How to Prepare For a Hot Italian Summer

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Catherine Bruno
Catherine Bruno
After years of working in both corporate and private event planning, I moved to Italy with my children. We resided in a small village in the Tuscan countryside and my children attended the local school. I immersed myself in the food, culture and traditions of Italy.
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Enjoying Italy is easy — even in the heat and humidity.

After planning and booking the perfect trip to Italy, there remain some variables that are out of your control. Weather, for example, may put a damper on your excitement for your travels— especially if it is predicted to be hot and humid. However, there is no need to allow the weather to curb your enthusiasm. There are plenty of ways to prepare for high temperatures while still making the most of your stay:

  • Book accommodations that offer A/C (air conditioning) – surprisingly, many don’t!

 

  • Did you happen to notice if your accommodations have outer shutters on the windows? They serve a great purpose.  Do like the Italians do: In the morning before leaving your room for the day, close up all the shutters to keep the heat out and the room cool and dark. If the room has inner shutters, close those as well. It really works!

The time of day matters

  • You don’t want to be outside and pounding the hot pavement when the sun is high in the sky.  Do your sightseeing and book tours during the early morning or evening hours when temperatures tend to be cooler. Two additional bonuses:
    1. You often will have tourist sites all to yourself or they might be considerably less crowded.
    2. Both early morning and evening light make for fantastic photos – especially if you capture the sunrise or sunset!

Sites to see to beat the heat

 

  • Visit a park and find some shade. Now’s the time to connect with nature plus perhaps see some unique areas of a city.  Rome for example, boasts quite a few beautiful parks including Gianicolo park which includes Japanese and botanical gardens, Villa Doria Pamphili park with its Italianate gardens, as well as the beautiful Villa Borghese park with a small lake, zoo, and the Borghese Gallery.

 

  • Also in Rome, visit the catacombs. These underground gems are historically significant and the subterranean site protects against the outside scorching temperatures.

 

  • During the heat of the day, schedule visits to churches. Many churches are cool and dark compared to the outside temperatures.

 

What to wear

 

  • Wear light colors and thin fabrics— think light cottons and linens. Lightweight shorts, skirts and dresses will come in handy, and leave the jeans at home. However, make sure to bring a shawl or scarf with you to wrap around your shoulders or waist if you plan to visit a church.

 

  • Bring a sun hat. Not only are they fashionable, but they can also help prevent sunburns.

 

  • Use a bandana that you can soak at the drinking fountains and drape around your neck. Alternatively, you could purchase and use one of those cooling neck wraps.

 

Use a fan!

 

  • Bring or purchase a small handheld fan— these are great to have in less than optimally air-conditioned museums, or just as you are walking around and touring a city. A little air movement goes a long way! 

 

  • The good news is that you will see fans offered by many of the street vendors – especially in Venice.  In the summer months, I always pack a small accordion-folding fan that tucks neatly into my luggage.

Water! Water! Water!

  • If you come across a fountain that is open to the public for enjoyment, splash or run the water over your “pulse points”, which include your wrists, inner elbow, back of the neck, forehead, back of the knees, and ankles, for instant refreshment. 
  • Have a refillable water bottle that you can refill at any of the many potable drinking fountains, fontanelle, or nasoni throughout the cities and villages. Not only will they help save money by avoiding purchasing bottles, but they are also more environmentally friendly and convenient.

Head to the Sea

 

  • In Venice, you can take the vaporetto over to the Lido where there are several beaches.

 

  • Take the train to the beaches of Viareggio from Florence.

 

  • In Rome, there are several beaches that are easily accessible by public transport, such as Santa Marinella, Anzio, Sperlonga or Ostia.

Visit a lake! 

  • From Milan, you can be at the Lakes region in under an hour by train.  With the Alps in the background, and the cold clear glacial water splashing at your feet, you’ll cool down in no time!

 

  • On the border of Tuscany and Umbria is Lake Trasimeno (Lago di Trasimeno), where you can rent paddle and sail boats, or take a quick dip in the shallow waters.

 

  • Near Orvieto and the border of the regions of Umbria and Lazio is the refreshing Lake Bolsena (Lago di Bolsena).

 

  • Just outside of Rome, is the beautiful ‘Parco Naturale Regionale di Bracciano’ – A nature park that surrounds Lake Bracciano (Lago di Bracciano).

Find a pool!

  • In Florence there are many public pools in the area. Some hotels even offer non-guests day passes for a fee.

 

  • You can also find public pools throughout Rome as well as the “Hydromania”, a waterpark located just outside the city.

 

  • If you’re staying in the countryside, make sure your accommodations offer a pool.

Tips for eating

  • Seek restaurants that offer AC (Air conditioning), and then eat indoors! Many of these restaurants have a stunning view, so you will still feel a part of the city.

 

  • Enjoy a refreshing granita or sorbetto. These can be found in nearly every gelateria. I like these better than creamy gelato when it is especially hot.
  • Eat smaller meals.  The more you eat, the more heat your body creates.

 

  • And lastly, after lunch, rest. Take advantage of that time period when many things close up in the afternoon hours. Stay in the cool indoors until the sun starts to dip in the sky.
Catherine Bruno
Catherine Bruno
After years of working in both corporate and private event planning, I moved to Italy with my children. We resided in a small village in the Tuscan countryside and my children attended the local school. I immersed myself in the food, culture and traditions of Italy.
More from this author

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