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
First, the bad news: Many top attractions, such as the Vatican and the Uffizi, for example, aren’t air-conditioned.
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?