IT CAN be hard to imagine autumn in Italy sometimes.

When you see photos of iconic locations in Italy, they are often hot, sunny beachscapes or tourist attractions teaming with sunglass-clad people.

When we think of autumn here in the UK it conjures up images of the wind, the rain, the temperature taking a turn for the colder, but it also has its positive associations like the stunning colours of the leaves as they fall from the trees – the oranges, the reds, the browns – cosy jumpers, snuggly scarves, digging out your favourite coat again….

But what is autumn actually like in Italy, and how does it compare to what we experience here in the UK?

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. When we think of autumn, it is usually September, October and November that we have in mind.

In Italy, the hot sunny weather doesn’t cut off in September. In fact, the days can be just as hot as they are in August, although the evenings tend to be much cooler.

Autumn is a transitional season, so the weather does take a turn in October, and by November you can expect a lot of rain. Depending on where you visit in Italy, and when exactly, will depend on what kind of weather you get.

Usually, it will be much hotter in the south, but with autumn being less predictable than summer it might be worth packing your sunglasses and a coat, if you are visiting Italy.

Toward the end of November and into December, will fall in many parts of Italy.

Venice often experiences some flooding from acqua alta - a natural phenomenon that has occurred for centuries when especially high tides caused by the moon’s gravitational pull coincide with a strong scirocco, a warm wind blowing across the Mediterranean that forces water from the Adriatic into the Venetian lagoon – which happens in the autumn months.

Autumn can actually be a really good time to visit Italy as the tourist are thinning, the air fare is cheaper, and there are lots of festivals and foods that are best enjoyed at this time of year.

Italy is a visual spectacle in the autumn months. If you leave the city and head to the more rural areas you can expect to see a lot of colours, just like you do here. A drive through Tuscany or a hike in the Apennines in le Marche, around October time, will really show off the colours the trees have to offer.

There are many food festivals in autumn, some of which really make the most of seasonal cuisine. In October, EuroChocolate takes place in Perugia – yes, an annual chocolate festival that takes place over the course of a week.

Pumpkin is another food that is in season – something that food lovers across the world associate with autumn – and is used in both sweet and savoury recipes – everything from sweet pies to savoury risottos.

Autumn is also the perfect time to harvest mushrooms – perfect picking time after a hot summer.

Mushrooms are one of those foods that you can use in a variety of dishes – particularly if you want to add something substantial without adding meat.

This month I will be sharing with you the recipe for a very simple mushroom tagliatelle – the perfect dish to warm you up now that the weather has taken a turn.

Serves 2


150g dried tagliatelle

15g butter

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

250g mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

3 tbsp crème fraîche

25g pine nuts, toasted

4 tbsp parmesan, finely grated, as well as a little extra for serving

Handful chopped fresh parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1. To toast your pine nuts, place in dry frying and cook over a medium heat for three minutes, stirring occasionally until golden.

2. Take a large saucepan and fill with water. Add a little salt before bringing to the boil. Cook your pasta in accordance with the cooking time suggested on the packet - for the maximum amount of time if you like your pasta soft, or for slightly less time if you prefer your pasta al dente.

3. Prepare the sauce while your pasta is cooking. To start, heat the butter and the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, allowing to soften and begin to turn into a foam. To chop your cloves of garlic, peel away the skin, crush with the flat side of a knife and then chop the garlic horizontally and then vertically until it is in small pieces. Clean and chop the mushrooms into bite-size pieces before adding them to the pan along with the garlic. Allow to cook until everything has softened and turned golden, which should take around 5-6 minutes.

4. Stir the toasted pine nuts and crème fraîche into the frying a pan and mix well before brining the contents of the pan to a simmer.

5. When your pasta is ready, drain the water away before adding the pasta to the frying pan. Mix the pasta into the sauce.

6. Chop a handful of fresh parsley and add to the pasta along with the finely grated parmesan and the lemon zest. Mix well, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with a little of the extra grated parmesan sprinkled on top.