This is our first post in the series “Visit Venice responsibly – month by month”:
In 12 episodes, we’ll show you what Venice looks like during the year. You will see how colors change, taste seasonal food and get more tips to explore and learn about Venice. And we hope that these blog posts will help you pick your favorite month in Venice, and that you will enjoy our tips for books, online classes, restaurants and recipes!
Let’s start with an October moodboard and our give-away to win one copy of Dream of Venice in Black and White, open to readers until 16 October 2019!
What you should know about October in Venice
Every year on 7 October, Venetians recall the battle of Lepanto: Why do we still remember it, as it’s not an “official” holiday? Despite being one of the winners of the battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571), the Republic of Venice suffered “collective burnout” from which she never recovered: Venice had lost almost three quarters of her armada. The Venetian fleet saved Europe but it was a Pyrrhic victory. Lepanto Day in Venice is celebrated with mass services in the churches, recalling commander Sebastiano Venier and the Venetians killed in this battle off the Greek coast.
The Madonna effigy on board the ship of Sebastiano Venier found her home in the church Santa Maria Formosa, you can see it above.
What does Venice look like in October?
To show you the colors of October I chose an image of my recent visit to the Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore. This campanile is 75 meters tall, less than the Campanile di San Marco (99.8 meters). From San Giorgio Maggiore, you get a better view of the islands in the southern Lagoon, and I recommend you go there for a visit with a map of the Lagoon, and enjoy the view!
You can see in the image that in Venice, the foliage is still green in October. Only the vines at the courtyard garden of San Giorgio dei Greci, near our home, show the first signs of red in their leaves. They will have turned completely red by All Saints Day (1 November).
What’s the weather like in Venice in October?
During the first two weeks of the month, you can expect many sunny days but also morning mist turning into thick fog during the day. Episodes of thick fog called caigo may happen when the air is moist and relatively mild. So in the morning, you can expect Venice to look like this, especially when the scirocco wind blows, bringing in the high tides (acqua alta).
Acqua alta is something you must reckon with if you come to Venice in October. Especially during the last week of the month, high tides can be rather severe (read more about high tides at the bottom of the post).
At noon in October, in a proteced sunny space you can expect temperatures like in late August. It cools down by 4.30 pm, and you will want your sweater to continue your walk. And you’ll want tea or coffee, which is a nice coincidence: On 1 October, Venetians celebrate Coffee Day :-) but then, they are doing it every day.
October breakfast tip
Taste pistachio and almond cakes! Or, one of our favorites called torta greca, available in many bakeries in Venice. I’d choose one of the pistachio cakes at Pasticceria Pitteri on Strada Nova.
What to eat in Venice in October
In addition to our creamy squash soup, and squash lasagna (as you can see in the image below), it’s the desserts made from pistachios that I recommend for you to taste in autumn.
Rialto Novo, a restaurant located just off the crowded Ruga degli Orefici, behind the arcades, added a number of wonderful soulfood desserts like hazelnut cream tiramesu and walnut – almond cakes.
Selvaggina time: Likewise in the Lagoon, you’d want to taste grilled autumn vegetables and selvaggina (wild Lagoon fowls and in particular, duck).
Especially at the restaurants and bacari (wine bars) around the Rialto, you will get truffle risotto and creamy squash risotto (at home, we love to add grapes, and sometimes vino novello, the new wine).
If you love pistachios, I recommend you taste the pistachio dream at Aciugheta. It’s an all-green treat, consisting of pistachio sponge cake, pistachio gelato and pistachio cream. My favorite choice :-)
Itineraries in October: Campo Santa Maria Formosa and its neighborhood
October is a time for talking long walks around Venice. In any case, visit Campo Santa Maria Formosa, then walk towards Campo Santa Marina and stop at Pasticceria Didovich for bruschetta or one of their almond cup cakes. Return via Campo San Lio (there’s another enticing pastry store selling almond sponge-orange cream mini cakes, called Pasticceria Ponte delle Paste).
Special Event: Venice Hospitality Challenge
As you’ve seen in my moodboard, the Venice Hospitality Challenge regatta takes place on 18-19 October 2019.
Do we celebrate Halloween in Venice?
31 October is the last day of the agricultural year in the Veneto, but it wasn’t really celebrated until 15 years ago, when Halloween became popular in Venice. In any case, we will eat squash soup, and there are also sweets, orange sponge cakes and chocolates for Halloween at the pastry stores (Cioccolateria Vizio Virtù started the tradition of Halloween pastries in Venice). It is located near Campo Santa Marina, on your way to Campo San Lio.
October garden impressions
Wisteria leaves are still green, we’ve seen the last blossoms of the year ten days ago. But the vegetable gardens here in Venice are still green, we get salads, carrots, arugula and herbs in particular, such as the sun-loving erba coca cola and orange mint, which I use to flavor my black tea in the morning.
Both herbs also go into a delicious syrup we’re going to cover in our Autumn in Venice Culinary Class (available online soon).
Which gifts to buy in October
If you love cooking, a visit to Venice in fall and winter will be very rewarding! Now in October, you could buy pistachio and almond flour at Drogheria Mascari’s, or flour made from the recently harvested chestnuts. We use it to make castagnaccio (chestnut cake).
We also love the chestnuts (from the Rialto) and grill them with rosemary twigs. Pistachios and almond flour go into a cake called Doge’s cake (see link below). And the selection of dried tomatoes and mushrooms at the Rialto Market is overwhelming right now for hobby cooks :-).
October Surprise – Dream of Venice in Black and White Book Give-Away, and new resources for you to explore Venice
Our give-away to win one copy of Dream of Venice in Black and White is now open! Click on the image to enter the give-away!
- On Lepanto Day: Our Venice Heritage and Culture class, an interactive experience. It’s the complete guide for responsible visitors and a 3-step roadmap to discover Venice in 2020.
- Venetian coffee and pastries: The Doge’s Cake
- A book for photographers: Gianni Berengo Gardin: Caffé Florian
- Autumn gardening in Venice: See our garden here
- What you should know about the gardens of Venice + program for a garden day in Venice: My Venice Garden Walk (from our essential Venice ebook series)
- On Acqua Alta: How to predict and avoid high tides (acqua alta)