Temperatures in Italy during July are about what you'd expect for the middle of summer. For example, if your primary destination is Rome, you can expect an average temperature of 79°F/26°C. If you plan on traveling throughout the country, averages in the north are 65-85°F/18-30°C, 65-90°F/18-32°C in Central Italy, and 75-90°F/24-32°C in the south.
Crowds & Costs
Most places in Italy in July will be teeming with summer crowds. This can make visiting the most famous sites a time-consuming process, what with waiting in all those extended lines. To beat the wait at famous locales like Rome's Colosseum, the Vatican Museum, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, you should purchase tickets in advance via the official websites. Another option is to book guided tours, which will allow you to skip the lines as well. Of course, you'll want to make all travel arrangements to Italy as far in advance as possible, as you can count on high airfare as well as most hotels being fully booked. Lodging will also be costlier—hotel prices in Italy typically spike 100% compared to low-season rates.
Where to Go
July is light on national festivals in which to revel, but there are two great destinations featuring the main cultural celebrations during this month.
First, if you're in Italy in early July, you should head to the Tuscan gem of Siena. Located south of Florence, Siena is arguably even more beautiful than Tuscany's capital of Florence. You could happily spend hours strolling by the medieval brick buildings and amid the Gothic cathedrals, or simply whiling away the afternoon in a patio cafe in the expansive Piazza del Campo.
And it's on July 2nd when the Palio horse race begins and overtakes this main plaza. This elaborate and historic contest involves 10 horses representing various districts of the city racing around the plaza to the delight of the throngs of spectators. It's the biggest festival in the nation during this time. You could enjoy all the festivities and see a good amount of Tuscany in between four and eight days.
The next great event occurs in the city of Verona. Coming here means not only will you get to tour all those Ancient Roman archeological sites, but you can also head to the city's Roman amphitheater, The Arena, for Verona's annual summer Opera Festival, which lasts from late June through the end of August or beginning of September, depending on the schedule. Come to this largest opera house in the world (it boasts some 10,000 seats) at 9 pm on most nights and be treated to elegant interpretations of the classics.
And don't worry about language barriers; these days in Italy, there's at least some English spoken in locales throughout the country.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Even though you'll have to contend with heavy crowds, the summer weather means the entire country is wide open in June. So strike out and enjoy any activity you please. You can head north towards the border with Switzerland for a boat outing on Lake Como. Maybe travel south of Rome to Naples and embark on a brisk hike up Mt. Vesuvius for incredible views.
Of course, what better time than summer to hit the Ligurian coastline and the "Italian Riveria" region of Cinque Terre. The postcard-perfect hillside fishing villages here are colorful and historic. Try the amazing seafood complimented with the region's flagship sauce: pesto.
Other activities include wine tours of the Tuscany/Umbria regions, visiting the major museums of the nation, such as the Vatican Museum and the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, and taking a 2-to-4-day road trip down the Amalfi Coast and/or taking the family to scenic Sorrento. Just know that hotels here and on the Amalfi Coast are fully booked three months in advance. If you do need to get around the country by other means than rental car, do so by train. The other forms of public transport in Italy are often unreliable.
Events in July
Palio di Siena. This horse race is held each year on the 2nd of July (and again on the 16th of August) in the city of Siena, in Tuscany. It involves four days of horse-racing and events in the city square as well as much celebration by the huge audience.
Verona Opera Festival. Throughout the summer you'll find nightly opera performances at the largest such venue in the world: Verona's ancient Roman Arena.
Traveling to Italy in July? Check out these great itineraries.
Adventures in Southern Italy - 7 Days. Visit the island of Capri, the remains of Pompeii, and charming Naples on this active and culinary trip.
Active Cinque Terre - 8 Days. This one week tour of National Park of Cinque Terre lets you explore this UNESCO heritage site in all its glory.