Autumn in Tuscany: Vendemmia, Olive Harvest Zen and Off Season Bargains

If you are adverse to the tourists and heat of Italian high season, save your vacation for October or November. In the autumn, the sun is lower and softer and so are the people. It is a time for gathering and reflection, the final season before hibernating inside. On the streets of the medieval hill towns, the calm is palpable as the locals go about their business finishing the harvest, preparing for fall festivals and awaiting winter.
October will be rewarded with the beauty of the wine harvest or Vendemmia, where rows of beautiful ripe grapes hang off the colorful autumn vines waiting to be hand picked!

Those who wait for November will enjoy low prices and the tranquility of the olive harvest. Prices for lodging and rental cars are often close to half the high season price, bargains abound! You could even try being a WOOFer (Workers On Organic Farms) exchanging grape or olive picking for free room and board. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that!
The cooler weather requires a few more clothing options, but having the place to yourself is so worth it. Plus, now you can wear all those stylish scarfs that the Italian’s, yes, even men, don so stylishly.

For those who may like to try your hand at the harvesting olives, any farm would be  happy to have you help for a day or two. Not wanting to commit to anything back breaking, a friend let me help out for two days. The pay is perfect; the calming experience, a few cans of AMAZNG olive oil and two lovely lunches of hand rolled pasta by his mama, Dina. The meals were delicious but, even more rewarding is to be a in an Italian home eating, drinking wine and laughing with the family– poetry. I am always so grateful.
I love these opportunities to get close to nature and experience pure calm! Ekert Tolle would have been proud of my NOW attitude of attending to these age old tress with deliberate attention. Raking olives off a Tuscan tree is very Zen like. Just BEING with the olive trees in silence of that beautiful landscape is pure pleasure. A stark contrast from a busy city life and restless mind. Next year, set your sights on vacationing in the shoulder season and be rewarded with a calm reinvigorating vacation at bargain prices.

11/22/2013 12:43 am | Share | No Comments

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