Anyone who travels to Italy, knows one thing for sure: It's hot out and generally, hot inside as well. It's what leads people and dogs alike straight into the glorious fountains that abound in every city. For those brave enough to get off the beaten track of the Venice-Florence-Rome itinerary, Italy in the summer is nothing short of spectacular. In August, every city, town, hamlet - heck even strip mall joint across the boot offers a stunning smorgasbord of cultural & gastronomic delights for everyone.
If you're traveling to Italy, it's great to check out blogs & sites that tell you what events are going on in any part of the town or just outside of it. We spent the summer traveling from sagra to sagra, which are gastronomic fairs in which you are served heaps of pasta with local sauces like cinghiale (wild boar), tartufi (truffles), fettuccine all'amatriciana (in Amatrice), and every other sort of tasty treat.
Other towns host medieval festivals, jousting competitions, or parades like the one we saw in Massa Marittima, with a crossbow competition of archers hitting the bullseye right on the mark. At night, there are concerts with local Italian talent, rock, jazz or pop or even ballroom dancing. We enjoyed them all.
Spending a week in Massa Marittima, with its hilltop sunsets, travertine cathedrals and wonderful people, has just knocked my favorite town in Italy, Ascoli Piceno off the map. But that's not quite fair to Ascoli. I visited in cold and gloomy March, when we had nothing else to do but pop delicious Olive Ascolane (yummy stuffed & deep-fried olives) in our mouths.
So, here's to summertime in Italy, when the living is not only easy, but can actually be exhausting!