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Beat the Heat: How to Survive Italian Summers with Kids Without Losing Your Cool

Beat the Heat: How to Survive Italian Summers with Kids Without Losing Your Cool

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Planning a trip to Italy with kids during the summer? Keep scrolling to check out my tips for staying cool in Italy during the summer months!
This list of tips for visiting Italy during summer was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Oh, Italian summers!

Picture this: gelato in hand, strolling through cobblestone streets, and soaking in all that historic beauty under the Mediterranean sun. Sounds dreamy, right?

Well, add kids to the mix, plus the Italian summer heat, and you’ve got yourself a whole different adventure!

As a mom to two energetic boys who’ve braved the Italian heatwave more times than I can count, I’ve gathered some tried-and-tested tips to help you and your little ones enjoy Italy’s charm without melting down—literally and figuratively.

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10 Ways to Survive Summer in Italy with Kids

1. Start Early to Beat the Heat

Italian cities are magical in the early morning. Not only is it cooler, but the crowds are thinner, too.

We made it a habit to hit major attractions like the Colosseum right when they opened. Not only did we beat the heat, but we also got some amazing photos without a ton of people in them.

Image of a mom and two kids in the Colosseum
Loved exploring the Colosseum with my boys! Photo credit: Nicole Dittrich

Then, when the midday sun got too intense, we were already wrapping up our sightseeing and ready for our next beat-the-heat strategy.

Another option is to wait closer to sunset. That how we climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and got photos during golden hour!

2. Embrace the Siesta

Yes, the afternoon nap isn’t just for Spaniards. In Italy, everything slows down in the afternoon, especially during the hot summer months. Shops close, streets empty out, and locals retreat indoors.

We followed suit, heading back to our hotel or vacation rental for some downtime. The boys would nap or just relax, recharging for the evening ahead. Not only did it keep us cool, but it also meant we were all rested and crankiness was kept at bay.

3. Seek Out Water

Finding places to cool off is key. While Rome might not have beaches downtown, we found some pretty awesome public fountains. The boys loved dipping their hats and splashing a bit of water on their faces.

Image of a man filling up a water bottle in Rome.
My husband LOVED refilling waterbottles at the public fountains. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

In cities like Venice and Florence, we’d seek out shady spots by the canals or the Arno River for a scenic, breezy break. And if you’re in a coastal area like Cinque Terre, a midday swim in the Ligurian Sea is as refreshing as it gets.

4. Dress for Success

Light, breathable clothing was a game-changer for us. I packed linen and cotton outfits for the whole family, which really helped keep everyone cool.

Image of a boy on a ferry in Cinque Terre ITaly
This Pokemon hat was super fun! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Hats and sunglasses are a must, too—not just for style, but for protection from the sun. My kids begged us for Pokemon sun hats from a vendor in Florence and that was a huge hit with them!

And don’t forget comfortable shoes! Exploring Italian cities means a lot of walking, and hot, tired feet can make the heat feel even worse.

5. Stay Hydrated (and Caffeinated)

Water, water, and more water! Keeping hydrated is crucial in the summer heat.

We carried reusable water bottles that we’d refill at the public water fountains found throughout Italian cities. They’re safe to drink from and a great way to cool down.

And for the parents? I highly recommend kicking off your day with an Italian espresso. When the afternoon slump hits, don’t underestimate the power of a good Italian iced coffee. It’s refreshing and gives you that much-needed caffeine boost.

6. Gelato: Not Just a Treat, But a Strategy

Yes, gelato deserves its own point on this list. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a perfect way to cool down. We made it a fun part of our daily routine, trying different flavors and making it a game to pick our favorites.

Gelato is ALWAYS a good ideal! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Plus, sitting down for a gelato break gave us a chance to rest and soak in the ambiance of whatever city we were in.

7. Plan Indoor Activities During Peak Heat

We quickly learned to schedule indoor activities during the hottest part of the day. Museums, churches, and even shopping centers offer a respite from the heat.

Image of a boy and a teacher looking at a painting in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy
We love heading to museums to beat the heat. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Places like the Vatican Museums in Rome or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence are not only cooler but also less crowded in the early afternoon. It’s a win-win: you get to see incredible art and historical treasures while staying cool.

8. Know When to Call It a Day

There were days when, despite our best efforts, the heat just got to be too much. That’s when we learned it was okay to call it a day.

Sometimes, we’d head back to our accommodation for a swim or just to relax. Other times, we’d find a quaint café or a pizzeria with air conditioning to unwind and reflect on our day.

Remember, the goal is to enjoy your vacation, not to stick to a rigid schedule at the expense of everyone’s comfort.

9. Use Public Transportation or Uber

Walking is a great way to see the cities, but during the peak heat, don’t shy away from using public transportation.

Buses, trams, and subways are usually air-conditioned and can get you from point A to B without the extra heat exposure.

And if you’re really feeling like splurging, get an air-conditioned Uber. It saved us more than once when the boys were too tired and hot to walk back to our hotel.

10. Stay Flexible and Keep a Positive Attitude

This might be the most important tip of all. Traveling with kids in the heat can test your patience, but keeping a positive attitude and staying flexible can make all the difference.

Things might not always go as planned, but sometimes those unexpected changes lead to the best memories.

Tips for Visiting Italy During Summer Wrap-Up

Surviving—and thriving—in the Italian summer with kids is all about planning, staying cool, and knowing when to take a break.

Our trips to Italy during the hot summer months taught us how to balance seeing the sights with keeping everyone happy and cool. And honestly, those gelato breaks and siesta times became some of our favorite vacation moments.

So, pack your bags (don’t forget the sunscreen!), embrace the adventure, and get ready to make some unforgettable family memories in Italy. And when the heat gets to be too much, just remember: there’s always gelato. Buon viaggio!

Looking for more Italy travel tips? Check out The #1 Mistake Families Make When Visiting Italy—and How to Avoid It!, How to Visit Italy with a Toddler, How to Plan a Trip to Italy: Step-by-Step Guide, What are the Best Rome Tours for Kids Worth Booking?, and How to Spend 10 Days in Italy with Kids!

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