A common question concerning holidays in Abruzzo is what’s it like to take a break in Abruzzo in Autumn? To many, this is the best time to visit with all the rich harvest-filled sagre, the picking of grapes, the opening of vino novello wine, chestnut and feste including Halloween and Ognissanti. Bountiful pleasures are delivered courtesy of the hard work of those who cultivate the earth from spring to the hot summer. Autumn harvests include grapes, olives, pumpkins and squash, saffron, chestnuts, the last corn, peppers and sweet and chillies, quince, walnuts and some straggly but hardcore tomatoes.
This is the best season to go walking in Abruzzo, still warm, with the occasional smell of a log fire being lit in the evening to stretch out alongside when back. Despite the climate breakdown, you’ll probably encounter a sprinkle of snow on the top of the highest peaks. Beaches become empty plains to walk accompanied only by sea birds, all signs of summer parasols and beds packed up by the 3rd weekend of September. On hills, you can begin to watch chaffinches, swifts and swallows getting ready for their flights south to warmer climes and wish you were leaving with them rather than boarding that flight back to colder climes…
Being British the temptation is to turn to Keats and describe Abruzzo at this time as mellow, a cross season of mists and rich fruitfulness; however Abruzzo’s & Italy’s most famous and controversial Fascist poet Gabriele D’Annunzio does it a whole lot better in his work, Sogno di un pomeriggio d’autunno (Dream of an Afternoon in Autumn).
There’s something a little more truthful in his description of the rich but sad discoloured leaves, ruinous flowers and overripe fruit, a period of contemplating decaying beauty whilst vast, low-lying North-suspended static clouds are lit and shining in amber and pale gold, shining and pierced by pines and the sombre cypresses. This veil between the living and dead is celebrated with pilgrimages back to Abruzzo even from those who no longer live in the region, to celebrate ancestors with the cleaning of family tombs and candles being lit for All Souls Day.
There is still the unenviable, but rewarding task of picking the olives, romantic to only those who have never experienced it, then there is the slightly gentler art of foraging that autumn brings with it. This means walking across rich loamed wood and forest floors knowing that the tasty rewards of wild mushrooms and truffles are there for those that know where. Enjoy late Autumn’s peace & smells of the the local woods and forests, but make sure you visit a local agriturismo and restaurant whose owners do know where those wild mushrooms grow or at the very least have an old friend who does.
Life In Abruzzo Community Autumn Photo Credits
Sam Dunham, Pete Austin, Rob Barke, Ron Rose, Janet Brady, Christina Yocca, Lynn Hood, Buzz McCarthy, Daria Gee, Pat Reynolds, Jan Bennett