Some say a celebration of life is woven into every aspect of Italian culture. But never more so than at harvest time.
Ever wondered what it might be like to go truffle hunting in the silence and beauty of an ancient Italian forest?
Or what about attending a "taste wedding" where certain kinds of wine are "married" to delicious foods in menus created by chefs with a passion for fresh produce?
These are two of the many activities at the White Truffle Fair in Alba, a small city in northwest Italy in a landscape of vineyards not far from France's border.
Visiting Italy's Lake District
, Lake Como
, and Lake Maggiore
are a truly magnificent trio of delights at this time of year. You can enjoy festivals dedicated to local speciality foods—chestnuts, mushrooms, polenta, pumpkins, apples, honey, wild boar, cheese, and chocolate.
In the wooded mountains around the lakes, be transfixed by the autumn colours. Wander among stalls, attend workshops and get free tastings of whatever food takes your fancy. Find new Italian tastes everywhere you go, from the smell of chestnuts being roasted over an open fire to the taste of Bitto alpine cheese at the Mostra del Bitto.
When it comes to culture, in the land of Roman and Greek archaeology, there's always plenty to do. Like Villa Melzi in Bellagio
, palatial villas let visitors walk in their gardens. In Como, a hive of silk production since the 15th century, there's a silk museum. And botanical gardens, like the one at Villa Taranto in Verbania on Lake Maggiore, are a seasonal joy.