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Staying cool this summer in Italy

It’s the third week of June and temperatures in Florence are already souring in the higher 90’s and many houses/businesses are without air-conditioning. As a seasoned expat living in Florence for over 6 years, here are some tips on “staying cool” this summer in Italy. Obviously the seaside is an obvious escape but many like me, can’t always escape every week or weekend and hopefully I can provide some ideas on surviving “summermageddon” this year if you, like me, happen to not live on the banks of the sea.

1. Sign up to the local pool. It doesn’t matter what city you are in Italy, likely there is a pool nearby and check out Insiders Abroad directory for addresses/numbers. Pools are cheaper than a gym membership and the local ones in Florence have ample space for hanging outside and always have a cafe/bar. Think about 6-7 euros for entry! (Also in some cities, like Florence, you can find pools that are even open at night!, this is one of my favorites The price of aperitivo includes a night-swim! https://www.facebook.com/le.pavoniere.firenze)

2.Visit a lake. There are some really fabulous lakes in Italy and for the most part they are a great alternative to the seaside. Some of the most famous include Lago Maggiore & Lago di Garda, but did you know that only 40 minutes from Florence exists a man-made lake with beaches and paddleboats? Yep! Not only Lake Bilancino close to the city, the famous Barberino designer outlets are 5 minutes away. I suggest visiting the lake, swimming & lunch ( bahia cafe/beach is my favorite area), taking a shower (they have facilities at Bahia) and doing a little later afternoon shopping. http://www.bilancinolagoditoscana.it/pages/arri....

3. Close those shutters! I think I have officially “became” Italian writing this tip. Every Italiano will tell you if you want to keep your house cool, you need to close the shutters/windows in your house. What I did this year was get some mosquito screens from the local hardware store and attach them to the window so I could keep the window open at night and mosquitoes won’t get in the house. Buy a fan or two or a portable air-conditioner ( you can even find them used in local classifieds) for the hottest months ( late June and July).

4. Drink lots & lots of water. Very obvious but honestly before you even think about having a coffee in the morning, drink a glass of water, before your head hits the pillow, have another glass . In between keep a bottle always with you so you are constantly hydrated since in Italy the weather is often humid which means you even more likely to need water. If your not that into water, do what I do and slice lemons, orange or mint into your bottles and you can thank me later.

*Don’t forget to put 20+ sunscreen on your face and exposed neck, shoulders, knees, and top of your feet if your wearing sandals, even when your running errands in the center. The summer is HOT, and skin cancer is not something you want to have one day.

5. Plan activities according to the sun. No seriously, I would recommend anything outdoors (walking/hiking/visiting a new city) early in the morning while taking refuge during the hottest part of the day, lunchtime. Late afternoon (past 6pm) is a great time to plan activities and even later at night when you can pleasantly walk around Rome or Florence without rivers of sweat running down your face. I would recommend doing a little research for nice cafe’s around the city where you can enjoy a “shakerato” ( Italian ice coffee) break. If someone is visiting you, that 10 minutes of research is even that much more important.

Published June 21st, 2012 by Georgette
Posted to Expat Blog

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