The weather in Italy has been pretty crazy lately – springtime weather in Winter, and summertime weather already in Spring. Anyone with travel plans to Italy this year has got to be thinking, “Good lord, what does that mean for the summer?” Well, I’d be concerned if I were you.
There is the very real possibility of droughts this summer in parts of Italy. There is an effort underway now to shore up the water supply, but it might be a case of too little too late – or just not enough water to save any in the first place. A public awareness campaign will help draw Italians’ attention to the need to conserve water, but most tourists won’t see (or won’t understand) those warnings. My hope is that hotels and hostels will make their guests aware that there is a water crisis in the country and they need to do their part.
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If you’ve got summer travel plans to Italy, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Stay out of the sun as much as you can – Plan your days so that you’re at outdoor sights either very early in the morning or later in the evening, when it’s less hot and the sun isn’t directly overhead. This will make sight seeing more pleaseant for you, and lessen the risk of illness and fatigue. During the hotter middle part of the day, that’s when you’ll want to visit the indoor sights like museums and cathedrals, or just go back to your hotel or hostel for a quick nap!
- Drink lots of water – In Rome this is made even easier with the city’s public water fountains which constantly burble up ice cold water. They’re great for getting a quick sip, refilling your water bottle and even dousing a handkerchief to tie around your neck. What I don’t know is whether these will still be constantly on if the drought is bad. In either case, and everywhere else you go, you should remember to bring a bottle of water with you – especially if you’re going to be doing any outside touring.
- Cover up – Get out your sunscreen and your big, floppy hat, because both will come in handy. In places like the Roman Forum, for instance, there isn’t much shade, so you’ve got to bring your own protection. If you’re like me and have dark hair, a hat is a must. Dark hair just soaks up the sun and leaves me miserable with a pounding headache – which is no way to feel when you’re sight seeing. There are few things which will make you constantly uncomfortable (and therefore ruin an otherwise nice holiday) like a sunburn, so apply it liberally. And yes, I did once work at the American Cancer Society, why do you ask?
- Give yourself a break – Don’t rush yourself, especially if you’re feeling tired or sick from the heat. You’ll make yourself even more tired and/or ill, and you won’t enjoy your trip. Better to rest up and enjoy fewer good days in Italy than spend every waking hour exhausted, unhappy and cursing the entire country.
- Eat more gelato – As if you needed an excuse to consume more of Italy’s famous gelato, this seems to me like a perfect one. You could even do what a friend of mine once did – make an entire meal out of gelato. Buy two scoops from one stand, and when you’re done buy two more from the next, and so on until you’re full. Sounds delightful to me!
Photo by: Dimit®i