It’s hot in Italy. Fact.
It’s hot in Florence, Rome, and the rest of South Italy in June, July, and August. This is also a fact.
These are 10 tips that you will want to remember, whether you’re planning to travel to Italy in the summer or looking for your next trip.
Air conditioning is a must in your hotel.
Air conditioning is not a favorite of many Italians. It’s dangerous for your body to quickly adjust between heat and cold. Common knowledge is that cold air can cause a mysterious illness, which often causes an ache in the neck and spine.
You could, indeed, take the “cultural immersion” route and endure high temperatures even while you sleep. You probably won’t.
Double-check your hotel’s air conditioning. Most hotels have air conditioning. However, other accommodation types, such as apartment rentals, might not. Ask if it isn’t clearly mentioned as an amenity.
Get tap water
Italy’s tap water has been tested and is safe. The water from Rome’s mountains is especially tasty. There are many fountains in major cities that you can drink from. Only very rarely will you hear “non-potabile” or “not potable”. When you are done with your bottle of water, refill it at the fountain. It is better for the environment and cheaper than buying new bottles.
You should dress comfortably for the heat, but (always!) Dress appropriately for church
Yes, you will want to visit St. Peter’s Basilica or the Florence Duomo. Even if you don’t plan to visit a church on a particular day, you should dress appropriately. You should cover your shoulders and knees, or have something that you can pull on (e.g. a light scarf).
Why? It’s not just because Italy’s churches have holy significance, but they are also treasure troves of art and fascinating relics. Cool churches are second. Although they aren’t air-conditioned, the churches’ soaring ceilings and marble walls, empty space, darkness, and other features do wonder for their interior temperature. Why would you pass this up just for wearing a spaghetti-strapped shirt?
You can get rid of your backpack
A heavy, bulky object on your back will make you feel even hotter. You don’t need one unless you are hiking in the mountains or taking along a professional camera with three lenses or if you have young children or need supplies on-the-go.
Slow down when you are sightseeing
It is not a good idea trying to fit everything in your Italy trip. It’s not relaxing and, in Italy, it’s almost like asking someone to make a mistake. This is even more true in summer heat. You will likely be moving slower than usual, so it is important to get as much rest as you can. Embrace it.
Look for naturally cool sights
The temperature inside churches is often lower than outside. Underground ruins and sights, such as the Roman catacombs, are also cooler than the outdoors. You can enjoy a stunning view from high up, such as at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence and the Janiculum, in Rome.
Be aware that museums are often crowded and hot.
It’s sad but true that many of Italy’s most important museums, such as the Vatican museums (aside from the Sistine Chapel, a few other rooms, and the Uffizi Gallery), don’t have air conditioning. The Borghese Gallery and Capitoline Museums in Rome have air conditioning. However, the museums are so big and crowded that it doesn’t make any difference. Avoid the heat and crowds when you visit museums. You can either go early in the morning, like on our Pristine Sistine tour or later in the afternoon or evening. The Vatican museums are open every Friday from 7 pm to 11 pm. Bookings must be made in advance.
Restaurants with misters are not to be trusted
Many restaurants in Rome are known for turning on misters at their outdoor tables during the summer. It feels good to walk by, so you stop. Problem? The mist is directed towards the tables first. It may help to lower the temperature at the tables, but it doesn’t do much. It’s more to make passersby stop in their tracks. We have yet to see this tactic used in any restaurant that serves good food. We have warned you.
Take it easy with the wine
It is our opinion that Italy’s food and wine are some of the best perks to visiting. However, alcohol can dehydrate you. If you are already dehydrated, it will make you feel worse. It can make you feel even worse the next day.
Instead, go for Granita
It’s the best way to cool down. Watch Simona, our Walks Traveler and tour guide, as she enjoys this delicious Italian treat.
Repetition: You will always be hot, no matter what
It is the best way to explore Italy’s major cities and landmarks. Sometimes, such as the Vatican museums and the Roman forum, walking may be the only way to go. While we think this is a beautiful aspect of Italy, even though it can be uncomfortable in high temperatures (in the 90s), it can also be quite uncomfortable.
Even if you have done or plan to do everything on the list, you should mentally prepare for the possibility of sweating. It’s not ideal. (Unless you are one of those people who loves heat). You probably came to Italy at this time of the year because you want to enjoy it. After all… you’re in Italy!