This August in Joyce's Little Black Book

venice san marco

Image © Italian Concierge

This month, Italians celebrate the biggest holiday of the year: Ferragosto. Literally meaning "august vacation," the August 15 holiday coincides with the Feast of the Assumption, celebrating the Virgin Mary's ascension into heaven, but the religious celebration has taken a backseat to the beach in modern times.

In August, businesses shut down, Italians head to their vacation homes on the coast, and cities empty eerily of residents. You can have Italy's greatest cities to yourself for a "golden day" like the day trip I recently wrote about for Susan van Allen's "Golden Days in Italy" blog.

If you're stuck at home, follow the Italian summer on our Pinterest board or through our summer-focused August newsletter:

  • Tis the Season for . . . the Mare!
    To Italians, summer is practically synonymous with the seaside. Many beaches in Italy - usually the sandier, better looking ones - are private beaches or called bagni or stabilamenti. Here's how to navigate them.

  • Events this Month: Aman Resort Opens in Venice
    In a 16th-century palazzo in the San Polo quarter, near the Rialto Bridge, the new hotel is composed only of spacious suites with garden or canal views.

  • Traveler Tip: Italian Gestures
    When I saw a wonderfully tongue-in-check short documentary on Italian hand gestures in the New York Times last month, I couldn't help but smile. Our quick guide will help you learn these gestures at home.

  • Things We Love: In Piazza della Signoria B&B
    Sometimes my favorite things are as simple and stunning as the view from a hotel room window. This luxurious boutique hotel lies right on the corner of Florence's Piazza Signoria, where nearly a century of Florentines have gathered to party, protest, and parade.

  • August Recipe: Panzanella
    Tomato, basil, and old bread -- the most basic ingredients find a surprisingly new life in this summer Tuscan peasant dish.


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