If you’re experiencing August in Italy, you’re not alone! Since it’s when kids are out of school and the idea of vacation is on everyone’s mind, lots of travelers visit Italy in August. But there are some things you have to be prepared for.
Here are key things to keep in mind before you head to Italy in August, along with great events to plan into your itinerary!
What to expect during August in Italy
The weather in August
In short: dry, sunny, and hot. On average, August is a little cooler than July—but not by much. The monthly average temperature for Rome is a high of 87° F, a low of 62° F. Although Rome is in southern Italy, the temperatures are remarkably similar in those other two famous destinations, Florence and Venice: In August, Florence has the exact same range, while Venice has a high of 80° F and low of 63° F. For the past couple of summers, it’s been even hotter than that.
So pack your light layers, and be prepared to be on the warm side! Don’t miss our 10 tips for surviving the heat in Italy.
Even though many Italians leave the cities, you won’t have them to yourself
Lots of international tourists come to Italy in August. So even though many local neighborhoods, particularly those out of the center, will be very tranquil, the trodden tourist path won’t be. In fact, it’s when sites like the Vatican museums and Uffizi gallery will be at their most crowded.
We’re proponents of seeking out off-the-beaten-path gems, or of trying to see famous sights in a “new” way, year-round (check out our Vatican Inside & Out: Sistine Chapel, Papal Train, & Summer Palace Lunch experience as just one example!). But that’s even more worth considering in August’s crowds.
Tourist sites (and tourist traps) will be open in August
Although having many of the small shops and restaurants closed in Italy’s cities might throw a cramp in your plans, you don’t have to worry about major museums and tourist sites closing. While some (like the Vatican museums) might close on Aug. 15 and possibly Aug. 16, many others don’t. And they certainly don’t close for all of August. Rome’s Colosseum and Forum, for example, are open every day in August.
Touristy establishments also tend to be open in August. You know what we mean: the restaurants right on Piazza Navona, the cafes on St. Mark’s Square, the souvenir shops outside of Florence’s Duomo. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should eat at them.
Coastal towns and the islands won’t just be open—they’ll be hopping
If you’re heading to, say, Sardinia, Sicily, Capri, or the coast of Puglia, instead of mainland, land-locked Italy, then you’ll be in luck: Italians come here on their August vacations, so stores and restaurants will be open. But that also means that some of those islands and towns will be packed. And their beaches will be, too.
Insider’s tip: Not sure which beach to visit? Discover our picks for the most beautiful beaches in the country!
Keep ferragosto in mind – and plan accordingly
In the cities, stores and restaurants close during ferragosto—and before ferragosto, and after ferragosto.
Ferragosto, the traditional holiday dating back to the time of Emperor Augustus, technically runs from Aug. 15 to Sep. 1. That’s when Italian families tend to take their holidays, and when stores and restaurants (particularly the smaller, family-run establishments) often are closed.
But while Aug. 15 is a national holiday, the rest of the vacation is up to interpretation. Result? Some establishments close as early as mid-July. Others stay open through the entire summer. Some close for a week; others for a month.
In other words? If you’re coming to Italy in late July, August, or early September, be prepared to be flexible, particularly if you’re headed to one of Italy’s big cities. And plan ahead. If there’s a restaurant you want to try, have your hotel call in advance to make sure it’s actually open. Likewise for small shops you’ve been wanting to try.
Festivals in Italy in August
August might be the month when Italians flee for ferragosto, but given the number of events going on across the country, maybe they shouldn’t!
Events on the Amalfi Coast
The famed Ravello Festival is a series of concerts, talks, and performances take place in the beautiful town of Ravello on the Amalf Coast. Many of the concerts are on the outdoor Belvedere, a gorgeous spot in the famed Villa Rufolo with a backdrop of the sea. In August, performances range from a concert to dance performances.
Events in Venice
The Duke’s Festival
Medieval music, shows, poetry readings, and a Middle Ages-style crafts market take over during Urbino’s Duke’s Festival, along with feasts for the “commoners” and parades. Who knew you could go back in time so easily?
Beach on Fire
It’s the world’s longest pyrotechnic display – 13km of fireworks above Venice’s coastline. Simply stunning.
Events in Northern Italy
Rustic Middle Ages Festival
The little town of Tenno, on Lake Garda, hosts their medieval festival every year. Locals festoon their balconies with flowers in a friendly competition, making the town incredibly picturesque. Games, shows, a medieval market, and food – with traditional fare like polenta, gulash, and wine – abound.
Events in Tuscany, Umbria, and Central Italy
Palio di Siena
This is your last shot to see Siena’s world-famous race this calendar year! The Palio di Siena, which started in 1310, is a bareback horse race between the city’s 17 contrade (districts) at the historic Piazza del Campo. It only takes 90 seconds, but the buildup, including a huge medieval parade, is enormous. And so are the festivities afterward!
Siena Jazz Festival
Jazz concerts, classes, talks and more, this festival has been going strong for over 50 years. This Tuscan festival t is a can’t-miss for jazz lovers and musicians!
Balestro del Girifalco
It’s season for medieval competitions between different neighborhoods, and it’s no different for the districts of Massa Marittima, a tiny town in the Maremma. The highlight of the Balestro del Girifalco? A crossbow competition to “kill” a mechanical falcon. After, of course, after the hsitorical reenactment, there’s a celebratory parade.
Opera lovers shouldn’t miss these stunning performances, which take place in an open-air theatre (the Gran Teatro all’aperto Giacomo Puccini.) Located within a scultpure garden in Viareggio, the arena can seat more than 3,000 spectators!
Events in Rome and Southern Italy
Opera at the Baths of Caracalla
Every summer, Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera performs some of the world’s most beloved ballets and operas outdoors, in the atmospheric ruins of the Baths of Caracalla. Make sure to book in advance if there’s a performance you don’t want to miss.
Lungo Il Tevere Roma
Each summer, the banks down by Rome’s Tiber River teem with some 2km of shops, bars, and restaurants as part of Lungo Il Tevere Roma. On a hot August night, there’s no better place to be!
Palio delle Contrade
Siena’s Palio has horses, but Allumiere, a little town near Rome, has a Palio with donkeys! The town’s six different neighborhoods all participate in the donkey race with origins in the 12th century.
Update notice: This article was updated on July 27, 2023.
Are you spending August in Italy? Our award-winning tours are still running – even during ferragosto! Why not join us for a food and wine tour of Florence, a small-group tour of the Vatican, or after-hours access to St. Mark’s Basilica?
by Walks of ItalyView more by Walks ›
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