23 Sep 2011

September is usually one of the most pleasant months of the year to be in Tuscany. It is a popula month for village festivals and weddings and it is the season of the grape harvest.

Tuscany in September

september dawn in tuscany

I have always wanted to write a post about what Tuscany is like at different times of the year. I get the question a lot from possible guests of our vacation rentals. So, I have decided this is my new “pet project” for the next 12 months, 1 month in Tuscany at a time! With a word of caution: every year things are slightly different and vary across Tuscany (no need to remind you that Tuscany is a big place, right? If so… please check my post about the various regions of Tuscany, thanks!). See all the posts in this series.

What is Tuscany like in September?

September is usually one of the most pleasant months of the year to be in Tuscany. It is still warm, with summer-like weather, but not hot. This year (2011), we have had an exceptionally hot September, but this is highly unusual.

Usually, the first half of the month is hotter than the second half. In early September, most people are still going to the beach regularly. It is warm enough that you can comfortably wear your summer clothes from dawn to dusk, and it is still great weather for dining outdoors and using swimming pools.

September in Tuscany

(Photo by Been Around)

In hilly areas like ours, you might already need a light, long-sleeve shirt in the mornings and evenings. Air-conditioning is not necessary anymore, because temperatures rarely go above 25°C and the humidity is low because of the cool September breeze.

Tuscany in September

(Photo by Around Tuscany)

There is usually a real change in the air. The sky becomes clearer, the air crispy. The first late summer showers bring about that great smell of wet hay that announces that fall is just around the corner.

By mid September, temperatures are usually lower, around 22-23°C. A light jacket might be necessary in the mornings and evenings. Sometimes the wind is quite cool. It is still pleasant enough to have dinner “al fresco” (but it is usually too cold for short sleeves at night), go to the beach and use swimming pools, at least during the warmest time of the day (between 11am and 4pm).

The real change in the air happens at this point, both physically and metaphorically. It gets cooler, of course, and the mornings are characterized by beautiful misty views and pink dawns. Showers and storms become more frequent, but they are still occasional.

September in Tuscany

School starts again and life goes back to its normal rhythms after the summer holidays (see the latest round of posts of the Italy Blogging Roundtable about going “back to school“). The positive side of this is that everything is open and thriving. The negative side is that, in cities, traffic goes back to evil.

The Grape Harvest

September is the time of the year when grapes are harvested. Well, when I was a kid my grandfather insisted that grapes should not be picked before October, but over the years the climate has changed so much that October is just too late now. The large wine estates start picking at the end of August. My family harvests grapes in September.

grape harvest in tuscany

This is a good time of the year to go visit wineries. Remember to call ahead if you don’t join a wine tour, because it is a very busy time of the year and some wineries might not accept unexpected visitors. (Here is a link to a nice Wine Tour in Maremma. We went in August, but you can get an idea of places to go to in the area. And for more information on wine trails in our area, check this page about the wines of Tuscany).

If you decide to stick to cities, you won’t “feel” the grape harvest much. But if you go to any village in the countryside of Tuscany, you can really feel it in the air… or rather… smell it! Everybody has a little patch of land with a few vines, and you will see plenty of people unloading crates of grapes in front of their cellars in the village, washing the machine you use to press grapes, etc. The smell of must is intoxicating!

grape harvest tuscany

(Photo by mahlisuh)

Many people ask whether it is possible to participate in the grape harvest. Unfortunately, by law, only contracted and insured workers can work in the fields, so it likely won’t be possible to actively participate in the grape harvest. However, if you participate in a wine tour, wineries might let you pick a few grapes just to let you experience how it’s done. It depends on the wine estate and how flexible they are.

What is in season in September?

Nowadays you find all kind of fruit and vegetables all year round. In Italy however, we still tend to stick to what is in season, and believe me seasonal fruit and vegetables taste so much better!

what is in season in september(Photo by jo mclure)

So, if you happen to be in Tuscany in September, you can still find the last peaches and plums of the season, although they are not very good, but most importantly you can eat grapes and figs, which are in full swing in September. The first pears and apples are available, but they are not commonly grown in Tuscany, especially apples. The vegetable garden still offers decent tomatoes, carrots, green beans, egg plants, new potatoes, and bell peppers. The first fennels, leeks, broccoli, pumpkins, Brussel sprouts, cabbages of different types and cauliflowers usually make their appearance in mid to late September. Last but not least, mushrooms could be available if the weather is right and truffles are in season!

You might be able to taste fresh game meat: September is the month when the hunting season starts. Only certain birds can be hunted, and the most appreciated of all, the pheasant, can be hunted only after the third Sunday of September. If you go for a walk in the woods, make sure to wear something in bright colours.

Sagre or Village Festivals

September is a popular month for village festivals, so if you want to experience joining in the celebrations this is a good month. They are usually festivals dedicated to seasonal products.

Some festivals and fairs in our area are:

  • Sagra della Granocchia (dedicated to frogs) in Paganico – first weekend of September
  • Sagra della Salsiccia (dedicated to sausage) in Pari – last weekend of September

Other popular festivals and fairs which might be worth being incorporated in your travel plans are:

  • Festa dell’Uva (dedicated to the grape harvest) in Scansano, home to the Morellino DOC Wine – mid to late September
  • Festa dell’Uva (dedicated to the grape harvest) in Cinigiano, home to the Montecucco DOC Wine – last weekend of September
  • Maremma Food Shire – Braccagni,organized for the first time this year, this promises to be an interesting yearly event about the products of the Maremma.
  • Sagra del Vinsanto e del Ciambello (dedicated to vinsanto and a type of traditional biscuits) in Montepulciano – usually the second last weekend of September
  • Festa della Bistecca e del Fungo Porcino (dedicated to T-bone steaks and porcini mushrooms) in Certaldo, usually every weekend in September
  • Mostra mercato del tartufo e del fungo (dedicated to truffles and mushrooms) in Palaia – last weekend of September
  • Sagra del tartufo bianco e del fungo porcino (dedicated to white truffle and porcini mushrooms) in San Miniato, near Pisa – one of the most popular – late September.

What tourist season is September?

The first week of September is usually still considered high-season. But most hotels, vacation rentals etc. will consider Septemer mid-season. This means that travelling in September you can get great weather, lower prices, smaller crowds and a more authentic experience of life in Italy.

Moreover, you might be able to get some nice last minute deals because the tourist demand decreases.

Planning to get married in Tuscany?

September Wedding in Tuscany

September is a popular month for weddings. It is still warm enough to have an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception. If you plan on getting married in Tuscany in September, you need to start planning at least 9 months in advance, possibly a full year, because wedding venues book up early. If you need help planning your September wedding in Tuscany, we recommend you get in touch with Boutique Events.

Comments

  1. Gloria, another excellent blog. We are planning our trip for next year and because my husband is a teacher…we will be looking at Mid-June to Mid-August as our timeframe. What 2-3 weeks would you recommend based on weather, festivals and seasonal fruits and vegetables?

    Kathryn

    • I would recommend June and July. It is true that you will get one of the first heat wave that happens always either at the end of June or at the beginning of July, but the country is still “working”. In August everything stops, except for tourist things, like restaurants, museums etc. But cities are deserted etc. In terms of festivals and fruit and vegetables it’s the same.

  2. What a great post! I leave for Tuscany in 10 days (I’ll be there from 10/6-15) and I wonder what I might expect at that time.

    • Eh, you’ll have to wait for my next post! LOL

  3. I ran across your blog today and have really enjoyed it. My wife and I have booked a trip for the second half of September and are spending 5 nights each in Rome, Florence and Paris. We have started a blog to document our planning process as well as the trip itself. Your blog has been very helpful and I look forward to checking it often. Thanks

  4. Elizabeth

    Gloria,

    What a wonderful blog! Your writing is witty and oh so enjoyable!
    You are a wealth of information and I am so happy to have discovered your blog.
    My husband, daughter, son-in-law, and myself are going to be in Tuscany the last week of September and the first week of October. Two glorious weeks!
    Our villa is on the Tuscany/Umbria border. Is that a convenient location to discover the beauty of Tuscany? Would it be better to be near Siena versus Pietralunga? We have until tomorrow to decide between two villas. One near Trequanda, the other near Pietaralunga. Any suggestions?

    Thank you so very much!
    Elizabeth

    • Hi Elizabeth, thank you for your kinds words! I’m flattered!
      Actually Trequanda is a lovely place. And the area is stunning. I would go with that! It is near Montepulciano and the Valdorcia and yet convenient to the highway that connects Siena and Perugia. You will love the area.

  5. julie

    Gloria!

    I happened on your delightful blog as I was searching for September weather in Tuscany! My husband & I are currently living in a little village in the Rocky Mountains & have only been to the UK as far as European travels. I heard from a friend that Tuscany was the most romantic place she’s been with her husband & I was influenced as my husband & I are planning our 35th wedding anniversary adventure!.

    Though my husband had indicated that he wanted an English speaking country he is excited about us going Tuscany for the first 2 weeks in September.

    We have Rick Steve’s book & are just beginning to make plans now that we have decided where & when! Any advice?

    Thanks in advance ~ julie

  6. I would like to know what I need to wear if I am going out for dinner . We are going to be on a tour Bus for 10 days starting in September 27/12 .

    • In terms of style, whatever you like. In terms of “warmth”, I would recommend long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt and a light jacket or sweater.

  7. greg loucks

    Gloria-

    What a great coincidence! I did an internet search to see what Tuscany was like in September, and your blog was at the top of the search list. We’re hoping to come back to Casina di Rosa soon, likely in the fall of this year or the next. Such a fabulous little place that you have. Karen and I felt privileged to have been able to share your village and meet the wonderful people that live there.

    Hope all is well with you, Marcel and the little guy.
    Greg Loucks

    • Hi Greg! How nice! Thanks for leaving a comment! We would love to have you back! Give our love to Karen!

  8. Harriet Dougherty

    We will be staying in Bedonia for a week in October. Would you please recommend some small villages of interest within two hours drive? If you would email me the information, I would be very grateful. Thanks so much.

    • Sorry I do not even know where that is. I don’t think it is in Tuscany though…

  9. Hi Gloria loved reading this blog
    We are returning to tuscany the start of sept visited last year at the same time amazing place great weather wonderful people. We are staying near voltera , we have also booked a night in Rome we were thinking of driving or would you suggest maybe the train from cecina or pontedera any information would be much appreciated and thanks again for a great read
    regards
    chris

    • Hi Chris, if you have to go back to Pisa to drop the car off, then train from Pisa. If you can drop it off in Cecina, that is fine too. But train, no driving to Rome (it is a nightmare to navigate the center).

      • Hi Gloria thanks for the prompt reply its in the middle of our holiday so will try to get overnight parking in cecina do you know if i can do this at the train station

        • Sorry I don’t know Cecina at all. I am sure there is parking near the station at least.

  10. I’m going to pisa and florence at the start of september. I would love to do a day trip to a vineyard but I csnnot drive. Are there any such organised day trips that you would reccommend.

    • I know that there are some wine tours organized in Montecarlo, near Lucca, on Sunday morning. You could ask the tourist information office there. Otherwise, you could contact a guide or an agency such as Arianna and Friends and see what they offer.

  11. Hi Gloria!

    Your blog is amazing and so informative! I love reading it!

    Myself and my fiance are planning on getting married in Tuscany next September or early October. I know it’s impossible to predict the weather – but I want to book a time when there is the best chance of having a good day weather-wise. We hope to have the reception outside – do you think on average, that late Sept/early Oct is often too chilly for this – or alternatively is mid Sept (in recent years) likely to be too hot?!

    What would you recommend is the best time of the month to book – to increase the chances of it being dry and warm (not sweltering)?!

    Any advice on this would be really appreciated! Thanks so much, Eliz

    • The end of September usually has some lovely evenings, and it might not be too cool to have a reception outdoors. Anyway, a light shawl would be enough to keep you comfortable, because it is still warm enough. Mid September is rarely too hot.

  12. I forgot to mention, we are hoping for Fiesole – the castle is on the hilltop so may be a little chillier?! Thanks, Eliz

    • It will probably be. But still very pleasant, if the weather is “typical” for the season.

      • Thanks Gloria! Have a lovely Christmas! :)

Leave a Comment