Italy in July – The Best Things to See & Do
It’s no secret that Italy in July is fantastic. This is the height of tourist season because the weather is always warm and the activities are plentiful. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, there will be beauty and excitement around every corner. With great weather usually comes more crowds and higher prices, so make sure to keep this in mind when booking your trip to Italy. Since the country is so big and there is so much to do, you may need a little help narrowing down your itinerary. So, here are some of our top things to see in do in Italy during July to get you started.
ITALY WEATHER IN JULY
Italy in July is hot no matter where you go. Sometimes, the high temps can be pretty uncomfortable, especially in the south. For less humidity and slightly cooler temperatures, northern Italy is a good option in July. Sticking close to the beaches is a great strategy to beat the July heat, and perusing the museums is often a great way to stay out of the sun while still experiencing the best of Italy’s culture.
Temperatures, on average, are:
- Northern Italy: (18-30°C)
- Central Italy: (18-32°C)
- Southern Italy: (24-32°C)
FESTIVALS/EVENTS IN ITALY IN JULY
Il Palio di Siena
Located in Siena, this bareback horse race is one of the most famous events in July. It takes place from July 2nd through August 16th in the town’s central square, Piazza del Campo. Seats are typically reserved months ahead of time, but you may be able to find standing room if you didn’t plan ahead. Before the race gets started, visitors can see a parade of locals dressed in Medieval costumes.
Music Under The Tower in Pisa
What’s better than seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Seeing the tower while live music plays in the background. From June 20th until July 11th visitors can find live musical performances around the grounds of Pisa. Expect beautiful renditions of famous, classical tunes.
Umbria Jazz Festival
This is one of Italy’s top music festivals, and one that is loved by jazz fans. It can be attended from July 8th through the 17th and typically features top jazz acts from around the globe. Tony Bennett, B.B King, and Mark Knopfler are just some of the famous acts who come to Umbria to play.
L’Ardia di San Costantino
From July 5th to the 7th, this massive horse race takes place at the Sanctuary of San Costantino in Sedilo. There are two races in the evening, after which the horse riders stay up until the early morning drinking. That morning, the same riders are off to the races again for a third round. Visitors will find plenty of booths for food and are encouraged to test out some of the Sardinian specialities.
Giostra della Quintana
This traditional jousting match can be found in the Umbrian town of Foligno. It takes place on the first Saturday in July and features more than 600 people, all dressed in 17th century garb. Thousands of people come from all over Italy come to watch the event, so be ready for lots of energy and an atmosphere full of enthusiasm. Between the costumes and the showmanship, you may just feel like you’re at a real joust from the olden days.
Medieval Festival in Brisighella
This festival can be found during the first week of July in the town of Brisighella. It’s the perfect location for a Medieval Festival given that the town is Medieval itself. It’s quite a beauty too as this town is surrounded by hills and historical buildings. The focal point of the area is the 13th century castle which doesn’t look out of place at all when the costumed event-goers are wandering around.
Festa della Madonna Bruna
This festival can seem a bit strange to outsiders, but it’s part of the cultural norm in Italy. It takes place in Matera on the second of July each year. During the festival, a giant float of the Madonna Bruna is carried throughout the town for all the spectators to view. After a lengthy parade, the float is attacked, torn to shreds, and burned as a fireworks display bursts overhead.
The tiny historic town of Montecassiano is the location of this historic festival. It takes place on the third and the fourth Sunday in July, and re-enacts historic competitions from the 1400s. Other activities include a series of parades where participants dress in Medieval costumes and perform street scenes from Medieval times. There’s also live music and food stalls to enjoy when you’re not watching the shows.
Arianteo Cinema Festival
This festival takes place throughout the entire summer and focuses on art, culture, and especially, film. The festivities can be found around Milan, offering various screenings for film fans all over the country. Visitors will find cult-classic showings amongst indie films, international movies, and locally made projects.
Festa del Cristo degli Abissi
Also known as ‘Christ of The Abyss,’ this strange procession travels all the way to a statue of Christ, which is located under water. This parade can be seen marching towards the water on the Ligurian Coast on July 29th. The statue itself is made of bronze that was molded out of the medals from athletes and mariners, as well as from old bells and ships. It’s dedicated to all of the brave people who have lost their lives while at sea. Once the parade reaches the statue, the leader puts a crown of laurel on the head of the statue.
U Fistinu of Saint Rosalia
Held from July 10th until the 15th, this is one of the largest festivals in Sicily. There’s a massive parade that centers around a statue of Saint Rosalia, which is 50 feet high. There’s a musical band and tons of food for an absolute feast. This parade is hard to miss, but you wouldn’t want to because it’s so festive and tons of fun for anyone involved.
Disfida degli Arceri di Terra e di Corte
History lovers won’t want to miss this traditional archery competition. It takes place during mid-July in northern Tuscany and features archers from surrounding neighborhoods who come to compete. Everyone will be in costume, and there will be flag throwing, traditional music, and of course, plenty of food.
Celebrating more than fourteen years of festivities, this event is one for those who believe in fairy tales. It’s considered Italy’s largest fantasy event and it is home to over 300 shows featuring elves, fairies, and other mythical creatures. There are art shows, live music, parades, workshops, and plenty of photo opportunities. This is definitely a more modern festival for Italy, but one that is worth checking out if you love the world of fantasy.
WHAT TO SEE/DO IN ITALY IN JULY
Check Out Cinque Terre
July in Italy is a great time for a summer road trip around one of the country’s most scenic areas, Cinque Terre. Stop off at the various towns to explore the cobblestone streets and find the best viewpoints to see the coast. Take breaks to eat gelato, people watch from a cafe, or grab an ice cold beer to drink while watching the sunset. Wander around the Cinque Terre National Park, one of the smallest but most beautiful in Italy, or do some trekking on the Footpath Monterosso. Visit the Church of San Francesco, take a boat tour, or just hang out near the cliffs and enjoy the view. You can stay overnight in the various towns if you want to take a more leisurely approach to exploring the coast.
Explore The Museums In Florence
Florence is an epicenter of art and culture in Italy, as it’s full of intriguing museums. Beat the July heat by popping into one of Florence’s many noteworthy museums. Spend some time exploring the Uffizi Gallery where you can see famous artworks by Michelangelo. Then, head to the Museo Galileo, Palazzo Publico, Palatine Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, and Bargello, all of which are popular in Florence. Don’t forget to check out Accademia Gallery, where you can see Michelangelo’s David statue.
Explore The Vatican Museums
If you’re visiting Rome and want to stay out of the sun, head to the Vatican to wander around the museums all day. There are over 20,000 pieces of artwork and artifacts that the various Popes have collected throughout the years. Highlights at the Vatican include the Sistine Chapel, Gallery of Maps, the various sculpture museums, and the artwork of Raphael. Also make time for the Collection of Modern Religious Art, the Vatican Historical Museum, and the Pinacoteca Vaticana art gallery.
Enjoy the slight breeze off the Venice canals while you explore the narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets. Getting lost in Venice is part of the fun so put away your map and spend some time wandering without a care. Stop off for gelato to keep cool or pop into a cafe to people watch while getting your caffeine fix. A gondola ride is a nice way to experience the canals when you aren’t museum hopping or getting in some shopping.
Visit Lake Como
Soak up the summer sun by the stunning Lake Como. This Italian city is known for its beauty and luxury; frequented often by the rich and famous. Don’t let the dollar signs deter you from visiting because even a few hours by this lake is worth a visit. Find a spot at a restaurant with a view of the lake and order yourself a nice glass of wine while you look out at the pristine view.
Visit The Beaches of Lecce
Often referred to as the ‘Florence of the south,’ Lecce is full of culture and beauty. It’s surrounded by stunning beaches so make sure to bring your bathing costume so you can cool off in the azure waves. It’s a top spot for snorkeling, swimming, and lounging on the coastline. Bring your appetite because the food scene here is certainly worth filling up on.
Road Trip The Amalfi Coast
There’s no denying that summertime and road trips go hand-in-hand. The Amalfi Coast is full of thrilling twists, turns, and out-of-this-world views. Hire a car and hit the road to see some of Italy’s most postcard perfect scenes. Look out over villages, lemon groves, opulent villas, and mountain retreats. There are seaside towns up and down the coast, each offering its own unique lineup of sightseeing opportunities and culture.
This island is at its peak in the summer months. It’s small but stunning, and is full of rustic towns, beaches, and mountain peaks. Stroll along the waterfront, eat fresh seafood, and take photos of the colorful boats and houses along the water.
See The Sunflowers in Tuscany
Blooming in late June through August, the sunflowers are everywhere in Tuscany. July is the perfect time to see them in bloom, especially around the rolling hills of the countryside. If you’re traveling by car, spend some time looking for fields of sunflowers along the roads. You may be able to find them near the highway but your best bet is taking backroads. Make sure to get out and snap a few photos, preferably with you in them.
Visit Cala Granara Beach
Located in Sardinia, this white-sand beach is a thing of dreams. It’s the picture-perfect Italian beach, so you’ll definitely want to spend some time here. There are tropical plants, shallow blue water, and soft sand for sunbathing. Swimming conditions are usually pretty favorable so don’t hesitate to take a dip if you get too hot.
Why not take a look at our other monthly guides for Italy created to help you get the most from your next vacation:
- The best things to see and do in Italy in January
- The best things to see and do in Italy in February
- The best things to see and do in Italy in March
- The best things to see and do in Italy in April
- The best things to see and do in Italy in May
- The best things to see and do in Italy in June
- The best things to see and do in Italy in August
- The best things to see and do in Italy in September
- The best things to see and do in Italy in October
- The best things to see and do in Italy in November
- The best things to see and do in Italy in December
Italy in July is hot, but the weather is perfect for hitting the beaches or taking summer road trips. Between the festive holidays, natural scenery, and cultural sites, there is a lot to see and do in Italy. Make sure to pack your sunscreen, stay hydrated, and explore the best of what Italy has to offer.