19 July 2010
As the Roman sun blazes over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and docents in Venice, Florence, and Naples report that the same is happening all over Italy, it seems prudent to write a little bit about how to stay cool during the summer. Visitors don’t always realize the toll that the heat and sun can take on their body, so we’ve put together a little list to help people enjoy their vacations, while not overdoing it.
- Drink plenty of water! This can’t be emphasized enough, as it’s so easy to become dehydrated while skipping between museums or archaeological sites. Keep an empty bottle handy, as cities have drinking fountains (such as the nasone in Rome – pictured above). Fountains will have signs that say “Non potabile,” if they aren’t drinkable, but this fresh, cool water will be your best friend while touring around.
- Stay protected. The Mediterranean sun burns strong, making it quite easy for you to get a burn at any time of the day. Make sure you have plenty of sunblock on at all times and bring a bit along in your bag. If you didn’t pack any, hop into an pharmacy, where you will find a wide variety. Hats are also a must and can help save your scalp from the rays it will receive while walking around the city.
- Plan your time wisely. We schedule our walks to either begin as early as possible (9 am) or as late in the day as allows. While it may not be fun to wake up early while on vacation, your body with thank you. No only will you take in most of the sites before peak sun hits, but you’ll avoid the huge crowds. Try to avoid being outdoors between 12 pm and 3 pm if possible.
- Visit the beach or find a pool. Do as the locals do and hit a nearby beach. Ostia and Santa Marinella are two located close to Rome and are accessible by public transit. Meanwhile, Venetians may hit the Lido, reachable by vaporetto. While in Florence, you might consider Viareggio and in Naples, there’s no lack of choice on the Amalfi Coast. Don’t feel like leaving town? In every city at least a few hotels will have pools that will issue day passes.
- Relax! The best advice we can give is to realize that in the heat of summer, you need to slow down a bit and give yourself time to rest (just think, more gelato breaks!). Look to the pace of the locals and realize that AC is not abundant, nor should it be expected in most venues you will visit.
What are your heat-beating tips? We’d love to hear your suggestions.