How to survive the summer in Italy - This is Italy (2024)

Regular visitors to Italy have known this for a long time. Summer in Italy has its own challenges. If you're new to Italian summer rituals, here's a quick survival guide for you. A warned person counts for two!

Table of contents

  • 1. Be prepared for closed doors
  • 2. Wear appropriate clothes
  • 3. Look for those other museums
  • 4. Beware of tourist traps
  • 5. Fountains: what is allowed and what is not allowed?
  • 6. Look up the altitude
  • 7. Or go underground
  • 8. Look forward to summer treats
  • 9. Learn Beach Etiquette

1. Be prepared for closed doors

Do you necessarily want that one restaurant or that one bar of your favorite Italyblog attend? Don't count on it being open during the holiday season. Many shops and eateries, especially family businesses, lock the doors in the summer. Such a closure can last for weeks, so that you are greeted with a sign 'see you in 6 weeks!'

Italy is flat from mid-August. Several businesses even take the whole month off. It goes without saying that not only holidaymakers suffer from this. For the locals who don't have the luxury of spending weeks at the beach or in the mountains, it's just as inconvenient.

And is the owner of a shop not on vacation? You can still stand in front of closed doors due to the afternoon closing.

The solution also lies in the Italian culture: be flexible. Go a little further and let your surprise by a restaurant or museum where you otherwise would not have come. And join the siesta. During the day it's too hot to do anything anyway.

By the way, supermarkets are open in the summer and more and more often no longer close in the afternoon. Cool off in the air conditioning while shopping.

2. Wear appropriate clothes

With slippers and shorts you immediately make yourself known as a tourist in Italy. Shouldn't be a problem, but then you know. Oh yes, those cobblestones in some Italian cities, that is still quite difficult on your slippers. That is why it can be useful to pack a good pair of shoes.

Prepare yourself qua clothing for scorching heat. Light and airy clothing is a must. Just like clothes that are not too naked for when you want to visit churches and other religious places. The shoulders and thighs should in any case be covered.

Tip: bring a scarf that you can wrap around your shoulders.

3. Look for those other museums

It is always advisable to get off the beaten track at least a little bit when visiting Italy, but in the summer it is even more important because the main sights - the Vatican, Venice, the Duomo of Milan and the Uffizi in Florence for example – having to deal with huge numbers of tourists

Do some research beforehand about museums that may not be high on your bucket list, but are worth a visit. There are thousands of small museums in Italy covering almost every subject and theme you can think of. Here are 5 tips for special museums in Italy.

Do you still want to go to the major museums? Book your tickets online in advance or pick them up at an official point of sale. In Rome or other tourist spots, don't be tempted by vendors who claim that there is a two-hour queue and that they have the solution that will get you right in. You always pay way too much money (see also the next point).

4. Beware of tourist traps

Keep an eye out for vendors who raise their prices in the summer months to catch tourists. Some gelaterias only offer the larger – and more expensive – cones and bowls to anyone who doesn't speak Italian. Restaurant owners often charge extra to sit outside. Read the fine print in menus and on cards outside the restaurant (these are required by law) and try to avoid the tents directly in the vicinity of tourist highlights.

Also read our article with all tips to avoid a tourist trap in Italy.

5. Fountains: what is allowed and what is not allowed?

Italy's fountains aren't just beautiful to look at; they are also very cooling in summer. All over Italy you will find drinking water fountains where you can fill your water bottle or splash some cool water over your face and hands.

But make sure you know the rules. At many of the historic fountains it is forbidden to bathe in the water or sit on the sculptures. Unsuspecting tourists have received hefty fines for taking a dip or washing their feet. Look at signs, but also use common sense: if it looks like a monument, treat it that way.

6. Look up the altitude

If you get the chance, do as the Italians do and go to the mountains. The Italian summer there is usually pleasantly warm. Perfect for long walks and relaxing by the lakes. And if that's not an option, pretend by finding a rooftop bar or restaurant where you should be able to sit in the shade along with a great view.

7. Or go underground

Alternatively, going underground can be smart to keep cool during the hottest part of the day. Try a tour of the catacombs in Naples, Rome or Palermo, or see if there are any caves near where you're staying, such as the incredible Sassi di Matera or the Frasassi caves in the Marche region.

8. Look forward to summer treats

You may not be in the mood for big bites of pizza and pasta during a heat wave, but Italy has plenty of culinary delights to get you through the summer season. Look for watermelon stalls or bars that sell the shaken coffeeserve, a sweet iced coffee.

In Sicily, the summer specialty is a border – a more refined and delicious version of a slush puppy – while in Rome you can try the traditional grattacheccadessert, a cup of shaved ice flavored with fruity syrups. Other delicious Italian summer drinks (which you can also prepare yourself) can be found here.

And of course there is always gelato.

9. Learn Beach Etiquette

The road to the beach in Italy may seem like a military operation, but luckily we are used to that in the Netherlands. Here we are also on the beach with hundreds of thousands when the temperature rises above 25 degrees Celsius.

The beaches of Italy are divided into public beaches and private beaches. On private beaches, you are expected to pay for the privilege of using a sun lounger or umbrella. The rates for paid beaches can vary widely.

Just make sure you pay to someone who actually belongs to the beach, otherwise you might pay twice. And find out if there are specific rules for that beach: for example, whether ball games or pets are allowed, and whether other activities are included in the price, which can range from a kid's club to free dance lessons.

Go ahead first time to Italy? Read our beginner tips.

Have fun this summer in Italy! And if you have any good tips of your own, please leave them below as usual.


How to survive the summer in Italy - This is Italy (2024)
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