My trip to Italy this year was my third time and every time I go, I fall in love a little bit more. This was my second summer in Italy, and I have discovered that summer in Italy brings some unique things to do! While a few of things are enjoyable all year in Italy, the summer season makes them extra special. So here is my list of fun activities to do and things to eat in Italy in the summer.
See the Infiorata in Umbria
Every summer in late May or early June towns all over Italy holds an Infiorata, which means literally “to decorate with flowers.” Depending on where you are in Italy, the Infiorata happens at different times. When I was there, it was to mark Corpus Domini. It was happening in both the towns I was visiting, Alviano and San Gemini the first weekend.
The artists plan their designs in advance and then the day before mark the outline with chalk. Then starting very early in the morning they start the decorating. I managed to get myself out of bed to see them in the process of decorating in Alviano at about 4 am. For some towns, it is a competition. In Alviano, they were made with sawdust, flowers, sugar and coffee. In San Gemini, I saw flowers, spices, sugar, and coffee. Some of them smelled amazing! Here is an article on some of the best towns to see Infiorata in Italy.
See the Sunflowers in Bloom in Tuscany
The girasole, Italian for sunflower, bloom from late June through August. When I was there last summer in the middle of July, they were everywhere. I was driving and could see them from the highway. A few times I was driving along the back roads, and you could have gotten out of the car and walked through them. To get up close, you do need a car and an adventurous spirit to venture off the beaten path. However, getting up close is totally worth it!
Have an Aperol Spritz In Venice
Sitting in the Piazza San Marco in Venice may seem like a very touristy thing to do, but it was one of the best things I did in there. Venice in July is hot and humid, and you will be dripping with sweat by the happy hour. Pick the shady side of the Piazza and sit at one of the many outdoor cafes. Order an Aperol Spritz and you will be brought olives and chips as well. The drink and snack are the perfect combination to refresh and revive your sweat weary soul. (You should be forewarned that it is expensive, and there is usually a fee for sitting there.)
See the Calico Storico In Florence
While walking close to the Santa Croce in Florence, I noticed burly men dressed in historical type pants and no shirts. I also saw tons of people in white and green shirts. The square in front of Santa Croce had what looked like a stadium. Intrigued, I asked the bellman at my hotel what was going on. That is when I learned of the calico storico of Florence. The game is a cross of football (soccer) and rugby played in the sand. It is known to be a particularly violent game. The Guardian called it the most violent game. The final match is always played on June 24, which is San Giovanni’s Day, the patron saint of Florence.
Eat Gelato Everywhere
As mentioned in point #3, it is hot in Italy in summer, and nothing is better to cool off with than a gelato! Of course, you can eat gelato at any time of the year, but it is a true treat in the heat. This year I tried pistachio flavored for the first time, and it is now my preferred flavor of gelato. What is your favorite flavor?
People Watch In Venice
People watching is one of my favorite activities in Italy and even more so in Venice. While most of the people you will be watching in the summer will be tourists, it is still fun to guess where they are from and to try to hear what language they are speaking. To do optimal people watching, I sit outside at a restaurant or near the window. Sometimes sitting at the bar is also good people watching.
Rent a Car and Drive the Amalfi Coast
Renting a car is the best way to see Italy and I have done it twice now. Driving the Amalfi Coast is one of the most scenic drives in the world. The road twists and turns all the while giving you stunning views of the Mediterranean.
Have you done any summer Italian activities that you loved? Share with us in the comments.
A great blog post. Well balanced, with excellent descriptions.
People watching in La Serenissima is indeed a good (if simultaneously amusing and depressing) way to pass the time. It is unlikely that anyone will notice you, as the place is full of hordes of zombie tourists. They are a modern day phenomenon as they race from pillar to post, aggressively taking selfies at every turn, without regard to local norms or customs. Or anyone else. One supposes that this is merely the latest manifestation of 21st century tourism that is driven by a toxic mix of technology and vanity.
It reminds one of what Paul Theroux said: “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”
I see that a lot. Just take a photo and move on is what many do. They don’t actually stop and look.
I am reminded of what David Alan Harvey said: “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
The best photographs I took was when my heart and the shutter acted in concert.
[…] last week’s post, I talked about the Infiorata that takes place in Italy during the summer. One photo didn’t […]
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I loved this post. Italy has been on my bucket list forever. I am an amateur travel photography blogger. I wish you success in your future and have nominated you for a Liebster Award
I am so glad you loved it! I love Italy and I hope you get to go soon. Thank you for the nomination. Best of luck to you too!
One day… we will do Italy!
I highly recommend it!!
Italy and especially Venice are on my To Do list, but summertime is possibly not the time for me. The heat would kill me! (She says planning Vegas and Utah in August… not through choice, I should add!) Thanks for all the fab tips!
Haha! It can be very hot in Italy in the summer. Especially if you are in places without ac.
Aperol Spritz, gelato and people-watching…these are a few of my favourite things! Great post Tiffany, need to book a return visit to Italy soon, and will definitely hire a car next time 🙂
Thank you! I am hoping to get back soon too.
Tiffany what car rental company did you use? We are heading there in September. Gelato ❤
Suz, I use Auto Europe. Where will you be picking up the car?
This fab Tiffany. We’ve roadtripped Italy from Bergamo down the east coast across to Rome up the middle through Umbri and Tuscany and back to Milan. I’ve always dreamt of going back and this post has inspired me. Thank you
Thank you! I want to go back as well. I just love the little Italian towns.