August continues to bring the oppressively hot weather, with temperatures hitting the mid-80s to low 90s degrees Fahrenheit (29-33°C) during the day, cooling off slightly to the mid-60s and 70s (18-24°C) at night.
Though you can find reprieve in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine mountains as well as the series of mountains in the northwest around Garfagnana and Lunigiana, temperatures inland will feel hotter without the breeze off of the Tyrrhenian Sea to cool you down.
While the start of the month is quite dry, toward the second half of August you can expect thunderstorms with the weather cooling as it transitions into autumn.
Crowds & Costs
July blends into August and visitors keep flowing in for the non-stop festivals, beach parties, and hot weather. For the most part, there's no escaping the crowds along the Tyrrhenian coast and Elba, especially over weekends and a week or two before and after the August 15 Ferragosto holiday. That means you can expect smaller towns and villages to be quieter during this period, some offering cheaper accommodation rates, while beach-related venues and chair and umbrella rentals spike.
Book your reservations and accommodation well in advance as there's major pressure on hotels and restaurants at this time. Though you can find some respite in the interior of the country (locals having flocked to the beach), popular destinations such as Florence will continue to bustle with visitors, and hotel rates typically remain more costly than during low-season months.
Where to Go
With the long, hot summer days, the Tyrrhenian Sea and its coastline beckon visitors. If the crowds don't deter you, head to the coast and the Tuscan Archipelago. Begin along the Versilia coast in Tuscany’s northwest for trendy shops, restaurants, exciting nightlife, and of course sandy beaches that slope gently into the sea.
Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, and Viareggio are coastal cities worth checking out. And if you’re in the area and need a little respite from the crowds and heat, venture to Seravezza and Stazzema in the Upper Versilia—the hills that slope up to the Apuan Alps.
On the opposite end of the coast lies Monte Argentario and the rugged coastline of the Maremma. Visit Tuscany’s southernmost point to discover the peninsula’s excellent beaches, hidden coves, and hiking trails. Bonus, the region is likely less crowded than other beachy counterparts further north. For another unique find, travel into the Maremma to Tarot Garden to wander the colorful massive Gaudí-esque statues strewn throughout the park. And while there, be sure to visit the charming walled town of Capalbio.
What to Do
If you do find yourself in northern Tuscany, head to the Garfagnana at the foot of the Apennines to be amid the peaceful environs of forests, lakes, and green swathes of outstretched land. Outdoorsy types and photographers will appreciate the tucked away villages, castle remains, and ancient stone bridges strewn about in picture-postcard settings.
Adrenaline junkies should consider exploring the Monte Pisano region for a host of exciting activities: aqua trekking, rafting, mountain biking, climbing, and paragliding. And while close to Lucca, for a truly unique experience, there’s the option to trek from Lucca to Pisa along centuries-old aqueducts. And while in Lucca, now that the Puccini Festival is going on, head to Torre del Lago to take in an opera in the open-air theater on the Massaciuccoli lakefront.
Of course, while the weather is at its best and if you can handle the crowds, make your way to the variety of beaches that line the coast from Versilia down to the Maremma and Monte Argentario for your choice of swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing options.
Events in August
Ferragosto (Assumption Day). On August 15th each year, Italians celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, which features many religious processions from churches throughout the country. It's also a national holiday, and many businesses and institutions are closed.
Palio di Siena. August 16th is when the second of two annual horse races kicks off in Siena (the first is July 2nd). The event draws masses of fans to the city's central plaza, the Piazza del Campo, for four days of horse racing, events, and merrymaking. This festival coincides with Assumption Day.
Puccini Festival. In honor of Tuscan native, Giacomo Puccini, a famous Opera composer, the town of Lucca hosts a series of programs for a month starting in late July and ending late August in the open-air theater on the Massaciuccoli lakefront.