Our Roman Octobers

Autumn in Italy is a delightful time of year! Warm, balmy, and often good beach weather through most of September. They’re known as Roman Octobers. Or sometimes Roman Summers, much like the Indian Summers we used to enjoy back in the USA. 

Early Sunday mornings during the Roman Octobers of the early 1900s, families would pile into horse-drawn carts. They were off to the countryside feasts! Known for their typical October weather, warm and balmy (even hot at times) the Roman Octobers drew (and still does) people to the great outdoors.

A harvest celebration

It was time to celebrate the grape harvest’s end! Because that, after all, was the reason for the Roman October feasts.

Feasts of gnocchi, chicken, tripe, and mutton that the inn keepers had been preparing since before the break of dawn. All ready to wash down with last year’s wine.

To finish the old wine!

Because the whole purpose of the feasts was to finish off the old wine! For where would they put the new wine if they didn’t first drink up the old?

And Italians, who always love a celebration, found this a perfect excuse! And so spent the day eating and drinking. And playing games, like bocce, tumble and roll, and climb the greased pole. And of course no feast, whether in the countryside or the city, could ever lack singing, dancing, and story-telling.

A lingering tradition

Although the Roman October tradition still lingers in some places (especially around Rome), it has died off to a large degree.

But around Rome you can still find agriturismi (agriturisms) that hold Roman October feasts. So if you’re ever there in beautiful, balmy October, be sure to look for one! Head out to the Roman countryside and visit some of the likely places. Places like: Colli Albani/Castelli Romani, Rocca di Papa, Frascati, o Castel Gandolfo (which we found quite charming). You’ll be glad you did!

But pay close attention! Because these days when someone says, “Ma che bell’Ottrobata romana” (What a pleasant Roman October!) — they are probably referring to the weather! Because October weather here is usually fantastic! Who doesn’t like 81°F (27°C) in mid-October?

So the Roman October can either be an October food fest, or lingering summer-like weather. And both are both great delights!

Images: Saltarello dance | Horse & cart. Both from Wikimedia Commons, in the public domain. | Grapes by BarbaraALane.

Published by Signora Sheila

I am a wife, mom, nonna, blogger, and missionary in Italy. But really, I'm just an ordinary woman on a journey, trying to slow down enough to hear the still small voice of God and live for all that is truly important in this world.

12 thoughts on “Our Roman Octobers

    1. Yes, we sure would Dayle. Celebration really is good for the heart and soul! I really wish you could be in Italy right now too… sitting here with me and enjoying the view from our veranda with your drink of choice. But who knows? Maybe one day…

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