August in Italy: Weather, Holidays & Festivals
In August, as Italians close shop and head to the beach or mountains, the tourist tide rolls in to cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence. There are still outdoor concerts, typically the continuation of festivals from July, and major sights are still open. But the pace of life in August is much hotter and slower and you may find that that restaurant you always wanted to visit chiuso per ferie — closed for holidays.
Weather in August
Like July, August in Italy is hot and dry throughout the country. Chances of precipitation are slightly higher in August compared to July.
High temperatures in August in northern Italy, which includes Milan, Venice, Bologna, and Turin, average in the low- to mid-80s °F (high 20s to low 30s °C). Northern Italy sees an average of seven days of rain during August.
Afternoon and evening storms are typical in Florence and Rome during August. Central Italy gets very hot in August, with temperatures averaging in the upper 80s/low 90s (31-33°C). Heatwaves have become more common in Central Italy over the past few decades. So it’s not uncommon for temperatures in Rome and Florence to reach 100°F/40°C during these heatwaves. Plan accordingly.
Southern Italy—Naples, Sicily, Sardinia—also tends to be hot and very dry in August. Daily high temperatures range from the mid- to high 80s (high 20s °C). Southern Italy averages around three to four days of rain during August.
August Average Temperatures
August Events and Festivals
August 5 – Festa della Madonna della Neve, Rome
On August 5, the papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome holds an unusual festival. The “Feast of the Madonna of the Snow” commemorates a miraculous August 5 snowfall in the 4th century, an event that prompted the faithful to build a church where Santa Maria Maggiore now stands. A reenactment of the miraculous snowfall happens at the church each year.
August 15 – Ferragosto/Assumption of Mary
By August 15, everyone in Italy is hot, tired, and ready to go on vacation if they haven’t already. Ferragosto is the old pagan name for the mid-August break that coincides with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But all Italians, whether religious or secular, hold this day sacred as no one is expected to be at work or at school, but on holiday with friends or family.
August 16 – Palio Horse Race, Siena
The second of two runnings of Siena’s Palio takes place on 16 August, and the winning contrada of this event gets bragging rights for the rest of the year. Tickets for the Palio grandstands (as well as hotels in Siena) are very hard to come by if you haven’t planned well in advance.
August Anniversaries and Events
- Birth of Claudius (10 B.C.)
- Birth of Enrico Caruso (1921)
- Bologna train station bombing (1980)
- Festa della Madonna della Neve in Rome
- Birth of Nicola Salvi (1697), architect of the Trevi Fountain
- Feast Day of San Donato of Arezzo, celebrated in Arezzo (Tuscany) and widely throughout the Salento subregion of Puglia (e.g., Biccari)
- Death of Trajan (117)
- Feast Day of San Lorenzo of Rome
- Feast Day of Santa Clara di Assisi
- Death of Giambologna (1608)
- Death of Augustus (14 A.D.)
- Italian immigrants Sacco and Vanzetti executed in Boston (1927)
- Feast Day of San Bartolomeo
- Earthquake in central Italy devastates town of Amatrice (2016)
- Feast Day of Saint Alexander of Bergamo
- Death of Titian (1576)
- Feast Day of Saint Sabina
- Birth of Caligula (12 A.D.)