October (Ottobre) is one of the best months to be in Italy. Tourist traffic is light and the weather is typically sunny and mild. Look for lots of local food and wine festivals during this month.

October in Italy: Holidays, Festivals, and Other Events

Early October – Festival Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi, who was born in the province of Parma, in Emilia Romagna, is honored each October with a festival featuring his most famous and lesser-known works.

Throughout the city of Parma and in Busseto, the town of Verdi’s birth, there will be staged operas, concerts, and other events. The events often start in late September and run for a few weeks in October.

More info is available from the Teatro Regio Parma website.

Mid-October – La Barcolana Sailing Contest, Trieste

“The largest regatta in the world” takes place in the Gulf of Trieste on the second Sunday of October.

Prepare to be awed by the sight of more than 2,000 sailboats competing against one another on a 16 nautical mile course. See www.barcolana.it for more info.

Mid- to Late October – Eurochocolate, Perugia

The chocolate extravaganza known as Eurochocolate takes place yearly in the Umbrian capital of Perugia. The event is a chance to taste some of the world’s best chocolate, learn new cooking methods, and more.

October 31 – Halloween

Though Halloween’s origins developed from both ancient Roman (Feralia) and early Christian traditions, the holiday is not celebrated in Italy the way that it is in the United States.

Thanks, or no thanks, to the commercialization of the holiday, Italians are aware of the traditions of Halloween, such as dressing up in a costume, trick-or-treating, etc.. But you won’t see this aspect of the holiday, save for at clubs and bars that want to get in on the pagan fun.

However, the fact that November 1, also known as All Saints’ Day, is a public holiday in Italy has helped Halloween’s popularity increase over the years.

If you’re looking for spooky sites, consider this post on Halloween in Rome.

Quick Guide to Dates in October: Anniversaries, Events, Births, and Deaths

October 1

  • Birth of Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (1507), architect of the Church of the Gesù in Rome

October 2

  • National Grandparents Day (Festa Nazionale dei Nonni)

October 3

  • Death of Saint Francis of Assisi (1226); his feast day is held on the following day

October 4

  • Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi
  • Feast Day of Saint Petronius of Bologna
  • Birth of Roberto Bellarmine (1542)
  • Birth of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720)

October 5

  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)
  • Foundation of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (1690), a literary academy in Rome

October 6

  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)
  • First radio broadcast in Italy (1924)

October 7

  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)

October 8

  • Death of Cola di Rienzo (1354)
  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)

October 9

  • Death of Gabriele Falloppio 1562), anatomist and namer of Falloppian Tubes
  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)
  • Attack on the Synagogue of Rome (1982)

October 10

  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)

October 11

  • Feast Day of Pope John XXIII
  • Day does not exist due to the realignment of the Gregorian calendar (1582)

October 12

  • Death of Piero della Francesca (1492)
  • Birth of Luciano Pavarotti (1935)
  • Italy adopts the Canto degli Italiani my Mameli as its anthem (1946)
  • Death of Gillo Pontecorvo (2006)

October 13

  • Death of Emperor Claudius (54)
  • Death of Antonio Canova (1822)
  • Death of Dario Fo (2016)

October 15

  • Birth of Lucretius (99 B.C.)
  • Birth of Virgil (70 B.C.)
  • Historian Edward Gibbon visits Rome where he is purportedly inspired to begin writing his book History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Foundation of the Alpini Corps (1872) by Giuseppe Perrucchetti
  • Birth of Italo Calvino (1923)

October 16

  • Birth of Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351), first Duke of Milan
  • Death of Luca Signorelli (1523)
  • Nazis raid the Jewish Ghetto of Rome (1943); 1,023 Jews are deported to Auschwitz
  • Pope John Paul II (Polish cardinal Karol Wojty?a) becomes the first non-Italian pope since 1523 (1978)

October 18

  • “Nativity with Saints Lorenzo and Francesco d’Assisi” by Caravaggio stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo (1969). The painting is believed to be with members of the Sicilian Mafia (Cosa Nostra) and has yet to be recovered. A copy of the painting has hung in the Palermo church since 2015.
  • Italy’s environmental organization the Il Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano (FAI) founded (1975)

October 19

  • Mother Teresa beatified in Rome (2003)
  • Performance artist/vandal Graziano Cecchini turns the water of the Trevi Fountain red for the first time (2007). The artist was protesting the Rome Film Festival: “a protest for expenses incurred in organizing the Rome Film Festival and symbolically referred to the event’s red carpet.”
  • Pope Paul VI beatified in Rome (2014)

October 21

  • Birth of Domenichino (1581)
  • Death of Giovanni Paolo Panini (1765)

October 22

  • Feast Day of Pope John Paul II

October 23

  • Birth of children’s book author Gianni Rodari (1920)

October 24

  • Birth of Emperor Domitian (51)

October 26

October 27

  • Constantine the Great said to have received the “Vision of the Cross” prior to his victor over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge (312); event eventually led to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire
  • Birth of Niccolò Paganini (1782)
  • Birth of Roberto Benigni (1952)

October 28

  • Death of Maxentius (312)

October 30

  • 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes Norcia in Umbria (2016)

October 31

  • Halloween
  • Michelangelo completes his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel (1512)
  • Death of artist Fra Bartolomeo (1517)
  • Benito Mussolini becomes Prime Minister of Italy (1922)
  • Death of Federico Fellini (1993)

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