As temperatures reach sizzling peaks in July, Tuscany is filled with music, traditional festivals, and well-known events like Siena’s captivating Palio. Days are hot, evenings are long and the nights are warm. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the beaches, explore the mountains, or join in one of the many local food sagre or cultural events.
Tuscany in July – A feast of festivals
Palio fever in Siena – 2nd July
July opens with perhaps the most famous Tuscan festival, the Palio. A historic bareback horse race that takes place every year on 2nd July and 16th August in the splendid setting of Piazza del Campo. The Medieval square is turned into a racetrack (with a layer of earth covering the terracotta-tiled pavement), and Siena wheels out its ancient rivalries of the town’s various contrade or districts.
If you arrive in Siena a few days before the race, you’ll be able to see the ‘tratta‘ (the selection of the horses, three days before the race), and watch Siena getting decked out for the race. Choose a contrada to support, and look out for its banners and sigil. The historic parade arrives in Piazza del Campo around 5pm on the day of the Palio.
Tuscany in July – Music’s in the air
Tuscany loves its music, and in July the musical fever rises. International and Italian pop and rock artists descend on Lucca for the Summer Festival (this year from 29th June to 27th July 2019 – Elton John, Toto, Elbow among others, see official site).
Nearby Torre del Lago stages the Puccini Festival, with a series of operas created by the Lucca-born composer Giacomo Puccini in the atmospheric setting of the Massaciuccoli Lake. (6th July – 24th August 2019, see official site for full program and tickets).
Both Arezzo and Pistoia dedicate the month of July to music, with the Arezzo Raro Festival and the renowned Pistoia Blues Festival which this year sees the participation of Ben Harper and Black Stone Cherry.
The “Estate Fiesolana” is an event with a rich program of concerts, theatre shows that takes place every Summer in the spectacular setting of the Roman Theatre in Fiesole, a small town perched on a scenic hill just above Florence. This year is on from 20th June to 19th August 2019. See full program on the official site.
Other events to enjoy around Tuscany this July 2019
The seaside resort of Marina di Pietrasanta, on the Versilia coast, hosts La Versiliana Festival, a cultural hub of theatre, dance shows and concerts. (See the full program here).
This stretch of the Tuscan coast, with popular resorts such as Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi is a great place to be in the Summer for those looking for activities and entertainment, and beach life with plenty of bathing establishments. Pietrasanta itself is a charming small town dedicated to art and marble crafts.
Every July the fortified village of Monteriggioni puts on its best Medieval costume during the Medieval festival “Monteriggioni di Torri si corona” (4th-7th and 12th-14th July 2019), while Certaldo Alto becomes the setting for a charming street theatre festival, “Mercantia” that brings magic and wonders in the Medieval historic centre of this small town. (this year from 10th to 14th July 2019).
Plenty of food festivals dot the Tuscan Summer, and even the smallest town organises its own sagra with local specialities during the weekends. Many towns and villages – from the northern Garfagnana to the southern Maremma – set up night markets and special events in the evening. There’s definitely no time to get bored!
A few examples? The ‘ peasant dinner’ (cena del contadino) in Castelnuovo Garfagnana on 14th July, or the “Crostinata” in Quercianella, – dedicated to all sorts of crostini – in the seaside resort south of Livorno, on 18th July 2019.
Trip ideas for your July vacation in Tuscany
Looking for a beach holiday? Opt for Versilia if you’re up for (crowded) well equipped beaches, plenty of activities for kids, and upmarket shopping opportunities. If you’re in the mood for something quieter, better to head south to the Maremma, where you can find plenty of beaches (both free and equipped) but there’s definitely more ‘space’. Bear in mind that weekends are very busy pretty much everywhere on the Tuscan coast – so expect traffic.
=> Discover the Best Beaches in Tuscany.
=> Where to try the best ice cream in Florence.
For something a bit quieter (less hot) why not head to the mountains. Visiting off-the-beaten track places like the Garfagnana or Casentino in the Summer can give you a respite from the heat and the crowds. Outside the cities it’s still hot during the day, but it cools down in the evenings. The countryside is painted shades of yellow in the Val d’Orcia, with expanses of sunflower and wheat fields.
Check out this water adventure in the Garfagnana: see the Devil’s Bridge and explore the river Serchio on a SUP!
If you’re planning to do some sightseeing in the cities, try to do it in the early morning or late afternoon… to avoid the heat! In Florence and Siena and the other popular towns, shops stay open all day. While in the smaller, less touristy, towns shops usually close at 1pm at reopen not before 4:30pm.
Being driven around the countryside and do some wine tasting is a great way to spend your day => Check this Chianti Wine Tour from Florence!
=> For more ideas of things to do during your July trip, check out this 8 Great summer destinations in Tuscany
What is the weather like in July?
July along with August, is the hottest month in Tuscany. Temperatures can reach 35 degrees celsius (95 F ), and in the evening they go down to 18/21 (65 F). It’s generally one of the driest months.
In Florence – and generally in the region’s interior – the weather is hotter and more humid. In the hilly areas there are a few degrees less, with pleasant evenings and nights. On the mountainous areas in northern Tuscany climate is definitely less hot, and it can rain in the Summer. Along the coast, the weather is more pleasant and windy
Sea is around 25 degrees in July and Augist, perfect for a swim. If you mind the heat, make sure there’s air conditioning in your accommodation, especially if you’re based in Florence.
Sun is up just before 6am and sunset around 9pm.