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Summer Travel in Italy

Why Visit Italy in Summer

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italy beach picture

Italy Beach

Martha Bakerjian
For travelers who like sun and heat, summer may be the best time to visit Italy. Here's a look at Italy in summer.

Why Travel to Italy in Summer?

  • Enjoy lots of bright sunshine
  • Visit Italy's beaches
  • Partake in Italy's fantastic summer festivals
  • Attend outdoor concerts and plays
  • Relax outdoors in the warmth of evening
  • Have more hours of daylight for traveling

Summer Weather and Climate in Italy

Summer in Italy can be very hot, especially in the south, and temperatures can rise above 100 degrees for days in a row. To escape the heat, Italians head to the beaches or mountains. The climate is generally dry but central and northern Italy can be humid and afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon. Find historic weather and climate information for major Italian cities on Italy Travel Weather.

Summer Festivals in Italy

Summer is filled with Italian festivals and you'll find them almost everywhere, from big cities to tiny villages. One of the most famous summer festivals is the Palio horse race in Siena, but many towns hold contests for a palio and medieval festivals are common. Major performing arts festivals include the Umbria Jazz Festival and Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto. You'll often find outdoor music and opera performances in a main square or a historic venue such as a Roman arena.

August 15, Ferragosto or Assumption Day, is a national holiday and many businesses and shops will be closed. You'll find celebrations in many places in Italy on this day and the days before and after, often including music, food, and fireworks. In big cities like Rome and Milan, however, the city will empty out as Italians head for the beaches and mountains and you'll find many shops and restaurants closed for vacation.

Here's more about summer festivals:

Visiting Italy's Cities in Summer

Summer is the height of tourist season in popular cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice. Italian cities can be hot and stifling in summer. Many restaurants and bars have outside seating and summer evenings can be a very pleasant time to sit outdoors (but remember that bars in big cities often charge more for sitting at an outside table). Cities have many outdoor performances and festivals in summer and museums and tourist sites often have longer opening hours. Although air-conditioning is becoming more prevalent in Italy, many places still don't have air-conditioning or prefer not to use it.

Italy's Beaches in Summer

Italy's beaches become very crowded on Sundays and in August. Summer is usually considered high season at hotels near the sea. Most seaside towns have private beaches where you pay a fee that usually gets you a clean beach, dressing room where you can leave your things, a lounge chair, a beach umbrella, a good swimming area, toilets, and a bar. Beach play areas for children, often with small carnival-type rides, open in summer. Near popular beaches, you'll find bars and seafood restaurants with outdoor seating and small shops selling beach supplies and souvenirs. In summer, many seaside towns are connected by frequent ferries.

Italian Food in Summer

Summer brings delicious fresh vegetables and fruits, each best enjoyed at the peak of its growing season. Look for posters announcing a sagra or local fair to celebrate a particular food, an inexpensive way to sample local specialties (see what's a sagra?. Of course, summer is a wonderful time to enjoy gelato, Italian ice cream.

Ready to Travel - Packing for Summer

Take a lightweight sweater and rain jacket (especially if you're heading to the mountains), your bathing suit and sandals. Italian men and women generally don't wear shorts around town except at the beach. Sleeveless tops and shorts are usually not allowed in churches and religious sites.

When to Travel to Italy

If you're not sure which season is right for you, check our When to Go to Italy travel section.

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