Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Visiting Italy in July – five things to consider

From the TMO Italy Travel Guide

Visting Italy in July is a popular time for most tourists (The UK Gov statistics, for example, show that overseas travel peaks in july-sep). There are plenty of pros and cons to visiting Italy in July, and so, we’ve put together a short list of things to consider before planning your holiday.

A couple of things to consider, before jumping into the list. Firstly Italy is a very long country, with loads of different regional differences for both culture and, importantly, weather. Things change dramatically between the North and the South, but also within specific regions depending upon geography, so keep that in mind. Also, Italy is a country that is rapidly changing, so whereas tradition in the post-war period saw most of the country going on holiday during August, nowadays there’s much more flexibility and tourist structures are adapting to that new reality.

So, without further ado, here are five important considerations for holidaying in Italy in August

Decide on the type of holiday you want

If you want to visit Rome, Florence and Venice all in one trip, and see everything that there is to see, then July is going to make things hard for you; the world and its mother visits Italy in July, and couple that with heat and humidity and your holiday may be best remembered as a long nervous breakdown! On the other hand, if you target a specific city, and be realistic with what you want to see, July’s sun mixed with aperitivi and gelato could be extremely special. The trick is to plan ahead for what you want to see and do, and add in a lot of rest/relax time. Italians slow down considerably in July, for good reason. It’s time to enjoy the summer and la dolce vita

Check out local festivals in Italy during July

Italy in July is lived outdoors, and wherever you go you’ll find a host of local sagre and feste celebrating local foods, drink, and culture. These are definitely worth planning around. For example, there is the world famous Palio di Siena, the horse race that packs out one of the most beautiful piazze in Italy. There’s also, for example, the famous Festa del Redentore in Venice.

An advantage to a holiday in July is also that there are no public holidays in July in Italy, while there are in June, August and September. Public holidays that fall on fridays or mondays are always a good excuse for a long weekend for Italians, and so traffic is intense and hotels in popular destinations become more expensive during these periods.

Be prepared for the heat

Average temperatures throughout Italy, during July tend to be between 28-32°, though obviously this depends where you are. It’s going to be hotter inland on the plains in a city like Bologna, Rome or Florence, compared to up the mountains in the Alto Adige. Just important to consider is the relative humidity and air-pollution in bigger cities, as this can make a simple stroll around the city turn into an endurance test!

Of course, given that Italians work normally (for the most part) during July, there are plenty of solutions employed to alleviate the situation. Many cities have shaded colonades (for example Bologna’s famous porticos ), and air-conditioning is prevalent in most shops/bars/restaurants. And the heat is obviously mainly a problem during the middle of the day. With that in mind, try to rise early, and then enjoy a slow lunch and pisolino (nap) afterwards. Then head out to enjoy the beautiful summer evenings.

Consider traffic and transport patterns

Italy is a country of tradition, and one of these is the weekly flight out of the big cities at the weekend. Most Italians won’t be caught dead in Milan, Rome, Bologna, Florence, Naples at the weekend during the summer, and so from Friday afternoon the autostrade towards coastal and mountain resorts get flooded. The reverse is true on Sundays when people flock back to the cities for the working week.

If you plan travelling around Italy during July, use these patterns intelligently to plan your trips. Go against the grain, travelling towards the big cities at the weekends, and out of them during the week. This is just as true for train travel. There’s nothing worse in the world than taking a regional Italian train on a friday afternoon in the Summer heading from Bologna to Rimini

Take advantage of speciali initiatives

Because city life isn’t particularly suited to the summer months, various cities have organised initiatives to a) make the summer more attractive to their own residents, and b) to encourage tourists to visit. Open air cinema, concerts, festivals and attractions are regularly organised in July to keep the cities alive and to stem the flow out to the coasts and mountain resorts.

For example, the beautiful town of Ferrara organises Ferrara sotto le stelle between the end of June and the end of July, a series of open-air concerts in the hugely suggestive setting of Piazza Castello in the heart of the city. The marvelous Arena di Verona, a roman amphitheatre, holds the Verona Opera festival throughout the summer months. The Marche city of Ancona runs the annual Spilla festival with international acts appearing in July.

If you head to a large city, make sure you check with the local tourist agency to find out what open-air events have been organised.