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Italy in August: seeking suggestions and opinions

Italy in August: seeking suggestions and opinions

Old Jan 13th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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Italy in August: seeking suggestions and opinions

We're planning on spending at least two months in Italy this summer. All of August and September and possibly adding the last week of July and/or the first week of October. This will be my fifth trip and we like to travel off the beaten path. I speak Italian, so there are no language concerns.

Initially I had thought that we'd spend the entire time in the Puglia area. In fact I thought about arrival at FCO, going to Pescara and then making our way south along the coast through the Gargano Peninsula, around the bottom of the heel, then up and stopping in Matera before heading back to Rome.

I have never been to Italy in August. I know that it can get unbearably hot and that is my biggest concern. Well that AND finding a place to sleep without reservations when many of the Italian citizens have left the cities for their own vacation. Based on my research it will be much easier to find a room or apartment basically anywhere in Puglia in September, so it's definitely the month of August that I want to address. I also understand that just because the calendar says September 1st, that there is no guarantee that it will suddenly cool down. As long as we are near the water we'll "make do". Prices drop considerably and knowing that we will have a choice of where to stay is a bonus.

I am now thinking that maybe we would be better off going north during August and staying in towns near Torino or maybe further north into Lago Maggiore where there would be sights to see and perhaps slightly cooler temps. But when I think of the lake, I can only imagine that it too would be difficult to find a place to sleep without reservations. We enjoy a mixture of towns and resort type of areas. For instance in Sardinia, we enjoyed Alghero for all the town had to offer as much as we enjoyed Stintino which had no town where we stayed, but an amazing beach. We thought Taormina was great just as much as we enjoyed hanging out in peace and quiet near our hotel in Vulcano. We much prefer busses and the train, but have paid taxi drivers to take us to villages. We will definitely consider a car rental in Puglia in September. I would love some advice based on these concerns:

1. We prefer to travel without reservations. My concern is finding a place to sleep anywhere in August without reservations.

2. Oppressive heat. I know that all of Italy is hot in August, but I can only imagine that being in Puglia in August could be mind boggling hot and that is a big concern. We live in the California desert so we don't want to exchange cruel heat for more cruel heat.

All ideas welcome!
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Old Jan 13th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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In August much of Italy will be oprresivel hot - high 90s or 100 and humid. And, IMHO, traveling without reservations is close to madness unless you have an unlimited budget or don't mind sleepingin your car.
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Old Jan 13th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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due to school hols, we spent a week in august on lake garda a few years ago.

1. it was vv hot

2. it was crowded.

we had accommodation booked so we didn't have to look for it, but i wouldn't have put money on our being able to find anywhere decent.

if I HAD to do this, I'd think about the Dolomites, or a beach resort, AND I'd book. Definitely.

Alternatively, with a whole month to spare, wouldn't an apartment be a good idea? you could use it as a base, and then do 2-3 day trips as the mood took you, booking on line at last minute to make sure you've got somewhere to stay.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Thank you Ann for sharing your personal experience. I'm thinking we may be much better off taking a place in San Diego for August and leaving around the 1st for Puglia.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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Hmmm... well, often the big cities are actually somewhat empty in August. Any interest in extended time in Rome, Milan, Naples...? We have often seen discounted rates offered for August for these cities. I did August in Italy once, in 2002, and I did it without reservations. But I was 22 and not opposed to hostels and the most basic B&Bs. I found something every night without too much trouble, even in the extremely popular Cinque Terra (though I had to switch rooms every night). That summer wasn't an extremely hot one from what I remember but I rather think that was an exceptional year and not the norm.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 07:46 AM
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I'm thinking we may be much better off taking a place in San Diego for August and leaving around the 1st for Puglia.>>

honestly - yes. of course, you might be lucky and have a cooler august like the one that T'aggie describes but you can't rely on it. another alternative might be to spend a month somewhere you could rely upon being cooler, like Holland or Scandanavia. also a better bet of getting "ad hoc" accommodation, I think, so long as you stay out of capital cities.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 09:41 AM
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TexasAggie: You're right. August is low season in the cities. But it's so dang hot. I remember my friend who lived in Florence agonizing over the summer heat. By now, having lived year round in the desert for too many years, I can't bear being in a cement environment in scalding heat. If it has to be hot, at least put me near the water. Writing this I am reminded of spending two weeks in June in Puerto Vallarta. Right on the beach, but so hot and muggy I'd get nauseous just as soon as I stepped outside. Big mistake to go to PV in June. I remember returning to the desert after that PV trip and feeling relief! Like a day in San Francisco! By traveling in the shoulder season, I'm confident it will be less stressful for us.

ann: Very good idea and something to consider. I'm going to suggest it. Earlier this morning we came up with going to San Diego mid July through August, then going to Puglia around the 1st of September for 6 weeks. The good thing about SD is that we'd have guaranteed great weather for six weeks and our dollar is worth a dollar as opposed to .75¢
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