Summer in Tuscany means colours, brilliant light and long hot days. Summer in Tuscany is when people live the long warm evenings and fill the seaside resorts, where the countryside turns gold and the towns come alive with fairs and music. It’s a season of freedom, fresh fruit and unlimited ice cream.
But there’s a way to get the most out of your Summer in this part of the world. Special destinations, festivals and attractions where you can bask in life under the Tuscan sun.
Summer in Tuscany – Season of many pleasures
Summer is a special time of the year. Think endless blue sky, sunshine, meals eaten outside and some incredible views. In the evening join in with the locals that are out in the piazze enjoying the breeze that cools down the day’s heat. All around Tuscany during the Summer season even the smallest towns liven up with food festivals and local fairs. And, if you’re up for a beach holiday, this is where you’ll find some of Italy’s finest beaches.
Dream away in the golden Tuscan countryside
This is the season when the Tuscan countryside turns an intense golden ochre, with the wheat fields harvested and showing off amazing shades of burned yellow. Hay bales are dotted around the countryside like golden pillows adding a touch of bucolic calm to the already relaxing scene. The grapes are ripening on the vines, and sunflowers make their glorious appearance.
Out in the country it’s cooler especially in the evening, and if you are staying in one agriturismo in the Chianti or Val d’Orcia you’ll enjoy a good bit of star gazing at night. Make sure you check the events that are planned in the area where you’re staying and you’ll be surprised at how lively even the tiniest village can be.
In the Summer Tuscany puts on a Medieval show
Medieval festivals flourish throughout the Summer months. Starting with the popular Monteriggioni Medieval fair in July, to Volterra AD1398 Festival at the end of August, Medieval towns get decked out for various events to relive their colourful pasts. There’s the Medieval revival in Arezzo with the Giostra del Saracino jousting, and there’s Pistoia with the Giostra dell’Orso. Not to mention the world-famous historic horse race in Siena, the Palio, that turns the town mad with horse fever.
Music, music, and more music
In Tuscany we love music, and in the Summer we go crazy for it. We love old-world Opera at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, where timeless arias are sung in the open air theatre overlooking the Massacciuccoli Lake. Or if you prefer contemporary vibes, head to the Pistoia Blues festival or the popular Lucca Summer Festival for a stream of international hosts. For an intimate experience, look out for the open air classical concert in the splendid setting of San Galgano Abbey, immersed in the Sienese countryside.
What’s Summer like in Florence or Siena?
We won’t lie to you. It can be sweltering in July and the first half of August. So avoid the cities if you can’t bear the heat and humidity. If you can’t renounce some cultural sightseeing in Florence or Siena, plan your visit to the museums early in the morning, so that by midday you can escape out of the sun for a few hours. As a bonus, prices tend to go down for accommodation in Florence in August. And there are amazing open air places for an evening aperitivo.
Escape to the peaks
Don’t forget that in Tuscany we have mountains too. Choose the Garfgnana or Lunigiana, and discover the hidden little towns nestled in the green. Here Summer is greeted with lots of events, the small town of Barga being the most lively, with festivals dedicated to food (there’s even a fish and chips festival for anglophiles), music and colourful markets. If you base yourself in the Garfagnana, from there you easily visit lovely Lucca. You’ll find more tranquility, beautiful nature and lower temperatures.
Summer is the time to enjoy Tuscany’s best seaside resorts
If you’re looking for beaches, you have a vast choice. For your beach holidays, you can choose the glitzy and lively Versilia coast, that has beautiful beach establishments and plenty of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Plus you’re close to Lucca, Pisa, the Apuan alps, and the delightful Pietrasanta. Maybe you’d prefer one of the Tuscan islands, or the coastal towns of the Maremma, where natural beauty and scenic fishing villages offer a relaxing atmosphere, with their long beaches and clear water.
A few tips for your Summer in Tuscany
The hours around lunch time can be quite deserted in the Summer months, with shops closing from 1pm to 4:30pm – 5pm in the smaller towns.
Seaside places get very busy with locals and Italians on holidays. Usually the end of July and first two weeks of August are the peak season for beaches. So prices go up, and you can expect crowds. Queues are to be expected on roads on weekends, and it’s best to avoid travelling on weekends along coastal routes.
Bring water with you at all times, and something to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
Something for you palate… Try local fish dishes if you’re at the seaside, match it with some Tuscan white wine, shaken iced coffee known as caffe’ shakerato, and of course all the gelato you can manage.