Ah, the joyous summer season! A time of carefree days filled with sunshine, travel and thrilling escapades. Of endless gelato indulgence and panini feasts at the autogrill (motorway service area) as we travel to our summer havens. Of romantic moonlit strolls hand in hand with someone special and delightful al fresco dinners in the company of our cherished family and friends – and who cares about the prova costume (swimsuit test)!
So, if you’re planning on spending your summer holidays in the enchanting land of la dolce vita, why not spice up your vacation vocabulary with some popular Italian summer words?
The summer weather in Italy
Estate (summer) in Italy brings endless days of sole (sunshine) and caldo (heat), and throughout much of the country the afa (mugginess) and umidità (humidity) can be pretty intense. To escape this relentless weather, we search for places with aria condizionata (air conditioning) like treasure hunters seeking the holy grail! Early mornings and evenings become our saving grace, as that’s when we can finally enjoy a bit of fresco (cooler temperatures).
Fortunately, there are times when the sun decides to take a break and let the nuvole (clouds) take center stage, accompanied by temporali (storms) and acquazzoni (downpours), which are a godsend to rinfrescare (cool down) the air.
The vento (wind) is a vital companion of summers by the sea. In Apulia’s Salento region, for example, the decision of where to go to the beach is dictated by the whims of the wind. When the tramontana (tramontane) blows from the north, people head to the Ionian coast, where tranquil waters await. On the other hand, the scirocco (sirocco) blowing from the south brings calmness along the Adriatic coast.
Where to go in Italy during summer
Andare in vacanza (going on vacation) to rilassarsi (relax) and staccare la spina (take a break) is sacred in Italy. Many Italians move al mare (to the seaside) or in montagna (to the mountains), but there are also many who can’t resist the allure of a picturesque lago (lake) or a gorgeous città d’arte (art city). And then there are the staycation champions who enjoy gite fuori porta (day trips) to explore their surroundings.
Another enjoyable activity is andare in bicicletta (cycling) to discover new places at a leisurely pace while soaking up nature’s beauty. For those seeking a unique adventure, a crociera (cruise) is an excellent option. And if you’re looking for a more serene and intimate encounter with water, renting a barca a vela (sailing boat) can be a fantastic choice to explore secluded coves and hidden spiagge (beaches) on beautiful isole (islands).
As for accommodations, you can go the traditional route and stay in a classy albergo (hotel) or a cozy bed & breakfast. Prendere una casa in affitto (renting a holiday home) is a popular choice, especially if you’re travelling with the entire family. And if you’re up for a unique experience, try staying at an agriturismo (farmhouse), where you can immerse yourself in the rural atmosphere. These places often come with a cool piscina (swimming pool), so you can cool off under the toasty Italian sun. Lastly, for those who don’t want to lift a finger, the villaggio turistico (tourist resort) is the ultimate escape where your every need is catered to.
Wherever you decide to go, just pack your valigia (suitcase) or zaino (backpack) and let the adventures begin! Oh, and don’t forget your macchina fotografica (camera) to capture all the beautiful moments along the way.
Top Italian summer words for the beach
Squeeze into your costume da bagno (swimsuit) and stuff all your beach essentials into your borsa mare (beach bag): an asciugamano (beach towel), a cappello (hat), occhiali da sole (sunglasses), and infradito (flip-flops). Make sure to bring enough crema solare (sunscreen) because having your skin full of scottature (sunburns) is not the hottest look, right?
Oh, and if you have kids with you, don’t forget to pack braccioli (armbands wings) and a salvagente (lifebuoy)!
So, where should you go? In Italy, you can either head to the spiaggia libera (free beach) or splurge on a fancy stabilimento balneare (beach club). If you choose the free beach, scout for a prime spot and lay your telo mare (beach towel) on the sabbia (sand). If you opt for the lido, you can rent an ombrellone (beach umbrella) with a lettino (beach lounger) or a sedia a sdraio (beach chair).
Now you’re ready to fare il bagno (take a swim), fare tuffi dagli scogli (jump from the cliffs), and prendere il sole (sunbathe). While you’re at it, unleash your inner child with some beachside games. Play with the racchettoni (paddleball game), hop on a pedalò (paddle boat), or channel your inner architect and build the ultimate castello di sabbia (sandcastle) armed with secchiello e paletta (a bucket and spade). And if you prefer a more laid-back approach, you can indulge in some parole crociate (crossword puzzles), leggere (reading), giocare a carte (card playing), or simply float on your materassino (beach mat).
When you’re thirsty, make your way to the beach kiosk and treat yourself to a refreshing tè freddo (iced tea). And if you’re enjoying the free beach vibe, your trusty borsa frigo (cooler bag) will be your ultimate saviour.
If your four-legged friend is going to the beach with you, make sure to search for a spiaggia per cani (dog-friendly beach) or ask Posso portare il cane in spiaggia? (Can I bring my dog to this beach?).
Summer eating and drinking vocabulary
Even amidst the sweltering summer sun, we still have some tantalising foods to choose from here in Italy. When it comes to light bites, we whip up refreshing bowls of macedonia (fruit salad) and slices of sweet anguria (watermelon), plates of pomodoro e mozzarella (tomato and mozzarella cheese), prosciutto e melone (ham and melon), and crispy bruschette. And let’s not forget about carpaccio (super-thin veal slices), bresaola con rucola e grana (aged beef dressed with olive oil and topped with rucola and flaked Parmesan cheese), and the scrumptious vitello tonnato (slices of veal with a tuna sauce).
Of course, we never forget our beloved carbs, even in the summer heat. We like to eat insalata di riso/pasta (cold rice/pasta salad), pasta al pomodoro fresco (pasta with fresh tomatoes) and spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). Oh, and focaccia is a favorite merenda (snack) at the beach.
Indulging in an aperitivo (aperitif) is a sacred ritual at sunset, as are grigliate con gli amici (barbecues with friends) accompanied by birra ghiacciata (ice-cold beer).
When it comes to sweet treats, gelato takes the crown while granita (slushie) is our secret weapon against the scorching heat. We also like to sip on refreshing caffè freddo (iced coffee) to power through the day.
Summer activities in Italy
During the summer months, even the tiniest Italian village comes alive with a festa (party) or a sagra (food festival), creating an enchanting and never-ending festive atmosphere throughout the season.
You’ll find plenty of mercatini (street markets) where treasures await, from vintage clothing to old books and all sorts of random knick-knacks, all while enjoying a leisurely evening passeggiata (stroll) with a delicious gelato in hand.
Many places host concerti (concerts) and open-air balere (dance halls) to dance the night away under the starry sky. You might also stumble into a festa di paese (town festival) with giostre (rides) for the little ones and beautiful fuochi d’artificio (fireworks).
And as the season reaches its peak, there’s one special day that stands out above all others – ferragosto, a holiday that falls on the 15th of August and truly epitomises the essence of summer celebrations in Italy.
We hope these Italian summer words set the mood for your holidays, buone vacanze!
Valentina is a travel writer in love with her country. Having travelled widely around the globe, she realised there was more to explore closer to home and decided to put the passport aside for a while. You can follow her adventures around Italy on her blog myitaliandiaries.com
Valentina Nicastro is a travel writer in love with her home country, Italy. Having travelled widely around the globe, she realised there was more to explore closer to home and decided to put the passport aside for a while. When she is not immersed in documenting Italy, you’ll find her donning her communication consultant hat, weaving words as a content writer and bridging linguistic divides as a translator.