The Dolomites during the Summer (www.montagnaestate.it)
Italy can be a wonderful place to visit during the summer, the only drawback being that some places are overrun with tourists: summer months are the peak of tourist season and our beaches, mountains and cities fill with tourists, both from within and without the country.
Those who are planning to travel to Italy in July would have to get all their booking done in advance, including flight and hotel. If you plan to fly with bonus miles, you should reserve your flight a good 10 months in advance or it will be difficult to find a seat. However, keep in mind that prices are definitely higher in July than other months, as it is considered the peak of high season a bit everywhere. Moreover, remember that European families with kids generally prefer to travel in July since most schools have summer break during that time, which means it may not be a the right time for you, in case you do not particularly appreciate the presence of younger ones around while vacationing.
Weather in July
The beach of Bergeggi (SV) (www.spiaggeitalia.com)
Italy in July may be a very busy tourist season, but truth is temperatures soar and cities are extremely hot. In the southern parts of the country, the temperature could be unbearably high during the daytime. While the heat is tolerable for seaside activities, it will be very unconfortable to do any sightseeing under the sun: expect the temperature at the Foro Romano in Rome to be very unpleasant, and be prepared to pay a lot for bottled water and sodas. Normally however, the evenings are quite pleasant and eating al fresco, literally "in the cool," but more generally intended as "outside," is the norm.
Northern Italy is quite warm and on certain days even hot in July. In Milan and other parts of Northern Italy, the average temperature remains between 20 to 30 degree Celsius (68 to 86 degree Fahrenheit). In July, there are not too many rainy days.
In Central Italy, including cities like Rome, the temperature is approximately between 19-30 degrees Celsius (66 to 86 to degree Fahrenheit). Wet days in July are not very common, but when they occur, the may help the temperature to drop by a fraction.
In Southern Italy and the seacoast, including Palermo, the temperatures are definitely at their the highest. In July, they remain between 23 to 35 degrees Celsius (74 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). For some, this temperature would be too hot to bear. Rain is not very common at this time of the year.
As mentioned, precipitations are quite uncommon throughout Italy. The absence of rain makes it a good month to motorcycle through the country, if you can bear the daytime heat: it is definetely the best month of the year to visit the Alps and the Alpine passes with a motorcycle.
Travel around ITALY.
Where to visit in July
During the summer months, all major cities offer festivals, concerts and artistic initiatives to keep locals and tourists entertained. City traffic is also much better during the Summer than it is in the Winter, as more people leave cities to go on holidays.
Small cities have plenty of night activities as well. See http://www.lifeinitaly.com/travel/summer-evening-small-towns
Festivals in July
Piazza del Campo in Siena, during the Summer Palio (www.telegraph.co.uk)
During the Summer, the country offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy festivals and fairs. Some are historical, others are dedicated to food or local produce, all of them guarantee the possibility to experience some traditional Italian fun.
One of the most famous festivals in Italy is the horse race of Siena. Il Palio takes place in Siena on the second of July each year in the Central Piazza of the city, Piazza del Campo. Those who want a reserved seat would have to book well in advance, since the tickets sell out quite quickly. Before the beginning of the race there is a beautiful procession with locals dressed in medieval costumes.
Enjoy last year's Summer palio!
Another important festival in July is the festival of Madonna della Bruna which takes place in Matera, also on the second of July. Matera itself is a beautiful city with its world renowned Sassi, the cave dwellings situated in the region of Basilicata. During the festival, a giant float of the Madonna Bruna is carried around the town. Once the procession is over, the float is torn apart and burned. A beautiful firework display takes place right above the sassi in the evening.
I Sassi di Matera (www.vivereinbasilicata.it)
In Foligno, the Giostra della Quintana festival takes place on the first weekend of the month. More than 600 participants take part in the festival dressed in 17th century traditional clothing. There are thousands of spectators to the event and visitors would need to reach the town centre well before the allotted time in order to get a good position.
A suggestive image of the Giostra della Quintana in Foligno (www.wikimedia.org).
Another horse race in July takes place in the town of Sedilo in Sardinia. The race is held on the fifth of July. There are plenty of local horse riders and many food stalls. Visitors would get a good chance to taste some of the local specialties of the region and some delicious desserts.
One of the biggest festivals in Sicily is the U Fistinu di Santa Rosalia which is held in Palermo on the tenth of July. The event begins with a procession where a high float of around 50 feet along with a statue of the saint are carried around the town, accompanied by a traditional brass band. The festival includes good music, dancing and a lot of delicious food.
The Statue of Santa Rosalia, protagonist of the Festinu di Santa Rosalia in Palermo (www.tradizionisicilia.it).
If you are vacationing in the north, stop in Venice to enjoy the feast day of Redentore Church, that takes place on the third Sunday of the month. The event includes a parade with decorated boats and lots of fireworks towards the end of the day.
The beautiful Church of the Redentore in Venice, where the feast takes place each July (www.travellingwithliz.com)
Those who prefer medieval festivals should travel to Fivizzano in Tuscany to witness the Disfida degli Arceri. Archers from every neighborhood are dressed in medieval costumes and perform a re-enactment of an ancient festival, along with flag throwing competitions.
Disfida degli Arcieri, 2012
If Rome is your July destination, you will be able to enjoy some fantastic street entertainment: the street fair known as Festa de' Noantri takes place in Rome's Trastevere District towards the end of the month. There is also a renowned international fashion show in Rome towards the end of the month, at the Spanish Steps.
A view of Trastevere (www.travelingchic.com)
On the coast of the Adriatic Sea, the town of Pescara celebrates Sant'Andrea Apostolo's feast, on the last weekend of the month. The event includes a large parade with decorated fishing boats.
Last, but not least on this list (pardon the word game here!) is one of the most unusual festivals in the country, the festival of the Cristo degli Abissi. On the Ligurian coast, in Camogli, there is a statue of Jesus underwater and, on the night of the last Saturday of July, an underwater procession takes place to bring blessings to it. The bronze statue has been made from medals of athletes and mariners and also with bells and parts of various ships. Each year, the procession takes place to honor those who lost their lives at sea. Mass takes place of the beach and a commemorative crown is placed near the statue.
The breathtaking under water procession to the Cristo degli Abissi.