Best places to visit in August in Italy

August is the ultimate summer break in Italy, especially as regards its central weeks. Most of the cities are deserted and the offices and shops stay close, so it’s not a good period to go sightseeing unless you choose a place where an important event takes place like Siena with its Palio or Messina with its religious procession.

August 15th is called Ferragosto in Italy and the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated with special masses and processions but it’s also common to spend this day in nature with family and friends. The main tourist destinations often organize a firework display for the night.

You’ll find hot (or very hot) weather almost everywhere and the temperature of the sea is the highest of the year.

August is the perfect month to have fun and party on!

Best things to do in Italy in August

1. Enjoy Gallipoli’s nightlife (Puglia)

What: Gallipoli is a beautiful town located in Salento, which is the most famous area of the Puglia Region. Its beaches and its vibrant nightlife attract many young people each summer and its picturesque Old Town is renowned among international visitors too.

What to see: the heart of local nightlife is the Old Town where you can find many clubs offering live music and the traditional aperitivo (happy hour). This area of the city is located on a small island connected to the rest of the city by an ancient bridge and entirely surrounded by its medieval walls. Don’t miss a walk (or a morning run) along the waterfront, which is lined with several outdoor clubs and restaurants.

How long: 1 week

Why August: it’s the perfect destination for your summer holiday if you like busy and lively places and you want to make new friends

Weather: the average temperature is 27°C with sunny days

Practical tips: don’t miss the local specialty called Scapece! It’s basically fried fish marinated in bread, vinegar, and saffron.

2. Attend the “Night of Taranta” in Melpignano (Puglia)

What: the “Night of Taranta” is a summer music festival aimed to preserve the traditional Salento music and pass it on to the new generations through the mixing with other musical genres. It consists in several shows held in many places located in Salento and the highlight of the event is the final night in Melpignano with some international stars as special guests.

What to see: Melpignano is a small village located near Lecce and it is rich in historical heritage. The show is held in front of the Augustinian Convent and Church that are worth a visit thanks to their baroque decorations. You should also visit the church of S. Giorgio in the local architectural style and the underground oil mill that is entirely rock-carved.

How long: 1 weekend

Why August: to attend this popular music festival and get to know local folk music

Weather: the average temperature is 27°C with sunny days

Practical tips: to learn more about the tour dates, the locations and the artists playing during this festival you can check here. 

3. A sunset walk by the sea in Bari (Puglia)

What: Bari is the capital of the Puglia Region and it is a major port city and a place full of architectural beauties. Its Old Town attracts many tourists thanks to its picturesque views and its beautiful churches and the waterfront is lined with several old mansions and buildings in Liberty style.

What to see: the promenade by the sea is considered one of the most beautiful walks in Southern Italy and it was built during the Fascist era to give some importance to the city and to underline its role as a major harbor on the Adriatic coast. A couple of other places you should definitely visit are S. Nicola Cathedral and the Swabian-Norman Castle.

How long: 1 weekend

Why August: to combine some sightseeing with the chance to spend some time on the beach

Weather: the average temperature is 26°C with sunny days

Practical tips: Bari has an international airport which is also a hub for many low-cost airlines, so it’s the perfect destination if you just have a couple of days available.

4. Observe the Messina Strait from Taormina (Sicily)

What: Taormina is a small town overlooking the Eastern Coast of Sicily and the Messina Strait. Thanks to its position, it is always crowded with tourists searching for some beautiful views. Visitors also go there to see one of the main Sicilian attractions: the ancient Greek Theater.

What to see: the Greek Theater was built in the III century B.C. and it directly overlooks the sea offering an amazing view of the coast. Another really nice place in town is Villa Comunale with its lush English-style park. If you still have some time, don’t miss Corvaja Palace with its mix of Arab, gothic and Catalan architectural styles.

How long: 1day trip from Messina, Catania or Siracusa

Why August: in summer you’ll find many concerts and special events taking place in the Greek Theater, which is particularly striking at night! 

Weather: the average temperature is 28°C with sunny days

Practical tips: sightseeing can be difficult in summer due to very hot weather, so it’s best to organize your visit around dinner time and after sunset or, as an alternative, very early in the morning.

5. Attend the procession on August 15th in Messina (Sicily)

What: the so-called Vara Procession is a tradition dating back to the XIV century and it is held on the occasion of the religious Feast of the Ascension. It consists of a huge cart festooned with flowers and pulled by hundreds of barefoot men. The cart carries the coffin of the Virgin Mary surrounded by the 12 apostles. Above them stand the Angles, the sun and a statue of Jesus holding the Virgin Mary on the palm of his hand.

What to see: Messina’s main points of interest are the Cathedral with its mosaics, the Clock Tower with its carillon, the Orione fountain in Renaissance style and the byzantine church of Santissima Annunziata.

How long: 1day trip from Catania or Reggio Calabria

Why August: to attend this impressive procession which is very heartfelt by locals.

Weather: the average temperature is 29°C with sunny days

Practical tips: the procession starts at 6.30 p.m. in Piazza Castronovo and it ends at 9.30 p.m. in Piazza Duomo.

6. Enjoy a family beach holiday in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

What: Lignano Sabbiadoro is a small town that has become one of the most popular summer destinations in Northern Italy. Nowadays, it rivals Rimini as the favorite summer location of teenagers and young people. On the other hand, it is still crowded by families with kids and elderly people too.

What to see: the best beaches are Lignano Riviera (with many facilities suitable for families) and Pineta (quieter and not so crowded). Don’t miss a visit to Punta Verde Zoo and to Acquasplash waterpark!

How long: 1 week

Why August: the beaches are very well managed even in the most crowded period of the year and there is some space sand privacy to be found in every bathing establishment.

Weather: the average temperature is 25°C with sunny days

Practical tips: sailing is a very popular activity and a good idea is attending a summer course to learn a new skill and have fun with your family!

7. Attend the Palio in Siena (Tuscany)

What: this traditional horse race consists of a challenge between the local neighborhoods (“contrade”), each one presenting its own horse and rider. It takes place in Piazza del Campo and it is the main event of the year requiring several months of preparation. It is held twice a year on July 2nd and on August 16th.

What to see: the main square of Siena is Piazza del Campo, with its iconic shell shape. Nearby you’ll find the beautiful Cathedral decorated in black and white marble, the tall Mangia Tower with its steep climb and its beautiful view and the famous City Museum housed inside Palazzo Pubblico.

How long: 1 weekend to attend the Palio or 1day trip from Florence to visit the town

Why August: to immerse yourself in local folklore and enjoy costume parades, flag-waving shows, open air dinners in each neighborhood and many popular events and celebrations at every corner of the streets.

Weather: the average temperature is 26°C with sunny days

Practical tips: viability and opening hours of the main attractions may vary during the Palio week, so you should double-check and plan your visit carefully!

8. Attend an exclusive screening during the Venice Film Festival (Veneto)

What: this worldwide famous film festival was born in 1932 and it takes place in Venice from the last week of August to the first week of September. It takes place in the Movie Palace located on the waterfront of Lido district.

What to see: Lido is a quiet and upper-class neighborhood scattered with luxurious villas in Liberty style. To enjoy a scenic walk, go to the Murazzi, which is a stone dam protecting the area from the sea and offering a nice spot to sunbathe and relax. Another attraction of this part of the city is the Planetarium offering free projections each Sunday.

How long: 1 weekend to attend the Film Festival. If you’ve never been in Venice before, you should stay there at least 4-5 days.

Why August: it’s the best period to visit Venice for all the movie lovers!

Weather: the average temperature is 25°C with sunny days

Practical tips: you can see a movie at many places like Sala Grande and Sala Pasinetti inside the Movie Palace but also at Sala Darsena, Palabiennale and Casinò. Prices may vary between 12 and 45 euro and it is not necessary to wear elegant clothes during the screenings open to the general public.

9. Enjoy the nightlife in Rimini (Emilia Romagna)

What: Rimini is considered the “Italian Ibiza” and it is full of young people mainly searching for a wild nightlife and not so interested in the beauty of the beaches. The city has been increasingly developing around these needs and it is full of hotels, clubs and entertainment facilities.

What to see: one of the best areas to enjoy local nightlife is Marina Centro, which is also the main shopping district of Rimini. If you search for a more romantic spot to spend the evening, go to the harbor, while if you want to taste some local specialties head to the Old Town and spend you night in the restaurants and cafes around Cavour Square.

How long: 1 week

Why August: if you want to spend the most popular summer period in the most popular summer destination of Northern Italy.

Weather: the average temperature is 26°C with sunny days

Practical tips: Rimini Nord area is the only district of the city which is more popular among families than among young people, so you’ll find no clubs and less entertainment there. If you travel with a group of friends, search for a hotel offering tickets for the main clubs and organizing group activities and day trips!

10. Enjoy some snorkeling and swimming in Capo Rizzuto (Calabria)

What: this small town is located on the so-called Saracen Coast and it is famous for its sandy beaches and its rocky promontories, but also for the high quality of its water and its protected marine area.

What to see: the best beaches are Cinnamon Beach (it takes its name from the color of the sand), Le Castella (the best sport for snorkeling thanks to the abundance of fishes) and Lily Beach (with wild lilies growing in the sand).

How long: 1 week

Why August: it’s the perfect summer holiday destination if you like swimming and you want to enjoy a pristine marine ecosystem.

Weather: the average temperature is 27°C with sunny days

Practical tips: you can easily reach Capo Rizzuto by plane, since Crotone airport is just 20 Km away!

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