Autumn is often the most underestimated season, but actually this time of the year offers a spectacle without equal: the foliage. Nature is red, orange, brown and yellow, and it creates incredible scenery. Discover the 5 best places to admire the phenomenon of foliage!

Foliage in the Cinque Terre, Liguria

We see them more as a summer destination, the Cinque Terre are one of the jewels of Italian: a narrow and wild coast and five perched villages of fishermen and farmers that will leave you breathless. In autumn the crowd of tourists is gone and the colors of the terraces are indescribable.

Autumn in Cinque Terre
Autumn in Cinque Terre

Itinerary: The best way to explore this part of the Ligurian region is by foot: from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, between the woods and the sea. Discover now our itinerary!

Where to stay: I suggest you to stay in the historic center of Riomaggiore, at the Guest House Dai Baracca where you will find cozy and comfortable rooms and an excellent organic breakfast.

What to taste: you must try, in one of the villages or at home to alleviate the nostalgia, the trofie (typical pasta) made of chestnut flour seasoned with a walnut sauce or with seasonal vegetables. And, after the meal, don’t forget a glass of Sciacchetrà!

The recipe: You want to cook the toffee made of chestnut flour? Th ingredients are simple:

  • 150 gr. of chestnut flour,
  • 150 gr. of flour,
  • extra vergine oil,
  • salt,
  • a small red onion,
  • 200 gr. of green beans,
  • 20 gr. of walnuts,
  • 20 gr. di pine nuts,
  • 8 boiled chestnuts.

How to prepare it? Let’s start with the pasta: sift together the two types of flour and pour them in a heap on the pastry. We form a hollow in the center and add a teaspoon of salt and enough water to form a firm, homogeneous dough. To form the trofie we detach very small pieces of dough (about the size of a pea), we form very thin sticks that we make roll around a wooden stick so that the dough will twist, forming spirals like corkscrews. We gently pull out the trofie and we leave them to rest on a clean cloth for half an hour. For the sauce we slice thinly the peeled onion and the green beans, we sauté them in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, we add salt and pepper and cook until they are soft. Add the chopped walnuts, the pine nuts,the boiled sliced thin chestnuts.

2. Foliage in Maira Valley, Piedmont

Thanks to the variety of landscapes and botanical species, the fall in the Maira Valley is truly an explosion of colors and scents.

Foliage in Maira Valley
Maira Valley in autumn, photo by Enrico Collo

Itinerary: discover the hamlets of Marmora, rich of important monuments, such as the frescoes of Baleison and the Parish of San Massimo with its sundials. If you love the mountain bike we suggest you this itinerary through the ancient Occitan village. Along the route, you can admire the new colors of the ragged, the aspens, maples and ash trees, and maybe you can hear the loud noise of the deer.

Where to stay: in the ancient village of Sagna Rotonda that’s now a beautiful eco-village.

What to taste: to discover the flavors of autumn of this mountain area, taste the lamb with chestnuts. The meat, chestnuts, raisins and cinnamon give life to a tasty and delicate dish.

The recipe: 

  • hulled barley (a handful per person),
  • prezzemolo tritato,
  • chili oil,
  • 400 gr of porcino mushrooms,
  • 2l of water,
  • 8 dry chestnuts,
  • Olive oil,
  • 10 nettle leaves,
  • half an onion,
  • a clove of garlic.

To prepare the soup, start by preparing sauté the onion, the garlic and the chopped nettles. Add 400 grams of fresh mushrooms (200 g if dried, making them drestin warm water for 20 minutes). Combine water and chestnuts (after they have been left to rest in the milk for 48 hours). Add salt and cook at low heat for an hour, then add the barley and cook for another 45 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley and a teaspoon of chili oil.

3. Foliage in Siena, Tuscany

Between beautiful and picturesque villages, the Tuscan countryside is always spectacular and in autumn it has even something extra! From Chianti vineyards to Crete Senesi, and to the Val d’Orcia, everything turns red and orange and the views become wonderful.

The nature in autumn near Siena
Foliage near Siena, photo by Antonio Cinotti

Itinerary: discover one of the most beautiful path of the Via Francigena in the Val d’Orcia, you’ll not easily forget the colors of its foliage.
Where to stay: sleep in the heart of the beautiful Siena, on the top floor of a historic building in the charming and sustainable B&B Paradise 4 You will love the simplicity of the materials, the design objects, the antique furniture and the attention to detail. Plus the products of the breakfast are chosen by Paola, the owner, according to the criteria of seasonality an food miles.
What to taste: taste Siena pici (typical pasta) topped with tomato and fine autumn freshly picked mushrooms!

The recipe: want to try to cook the recipe with the pici pasta? Here are the ingredients:

  • 350 g Siena pici
  • 1 fresh ginger root
  • 450 g autumn mushrooms (oyster mushrooms, poplar mushrooms, portobello)
  • a fresh chili pepper
  • 400 g of tomatoes
  • basil
  • parsley
  • salt
  • coarse salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Clean the mushrooms with paper towels. Parboil the tomatoes in a pot of water. Clean the ginger root and cut into thin slices and then sauté with a little oil. Finely cut the chili pepper, after removing the seeds. Add the chili pepper into the pan with the ginger. Remove the tomatoes from the pot, remove the peel, cut them into cubes and combine them to the mixture. Add salt and cook over moderate heat. Cut the mixture of mushrooms rather coarsely and add to the rest of the ingredients, add some pepper. Prepare the water for the pasta and mince the parsley that you will add to the sauce some time before draining the pici.

4. Foliage in Lecco, Lombardy

The autumn on Como lake is charming: the weather is still nice and at least until October you can make boat trips on the lake and you can easily find fairs and festivals. All around the lake, nature dresses in red and orange and invites you in the paths among woods and mountains to discover the spectacle of colored leaves, chestnuts and mushrooms.

Foliage and Autumn on Como Lake, Italy
Autumn on Como Lake, Italy, ph. by BORGHY52, via flickr

Itinerary: If you love the dirt roads, the river and you’ve got a mountain bike we suggest you this route along the Adda, for a beautiful day between the lush and deep gorges. Discover the autumn colors in the park Adda on your bike, you can get to Milan!
Where to stay: choose one of the two apartments of the Farmhouse Amici Cavalli. You’ll be surrounded by hectares of meadows and woods and you can learn to ride a horse! You can take fruit and vegetables from the organic garden on the property and enjoy from your window a wonderful view of the river Adda.
What to taste: autumn colors are also found in the dishes: taste a cake with pumpkin, taleggio cheese and walnuts. And those who prefer a great fish dish, you’ll find many fish from the lake!

The recipe: are you hungry? Prepare the pumpkin savoury pie! The ingredients are:

  • 400 g of pumpkin
  • 100 g of Parmesan cheese
  • 40 g of breadcrumbs
  • nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g of taleggio cheese
  • 50 ml of milk
  • walnuts
  • salt
  • pepper

Begin by removing the seeds from the pumpkin and cutting it into slices, then steamed them. Once the pulp is well cooked, mash it, adding the egg, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg and breadcrumbs, then season with salt and pepper. Fill 4 molds and store in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 180°. Meanwhile in a small saucepan melt the taleggio in milk, add salt and let cool, then pour slowly on the pies. Top with chopped walnuts and sprinkle with pepper.

5. Foliage in Benevento, Campania

Between grapes, walnuts and chestnuts festivals, Campania and in particular the area of ​​Benevento offers breathtaking views where you can dive to the discovery of the phenomenon of the foliage!

Foliage in Telese Lake near Benevento
Foliage in Telese Lake near Benevento, photo byi silvio sicignano

Itinerary: Enjoy the spectacle of the foliage in the Regional Natural Park Taburno- Camposauro. Discover the beautiful village of  Sant’Agata de’ Goti and the views of the Benevento area in this beautiful route.
Where to stay: sleep in the beautiful apartments of Casa Lerario where a wonderful garden and a very good restaurant await you. The apartments were built according to the principles of bio-architecture, the hot water comes from solar panels and in every particular and detail there is a great concern for the environment and the wellness of guests.
What to taste: taste the flavors of autumn in an innovative dish: rigatoni (pasta) with mushroom and pomegranate juice and seeds.In the area of Benevento you’ll find also the famous and exquisite withe truffle that can enhance any dish. If you are a wine lover, you should try the Aglianico del Taburno DOCG, emblem of the Sunni territory and of the all province of Benevento.

The recipe: here are the ingredients for the rigatoni pasta with mushrooms:

  • 500 gr of fresh mixed mushrooms
  • 500 gr of rigatoni pasta
  • parsley
  • carrots
  • celery
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • olive oil extra virgin by Casa Lerario
  • black pork salami by Casa Lerario

Sauté the mushrooms in a pan along with the chopped parsley, the carrots, the celery and diced salami. Halfway through cooking, add the pomegranate juice and seeds. Cook in salted water the pasta al dente and drain. Pour the pasta into the pan and mix all for 2-3 minutes. Garnish with a few pomegranate seeds and serve.

Chestnuts, Foliage and Colors of Autumn in Italy
Chestnuts, ph. by Marite Toledo, via Flickr

 

In every corner of Italy wonderful views of nature hide, where you can admire this phenomenon that will make you fall in love more and more with autumn.

Cover image: foliage, photo by Valeria Viglienghi via Flickr

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