HOW TO SURVIVE AN ITALIAN SUMMER
Long-term expats or regular visitors will know better. Italian summer brings its own set of challenges, from weather to crowds to certain regulations that only come into force during tourist season.
If you are heading there on holiday, here are the survival tips you need to survive an Italian summer.
1. Dress appropriately
First of all shorts and flip flops should only be worn in Italy if you’re not concerned about being instantly recognizable as a tourist. And when it comes to the flip flops in particular, bear in mind that many Italian towns are covered in cobblestones, and these are not kind to feet. So if you’re going to do a lot of walking – and you should, both because it’s a great way to explore and because Italian public transport is not always as efficient as you’d hope – sturdy shoes are your friend.
Otherwise, it’s a balancing act between preparing for heat and humidity and covering up enough to avoid causing offence. Churches and religious sites often require shoulders and thighs to be covered up, so bring a scarf or sarong if your outfit doesn’t do this.
2. Pay extra attention to your valuables
An increase in tourists sadly means an increase in opportunistic thefts. Make sure you keep any valuable items close to your body in a zipped pocket or bag. Be wary of anyone asking for assistance or directions – some thieves play the confused tourist as a cover-up for sneakily stealing your belongings.
The other thing to watch out for is the unscrupulous vendors who hike up their prices over the summer months. Some gelaterias have a small size of cup or cone kept out of sight, while anyone not speaking Italian is only offered the larger – and more expensive – sizes. And restaurant owners often add on extra charges for sitting outside. Read the small print on menus and try to avoid anywhere directly opposite an iconic landmark. This is where many tourist traps are located.
3. Figure out the fountains
Italy’s fountains aren’t just pretty to look at; but they’re also extremely useful in the summer. Look out for the cylindrical nasoni drinking fountains dotted around many Italian towns, where you can fill your water bottle, take a drink, or splash cool water over your face and hands.
4. Head for high altitude – or underground
If you get the chance, make like the locals and head for the mountains, where the summer is usually pleasantly warm and perfect for long walks and relaxing by the lakes. And if that’s not an option, fake it by finding a rooftop bar or restaurant – where you should get some shade along with a beautiful view.
Alternatively, going underground can be just as good a method of keeping cool during the hottest part of the day. Try our Underground Rome Private Tour: https://www.realrometours.com/tours/underground-rome-private-tour/
5. Pig out on summer treats
You might not be in the mood for large plates of pizza and pasta, and Italy has plenty of culinary delights to get you through the summer season. Look for stalls selling watermelon or bars serving the caffe shakerato, a sugary iced coffee treat. In Sicily, the summer specialty is a granita – a more sophisticated and delicious version of a slushie. While in Rome you can try to track down the traditional grattachecca dessert. It is a cup of shaved ice flavoured with fruity syrups. And of course, there’s always gelato.