Before we decided on a camper trip through France & Spain this past July, we had considered a home exchange in Tel Aviv – a place we have been wanting to visit for some time. I had a difficult time finding an exchange and in the end after much searching and inquiring, I had three serious possibilities all fall through because they didn’t realize it was going to be hot in Italy in July!
Despite crowds and heat, summertime in Rome is a great time to visit and enjoy the intense blue skies, incredible long days, beautiful sunsets and dining and drinking al fresco that is such an integral part of life in Rome. When the temperatures start climbing, here are some suggestions I have for keeping cool in the Eternal City.
1. Escape into one of Rome’s many churches. Rome has hundreds of them, although many are closed during lunchtime hours. The cool marble, the dim lighting and plenty of seating – the perfect place to just be quiet & still.
2. Nasoni. The translation of this is “big noses”. These fountains found throughout Rome have potable clean cold water – a great way to cool off and there’s also an app now that shows you where they are located. Tap water in general is clean and perfectly drinkable although restaurants may try to convince you otherwise because they want you to purchase their water. Refill a water bottle and reduce plastic waste. To see how the locals drink from the nasoni check out this cute little video with our daughters and a friend we made several years ago.
3. Public parks. Rome has loads of accessible and gorgeous public parks with lots of shady spaces to have a picnic and take an afternoon snooze. There’s the Villa Borghese, Villa Torlonia, Villa Celimontana, Villa Ada and Villa Doria Pamphili to name a few. You can read on this blog about our favorite deli near The Beehive to pick up made to order sandwiches and other picnic items.
4. Avoid sightseeing during the hottest parts of the day. This is me (and my youngest daughter Viola) at the Statue of Liberty in August 2006 not following my own advice. Get an early start when the air is still cool and wrap up around noon and go to lunch. Afterwards head back to your room if you can and have a siesta. Your body will love you for it. If that’s not possible, hit up a museum although keep in mind that many are not air-conditioned. Shops stay open late and many museums don’t close until 7,7:30pm.
5. Gelato! Of course I had to mention this! My preference is for fruit flavors which are refreshing as dairy based flavors can actually make you thirstier. Fragola & limone (strawberry & lemon) are a classic combo. Another refreshing favorite is grattachecca – shaved ice (see photo at the top of the post). Many of these stands can be found along the Tiber river. There’s also granita – a Sicilian treat and which can be found at some Roman gelaterie such as Gelateria dei Gracchi (listed on our app) in the summer months.
6. As a last resort and if you have a good amount of time to spend in Rome, escape to the seaside for the day or to one of Rome’s outdoor swimming pools. The nearest most accessible seaside which isn’t totally toxic is Santa Marinella about an hour north of Rome with the train station right in the middle of town so it’s pretty effortless to reach. The beaches here are rocky though and in the summer you’ll have to pay an entrance fee to the beach and extra for a lounge chair and an umbrella. For sandy beaches, cleaner water and a gorgeous historic center, there’s Sperlonga which is a bit further afield being a train and a bus ride away, but very worthwhile.