July is a prime time to visit the beautiful country of Italy. The country is buzzing with backpackers, couples looking for a romantic getaway, and families checking out the top sites. The weather is warm and most people have time off for their summer vacations. Even the locals can be seen traveling to summer hotspots like the Amalfi Coast to soak up the sun! If you’re visiting Italy in July, know that it’s the peak tourist season so there will be larger crowds and higher prices. However, it’s all for good reason as the weather is fine and the activities are abundant! In fact, you’ll have a ton of options to choose from when deciding what to see and do. So, to help you narrow down that itinerary, we have some of the top things to do while visiting Italy in July.
Weather in Italy during July is hot and often humid. Whether you’re traveling to the north or south of the country, expect high temperatures and plenty of sun. If you’re averse to humid weather, you may want to stick to Italy’s northern region as it’s slightly less warm. If you can take the heat, the southern beaches are well worth a visit. In fact, staying close to the water is a great way to beat the heat of the Italian summers. And, since Italy is full of incredible museums, restaurants, and tourist attractions, you can easily stay indoors (in the air conditioning) while still checking out the sites and experiencing the culture.
On average, the July temperatures in Italy are as follows:
- Northern Italy: (18-30°C)
- Central Italy: (18-32°C)
- Southern Italy: (24-32°C)
When packing, consider clothes that breathe well, keep you cool, and are comfortable. Sundresses, t-shirts, shorts, and sandals are all good options. You may want to bring a light jacket or sweater as the air conditioned museums and buildings may get quite cold.
Festivals & Events
July is a great month to visit Italy if you’re interested in local festivals and events. There are a whole lot of them going on around the country. From traditional festivals that show off the Italian culture to music and foodie events, you’ll most likely find something interesting to check out. The festivals and events vary depending on where you are so make sure to do some research while planning your trip. You may even have the opportunity to catch some hyper-local events that you wouldn’t necessarily know about. Here are some of the top things to check out:
Umbria Jazz Festival
Love live music? Then you’ll definitely want to attend the Umbria Jazz Festival. It’s one of the top music festivals in Italy and it takes place from July 8th through July 17th. Jazz is the main focus, and the festival brings in top acts from around the world. Former performers have been people like B.B King, Tony Bennett, and Mark Knopfler.
L’Ardia di San Costantino
Held at the Sanctuary of San Costantino in the town of Sedilo, this horse race is one of the largest in Italy. It runs from July 5th through July 7th, and features two evening horse races and a third race in the morning. It’s tradition for the riders to pull an all-nighter drinking before taking on the very last morning race. If you’re planning to attend the event, expect lots of food stalls where you can try out some traditional, Sardinian food.
Il Palio di Siena
This bareback horse race is one of the most well-known events happening in Italy during July. It’s located in Siena and runs from July 2nd through August 16th. Visitors can find the festivities in the central plaza, Piazza del Campo, which is considered the center of the city. Before the race takes place, there is a parade of locals who are dressed in Medieval garb. If you want to catch this race, make sure to plan well in advance as seats get reserved very quickly. If you’re finding out about this event last minute, don’t worry, there is usually plenty of standing room.
Giostra della Quintana
If you’re visiting Umbria, spend some time in the town of Foligno where you’ll find this traditional jousting tournament. It happens the first Saturday of July each year and features over 600 people who dress up in costume from the 17th century. The event draws in thousands of people from all over Italy who come to watch the match. Expect a vibrant atmosphere that’s absolutely buzzing with energy and excitement. All of the costumes and acting make this jousting match feel like you stepped back in time to watch the real thing.
If you’re traveling with kids, or you are just a kid at heart, you’ll want to visit Italy’s largest fantasy festival. There are more than 300 shows and activities that feature mythical creatures like fairies and elves. Expect live music, workshops, parades, art shows, and plenty of opportunity to take amazing photos. If you get tired of all of Italy’s historic festivals, this one is undeniably modern.
This hyper-local festival is located in the historic and tiny town of Montecassiano. During the festival, which takes place on the third and fourth Sundays in July, locals reenact competitions from the 1400s. Visitors will get to enjoy a parade of locals dressed in Medieval costumes who roam the streets performing scenes from the time period. You’ll also find food stalls and live music to enjoy while you check out all the festivities.
Medieval Festival in Brisighella
During the first week in July the town of Brisighella holds this traditional Medieval festival. The town is the perfect setting for the event as it’s Medieval as well. Visitors will be in for a beautiful scene of historic buildings, as well as the 13th century castle that makes a great backdrop for the costumed participants.
Music at The Leaning Tower of Pisa
If you’re visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa during July, you may just catch this special, live music series. It takes place from June 20th through July 11th and involves live musical performances on the grounds of the tower. Visitors will hear mostly classical tunes, adding to the romance of the city and its famous tourist site.
Arianteo Cinema Festival
If you love art, culture, and film, you’ll definitely want to check out the Arianteo Cinema festival. It takes place throughout the entire summer in various places around Milan. There will be events going on all of the time so you can drop in on a film screening with movie fans from all over the world and country. Expect to see international movies, cult-classics, indie films, and projects done by the locals.
Festa della Madonna Bruna
Taking place on July 2nd each year in Matera, this festival is a grand display of Italian culture. Participants carry a massive float depicting Madonna Bruna around the town for spectators to view. After the long parade, the locals attack the float, tear it to pieces, and burn what’s left as fireworks set off in the background. It may seem a little strange to tourists, but it’s a great way to witness an exciting, local custom.
Festa del Cristo degli Abissi
Interested in a truly unique Italian festival? You’ll want to check out the ‘Christ of The Abyss.’ It involves a parade that works it way down to the statue of Christ, which is located under water! On the 29th of July, the procession can be seen walking down the Ligurian Coast to the sea. The Christ statue is made up of bronze that was boiled down and remolded out of medals formerly belonging to mariners and athletes. They also used old ships and bells to form the statue, which is dedicated to people who had lost their lives at seas. The leader of the parade will put a crown of laurel on Christ’s head once they reach the statue.
U Fistinu of Saint Rosalia
If you’re visiting Sicily, you’ll want to check out one of the city’s biggest festivals. It takes place each year from July 10th through the 15th, and involves a massive parade dedicated to the Saint Rosalia statue (standing at 50 feet in height.) You won’t be able to miss this energetic parade as it’s surrounded by live musical performances and massive amounts of food.
Disfida degli Arceri di Terra e di Corte
If you love history, you won’t want to miss this historic archery match. You can catch it during mid-July in the north of Tuscany, and watch as the various local neighborhoods come together in competition. Participants are dressed in costume, and there is traditional music, flag throwing, and a selection of local foods to try.
Things to See And Do
Visit The Museums In Florence
If you want to beat the heat, spend the hottest part of the days exploring the Florence museums. This city is packed with art and culture, and is stocked with some of the country’s best museums. Wander the Accademia Gallery where you’ll find the David statue by Michelangelo. You can see other noteworthy works by Michelangelo at the Uffizi Gallery as well. There’s also the Palazzo Publico, Palazzo Pitti, Palatine Gallery, Museo Galileo, and the Bargello. The architecture in Florence alone is worth spending time wandering in and out of the buildings here.
Visit The Vatican Museums
If you’re spending time in Rome and want to get out of the heat, spend a day or two exploring the museums at the Vatican. Over the years, the Pope have collected beautiful and important works of art. Now, there are more than 20,000 pieces of their collection on display for visitors to see. Some highlights that you should try to visit are the sculpture museums, Gallery of Maps, Sistine Chapel, and the artworks of Raphael. If you have the time, check out the Vatican Historical Museum, Collection of Modern Religious Art, and the Pinacoteca Vaticana art gallery.
Check Out The Sunflowers in Tuscany
Tuscany is known for its natural beauty and from June through August, the countryside here gets even more beautiful. This is when the sunflowers are in full bloom among the rolling hills, making for a perfect photo opportunity. The best way to see them is to rent a car and go looking for the sunflower fields along your driving route. It’s best to take the backroads, which is where the sunflowers pop up the most, however, some can be seen from the main highways.
Explore Venice On Foot
Venice is a must-see no matter what time of year it is. The best thing to do here is put on your walking shoes and just get lost among the canals and cobblestone alleyways. You’ll most likely find art installations, secret doors, small passageways, and the occasional gondola rowing by. Take a break in a gelato shop or a cafe to watch the world go by. Visit the main square, the museums, and the Grand Canal to watch the boats whizz by too. Venice is a rather romantic city so if you’re traveling with your partner, even better.
Visit Ischia Island
Summer is the perfect time to visit this Italian island. It may be small but it’s romantic and quite beautiful. Visitors will find mountain peaks, beaches, rustic towns, and plenty of restaurants offering fresh seafood. Spend some time wandering the waterfront, checking out the colorful boats, and peaking at the adorable houses along the water.
Visit Cinque Terre
If you’re visiting Italy in the summer, it’s a great time to rent a car and take a road trip to the beautiful area of Cinque Terre. There are various villages where you can stop off, take some photos, and explore the local scene. Pop into a cafe for a coffee or chow down on some pizza and gelato in the charming restaurants. Cinque Terre is home to one of Italy’s national parks, which is small but still one of the most beautiful spots in the country. Take a stroll along the Monterosso footpath, pop into the Church of San Francesco, hang out by the cliffs and photograph the view, or take a boat tour. If you want to see it all, consider staying overnight in one of the towns and exploring the area at a slower pace.
Visit Lake Como
Lake Como is one of the most luxurious summer destinations in Italy. It’s known as a hotspot for the rich and famous who come to relax in a beautiful setting. Opulence is everywhere from hotels and restaurants to spas. Even if you’re traveling on a smaller budget, you can still visit Lake Como and find something that suits your travel style. Find a restaurant with a good view of the lake and have some dinner and wine as you watch the sun go down.
Drive The Amalfi Coast
What’s better than a summer road trip? One on the beautiful Amalfi Coast. The views are absolutely stunning and the twist and turns in the road will keep you on your toes. You can hire a car and spend some time exploring the sites on this world-famous coastline. There will be luxurious villas, tiny villages, mountain retreats, and groves of lemons. Take your time exploring each of the seaside towns that reside along the coast, offering something unique for everyone.
Lounge on The Beaches of Lecce
Lecce is often called the ‘Florence of the south’ as it’s packed with culture and is undeniably beautiful. The entire area is surrounded by beaches so bring a towel and bathing suit if you want to partake. You’ll be able to find spots for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling too. The food scene here is well known so you’ll be in for a delicious meal when you decide to retire from the beach towel.
July in Italy is hot so make sure to:
- Use sunscreen when doing anything outside.
- Pack light and breathable clothing.
- Bring a bathing suit and towel for hitting the beach.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Try to wake up early to do outdoor activities while it’s still semi-cool.
July in Italy is also the peak tourist season so make sure to:
- Book hotels well in advance.
- Book tours and activities well in advance.
- Expect to pay higher prices and budget accordingly.
- Try to get to main sites and attractions early to beat the crowds.
Visiting Italy in July is popular for a reason. Don’t let the tourist crowds deter you from exploring this vast and colorful country during the summer months. Whether you love history, art, food, or nature, there’s something in Italy for you.