Autumn colours: the magic of the forest landscape

Among the many reasons to love autumn, there are its unmistakable colours. Even for the most avid admirers of summer, those who are against falling temperatures and the arrival of shorter and darker afternoons, it is hard to resist to the charm of the changing autumn colours.

In autumn, nature reaches one of its greatest moments of manifestation. Leaves take the front of the stage: from the explosion of the intense red of maples and wild cherry trees to the brilliant shades of yellow, ochre and orange, mixed with the brown tones of beeches and ancient oaks, tree leaves create colour and light displays, transforming the woods into magical landscapes and the city parks into places to rediscover.

The magnificent autumn colours

Why nature changes its colours in autumn

However, what lies behind the marvellous colours of autumn foliage? Due to the shortening of the days and the lowering of the temperatures, tree leaves are no longer able to produce chlorophyll, which is the main factor responsible for the green colour of the leaves. Therefore, other pigments, such as the carotenoids and the flavonoids, which dye the leaves with a kaleidoscope of golden shades, take the upper hand. However, it has to be said that not all tree species are lucky enough to see their foliage change from green to yellow, orange, purple-red and brown.
Why do leaves change their colours?
The reason for this change is fundamentally genetic. However, according to many scholars, it would also have practical repercussions: autumn foliage would act, for instance, as a deterrent for some potentially harmful insects, which would interpret the bright colours of the leaves as a sign of danger.

Autumn colours bewitch a transversal and heterogeneous audience throughout the world.

Every year, from October until the first days of winter, the desire to walk in the woods returns, to immerse oneself in poetic atmospheres among splendid landscapes gets stronger and stronger. For someone, camera in hand, it is also an opportunity to search for the perfect shot, especially in early in the morning or late in the afternoon – right before sunset, when the grazing light intensifies the colours, emphasising the shapes and veins of the leaves. Meanwhile, on Instagram, the hashtag #foliage is booming.
Peace of a lake in autumn

The best destinations to see autumn colours

Foliage tourism is a worldwide phenomenon. The most traditional destinations are Japan, the United States and Canada, as well as the great parks and vineyards in Italy and in the rest of Europe. Legendary are the autumn colours of New England, which have given rise to a real cultural phenomenon, informally called leaf peeping by the Americans; the most common tree species in this area, including maples, ash, cornelian and oak, take on unique colours.
Autumn colours in the United States
In Canada, Nova Scotia stands out, whose Acadian forests in autumn create enchanting scenery, while in Japan the contemplation of changing nature takes place in the magical moment of momijigari, the "autumn leaf hunt" that takes place from late September to early December, particularly in Kyoto and Nikkō.
The autumn foliage show can also be admired in urban settings. If New Yorkers can choose to stroll through the beautiful colours of Central Park, admire the sugar maples in Prospect Park or follow in the footsteps of Walt Whitman in the shades of Green Park, In Berlin, autumn gives its chromatic effects to the Tiergarten Park, in the district of Mitte.

Autumn colours tourism

For romantic people in search of poetry and nature lovers wishing to escape their urban reality, for amateur photographers and trekking junkies, for very young people and adults, for those who want to immerse themselves in nature and those who prefer urban exploration, autumn colours bewitch a transversal and heterogeneous audience throughout the world.

To aid autumn foliage enthusiasts, interactive maps have also been created to check in real time the state of the tree leaves, which changes from week to week. Foliage bulletins are indispensable for planning excursions. In Italy, the Park of Monza, for example, provides an interactive map - available online - that indicates real guided tours through its trees, divided according to shades and updated as the colours change.

Tree house for an unforgettable holiday
To enjoy the autumn display in an even more exciting and "adventurous" way, you can then sleep in a tree house, just like the one you dreamed of when you were a child, waking up in the thick autumnal forest foliage, but with all the comforts at your disposal.

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