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Aug 3, 2010 07:22 AM

Outside dining in November

Planning the fall trip to Chianti area,Florence and Venice in early to mid November.
Providing the weather is somewhat rainfree, and of course not too cold, can we expect to be able to dine outside on terraces, city streets and piazzas, or do you see less of this available in the month of November? We are wanting to at best enjoy some lovely vistas in the country while we eat all of that heavenly fare!

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  1. it really depends, but Its definitely fall seaon in northern Italy. You may or may not be able to eat outside depending on the weather you hit. It could be rainy and chilly, requiring jackets/raincoat or relatively warm and you can go in shirtsleeves. Often restaurants with sidewalk cafes will put out heatlamps, to enable coolweather eating but if its cool you may want to sit by a roaring fire. . Wunderground has pretty good historic weather info if you want to check your destinations.

    1. My suggestion: Go to a cafe (many/most of which have heatlamps) and dine inside in a restaurant (most of which do not have heatlamps).

      Italians tend to think by season rather than by the actual weather on a given day, and most would not want to dine outdoors in November.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zerlina

        One tends to see cafes, bars (espresso) in the Centro with tables outside during the sunny hours than full service restaurants doing the same, Especially after dark.

      2. In mid- November, you may very well experience "aqua alta" in Venice that will flood many of the piazzas, squares and walking streets in the central part of the city for several hours each day. The Venetians are very adept at setting up gangplanks elevated above the water so that you can get around, but if you have waterproof boots or some sort, I would suggest bringing them along!

        I was once in Venice the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and we had aqua alta each of the 5 days we were there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DavidT

          I didnt want to mention that. Its very dependent on tides/moon cycles as well as weather conditions. Dont know that Id drag boots along, but a raincoat is definitely in order.

        2. In Rome, which has a milder climate than Florence and Venice, it is almost always the tourist joints that offer heat lamps and outdoor dining (I have one local gourmet friend who insists on eating outdoors at his local trat with heat lamps, but he and it are exceptional). Get your views in the daytime, including at sidewalk caf├ęs, but eat dinner indoors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mbfant

            I think I was struck by Luzzo having them and the number of people who were eating dinner there, outdoors, at Christmas time.

            Its understandable why the restaurants have these spaces since if people are willing to sit there it increases their profitability but personally I cant understand why anyone would want to eat in relative discomfort when a nice cozy restaurant dining room is available.

          2. By November, outside dining will be chancy in Venice. If no rain, there will be outside tables in most cafes and informal eating places regardless of the temperature, ie places on the Campo Santa Margherita, San Barmaba. Santo Stefano, Zattere. More upscale restaurants such as Il Refolo, Raffaela will have outside heat lamps. Of course, the outside terraces of the grand hotels will be open and heated.