Travel Guide: Where To Go In Italy In July

As an avid traveller, one of my favourite countries to visit in the summertime is Italy. Italy in July is the epitome of a summer dream, a canvas painted with the golden hues of the Mediterranean sun, vibrant local life, and landscapes that merge historical grandeur with natural splendor. When it comes to planning your La Dolce Vita summer escape, Italy offers many vibrant locations to choose from. Whether Florence, Sicily, Puglia, Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Amalfi or Positano, each place unfurls like a chapter of an enchanting novel, inviting you to become part of its story.

Best Places to Visit In Italy In The Summer

Italy in July is an intoxicating mix of searing heat, relentless sunshine, and a languid pace of life that forces even the most hurried traveler to slow down, sip some chilled wine, and take in the vast, layered history of the place. While I’ve explored a lot of Italy there are still a lot of areas for me to experience but here are 6 of my favourites that I would suggest for a sweet summer getaway.

1. Florence: Renaissance Fused With A Feast For The Senses

In the heart of Tuscany lies Florence, a city that feels like a living museum adorned with art and architecture that whisper tales of the Renaissance. As far as the bigger cities in Italy go, while I do love making a quick stop in Milan every time I visit, Florence holds a special place in my heart.

Florence is an assault on the senses in the best possible way—a city dense with art, alive with history, and thick with culinary prowess. Walking through its cobbled streets under the July sun, you’ll easily be captivated by the history of the place but also the culinary scene. The Duomo stands like a titan, and nearby, local joints serve up plates of the silkiest pasta you’ve ever had—simple, perfect. Nightfall doesn’t bring coolness, just a shift in the city’s mood, from bustling to beautifully serene.  The evenings are perfect for leisurely strolls along the Arno River, gelato in hand, watching the sunset paint the Ponte Vecchio in shades of pink and gold.

best restaurants Florence 2024

Image: La Gisotra in Florence from the La Gisotra website 

Florence Must-Visit Spots In The Summer:

  • Uffizi Gallery: Home to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Botticelli.
  • Boboli Gardens: Ideal for a midday escape from the city buzz.
  • La Giostra: This intimate restaurant not only offers a feast of sumptuous Tuscan flavours but also a brush with stardom, as celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting have savorued meals at this charming, candlelit haven.
  • Vini e Vecchi SaporiEating at Vini e Vecchi Sapori in Florence is like stepping into a bustling Italian family kitchen, a hidden gem where the authentic flavors shine and which has welcomed celebrities like Matt Damon to its cozy, unpretentious setting
  • Ditta Artigianale: Known for its modern approach and focus on high-quality, specialty coffees, providing a contemporary twist on Italy’s deep coffee culture.

2. Sicily: The Beautiful Melting Pot

In Sicily, the air is thicker, and scented with lemon and salt. This island is a crossroads of civilization, a place where the food, the architecture, and the dialects tell stories of conquest and fusion. The Greek temples at Agrigento are as surreal as they are ancient, standing stoic against the relentless march of time. The local markets are wild, filled with the shoutings of vendors and the sharp, fresh aromas of seafood just pulled from the Mediterranean.

Best Sicily Beach 2024

Image: A shot I took of the coastline near Grotto Dell’ Amore in Taormina, Sicily

Sicily’s coastline boasts some of the most stunning beaches in Italy, where crystal-clear waters meet fine sands and rugged cliffs. Among them, San Vito Lo Capo offers a crescent of white sand north of Trapani, celebrated for its tranquil beauty and turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Another gem is Cala Mosche, nestled in the Vendicari Nature Reserve, which is often listed among the most beautiful beaches in Sicily for its pristine, untouched nature. These beaches not only provide a perfect summer retreat but also a picturesque setting reflecting the island’s diverse natural beauty.

Best Mount Etna Winery 2024

Image: A picture I took at the Barone Di Villagrande Winery in the Mount Etna Region

Where To Go In Sicily In The Summer:

  • Palermo’s Street Food Markets: A chaotic symphony of sights, smells, and tastes.
  • Mount Etna: Where you can walk on the wild side, tasting wines grown in volcanic soil. Some of my favourite wines are from the Mount Etna region. When I was there I went to the Barone Di Villagrande winery pictured above.
  • Ristorante Duomo in Ragusa: A Michelin-starred experience offering innovative dishes rooted in Sicilian traditions, perfect for a luxurious culinary adventure.
  • Trattoria da Enzo in Taormina: This local favorite delivers authentic Sicilian dishes with a view of the sea, celebrated for its fresh seafood and rustic charm.

3. Puglia: Italy’s Understated Corner

Puglia is stark, almost achingly beautiful, with its endless olive groves and stark white towns like Ostuni. Here, life moves slowly, and the food is earthy and honest—orecchiette with turnip tops, perhaps, or fresh burrata that will ruin you for all other cheeses. The coast is rugged, the Adriatic a sheet of sparkling blue, tempting enough to make you forget the heat and dive in.

Where Is the famous beach in Puglia Italy

Image: A picture I took of Cala Porto (Lama Monachike). One of the most photographed beaches in Puglia. 

Where To Go In Puglia:

  • Alberobello: To wander among the trulli—those quirky, conical houses that look like they’ve been plucked from a fairytale.
  • Lecce: Dubbed the ‘Florence of the South’ for its baroque beauty.
  • Martina Franca: A baroque jewel in the Valle d’Itria, known for its elegant palaces and lively festival scene. Here, the streets buzz with local charm and architectural grandeur, making it a cultural hub within the region.
  • Polignano a Mare Beach: Not far from the historic centers, this stunning beach offers dramatic sea cliffs and crystal-clear waters, ideal for a refreshing swim in the hot summer months.

Nice hotels to stay in Puglia

Image: A photo I took at our hotel in Puglia, Villa San Martino

Restaurant Recommendations in Puglia:

  • Osteria del Tempo Perso in Ostuni: This restaurant beautifully captures the essence of Puglian cuisine, serving traditional dishes in a setting filled with rustic charm and a welcoming atmosphere. It was raining when we came here but ended up making a day of it, with amazing food, wine and conversation with the staff.
  • Masseria Il Frantoio in Ostuni: Set in an ancient farmhouse, this restaurant offers a farm-to-table experience where meals are prepared with organic ingredients produced right on the property, accompanied by olive oil from their groves.

4. Lake Como: A Luxurious Retreat

Lake Como is synonymous with luxury and tranquility. Its shores, lined with opulent villas and lush gardens, serve as a playground for the elite. The lake itself, set against the backdrop of the Alps, offers a refreshing respite from July’s warmth. Taking a private boat tour provides an intimate glimpse into the secluded corners of the lake, often missed by the casual visitor. Lake Como is super easy to get to, with a quick train ride from Milan and while the lake water is quite chilly, it’s a must during the hot summer months.

Moltrasio Lake Como where to go

Image: A photo I took from the ferry in Lake Como of Moltrasio

Where To Visit In Lake Como:

  • Villa Carlotta: For its art collection and botanical garden.
  • Bellagio: Known as the ‘Pearl of the Lake’, perfect for a leisurely day of exploration.

    Where To Eat Lake Como:

    • Il Gatto Nero: Perched high above the lake in Cernobbio, this restaurant offers breathtaking views along with its exquisite Italian cuisine. It’s a favorite among celebrities and locals alike, providing a truly memorable dining experience with panoramas that stretch across Lake Como.
    • La Grotto: Tucked away with a charming lakeside view, La Grotto serves the best Vongole I’ve ever had. The clams are perfectly seasoned, bathing in a savory broth that complements the fresh, briny taste, making each bite a delightful encounter with the local seafood traditions. Located in Bellagio.

5. Positano: A Vertical City

Ascending the rugged cliffs, Positano appears like a vision, with stacked houses painted in a palette of pastel colors. Its streets wind upwards, each turn offering a new vista or a quaint shop to explore. The beaches here, though pebbly, are inviting, with clear, warm waters that July sunbathers find irresistible. In the evening, the town transforms into a romantic setting, with candlelit dinners overlooking the sea and the soft sounds of waves blending with the laughter of diners.

Activities in Positano Summer

Image: A photo I took during a boat day in Positano

What To Do In Positano:

  • Spiaggia Grande: The main beach, vibrant and full of life, ideal for people-watching and soaking in the sun.
  • Path of the Gods: For the adventurous, this trail offers breathtaking views from high above the coast.

Best Restaurants in Positano:

  • La Sponda: Illuminated by over 400 candles, this Michelin-starred restaurant inside the Le Sirenuse Hotel offers a truly magical dining experience. Celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyoncé have been known to dine here, drawn by its enchanting ambiance and superb Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Chez Black: A beachside restaurant famous for its heart-shaped pizzas and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a perfect place for a relaxed meal with stunning views of the Mediterranean.

6. Cinque Terre: A Colourful Coastal Symphony

Cinque Terre, the string of five fishing villages clinging to the rugged cliffs of the Italian Riviera, embodies a vibrant tapestry of colours and a simplicity that feels like a deep breath of fresh, salty air. July in Cinque Terre is lively; the narrow paths and small beaches are bustling with locals and tourists, all seeking to capture the essence of this UNESCO World Heritage site. The villages—Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore—are connected by scenic hiking trails and a reliable train service, making it easy to village-hop and take in the dramatic coastal views.

Is Cinque Terre worth visiting Italy

Image: A photo I took of the beautiful Cinque Terre coastline

Restaurant Recommendations in Cinque Terre:

  • Ristorante Miky in Monterosso: Renowned for its innovative approach to traditional Ligurian cuisine, Ristorante Miky offers dishes that are as beautifully presented as they are flavorful. The ambiance is sophisticated yet welcoming, making it a standout dining experience in the region.
  • Trattoria dal Billy in Manarola: Situated high above the village, Trattoria dal Billy provides a panoramic view of the Mediterranean alongside a menu teeming with fresh seafood. The atmosphere is rustic and authentic, offering a taste of local life with every dish served.

In this Italian journey through steaming plates of pasta, sips of fine wine, and the omnipresent hum of the sea, we’ve only just grazed the surface. From the dizzying heights of Positano to the ancient, echoing streets of Sicily, Italy is a must-add stop to your summer travel itinerary. There’s a gritty realness to bustling markets, a whispered history in the windswept ruins, and a sheer gastronomic delight in every bite you take. So, walk slowly, eat copiously, and let Italy’s grandeur sweep you off your feet.

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