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Cymraeg46 Jun 23rd, 2008 07:12 AM

If anyone is leaving for Italy this week, and at the risk of being accused of lecturing you (as I was yesterday), the Italian Civil Defence has just issued a "Red Alert" for Rome, Florence, Venice and some other cities for the rest of the week. Here in Rome today it is 95F and Florence is a few degrees higher. But with the high humidity it seems even hotter. You may get lucky and it may get cooler later in the week, but that is not what the forecasters say. People are being carted off to hospital.
So if you have perhaps had a long flight, try not to rush around too much looking for trains and so on. If possible stay overnight wherever your flight lands. And whatever you do, take it easy!
As I said above, I'm not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs but as we are all friends on Fodors I thought I'd let you know so you can be prepared.

copain1 Jun 23rd, 2008 07:18 AM

", I'm not trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs"

Wow... that's a new one for me.. :)

Yeah Rome @ 95 degrees. Not cool, not cool at all.

vegasrookie Jun 23rd, 2008 07:22 AM

Thank you for the warning - we're leaving on Saturday. Maybe a re-thinking of the clothes that we had set-aside for packing is in order. With this being our first trip to Bella Italia, please forgive my stupid questions. I've devoted the last several weeks to reading up on my guide books as well as Fodors Talk about everything Italy. Several posters made mention that shorts are not the common thing to wear in Italy, unless you're near the water I guess. While we are aware that we can not wear shorts to go to places like the Vatican, etc., will it be a crime for us to wear shorts? Or can my teenage son and daughter get away with it? I think DH said that he's planned on not bringing any shorts for the trip.

I'm bringing mostly an all-linen wardrobe (hey, I happen to like wrinkles), and a few special outfits for evening use.

Please be kind.

Viajero2 Jun 23rd, 2008 07:23 AM

The place to be in Europe during the summer? Scandinavia. Go figure...

Dukey Jun 23rd, 2008 08:27 AM

Where ARE those Fodorites who keep telling people you don't really need A/C in Italy in the Summer?

AtlTravelr Jun 23rd, 2008 08:54 AM

We were in Italy last summer when it was 100 in Rome. One survival tip that has worked well for us is to plan to retire to your room during the afternoon. Rest, read, take a break from touring and from each other, especially if you are traveling with teens. In Tuscany we also used this time to sit by the pool, swim, have a drink, etc. We more than make up for this break by getting out EARLY to the big sights, while it is cool and less crowded. We also stayed up rather late as dinner didn't start till 8:00 at the earliest!

And vegasrookie - teens can get away with almost anything, so if they want to wear shorts, that is fine. You already know they can't wear them into the churches. My husband also wore shorts to visit Pompeii and the Greek ruins in Sicily.

Cymraeg46 Jun 23rd, 2008 09:05 AM

Absolutely no problems with shorts for anybody of any age (except, as you say, in churches). They may not be the height of fashion, but comfort is more important in these conditions. In the evening though you might want to use anti-mosquito spray on the exposed bits.

danon Jun 23rd, 2008 09:24 AM

absolutely agree with PP!

sera Jun 23rd, 2008 09:56 AM

OK, I'm probably too judgmental on this, but I think shorts are for children and for people doing sports and recreation and not for adults, especially while traveling in Europe. I've been in Italy during fierce heat waves and wore lightweight linen long or cropped pants and was about as cool as I was going to get, anyway. They also protect your skin from the sun.

maitaitom Jun 23rd, 2008 10:15 AM

I was in Venice late last week as temps were soaring. I am nearly 56, but wore my new, longish Eddie Bauer shorts each day. I saw a lot of shorts on a lot of people of all ages. No one cared that I wore shorts, and I asked at a few churches if I could go inside, and nowhere did they say "No." I'm guessing that God doesn't want you to die of heat exposure, so wear what is comfortable and drive the fashion police crazy. Have fun!


sera Jun 23rd, 2008 03:51 PM

maitaitom: I'm not so much a "fashion police" officer as a bit old-fashioned about showing too much flesh in public--especially in European cities. there are still some of us left in a time of shorts, "muffin tops, and flip flops and sleeveless tops in offices.

GiuliaPiraino Jun 23rd, 2008 04:12 PM

Wow, I wear sleeveless tops to work everyday, is that really considered inapporpriate? I consider myself pretty conservative but I never thought showing ones arms was immodest in the states, I know they don't let you in to churches in europe in a sleeveless top, but here in the states?

Personally, I've been to Italy a dozen times, what I've noticed is that shorts in the south and in Sicily will get you stared at and often pointed at, and sometimes hissed at by an old lady! In the north, they are much more liberal with clothing, especially in the larger cities. Daisy dukes are never acceptable in europe, however, I do think that linen or pressed bermuda length shorts on women are very classy looking and they can look very elegant depending on the fabric, color, accessories, etc. It's true european men are seldom seen wearing shorts, however in 2005 in France the men were wearing capris so go figure!

So I guess, IMHO, wear whatever will prevent you from going to the hospital with heat stroke. As long as you are not wearing provacative or revealing clothing, it's nonsense not to dress according to the temperature to protect your health. On an interesting note, many of my Italian friends have told me that they "dress to the calendar", they explained this to me that if it is October and it's 95 degrees, they will still wear fall/winter clothing, that's just the way it is. And they are very serious about it even though it makes zero sense to me. So, rather than try to squeeze ourselves into a cultural mold that we don't live in, why not just wear what is comfortable according to what the weather warrants, to protect yourself from heat related injury? Ok, don't wear what most 20 year old girls wear to the mall in the states, that's a given, but as a normal adult who's wearing shorts I don't see a problem, male or female. This whole thing about "oooh they'll know you're a tourist if you wear shorts", well I hate to state the obvious but you are a tourist, so who cares? Also, the people that live in that climate are acclimated to that climate, so they may be comfortable in 95 degrees wearing jeans and a long sleeve top (yes, I've seen this in the summer in Italy), whereas we are not used to that.

So you can still be respectful in what you wear, not expose yourself too much and still be comfortable. Shorts on men and women are fine if the length isn't to racy. People are going to stare no matter what you wear for one reason or another. Just be comfy and have fun!

logos999 Jun 23rd, 2008 04:17 PM

>Where ARE those Fodorites who keep telling people you don't really need A/C in Italy

You really don't need AC in Italy at all. Just a buch of sissies from the US may have problems :D

I'm freezing my b*tt of right now, being on the south shore of St. Lorence gulf, in beautiful Québec, so don't tell me about "heat waves"...

Travelnut Jun 23rd, 2008 05:17 PM

To the 'sleeveless' sidebar, I work for a bank and we dress somewhat 'business casual' (not customer-facing) but sleeveless is on the Do Not list for us. A lot of sleeveless tops have wide armholes and you can see the lingerie without even trying. I suppose that's one reason why, personal hygiene perhaps being another... These are different reasons that why the Italian churches do not want sleeveless attire, however.

bozama Jun 23rd, 2008 05:29 PM

Where I work sleeveless tops are considered a no no also. Problem is with interpetation. Some sleeveless shirts can look quite decent, but some look like undershirts that a teenager would wear. So saying no to all is the best policy here.

As for those who think shorts will make a difference in keeping you cooler, you could be off base. In countries were the temps regularily get over 100 ,, clothing is LOOSE, and lightly woven , and light coloured, and often covers the head and shoulders as well as arms and legs...

I think linen capris or those nice knee length shorts ( the nice onces not the basketball type) are a good alternative.

In mega heat I always wear a skirt, coolest of all.

GiuliaPiraino Jun 23rd, 2008 05:38 PM

Ok, I would agree that the teenage sleeveless tops are likely going to be different than the ones I wear from Ann Taylor or Talbots LOL. I guess since I am the only woman in my office,I dont have anything to compare it with!

I don't like skirts in the heat because when I cross my legs and it's skin on skin I can't stand the feeling of them sticking together!

For me I have the perfect fix for the weather/clothing debacle, I go to Italy in the fall or winter, it's awesome! Its often 70-80 degrees and sunny in the south even in November!

My poor husband is leaving for Italy in one week, you coudn't pay me to go there at this time of year, poor guy!

marigross Jun 24th, 2008 03:34 AM

Last summer we were in Switzerland and the temps were soaring. I had not packed for those temperatures and had to purchase a skirt just to survive the day. Switzerland is not a good place to shop for a not-Swiss-thin, latino-curvy body type like mine.

At home I never wear shorts in public but I must say that I walked through Zurich wearing DH's cargo-style shorts and skimpy sandals. Not elegant at all but I was in a much better mood. I must say that I was not alone, there were a lot of Swiss also wearing shorts.

mpprh Jun 24th, 2008 04:27 AM

As someone said above "the humidity is more important than the temp".

120F (and <10% humidity) in Death Valley is hot, but doesn't feel as bad as 100F with 98% humidity in Detroit !

We (Languedoc, France) have forecasts for 34 & 35C's (around 95F) over the next 2 weeks.

We have low humidity, so it is not too bad with a little breeze.

It is still a little cool. We normally have 100+F by now with 110F (43C) during hot spells.

An interesting photo :

So drink plenty of water, stay in the shade, and all is OK.


kleeblatt Jun 24th, 2008 04:37 AM

Last summer? In Switzerland? Zürich?

We had great weekends and medicore weekdays last summer. Definitely not a heatwave. There were a few days when air conditioners would have been nice but on the whole it was a very medicore summer.

Glad you caught a hot day. We're going to have hot days every day this week. After our long cold, wet spell, it's a sudden but welcome change.

Cymraeg46 Jun 24th, 2008 07:07 AM

I work in an office (open to the public) near Rome. If you saw how some of the signorinas dress (or should I say undress) to come to work, you wouldn't worry too much about a pair of shorts on the Via Veneto!

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