Summer in Italy like a local. Beaches, mountains, lakes, cities: here are some ideas for spending your next holiday in a true Dolce Vita spirit. 

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Be ready to experience Italy in all its glory under the summer sky

Despite the crowd of the peak season, you're sure to find your corner of paradise.

We'll take you high up in the mountains and then back to sea level to breathe in the air of Naples or blend in with Sicily's intriguing mix of cultures. 

Some sneak peeks: enchanting villages, relaxing vacations by the lakes, and rejuvenating city retreats. 

Get ready to feel the beating heart of this country and uncover the best things to do in summer in Italy like a local.

Things to do in summer in Italy like a local

Things to do in summer in Italy like a local

Ready for a summer adventure through the heart of Italy's local culture?

It's the perfect time to explore the nuances of this beautiful country and discover the authenticity of each place.

We'll guide you in unique experiences that make you feel like a true italiana/italiano

We'll hike through unspoilt mountain trails, marvel at the unexpected shades of blue in Naples, and indulge in the delicious local cuisine in Sicily. We'll explore stunning towns and cities and even take a break by the lake to escape the summer heat.

Here is our selection of the best things to do in summer in Italy like a local

10. Summer in Italy like a local through mountain trails

Summer in Italy like a local through mountain trails

Trying to escape the heatwave this summer? The Italian mountains can be the right choice! Whether Alps or Apennines, you'll find the perfect climate to enjoy long nature walks, scenic villages, and pristine lakes. 

From north to south, Italy's mountains offer something for everyone.

In Valle d'Aosta, you'll find some of the highest peaks in Europe, including Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa. The valleys below are full of woods, lakes, and rivers, making it an ideal site for outdoor activities like trekking and other sports. 

In Abruzzo, the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park is an excellent destination for summer mountain getaways. This untouched area is home to a vast network of hiking trails, ancient towns, and castles. 

Finally, don't miss the Nebrodi Natural Park in Sicily, the largest protected area on the island. Forests, cliffs, enchanting hilly villages, and the famous local cuisine are the common thread to follow.

9. Discovering all the shades of blue in Naples

The blue of the sea opening out into the gulf and its islands from Mergellina.

The colour of the sky, which forms a contrasting backdrop to His Majesty Vesuvius's silhouette.

And then, the azure shade of SSC Napoli, the much-loved football team. 

Naples is a city that is bursting with the color blue. Festoons, flags, banners, murals, T-shirts, tattoos. Azzurro is everywhere: flanking the streets, in the alleys of the centro storico, inside and outside palazzi and churches, around squares and fountains, and on the people, too. 

In a city whose mood is often marked by the outcome of a football match, what the New York Times pointed out on the eve of the third Scudetto won in 2023 is always true: 'Naples is no longer a city with a soccer team. It is a soccer team with a city attached'.

Those who visited Naples during the football exploit celebration lived a mystical experience of union with the spirit of the (Neapolitan) time.

Even though that moment of unrepeatable madness has passed, there is no shortage of reasons to return.

In the meantime, you might like our local tips.  

Get your Naples Pass

8. Beach life and couscous in Sicily

Summer in Italy like a local: beach life and couscous in Sicily

Food is culture, and culture gives shape and life to the flavours and tastes of a place.

In a land, Sicily, that has always been a crossroads of cultures, the lush legacy of history, encounters and exchanges is synthesised in a dish that exudes the essence of the Mediterranean, cous cous.

San Vito Lo Capo celebrates this abundance of life and flavours with a sizzling festival, the Cous Cous Fest, in September.

This beautiful seaside resort in the province of Trapani is also a perfect destination to spend the summer in a distinctly Sicilian atmosphere amidst paradisiacal beaches, ancient Saracen architecture and natural treasures such as the Zingaro Nature Reserve. 

The area is full of sites with an almost exotic charm that entices visitors to play the part of explorers.

The picturesque Tonnara del Secco, the miniature village inside the stunning Grotta Mangiapane, the panoramas from Piana dell'Egitarso, the exquisite aura of Erice, the bubbling provincial capital: this corner of Sicily is a classic of holidays in Italy.

Book tour in Sicily

7. Cooling off in a museum

Summer in Italy like a local: cooling off in a museum

Anyone looking for a refreshing break from the heat this summer should consider visiting a museum. Even though you're not usually a fan of art, galleries and exhibitions can be a great place to escape the high temperatures. 

Many Italians opt for this type of excursion during the summer months, and it's easy to see why.

In Florence, for example, it's so easy to spend a sunny afternoon getting to know some of the greatest artists in history, including Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian, and Botticelli.

There is an abundance of museums to choose from, such as the Uffizi, Galleria dell'Accademia, Museo del Novecento, and Palazzo Strozzi

And if you're scrutinising for a little more than 'just' art, this city has plenty to offer: delicious cuisine, romantic aperitif overlooking the Lungarno at sunset, stunning Italian gardens, and high-end shopping. 

Interested in exploring some lesser-trodden spots in Florence? There are plenty of local suggestions to check out as well.

Get your Florence Pass

6. Taking a trip to the lake

Summer in Italy like a local: taking a trip to the lake

Chic, quiet, unconventional. Lakeside holidays are the summer alternative that combines relaxation, sport and casual socialising. Nature walks and visits to towns and villages on the water await you. 

The resorts on the great northern lakes are among the most popular summer holiday destinations, with Lake Como as the predictable superstar.

The Larian locations offer idyllic views for all tastes, from destinations sought after by the international jet set to small, lesser-known jewel towns where time seems to stand still. 

On the Lombard and Piedmontese shores of Lake Maggiore, you can dream among villas and gardens in bloom and get your adrenaline pumping by flying at 120 km/h along the zipline at an altitude of 350 metres.

Lake Garda makes adults and children happy with shores full of appeal, such as Sirmione, Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano, trails, cycle paths and... Gardaland, the large amusement park in Castelnuovo del Garda.

Get your fast track entry to Gardaland

5. Having on-the-road holidays

Summer in Italy like a local: having on-the-road holidays

Explore Italy by camper van, car, motorbike, bike, or on foot! You'll get to experience everything the country offers and reveal all the facets of the Italian summer

In the green Val d'Orcia, you will be filled with views, good food, wine in profusion and picture-postcard villages in an idyllic landscape. 

Amidst Radicofani, Asciano, Pienza and Montepulciano, you'll also find several well-equipped camper van sites. 

Another great spot to discover is the Marche region and the beaches of the Conero Riviera, a wild area where there is no shortage of nature trails, opportunities for outdoor sports, art cities and cosy villages where you can sip a good Verdicchio on a terrace overlooking Mount Conero.

Walking can be an alternative idea for spending a slow-paced summer and touching authentic and lesser-known territories with simplicity and a spirit of adventure. 

Consider the legendary Via Francigena. This ancient pilgrim trail winds its way through the countryside of Tuscany and Lazio, offering stunning views of Etruscan ruins, isolated monasteries, and pretty hillside villages. It's the perfect way to experience Italy's rich history and natural beauty all at once.

4. Visiting the most beautiful villages

Summer in Italy like a local: visiting the most beautiful villages

Experiencing the most genuine side of Italy and visiting its attractive villages should be on your list.

From tiny, hidden guardians of ancient traditions to hamlets famous as art cities, there's something for everyone. 

If you're visiting during the summer, then Scopello is a must-see. This charming 16th-century village on the Gulf of Trapani boasts stunning views of the Faraglioni rocks and the storied Tonnara, an incredible tuna fishery showing the ancient world of Sicilian fishermen. 

Head to Valle d'Aosta for a completely different atmosphere. In Bard, you'll be treated to breathtaking Alpine sights that look like something out of a fairy tale. Don't miss the town's Ferragosto celebrations.

If you're in Umbria during the summer, then make sure to visit Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno. This medieval town offers magnificent views of the lake and is an excellent place to soak up the warm Italian sun. So, which village will you choose to visit first?

Book tour through Tuscany's villages

3. Visiting a garden

Exquisite gardens, akin to works of art, surround stately villas and noble palaces and continue to welcome visitors just as they once did with princes and princesses. 

The magic unfolds among flowering meadows, exotic plants, and expansive, shaded green spaces where one can spend a day immersed in nature and beauty.

Some locations are true hidden gems.

Among them is the historic garden of Valsanzibio, one of the most prestigious in Europe—a baroque jewel spread over twelve hectares south of Padua.

It's somewhat like a small Versailles.

A prominent Venetian family, the Barbarigos, commissioned this delightful bucolic space as a solemn vow after surviving the plague that ravaged the mid-17th century. 

The result is an ode to life in the form of a magnificent allegorical garden featuring ancient trees, a timeworn labyrinth, water features, statues, and adorable hopping bunnies invading its Isola dei Conigli.

Get your tickets for Monumental Garden Valsanzibio

2. A perfect aperitivo by the sea

You, the sea, and the Amalfi Coast: That's Amore!

Spend the day riding a Vespa with the wind in your hair, zipping around the winding roads connecting the famous postcard-perfect towns perched above the sea. Discover hidden corners and savour everything with no regrets.

Then, unwind at sunset and enjoy the Mediterranean's gentle waves while sipping a drink and basking in the stunning views of the Campania coast.

Some companies arrange bespoke boat tours to relish the golden hour on the water, snap some photos, and take a dip just as the last rays of the sun disappear.

Additionally, keep in mind that mini cruises to the Amalfi Coast depart from nearby Naples and Salerno, allowing travellers to spend an entire day exploring Positano, Amalfi, and co.

Book boat tour + aperitif in Amalfi Coast

1. Having fun like (and with) children

When you travel with your family, it is not where you go but what you do together that matters.

Every experience can be a chance to learn something new and create unforgettable and uniquely formative memories.

Cities like Florence or Venice offer countless opportunities to spark a passion for history and art in young minds.

A trip into nature, whether it's the coastal landscapes of Sardinia or the parks of Lombardy, strengthens team spirit and fosters respect for the environment.

If you want to treat yourself to a few days of pure fun, head to some of Italy's most exciting amusement parks.

For a day filled with fun and learning, visit places like the Genoa Aquarium, the largest in Europe, or La Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi, an exhibition path with plenty of interactive experiences for the whole family.

Book entrance Genoa Aquarium + Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi

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