August as you may of heard, is a month in which many Italian businesses close. It is a phenomena that plagues local expats, tourists and observers of il bel paese. Many say “why close during one of the busiest summer months of the tourist season?” In realty, part of the month-long break surrounds the Ferragosto holiday that falls on August 15th but the largest rational goes back to culture and the quintessential Italian “tradition” of enjoying life. Most people also wonder about why there is a 2-3 hour pausa in the middle of the day as well, as that could be a great time to make some sales! But it’s not just all about relishing free time and eating long lunches with the family- it’s ironically rooted in practicality. You see, before fans and air conditioning and people largely held jobs that required a significant of physical energy, it made more sense from a point of view of productivity to close during the warmest hours of the day (usually 1pm-4pm). Likewise, August usually being the hottest month of the year, it makes more sense to close up than to work in extreme heat and take the opportunity to cool down with friends and family at the seaside. And even if nowadays we have these modern conveniences like climate control apparatuses, Italians still take these weeks to enjoy the seaside, life and community. But if you are on vacation in Italy during August, you might find yourself extremely disappointed if you want to eat out at great restaurants only to find them closed for the month.
Here are some suggestions for where to eat in Italy during August:
Pizzeria del Ticinese- This is a rustic Italian restaurant that is known by locals for it’s consistently good pizza baked in a wood fired oven in one of Milan’s trendiest districts on Corso di Porta Ticinese. Reviews also suggest some of their first courses and the house special calzone called “Il Calzun del Ticines” filled with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula and buffalo milk cheeses.
C.so di Porta Ticinese, 65
20123 Milan, Italy
La Hora Feliz- Traveling with a group of friends and looking for a hip aperitivo with a large buffet? This is a great choice for your aperitivo in Milan during August. Read our posts on the tradition of Aperitivo if you don’t already know what it is! In all fairness, it will not be difficult to find an aperitivo bar open in August in Milan, but I particularly like this bar due to its large indoor and outdoor seating options as well as some fairly good options from the buffet during the summer such as spaghetti with clams, octopus and potato salad, cold cuts, fresh summer fruit platters and more.
Via San Vito 5
20123 Milan, Italy
**General tip, head to the neighborhoods such as the Navigli, Corso di Porta Ticinese and Brera for good bets to enjoy some very valid bars and restaurants open during August.
Pizzarium– for some superb Roman pizza and finger food like supli, head to Pizzarium to sample all the various squared pizza by the slice that have a huge variety of seasonal gourmet toppings. Recommended by the most sought out food journalists in Rome and Italy over.
Via della Meloria 43
00136 Rome, Italy
Metamorfosi- If you’d like a fine dining splurge when in the eternal city of Rome during August, this 5 star restaurant will blow your mind and not just your cash. The chef tasting menu’ is pricey but when considering the wine pairings are included and thoughtfully chosen for you, it’s a worthwhile experience for the food and wine fanatic.
Via Giovanni Antonelli 30
00197 Rome, Italy
Coquinarius– Nestled in a side street just steps from the Duomo lies a gastronomic oasis that is extremely valid even beyond the month of August. It has a very fresh and contemporary atmosphere with a slight feel of being an oasis away from the lareg tourist scene albeit being a stone’s throw from the city’s most frequented landmark. Don’t miss the fresh pastas, appetizer platters and the staff’s wine pairing suggestions. Another bonus: it’s on the same street as the world famous gelateria GROM. 🙂
Via dell’Oche 15R
50122 Florence, Italy
Mercato Centrale– The top floor of Florence’s Central Market (Mercato Central in San Lorenzo) has recently been renovated as a sort of modern food hall and offers a wide array of restaurants to choose from including pasta bars, the authentic pizzeria “Sud”, a full beer and wine bar, meat and cheese-mongers including a food stand that sells fresh, tasty mozzarella plates and much more.
Via dell’Ariento 10
50100 Florence, Italy
Looking for more tips for things to do in Italy during August? Our food tours are not running for the month however our fun segway tours are! Segway Tours are a great way to do some sightseeing while staying cool, too!