The attractions of Venice are almost impossible to list, starting with all the canals that run through it. Practically every month of the year the city takes care to offer its inhabitants and tourists a series of events that increase even more the possibilities of enjoying the trip.
In the case of the month of October, besides not finding the same crowds as during the high season, Venice allows its visitors to attend such spectacular events as an opera at La Fenice, learn something about its wine at the must fair or attend one of the most famous art festivals in the world.
1. Go to the opera at La Fenice Theater
If you travel to Venice in October you will be fortunate to coincide with the start of the opera season in the city. Attending one, even if you're not a big fan, is an experience you won't forget and is certainly one of the best things to do in Venice at night.
Although in dispute with the also Italian city of Florence, Venice is considered the birthplace of opera. Since 1792 it also has one of the most mythical theaters in this type of art, La Fenice, whose contemplation is worth a visit.
La Fenice Theater has suffered two major fires during its history, the last one in 1996. However, it has managed to rise from the ashes to remain one of the world's temples of opera.
2. Discover the glass workshops of Murano and Burano without crowds
Take advantage of the end of the high season in Venice to make an excursion to the islands of Murano and Burano is one of the best activities you can do if you are going to be in the Italian city in October.
Both islands, located in the lagoon itself, have enough attractions to make your visit a must at any time. The problem is that in July and August in Venice, a large number of tourists disembark on them, making it difficult to see what they have to offer.
Murano: is known throughout the world for the glass works. Their craftsmen have kept some of the traditional techniques of blowing and there are several workshops with blown glass demonstration that allow visits so that everyone can see their art. In October, you can enter without problems and contemplate their work more directly.
Burano: are the most recognized textile works. However, the city also stands out for its beautiful and colorful houses. According to legend, it was the sailors who painted them so that they would be visible from the sea.
3. Take a gondola ride in the autumn light
Although you can take gondola rides through the canals of Venice all year round, this activity is a must if you travel in October for two main reasons: because no one can pass through the city of canals without getting on one of these boats and because doing it in the beautiful autumn light makes it one of the best times to experience it.
In addition, at this time the traffic on the canals is quite reduced and the gondoliers usually provide some blankets to keep you warm during the ride. This makes the ride much more intimate and romantic. In short, the perfect time for couples.
My advice is to go for this ride early in the afternoon, as autumn is the time when the light begins to fade and the city is enveloped in a magical halo.
4. Experience a terrifying Halloween in Venice
Venice's Halloween is, of course, more sophisticated and the famous Venetian masks make their appearance in its streets. Certainly, its architecture, bridges, alleys, corners and canals play a fundamental role in giving the city a spooky atmosphere.
Many shop windows in the city are decorated to celebrate this date and numerous costume parties are organized in Venetian nightclubs, bars and restaurants. The most famous ones take place on the Lido, but there are other places where you can live more frightening experiences.
Among these places is the Doge's Palace, which hides within its walls several secret corridors, cells and a creepy torture chamber where prisoners were interrogated in his time.
5. Dare to try the moèche
Venice, like the rest of Italy, is famous for its gastronomic offer. However, the image of pasta and pizza falls far short of what you can really find in its restaurants and taverns. If you travel in October there is a dish, the moeche, that may not attract you at first, but I advise you to overcome that first idea and try it.
The moeche is a type of crab that loses its shell in October and November, as well as in spring. In the few days when this happens, they become an exquisite delicacy, tender and very tasty. In fact, their name in Venetian dialect means "soft"
The difficulty of catching the crabs during this moulting season explains the high price of the product: between 35 and 70 € per kilo. They are usually eaten fried and accompanied by a typical garnish of the city, polenta. To be able to eat them you will have to look carefully in the restaurants of Venice, since not all of them work. In Burano, on the other hand, they are usually found in many places.
6. Discover the famous acqua alta in St. Mark's Square
Surely you have ever seen on television images of Venice completely flooded. The phenomenon is known as acqua alta (high water) and can occur from October until the end of winter.
When it happens it is enough to wear wellies to continue touring the city. However, sometimes the flood waters exceed the normal and almost 60% of the historic center is completely flooded, but a few years ago a system of dikes was put in place to prevent this from happening again.
Although this is obviously a negative phenomenon and one that greatly affects the lives of Venetians, contemplating the normal acqua alta (not the big floods) is truly unique. If it happens when you are in Venice, don't hesitate to go to the square to take a picture of the reflection of St. Mark's Basilica on the ground.
7. Don't miss the must festival
At the beginning of October many Venetians leave the city to go to Sant'Erasmo, the largest island in the Venice lagoon. The reason is the celebration of the Sagra del Mosto, a fair dedicated to wine when it has not yet fermented.
Those who come to this fair do so with the intention of tasting the new products presented there, especially a type of white wine, somewhat cloudy and slightly fizzy called torbollino. As you can not only eat and drink, although it is what most visitors and locals do, during the festival there is also a mixed rowing regatta and performances of some local musicians take place.
To get to this island you just have to take the vaporetto number 13 and if you want to visit something else you can go to the Torre Massimiliana, a defensive structure built by the French and that hosts some cultural activities.
8. Exercise at the Venice Marathon
Even if you are not going to participate, the celebration of the Venice Marathon makes the atmosphere of the city festive and makes it a day worth joining the Venetians and enjoy what surrounds the event.
This marathon was born as a race from the nearby Brenta River to Campo Santi Apostoli, where stands the church of the same name that I recommend you to visit. Over time it became an annual tradition that turns the run through the city into a real festival.
Normally, the Venice Marathon takes place on the fourth Sunday of October. Today, both the start and finish line are located in St. Mark's Square and the route includes such fantastic places as the Ponte della Libertá, one of Venice's bridges linking Venice to the mainland, or San Giuliano Park, one of the city's main green areas.
9. Climb the Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore to see St. Mark's Square emerging from the mist
Most tourists choose to climb the bell tower (campanile) of St. Mark's Square to enjoy the view. However, just opposite, there is another viewpoint that for many is the best in Venice: the Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore. In autumn, you will also have the opportunity to contemplate the Doge's Palace, much of the Grand Canal and, if you are lucky, the snow-capped Alps.
In addition, you can enjoy the view of the palace as if emerging from the fog, a phenomenon that usually occurs at that time and gives the city a ghostly appearance. To climb the bell tower there is a practical elevator that makes the task much easier.
Beyond the views, this church is really interesting to visit because of the four large columns of its marble facade and its spectacular interior. October, in addition to the lower light intensity when looking down from the heights, also offers the advantage of not having to stand in the same queues as in summer in Venice and in spring.
10. An ice cream in autumn? In Venice you will find the best
If you think that the famous Venetian gelato is only eaten in the summer months you are very wrong. This product, which is said to have been reintroduced to Italy by the Venetian Marco Polo, can be found all year round and, in fact, October is a great time to try them as you don't have to wait in long lines in front of ice cream parlors during the high season.
As befits the fame of gelato in the city you will find numerous places serving all kinds of varieties. If the weather is nice, I recommend you to sit on the terrace or on a bench to eat it. Otherwise, do it inside the ice cream shop. Of course, my advice if you are in Venice is that you never fail to try it...and more than once.
Temperatures in Venice in October
The Venetian month of October can be quite rainy. Temperatures start to drop, something that is much more noticeable as the month progresses. However, mornings can still be expected to be mild.
Daily highs tend to stay around 15°C and rarely fall below 12°C. Minimums, meanwhile, stay at around 8ºC, with some days reaching as low as 4ºC.
In any case, I advise you to check the weather forecast shortly before your trip in order to adapt your luggage and tour to the weather conditions.
The number of tourists in Venice in October
For many years now it has been difficult to say when the low season starts in Venice. The city is visited by millions of people every year and events such as the Biennale attract many tourists even in autumn or winter.
However, there is a certain drop in visitors starting in October. The queues in front of the main Venetian monuments are no longer so long and you can even stroll calmly through the most central streets.
Joaquín's Traveller Tip:
If you go with enough time, I recommend adapting your schedule in case a cruise ship arrives. This way, you will be able to avoid the thousands of tourists that disembark at the same time and produce crowds in the main tourist attractions.
What to pack for a visit to Venice in October
The main problem with packing your suitcase when traveling to Venice in October is that the weather can be quite unpredictable. To get it right, I would recommend packing clothes that you can layer on top of each other (the famous "onion" style) and that will work for you both when the temperatures are mild and when it cools down.
Since it is a rainy month, you should also pack some waterproof jackets. Of course, footwear should have the same characteristics, but without forgetting comfort.