But that heat usually doesn't come until July and August, which is why we chose May for our visit.
As we also found out, the heat can certainly have a negative effect on your travels, especially if you were not planning on it. It can take the wind right out of your sails.
Here are some tips on how to survive Rome in the blinding heat. Whether you are prepared for it, or like us, otherwise.
1. Do as the Romans do. Romans have been living in this heat for centuries. Follow their lead. Get up and at 'em early, head for lunch inside or outside under the cover of umbrellas and then straight home for il riposo (a nap) in your hotel. Take a cool shower and head back out once the sun starts to go down- for dinner and an evening passeggiata.
2. Fountain fill-ups. Fountains filled with delicious, clear, crisp, spring water are ubiquitous in Rome. The water is free, cool, thrist-quenching and did I mention free? You need to replenish often to combat the heat and to offset the dehydration you'll experience from consuming copious amounts of wine and espresso.
3. Seek Shade. When you are out and about, try to avoid the main streets of the city, because they are wide and get full sun exposure. Instead, head for the smaller streets, which are lined with large buildings that provide shade. Stick to the shady side of the streets. You might be surprised by the hidden treasures you'll discover in the lesser known cobbled nooks and crannies.
4. Extra Gelato Breaks. As if you needed a reason to indulge in the cold, creamy goodness that only authentic Italian gelato can offer, let heat be the one. But, extreme heat ups the ante. You have my permission to partake as many times a day as needed to bring your body temp back to normal. On really hot days, grab the fruit-flavored sorbetto, which can be more refreshing.
5. Pack for the unexpected. I suppose the weather is really never that predictable, so plan for anything. I'm not suggesting bringing flip-flops in January- just in case, but if there is a possibility of real heat, come prepared. Bring at least one pair of comfy sandals. Consider a few tanks which can be layered with a cardigan if it cools down. Linen is a great breathable fabric that will keep you cool as well. Throw on a cute floppy hat, sunscreen and sunglasses in for good measure!
6. Visit a Church or Museum. Some have air-conditioning, but even those that don't are bound to be much cooler than the alternative, with their thick, floor to ceiling stone and marble interiors. And churches have pews, so you are guaranteed a resting spot for hot, tired tootsies. If you're lucky, like I was, you just might get to witness a Roman wedding, crying Ringbearer and all!
7. Don't overdo it. Don't pack your itinerary chock-full. Allow for even more down-time. If you have to scratch things completely off the itinerary because the thought of standing out on the baked cobblestones for six hours on a tour of the forum would bring on heatstroke- I am here to tell you, it's ok. Really. Most of the old stuff has been around for over 2,000 years. I think you'll get another opportunity to visit again in the next 2,000. Don't you?
How would you beat the heat in Rome or any other city for that matter?
Cherrye is taking a little riposa of her own from Travel Tip Tuesday today, but she has been nice enough to provide a few oldies but goodies from her archives.