Taking a trip to Italy this year? Lucky you! It’s one of the top travel destinations in the world. But if you’re traveling in summer, there are a few things you should know. We’ve put together our top tips to make the most of your time in Italy wherever you go.
Taking a trip to Italy this year? Lucky you!
It’s one of the top travel destinations in the world. But if you’re traveling in summer, there are a few things you should know.
For instance...summer in Italy gets hot, occasionally really hot when the warm breezes blow over from Africa.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy every minute of your summer holiday. We’ve put together our top tips to beat the heat and make the most of your time in Italy wherever you go.
Don’t expect air conditioning
Same goes for many local restaurants, businesses, and shops. It can get uncomfortable if you’re in a crowded environment.
The good news is that most hotels, however, do have air conditioning, so you’ll be comfortable when you’re hanging out in your room.
That said, however, Italians are very energy conscious so the air conditioning might not be quite what you’re used to at home. Still, some AC is better than no AC when you’re traveling in Rome or Florence in the summer.
Avoid standing in lines
Summer heat is only mildly unpleasant when you’re walking about the city enjoying a passing breeze.
It’s downright awful when you’re standing in line in the afternoon sun. Buy tickets in advance for the museums and attractions you know you want to see so you can skip the line and get out of the heat.
If you forgot to get your tickets in advance, or your preferred date is sold out, all is not lost. Italy is packed with incredible smaller museums and galleries.
Why not visit a hidden gem and skip the crowds entirely?
Visit a church
Churches are a two-for-one destination in an Italian summer—not only do you get to see incredible art, architecture, and religious icons, you get to enjoy the “natural” air conditioning of a cool, dark building.
Do remember to dress appropriately if you’re visiting any churches, basilicas, or cathedrals. For women, that means no bared backs or midriffs, covered shoulders, and skirts or shorts that hit just above the knee. Men should wear trousers or long shorts with a short- or long-sleeved shirt.
Rome’s Christian Catacombs are another naturally air-conditioned attraction worthy of a visit. If you’re looking for a great way to spend a couple of hours out of the Italian sun, you’ll love a tour of the Catacombs and the Capuchin Crypt.
Chiusa means “closed” in Italian—and you can expect most restaurants, shops, and businesses to lock their doors and settle down for a rest after lunch. Riposo, that two- to four-hour afternoon break, is a time-honored tradition in Italy.
Our advice? Don’t fight it—embrace it! Retreat to your air-conditioned room during the hottest afternoon hours and use the time to nap, read a book, or journal about your travels. You’ll be fresh and well-rested for an evening of dining, exploring the city, or enjoying the nightlife.
Find the fountains
Rome is famous for its beautiful fountains—as are most cities in Italy.
The public water systems date back to the earliest days of the Roman Republic; at one point, ancient Rome even appointed a guardian of the water to ensure a steady supply of clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. You’ll love the cool mist from the Trevi or the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.
Feeling thirsty or want to splash your face with cool water? Look for the nasoni, or public water fountains. The water is clean and perfectly fine for drinking—save some money and refill your water bottle.
Get to know granita
Everyone knows Italy is famous for gelato, but when it’s really hot, there’s nothing like an icy granita to help you cool down.
Granita, or Italian ice, is simply shaved ice with flavoring poured over it. It’s fat-free, so you can enjoy it as often as you like.
Our favorite tip for beating the summer heat?
Skip your morning espresso and have a coffee-flavored granita instead! You’ll be refreshed and ready for the day (and you’ll still get your morning jolt of caffeine). What could be more perfect?
Learn to love dining late
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Italians love long, leisurely meals with lots of excellent Italian wine and lively conversation—and if you want to dine like an Italian, you won’t sit down to eat before 8 or 9 pm. In fact, most restaurants don’t even open for the evening meal before 7:30 or 8 pm.
Dining late is the Italian way, and it’s even better when you enjoy your dinner al fresco in a hidden terrace bathed by cool evening breezes. You won’t be tired if you embrace riposo—you’ll be rested and ready for an evening of la dolce vita.
Look for extended hours
Summer is a top tourist season in Italy, and many major attractions operate with extended hours during the summer months. Some museums, galleries, and cultural attractions are open as late as 9 pm so you can avoid the afternoon heat.
The Uffizi in Florence, for example, stays open until 9 pm two nights a week from July through September.
Try to plan your itinerary around attractions with extended evening hours to minimize your time outdoors in the afternoon sun. The great thing is that most Italian cities come to life after dark, so you’ll find plenty of things to see and do even after 9 pm.
Beware the August closures
August 15th is Ferragosto, a national holiday, and pretty much everything shuts down, including banks, businesses, attractions, and even public transportation. The good news is that many museums and galleries remain open, so you can visit without the usual crowds.
On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for many local restaurants and shops to close for the entire week, especially in the less touristy areas. Depending on your travel plans, you may need to adjust your expectations and your itinerary in August.
Head for the hills (or the beach)
Although Italy’s “Big Three” get the most attention from first-time visitors, there’s so much more to Italy than just Rome, Florence, and Venice. The Dolomites and Cortina are an easy (and fun) day trip from Venice—and the cool mountain air is balm to a summer-weary soul.
There are also incredible beaches and seaside resorts in Italy when you want to escape the heat. The Cinque Terre is a short trip from Florence; there’s nothing more refreshing than a day at the sea sipping wine and sampling incredible seafood.
And if you want a true beach escape, you can’t miss the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento, Positano, and Ravello are absolutely stunning villages, and the hidden beaches, flanked by magnificent rocky cliffs, are some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Ready to experience Italy in summer?
We’d love to help you put together the perfect summer itinerary. Whether you’re dying to explore Venice and Rome, the Mediterranean coast, or the bustling and fascinating cities in Northern Italy, we’re here to help you plan the perfect trip. Why not get in touch today to bring your summer leave to Italy to life?