The season for some fun in the sun has finally arrived in lovely Italy, and it’s time to take some much-deserved R&R, unwind, and maybe break out the sunscreen and swimwear. However, with the change in season also comes the change in pace in the country, as everyone, both tourists and locals alike, are determined to make the most out of the summer vacation period. Because of this, here are some pointers to keep in mind as you prepare for your upcoming Italian vacation!
First of all, since it’s the season for relaxation, expect the level of activity to vary from city to city. While seaside resorts, coastal destinations, and other popular tourist spots will probably be full of people with establishments all up and running and in full swing, less-tourist-y cities will be much quieter and some shops and points of interest might even be closed. For example, while Florence may be abuzz, Turin may be sleepier and some museums and shops may be closed as their proprietors are also away on vacation.
So if you plan to travel the path less traveled, just be prepared to have to walk a little farther to get to the grocer in case the one beside your hotel is closed for the week. You might also want to check in advance if the places you mean to visit will be open on the dates you plan to go, and have a back-up itinerary, just in case. This is something to watch out for particularly in August when people take advantage of the holiday Ferragosto, which falls on August 15, to go out of town for their own vacations. Just take note, however that “Ferragosto” doesn’t strictly refer to just a specific date, and locals tend to also consider the weeks and days before and after the 15th as free game. In short, expect most of the people in the country to take their vacations in August, and don’t be surprised if entire streets’ worth of shops are shut down during this month.
Next, let’s talk about the weather. Though it’s a bit cooler than most tropical countries, keep in mind that summer is still summer, and temperatures can rise up to 30 degrees centigrade or more, especially in the southern part of the country and in seaside towns. Though it may vary, the general rule of thumb is that June is usually mildly warm, and the really hot weather starts kicking in by around mid-July. Come August, it can get scorching hot, before it all starts cooling down again in September. So come prepared, pack light clothing and sunglasses, stay hydrated, stay in the shade, and try to stay cool as much as possible.
Lastly, not just because it’s hot, it doesn’t mean that you can go around in shorts everywhere! Keep in mind that while light clothing is the norm for this season, dress codes still do apply at certain spots, particularly in churches, museums, or government offices. Be warned that it isn’t uncommon for visitors to be refused entry to certain places just because they were wearing beach shorts and sleeveless tops (and this applies to both men and women!). If you’re planning to tour these places in the summer but insist on going sleeveless, though, just remember to bring a shawl, scarf, or button shirt that you can easily use to cover up with while you’re inside the church or museum. This is a mistake that many visitors make, so make sure to keep beach clothes at the beach or at the pool!
With these tips in mind, it’s time to get out there and enjoy your perfect summer vacations in Italy!
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