Visiting Italy in August is a whole different experience than other times of the year. The weather is hot, the beaches are buzzing, and many Italians are leaving the main cities for the cooler coastlines. While the weather is warm, August often offers smaller crowds and cheaper prices, making it a great time to visit if you want to stretch your dollar. Plus, if you love hot weather and beaches are where you want to spend your time, this summer month may be just perfect for you.
August in Italy is hot. Notoriously hot. In fact, it’s the hottest month of year, which is why many of the locals will up and leave the major cities for one to two weeks. They’ll head north or to the coastline to cool off and find slightly cooler temperatures.
On average, the temps are:
- Northern Italy: 65-85°F (18-30°C)
- Central Italy: 70-90°F (21-32°C)
- Southern Italy: 80-90°F (26-32°C)
Humidity levels are quite high as well so make sure to keep that in mind when you’re packing.
Festivals & Events
Summertime is the best time in Italy to catch a music festival, a medieval festival, or local celebrations on the coastline. Here are some of the top festivals and events in August that you should check out when visiting Italy.
Giostra di Simone
If you want to experience pure, medieval tradition, you need to visit the town of Montisi in Tuscany. Every year, on the Sunday closest to August 5th, this town hosts a series of medieval games. Participants will be dressed in traditional costumes, and there will be food, music, and a tournament of knights.
This traditional jousting tournament can be found in the Le Marche region of Italy, located in Ascoli Piceno. It takes place on the first Sunday in August, and is considered one of the top medieval festivals in the region. One of the highlights is watching the parade of people dressed in costumes from the 15th century.
Palio del Golfo
Catch this traditional rowing race on the first Sunday in August in La Spezia. It’s a competition between the 13 different villages that border the Bay of La Spezia. It’s a hyper-local tradition, and one that shows off a ton of Italy’s culture in one place.
Music and Film Festivals
There’s quite a few so we added the lineup here together. Try to check out the Verona Summer Opera series, which features various performances in different places throughout the month. There’s the Venice International Film Festival which commences in late August, and Estate Firenze which offers musical performances throughout Florence all summer. And, make sure to experience Estate Romana, which is Rome’s music and arts festival that takes place throughout the summer.
Taking place on August 15th, Ferragosto, or Assumption Day, marks the beginning of the Italian summer vacation. This is the day that many locals will either begin or end their summer vacation, so you can expect many shops to be closed up in the cities. There will be celebrations all over the country on this day as well as the days before and after the 15th. Expect lots of live music, fireworks, and food. Milan and Rome are where most of these celebrations take place before everyone clears out for the coastline.
Taking place the first weekend in August, this medieval festival is perfect for history lovers. You can find it in Felire, a town in the Veneto region of Italy. Expect to see lots of time-period costumes, a parade, and an archery competition.
Palio of Siena
This famous race is made up of two parts, the first taking place in July. The second round can be found in Siena each year on August 16th. During the festivities, 17 local districts of Siena compete on horseback in a race that goes around the central piazza. There’s a famous silk banner that the winner receives each year.
Festa della Madonna della Neve
This festival takes place in Rome on August 5th. The celebration is quite unique as it celebrates a strange snowfall that took place in the summer during the 4th century. This snowfall inspired the building of the Santa Maria Maggiore Church, which is one of the most important in all of Rome.
Festa dei Candelieri
Located in Sassari, Sardinia, this festival celebrates the candle. It’s held between August 14th and 15th, and dates back to the 16th century. Aside from music, food, and drink, the main event is a race between teams of local men whom are carrying large and heavy candles throughout the route.
La Fuga del Bove
This festival takes place in the Tuscan town of Montefalco and lasts for three weeks. It celebrates everything historic, and features locals in traditional costumes. Expect plenty of food, music, and drinking, and traditional competitions.
Race of the Launch of the Dish
Located in the Abruzzo region of Italy, in a town called Castelli, visitors can see this hyper-local event. The town is famous for its ceramics, so on August 15th, the locals come together to smash them. They’ll gather up all of the imperfect ceramics produced throughout the year and smash them from the top of buildings! It’s all very fun, dramatic, and definitely unique.
Things to See & Do
There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Italy. However, during the summer heat, you may find yourself heading indoors more often. And, if you really want to get away from the humidity, spending some time up north where the weather is slightly cooler can make a difference.
Take a Cooking Course
Head inside and learn how to cook some of your favorite, Italian dishes. Whether it’s ravioli, spaghetti, or pasta sauce, you’ll head home from your trip with at least one authentic cooking skill. Tuscany is a great place to book a course as it’s the epicenter of food in Italy. Try a private class, a group lesson, or a couples class depending on the type of trip you’re taking.
Wander around Venice
Venice will be hot in August, but the heat is worth it to see this maze of a city. Wander around on foot as you find hidden alleyways, tiny canals, and quaint cafes that are extremely easy to miss. There are gelato shops everywhere, so you’ll always have a chance to cool off. Take a gondola ride on the water, or watch the boats whiz by at the Grand Canal. There are quite a few museums to visit as well so you can get out of the heat when it gets to be too much.
Visit The Florence Museums
Even in August, most museums in Florence will be open for tourists. This city is full of art and culture, and offers an impressive lineup of museums for you to enjoy. Escape from the heat and into the Uffizi Gallery where you can see famous works by Michelangelo. Spend some time in the Accademia Gallery to see the statue of David by Michelangelo, a sculpture known around the world. Pop into the Museo Galileo, Palatine Gallery, Palazzo Publico, Bargello, and Palazzo Pitti. Between the museums, their cafes, and the gift shops, you could spend an entire day inside without ever dealing with the humidity.
See The Sunflowers in Tuscany
From June through August, the Tuscan countryside comes alive in blooming sunflowers. If you’re renting a car, take a little road trip around the Tuscan hills to see these beauties in bloom. It’s best to take the backroads if you want to see more of the flowers, however, you can still see some from the main highways. Don’t forget to pop off and get a couple of pictures because it’s a sight that doesn’t last long.
If you’re visiting Rome, take a day and enjoy Vatican City. There are enough museums here to keep you busy for an entire afternoon, and one of the best perks is that they’re mostly indoors. Wander around in the air conditioning as you check out the Gallery of Maps, the Sistine Chapel, and the various sculpture museums. The museums feature the personal collections of the Pope throughout the years, so you never know what you’ll find.
This mountain town is the base for winter sports in Italy. While you won’t be doing any skiing, you can find slightly cooler temperatures in the northern city of Turin than in other Italian destinations. Plus, the foodie scene here is renowned so you can spend lots of time dining and sipping refreshing cocktails with a mountain view. The city also features museums and religious sites so you can get your dose of culture.
This coastal region of Italy is perfect for a summer road trip. It is absolutely stunning, and full of photo opportunities. The area is made up of seaside villages with pretty views out over the water. Visitors will find colorful houses, scenic harbors, vineyards, and plenty of places to stop off for a drink or a delicious meal. Book a quaint bed and breakfast and spend the night so you can watch both the sunset and sunrise to get the full experience of this beautiful destination.
This is one of Italy’s most luxurious and popular destinations for lake living. It’s absolutely stunning and is surrounded by high-end restaurants with great views. Treat yourself to a nice hotel and spend some time enjoying the finer things in life at Lake Como. You can see the lake by boat, enjoy the sun along the shoreline, or beat the heat by shopping in the boutiques all day.
This is Italy’s largest lake, making it a popular attraction for both locals and tourists. It’s located in the country’s northern region so you may find slightly cooler temperatures here. Visitors will be met by lush forests and tiny villages of houses with traditional, terra cotta roofs. It’s postcard perfect, and a beautiful place to visit on a summer vacation. Take a boat trip on the lake or hop in to cool off.
While Rome may be sweltering in August, it does have slightly less crowds than usual. Since many things close up as locals go on vacation, you may see less people, shorter lines, and cheaper prices. While the museums tend to be more crowded during this time, some of the outdoor activities may be less hectic than other months in the summer. If you don’t mind the heat, this might be a great opportunity for you to stretch your money and your time.
Other Tips For Visiting Italy in August
- Stay hydrated throughout the day as the temperatures are very hot. Carry a reusable water bottle with you to fill up throughout the day.
- Plan ahead if you’re visiting the beaches. They will be crowded during this time of year so make sure to book hotels and excursions well in advance.
- Opt for more indoor activities than outdoor activities. Spend more time in the museums as they are air conditioned and out of the sun.
- Research what’s opened and closed in the major cities. August is a popular vacation time for Italian people and their families so many shops, restaurants, and sites may be closed. This vacation period is typically from August 15th until September 1st.
- Museums and indoor attractions may be more crowded than usual as other tourists are trying to beat the heat. Make sure to get there early or book tickets ahead of time.
- Pack clothes that are light, airy, and comfortable. Jeans are not the best idea for the extremely hot and humid temperatures.
From sunny days and warm nights, Italy in August is great for those who thrive in the summer heat. Italy is full of culture and history, so no matter the weather, you’ll be sure to find something you’ll love. From museums and churches to cooking classes and wineries, Italy offers all of the wonder that you would expect, no matter what time of year.