike tours to castle hikes. Make a beeline for Abruzzo National Park to explore the mountains, spot local wildlife like Apennine wolves and fallow deer, and see the park in stunning autumn splendour – Apennine Garden is one of the most beautiful area
Where To Stay: Sextantio Albergo Diffuso
This new boutique hotel offers guests a traditional southern Italian experience. Spread around a micro-village in the Apennines, the hotel’s rustic design nods to its medieval roots – expect craftwork made by villagers, restored property features and exposed brick walls. There are four room types to choose from; Classic Rooms are compact but cosy, while the suites feature terracotta floors, stone fireplaces and free-standing baths. The hotel's private dining room, Locanda Sotto gli Archi, serves Abruzzese cuisine in a rustic 16th-century building, while the hotel bar is where you’ll find a great selection of wines.
Rooms from £104 per night.
Although Sardinia is one of Italy’s most popular destinations for sun, sea and sand, temperatures remain around 23°C during September and October, making now a great time to visit. During the autumn months, some of Italy’s best food and wine comes into season, and there are several foodie festivals to visit in the region – the annual Porto Cervo festival which takes place at the end of September is a must. If you want to hit the beach, Cala Goloritzè in Golfo di Orosei and Spiaggia della Pelosa to the north of Sardinia are two of the most beautiful, while the archaeological site of Tiscali, tucked away in a mountaintop cave in the Valle di Lanaittu is worth a visit, too.
Where To Stay: Domu Antiga
Located in Gergei Provincia di Cagliari, this hotel is full of rustic charm. Surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and just a handful of houses, it’s a great spot for a romantic trip for two. Set in a 19th-century farmhouse, guests can stay in cosy rooms with stone walls, trapeze beds and rustic farm doors. Breakfast is a hearty continental affair and there are several local restaurants within walking distance for a romantic candlelit meal. Couples can also book bread, milk and cheese workshops in the hotel’s kitchen.
Rooms from £125 per night.
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