It’s the early days of July and I’m already melting. After spending a long winter and, quite frankly, rubbish Spring whinging about the weather, the woman in the local alimentari is now whinging about the heat. She has got a point though, it’s already unbearably hot. Stepping out my house, I’m reminded of why everyone abandons work and school so early here in the summer months, it’s because the moment the sun comes out, your brain cells are fried to a crisp and you collapse in a confused pool of sweat on the floor, babbling about mirages and the fact your sunglasses are melting. As the midday sun hits, towns become ghost towns as everyone flocks to the beaches in search of some respite. If you’re thinking of having an Italian summer, here’s my survival guide.
Don some sunglasses – preferably designer, the bigger the better. They’ll save your retinas from burning, hide the effects of last night’s cocktails and make you look super stylish at the same time. Sunglasses are an Italian’s best friend and there are countless shops where you can find the latest models to wear in your car, the sea and at night too.
Drink lots of water – though tap water is considered safe to drink, depending on where you live you may not find it that palatable, hence the super cheap bottled water available everywhere. However, plastic bottles are contributing to Italy’s huge waste problem, so to be more environmentally friendly, ditch the plastic and head instead to one of the many water fountains that you will find in every Italian village or city. The water is fresh, delicious and, in Calabria, straight from the mountains, so better than your bottled equivalent.
Head to the sea! – Here in Calabria you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing beaches, see here for a rundown of some of the best ones. Whether you prefer long stretches of sand which go on as far as the eye can see, or small secluded coves, you can find the best places to soak up the rays and take that much needed dip when it all gets too much. Eleven beaches have been awarded the ‘Bandiere Blu’, a certification from the Foundation of Environmental Education which issues flags according to a number of standards such as water quality, safety, and environmental education. In Calabria this year the beaches that have been awarded are: Sellia Marina, Soverato, San Nicola Arcella, Villapiana , Trebisacce, Tortora, Roseto Capo Spulico, Praia a mare, Melissa, Cirò Marina and Roccella Jonica.
Follow the Italian rhythms – When in Rome, after all! When the temperatures soar there’s nothing better to do than adopt the Italian lifestyle. Do activity early in the morning or in the early evening, the temperatures are bearable and that’s when you’ll find things open, in the South at least. Stay out of the sun during the middle of the hours, instead use this time in the way that it’s best for, to eat of course! And what’s the best thing to do after over-indulging at lunchtime? A little afternoon nap, rest, refresh and get ready for the evenings when the temperatures drop (a little) and everyone wakes up ready for action.
So, enjoy the summer, eat the food, dance the night away in the piazzas, soak up the sun on the beaches and live la dolce vita.