Italy like the rest of Europe can be a sweltering beast during the months of July and August. Thermometers and heat index can reach triple digits. Many of my clients chose to avoid these months for travel. But, for you who have no other option, we don't see any reason why an upcoming trip to Europe can't be an exceptional summertime experience.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the sites and stay cool at the same time. To that end, here are a few tips on how to beat the heat in Italy:
Start Your Day Super Early
In the summer season, the sun rises at 5:30 AM. Get up and out the door early in the morning to take advantage of temperatures in the low 70s. Not only will you enjoy the cooler temperatures, but you will see the city like a local with fewer crowds. Watch how the family business owners and the mommas of a house clean their stoops (doorways), set up for the morning markets, and just start their day.
Then head to your nearest piazza and enjoy a typical morning breakfast of coffee and a cornetto (or any sweet pastry) before seeing your first site. Most museums open at 9:00 AM, which if you ask me, is the best time to see a museum in any season.
Go Inside – Visit a Museum
Other than (hopefully) your hotel room, you'll find that museums are some of the only reliably air-conditioned buildings on the continent. Be sure to opt for skip-the-line or pre-purchased tickets to get into the A/C as soon as possible, otherwise, you might melt in the ticket line. Take a look at our Uffizi Gallery Tour for Kids with Skip-the-Line Tickets, or the Archaeological Museum of Naples Tour.
Chill with a Cold Dessert
However, during summer, Europe becomes a veritable land of icy treats, offering cooling combinations of frozen fruit, juice, chocolate, and cream. Cruise the banks of the Tiber for a grattachecca, a Roman specialty made of crushed ice, fruit syrup, and fruit toppings; make sure to stop for one of Palermos' fresh fruit granita; or check out Amalfi's famous lemon cups, a mixture of sorbet and granita.
And of course, anytime is a good time for gelato up and down the boot of Italy.
The thick, often Roman, walls in many European capitals keep underground sites and activities cool in even the most blazing of aboveground weather. Explore the layered past lives—and refreshingly damp underground walls—of a city firsthand with our tours like Underground Rome, Ancient Naples Above and Underground, or a late afternoon exploration of Orvieto's subterranean city
Take an Evening Tour
Evenings in Italy are magical no matter the weather, but that's particularly true as summer afternoons cool slightly and roll into amber-lit evening hours, ripe for a passeggiata (leisure walk) or aperitif. Stroll and sip in the company of a culinary historian on our Venice Aperitivo Tour, or an evening tour of Milan's Navigli neighborhood.
A place always changes on a summer night stroll. Such is the case for Florence, a city made for evening meanderings and late-night musings. Venture up to Piazzale Michelangelo for picture-perfect sunsets and street music that leads to an occasional dance party
And if you'd prefer your museum jaunt in the cooler, quieter, and more pensive hours of the night, there are a number of art institutions that offer evening times during the summer:
Take a dip
Floating in the city fountains is against the law, but if you pack your suit, an afternoon at your hotel pool can both offer respite from the sun's scorch and give you a lesson in afternoon siestas like the locals. If your accommodations do not have a pool, you can book pool passes in advance to other local hotels.