An idyllic Italian summer proves impossible to resist! From the glistening coastlines and tranquil lakes to the undulating hills of vineyards and the enthralling historic towns, Italy's limitless beauty invites you to immerse yourself in the experiences that capture its very essence.
With the generous summer sun often extending its embrace into the months of September and October, you are gifted with long, sun-drenched days that create an ideal backdrop for crafting a collection of remarkable memories. To truly savor the magic of an Italian summer, it's essential to plan ahead and secure your place in this little piece of paradise.
Embark on this journey of vibrant flavors, rich heritage, and soul-nourishing tranquility that make Italy the ultimate summer destination. Here, we unveil to you the best 5 experiences to have in Italy this summer!
Have a true Italian gelato while sightseeing in Rome
As the sun casts a warm, golden glow upon the ancient cobblestone streets of Rome, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in la dolce vita is indeed to indulge in a velvety scoop of authentic Italian gelato. This quintessential frozen treat, lovingly made by local artisans, is the perfect companion as you embark on this journey through the Eternal City.
You can begin your adventure at the majestic Colosseum, where history comes alive and echoes of gladiators' valor still linger. From there, wander to the Roman Forum, the heart of political and social life in ancient Rome, where you will encounter the impressive remains of once-majestic temples and arches. Afterward, with gelato in hand, allow the soothing waters of the Trevi Fountain to hypnotize you as you toss a coin and make a wish, ensuring your return to this city. Discover the Piazza Navona, an architectural gem adorned with fountains and sculptures, lose yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Campo de' Fiori market, admire the remarkably well-preserved Pantheon, marvel at the many lovely churches, stroll through the interesting Jewish Guetto, and take pictures at the monumental staircase named Spanish Steps. There are plenty of outdoor attractions that you can visit and admire while enjoying a gelato! But make sure you visit the other indoor highlights as well, such as the breathtaking frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and the masterpieces housed within the Vatican Museums.
With each step, let the vibrant flavors of your gelato delight you as you explore Rome's exquisite piazzas, bustling with life and adorned with timeless masterpieces. The tradition of Italian gelato, as we know it today, dates back to the Renaissance, although its history actually dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt, when people used to mix crushed ice with fruit and honey. The modern version of gelato is often attributed to the Florentine architect Bernardo Buontalenti in the 16th century. He was commissioned by the Medici family to create a frozen dessert for a feast. Today, generations of passionate gelato artisans continue to uphold the time-honored techniques, utilizing fresh, local ingredients to create amazing flavors. Plus, there are plenty of establishments selling gelato, and numerous charming gelaterias have intriguing narratives and a dedication to utilizing fresh and seasonal ingredients.
And did you know that gelato is not just the Italian word for ice cream, as many people believe? The word gelato is a shortened version of 'congelato' which means 'frozen', and there are significant differences between ice cream and gelato. Gelato is made with milk, sugar, and natural flavorings, and while it sometimes contains a small amount of egg yolks, it usually has a lower fat content than ice cream due to the use of milk instead of cream. This results in a denser and more intense flavor.
Gelato is actually an integral part of Italian culture, and enjoying it is indeed a social activity. Friends and families often gather at gelaterias to enjoy a cup or cone of gelato while catching up, taking a leisurely stroll, or simply savoring the flavors. Indulge in the pleasures of your gelato as it perfectly complements the captivating sights, sounds, and scents of Rome!
Unveil the beauty of the Adriatic Sea in Polignano a Mare
Imagine yourself standing atop the rugged cliffs of Polignano a Mare, the azure waves of the Adriatic Sea gently lapping at the shores below as the soft summer breeze whispers tales of ancient mariners and poets. This coastal gem, perched on the edge of Puglia, in the south of Italy, holds a treasure trove of beauty!
Start by strolling through Polignano a Mare's labyrinthine streets, where each turn reveals a new delight – from the vibrant bougainvillea-draped walls to the charming, sun-drenched piazzas. Immerse yourself in the town's rich history as you explore the remains of a Roman bridge and the beautiful Abbey of San Vito, an evocative testament to the region's storied past. As you meander through the old town, you can always indulge in the flavors of Puglia, from the delectable seafood dishes that celebrate the region's maritime heritage to the crisp, refreshing taste of local wines that perfectly complement the sun-kissed panoramas.
When the call of the sea becomes too alluring to resist, descend to Cala Porto, where the crystalline waters beckon you to take a dip in the cool embrace of the Adriatic. This small, pebble-strewn cove is framed by soaring limestone cliffs and a Roman-era bridge, and offers crystal-clear waters that shimmer with shades of turquoise and azure. Despite its modest size, Cala Porto's dramatic setting and proximity to the town make it a must-visit location. For the more adventurous, the limestone cliffs offer an exhilarating opportunity to dive into the shimmering depths below! Each beach, however, has its own unique charm, ensuring that you will find the perfect spot to bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip, or simply soak in the hypnotic beauty of the coastline. A short walk from the town center, you will also find Cala Paura, a charming beach featuring a mix of sand and pebbles, sheltered by the surrounding cliffs, creating a serene atmosphere. Its calm waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, while nearby facilities, including bars and restaurants, ensure a comfortable beach experience.
Beyond the sun-soaked shores, discover a world beneath the waves as you board on a captivating boat tour. Witness the ethereal beauty of the Grotta Palazzese, a cavernous wonder that holds a hidden, otherworldly restaurant. It has been a popular gathering spot for centuries, with its ethereal beauty and spectacular sea views, providing an unforgettable backdrop for elegant dinners and special events. Exploring the numerous sea caves that dot the coastline, each revealing its own unique secrets and stories, is definitely a must. These natural formations, carved into the limestone cliffs by the relentless Adriatic Sea, offer a fascinating glimpse into the area's geological history and create a fairytale world beneath the waves. Besides the Grotta Palazzese, there are plenty other notable caves in Polignano a Mare, such as Grotta della Rondinella, characterized by a large opening that allows sunlight to illuminate the cave's interior, resulting is a breathtaking display of colors; Grotta Ardito, with dramatic stalactite formations and an interplay of light and shadow that creates a fascinating subterranean landscape; or Grotta Piana, a shallow cave characterized by its low ceiling and crystal-clear waters.
Go on a boat trip on the lakes
Gliding gracefully over the serene waters of Italy's majestic lakes, their surfaces shimmering like liquid glass beneath the sun, can be a really fairytale-like experience. Surrounded by lush hillsides and charming, historic towns, this boat journey across famed lakes like Lago di Como, Lago Maggiore, and Lago di Garda promises unforgettable moments.
You can spend an aquatic day on the shores of Lake Como, where opulent villas and verdant gardens conjure visions of times of elegance. As your boat drifts past the picturesque towns of Bellagio and Varenna, lose yourself in their alluring blend of cobbled streets, vibrant bougainvillea, and exquisite culinary delights. Once there, you can marvel at the beauty of Villa Carlotta's botanical gardens or the tranquil charm of Villa Melzi.
It is also worth exploring the expansive waters of Lake Maggiore, where the beautiful Borromean Islands beckon with their timeless magnetism. Explore the sumptuous Baroque splendor of Isola Bella's palatial residence and its terraced gardens, and wander the quaint streets of Isola dei Pescatori, where the spirit of a traditional fishing village still thrives. In the elegant town of Stresa, indulge in an invigorating promenade along the lakefront, where the Alpine vistas create a breathtaking backdrop.
You can also set sail on the captivating waters of Lake Garda, the largest of Italy's lakes. Discover the harmonious blend of history and leisure in the lakeside towns of Sirmione, with its imposing Scaligero Castle, and Malcesine, where the incredible panoramic views await. Revel in the sun-kissed Mediterranean atmosphere of Bardolino, where local wines tempt your palate.
This inspiring boat trip ensures an unforgettable summer experience that will resonate long after the sun has set on the tranquil waters.
Enjoy the shade in the historic towns
Imagine meandering through the narrow, winding streets of Italy's most lovely historic towns, where time seems to stand still as you seek refuge from the summer sun beneath the cool embrace of ancient stone. The mesmerizing towns of Matera, Perugia, Todi, and Siena, for example, invite you to embark on a journey through history, immersing yourself in their rich cultural tapestries and interesting heritage.
Begin your historical tour in Matera, where the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sassi district beckons with its labyrinthine network of dwellings and churches carved into the soft limestone. Wander through this marvelous city of stone, pausing to contemplate at the intricate frescoes of the Crypt of the Original Sin or the harmonious blend of past and present in the Casa Noha multimedia museum.
Venture to the heart of Umbria, where the hilltop city of Perugia unfolds its historic treasures. Traverse the elegant Corso Vannucci, lined with fascinating museums, bustling cafes, and the imposing Palazzo dei Priori. Delve into the city's Etruscan heritage at the Arco Etrusco and the Etruscan Well.
In the lovely town of Todi, experience the serenity of Piazza del Popolo, where the grandiose medieval architecture of the Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo del Capitano, and Palazzo dei Priori create an inspiring atmosphere. Savor the panoramic views from the hilltop sanctuary of the Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, and allow the charm of this gem captivate your soul.
It is also worth visiting the attractive Tuscan city of Siena, where the Piazza del Campo, home to the exhilarating Palio horse race, pulses with life. Marvel at the soaring Torre del Mangia and the intricate façade of the Siena Cathedral, and indulge in the city's culinary delights as you wander through its medieval streets.
Embrace "dolce far niente"
Picture yourself nestled within the rolling hills of Italy's idyllic countryside, where the sun casts a golden glow over the verdant landscape as you indulge in the sublime pleasure of dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing. Let the worries of everyday life fade away as you surrender to the gentle rhythm of nature, basking in the tranquility of a bucolic retreat that invites you to revel in the simple joys of relaxation.
Choose a secluded haven within the countryside of Tuscany or Chianti, for instance, where the scent of cypress trees and sunny vineyards fills the air. Unfold your towel by an inviting pool, where the cool embrace of the water offers a respite from the summer heat, and lose yourself in the beauty of the surrounding hills and valleys. As the sun lazily traverses the sky, savor the luxury of unhurried moments as you sip a glass of local wine or become engrossed in the pages of a captivating book. Allow the gentle hum of cicadas to serenade you as you drift into an afternoon nap!
When the allure of exploration beckons, venture into the nearby villages, where the cobbled streets will give you a rustic feel. Stroll through charming piazzas, savor the rich flavors of traditional Italian cuisine, and absorb the vibrant local culture! In Tuscany, you can go and explore the beautiful medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano. Wander through its cobbled streets, admiring the well-preserved towers that punctuate the skyline, and savor the vibrant atmosphere of the Piazza della Cisterna. Venture to the quaint village of Montepulciano, where the scent of the renowned Vino Nobile di Montepulciano fills the air. Meander through the elegant Piazza Grande, admire the architectural splendor of the Palazzo Comunale and the Duomo, and indulge in a wine tasting at one of the town's historic cellars.
Nestled in the verdant hills of Chianti, the charming village of Greve in Chianti invites you to explore its picturesque central square, Piazza Matteotti, which hosts a bustling weekly market. Delight in the flavors of the region at local wine and olive oil tastings, and pay a visit to the nearby Castello di Verrazzano, a historic castle and winery with a storied past. Radda in Chianti is also a charming village set amidst the rolling hills and verdant vineyards of Chianti, and exudes a tranquil atmosphere that perfectly embodies dolce far niente. Wander the narrow streets of this medieval town and visit local wineries to taste the region's renowned wines!
You can also explore the town of Volterra, perched atop a hill in the heart of Tuscany. Marvel at the well-preserved Etruscan walls and gate, and stroll through the Roman Theatre. Immerse yourself in the medieval charm of the town's historic center, where the imposing Palazzo dei Priori and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta grace the skyline.
As evening descends, return to your countryside refuge and watch as the setting sun paints the sky in hues of gold and crimson. Embrace the serenity of the twilight hours!
In the countryside of Italy, the art of doing nothing is elevated to an exquisite experience that rejuvenates the spirit. This summer, embrace the sweetness of dolce far niente and discover the profound beauty that lies in life's simplest pleasures.