All you need to know to plan a trip to Italy in August. How busy is it, is it true everything closes down, what to pack? Find all the answers and more in this guide to August in Italy – updated August 2020
August is a peculiar month to visit Italy.
The very heart of the summer, August is the hottest month of the year in Italy and the traditional time for locals to go on vacation.
It is the time when everyone leaves the cities and heads to the beach or the mountains, making the most of the summer heat for lazy days of aperitivo and gelato.
This has important consequences for the international visitor. If you are planning on visiting Italy in August, you need to be aware of a few things:
This is a very hot month, and sightseeing can prove hard if not impossible during the hottest hours of the day.
August is a very busy month in Rome in all tourist localities, and this means prices tend to soar.
August is the traditional time for Italians to go on holiday and this causes some closures you may need to be aware of.
In this guide, I will go into detail about all these points and clarify how things really are in Italy in August and help you chose if this is the best time to visit Italy for your dream vacation.
I hope this will help you plan your trip to Italy at best. Happy travel planning!
Disclaimer: this is a seasonal travel guide about Italy in August meant to help you decide the best time of the year for your visit. For official information on travel advisory and restrictions, please always refer to official announcements before making any plans.
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How hot is Italy in August? Weather overview
August is the heart of the summer in Italy and a very hot month.
No matter where in Italy you go, in August you should expect temperature over 30C/86F , with localities seeing peaks well over 40C/104F.
The feeling is oppressive because of the high humidity in many areas and the sun is relentless.
August is not a good time to go sightseeing in Italy but rather a time for lounging on the beach or go for outdoor pursuits at higher altitudes.
More in detail, this is what to expect from the weather in August in Italy’s most popular destinations.
Italy’s most popular destinations in August
How busy is Cinque Terre in August and how hot?
August is a very busy, very hot month in Cinque Terre.
It is a great time for swimming in the beautiful Ligurian sea and sip refreshing aperitivo in the evenings but comes with two significant downsides: masses of visitors (locals and foreign) and high prices.
This is not a good month for hiking either: the sun is too strong and the risk of heatstroke high.
If you want to visit Cinque Terre in August, I suggest you keep a conservative schedule and make the most of local ferries to move around.
While in another season you can hop from one town to the other by train easily, in August the crowds will make it a lot harder
Plan less and avoid the central hours of the day when the crowds and the heat peak.
Is Lake Como busy in August?
Lake Como is very busy in August, the busiest time of all, being the week around the 15th of August, ferragosto.
This is the time all Italians go on vacation too and Lake Como being so easy to reach from Milan and the whole of Lombardy gets the lion share of the visitors.
August on Lake Como is a lovely time to go boating and embracing watersports but prices will be high and the crowds intense: book accommodation and tours very early.
Is August a good time to visit Venice?
I am afraid August is probably the worst time to visit Venice.
Venice is August is hot and humid and the weather is made even more oppressive by the presence of mosquitoes, absolutely vicious here!
To visit Venice in August, your best bet is probably to spend the night in town, budget permitting, and enjoy it early in the morning and in the evening.
Is Florence too to in August? Is August a good time to visit Tuscany?
Florence in unbearably hot in August (see official data here).
The city sits in a valley and the lack of any breeze makes the days oppressive and excessively hot for any sightseeing or active pursuit.
However, this doesn’t mean Florence is empty in summer.
Despite the heat, August is really busy in Florence and accommodation and tours have very high prices to match the large demand.
If planning on staying in the city and explore Florence’s main sites, advance booking is paramount (and for tours, try secure late afternoon slots or early morning ones, to avoid peak sun times!).
If you only have limited time, I recommend you plan most of the sightseeing after 5pm: you will not see everything in one evening, but you will be able to cover a lot of ground (have a look at our Florence itinerary for one day or less in the city here)
The situation is slightly different in the rest of Tuscany.
The Tuscan countryside is very hot in August but can be a good place to call home for a while, provided you can get hold of a villa with a pool.
A special place with stunning views, pool, food and location is the agriturismo and wine estate Terre di Nano – simply amazing!
The Tuscan coast is on the other hand lovely as will give you access to the gorgeous Tuscan sea.
Busy and hot, this is the best part of Tuscany to get some relief from the heat and for a sea and sun vacation, although it is a slightly less convenient base for sightseeing.
Is August a good time to visit Rome?
August is probably the worst time of the year to visit Rome for first time visitors.
Oppressively hot, full of mosquitoes and busy with tourists, Rome in August is a strange place to be, full of contradictions.
If you can, avoid coming to Rome at this time and, if you have to, splash out on a hotel with a pool: you will be thankful for it!
How busy is the Amalfi Coast in August?
The Amalfi Coast is very crowded in August, the peak tourist season for this area.
At this time, locals and foreigners come here for their summer vacations: beaches are full, hotels too and the traffic along the winding costiera road so intense it basically doesn’t move.
If you have to visit the Amalfi Coast in August, your best bet is to find a place in a slightly lesser popular town with good access to the sea (avoid Amalfi, Positano etc), stay put and embrace local ferries for local excursions. Avoid the car at all costs.
The last time we visited the Amalfi Coast as a family, we found Minori to be a great base.
I highly recommend you do not plan a trip to Pompeii at this time that while not far, gets so oppressively hot, it is just unbearable.
What to pack for Italy in August
When packing for Italy in August, you want light, breathable summer clothes.
You can find our full packing list from Italy in summer here.
Make sure you include your Italy travel essentials:
- All your travel documents (passport, Visa, Insurance, etc)
- Broken in walking shoes (find my shoe recommendations here)
- Walking sandals
- Short / summer dresses
- Clothing essentials (underwear, swimsuits, sunglasses, sun hat etc)
- Power bank
- Travel adapter
- Italian phrasebook
If you are planning on visiting the Alps, you will need to also add an outer layer like a windbreaker and proper hiking gear as well as a cardigan or sweater.
August dates of notice
When traveling to Italy in August there is one date you need to be aware of : the 15th of August, ferragosto.
The 15th of August is a national holiday in Italy and while technically the 15th is the only day off, in practice the whole week around this date or at least the days 14-16 August are off for most Italians.
This is the week for the Italian’s summer vacations and this means crowds are at their peaks in all vacation destinations, traffic on roads is high and price for tourism services at its highest.
Ferragosto may also impact on closed and sightseeing.
Is everything closed in Italy in August?
You may have heard that Italy shuts down in August and while there is some truth to it, no: Italy does not close in August.
August is very high tourism season in Italy and the very opposite is true: this is a time when hotels and tour operators are at their busiest and ferry services, train and restaurants operate full steam ahead.
What is true is that around Ferragosto, the 15th of the month, Italians go on holiday and many businesses that do not operate with tourism and public offices, in particular, do close down or operate at minimal capacity.
This means that if you need anything administrative done, August is a nightmare and you may find some smaller shops and restaurants closing on the 15th of August and, possibly, the week after.
These closures, however, are unlikely to impact much the day of the average visitor.
If you have a specific plan for the day, however, do check in advance that the attraction you are after is indeed open, especially if smaller or off the beaten track (the Colosseum, Uffizi Museum, the Vatican follow usual opening times in August – please double check if visiting in 2020 as this year is special under many respects)
What there is to do in Italy in August? The best places to spend August in Italy
August is a month for summer activities in Italy and a time to enjoy its sea, sun and beautiful nature.
In particular, I recommend you:
- Get outdoorsy on the Italian Dolomites, with mountain peaks and villages so beautiful, they seem out of a storybook
- Let the best beaches in Sardinia, with their crystal clear waters and soft sand, treat you to the sea and sun vacation of a lifetime
- Go on a boat trip around Capri and discover the colors of the blue grotto up close
- Relax in a villa with a pool in Tuscany while sipping local wine
- Escape the crowds in beautiful Marche, an unspoiled paradise of nature, sea and historical towns
- While hot, you may want to visit stunning Puglia (get a place with a pool)
- You may also consider a trip to Sicily however, in this case, I would recommend picking a Sicilian island such as Lipari or Egadi rather than a wonderful but likely overly hot Sicily road trip.
What to book in advance for August in Italy
August is the peak tourism season in Italy so you should book absolutely everything as soon as you know you are going, ideally months in advance.
This is my list of attractions and providers that offer good cancellation options: the best choice if you need to plan yet stay flexible.
July is a very busy month in Italy and advance booking of accommodation and tours is mandatory.
I recommend you book everything as soon as your trip is confirmed (I booked my summer trip in November!).
For accommodation, I recommend booking.com which you can access here.
They have an excellent selection and great cancellation options (please check the rules for each room as they have different prices depending on the flexibility of your reservation)
I recommend the following attractions as soon as your trip is confirmed:
Colosseum, Rome: the official site gets booked out months in advance (although you may be in luck if only looking for one or two tickets). However, guided tours are usually available on GetYourGuide here
Vatican, Vatican City, Rome: tickets sell out fast and operate on a time slot system. You can get them on the official site of the museums or choose a guided tour via GetYourGuide here: I highly recommend them as the museums are vast and easily overwhelming, without a guide.
Train tickets: I recommend you book early high-speed trains to get seats together and the best price.
August in Italy with kids
August is a tricky month for visiting Italy with kids.
The heat is so intense it can be dangerous for little ones (read our tips to cope with the heat here) and to embrace cooler hours you may find yourself having to radically change their routine, encouraging afternoon naps and later evening.
The best things to do in Italy with kids in Augusty and the best places to go as a family are:
- Eat tons of gelato (of course!)
- Enjoy the mild temperatures of family-friendly Dolomites
- Enjoy the sea and sun in sandy Western Liguria
- Enjoy the beaches and watersports on the Tuscan Riviera
- Settle in a villa with a pool in Tuscany, Umbria or Lazio
- Enjoy a sea and sun vacation with the locals in Sardinia
I hope you enjoyed this overview of Italy in August and it helped you plan your Italy trip. Happy travel planning!
About the author: Marta Correale is an Italian mama of 2, born and bred in Rome. Avid traveler, Marta graduated in Classics at the University of Rome and married her love for history and travel in a career as a travel writer. She is the writer and editor behind Learning Escapes, a successful travel blog about cultural travel with kids, the creator of the successful Mama Loves Rome, an in-depth travel site about her native city of Rome and co-editor of the global family travel site Little City Trips.