The Italian summer aesthetic is a blend of la dolce vita – the sweet life – and effortless style set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean’s sun-drenched charm.
It’s a picturesque world where each day is lived with leisurely grace, where you savor life’s joys at a slower, more mindful pace.
This aesthetic isn’t just a style. It’s an experience, a way of life that celebrates beauty in simplicity.
It offers a glimpse into a way of living that is relaxed and immersed in beauty and food, which many find appealing both in their own lives or as a travel experience.
After many trips to Italy, I can tell you exactly what the Italian summer aesthetic involves, how to experience it in Italy, and how to recreate it in your own life.
Summer Aesthetic: How The Italians Do It
Summer in Italy means light, comfortable fashion.
Think linen or cotton shirts, flowy sundresses. You’ll need accessories like wide-brimmed hats, stylish sandals, and sunglasses.
Neutral color palettes are the norm. They’re sometimes accented with a pop of color and minimalist jewelry.
Italians aim for a look that’s effortlessly chic, almost nonchalant, yet perfect for the warm Mediterranean climate. Plus, any outfit should be adaptable for multiple occasions, whether you’re dining or strolling.
In the Italian summer, life is lived outdoors. There are so many variations –socializing, dining, relaxing.
It might consist of a stroll down the street for the passeggiata, a cocktail at a cafe, a family gathering in the garden, or a romantic sunset from a hilltop.
Long, warm days invite exploration – be it a gentle stroll through ancient ruins, a Vespa ride along winding country roads, or a leisurely boat trip along the coast.
Naturally, no Italian summer is truly complete without the leisurely enjoyment of a cocktail. Ideally, you’ll savor this at a cafe located in a picturesque Duomo-filled piazza or on a terrace with a breathtaking view.
A quintessential Italian aperitif is the Aperol Spritz, a refreshing and vibrant drink. It combines Aperol, a bright orange liqueur, with sparkling Prosecco and a hint of soda water, finished off with a slice of orange for a citrusy garnish.
For those seeking a more robust option, the Negroni is a classic choice. This bold cocktail is a harmonious mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in equal parts, elegantly garnished with a twist of orange peel.
Alternatively, a lighter and drier option is the Campari soda. This drink is a blend of sweet vermouth and club soda, garnished with a twist of lemon. It’s a refreshingly crisp beverage that’s perfect for warm summer evenings.
Wine tasting is a quintessential part of the Italian summer aesthetic.
In Italy, the art of winemaking (and wine sipping!) is interwoven with the culture. So interwoven, that you’ll find plenty of high quality wines in convenient screws top bottles.
Of course, summer is the perfect time to explore the rolling vineyards and rustic wineries.
You can sample the goods in the picturesque countryside, perhaps in regions renowned for their wines like Tuscany, Piedmont, or Veneto.
During a wine tasting, you’re likely to sample a variety of wines, from robust reds to crisp whites and sparkling Proseccos, each telling a story of the local terroir.
The experience is typically paired with local foods that complement the wines – like artisan cheeses, cured meats, and fresh breads.
This combination of exquisite flavors, set against the backdrop of verdant vineyards and historic estates, creates a sensory delight that epitomizes the Italian summer aesthetic.
Al Fresco Dining
In summer, the abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients play a starring role, elevating simple dishes into memorable feasts.
This is a time when the vibrant colors and flavors of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and fragrant lemons come alive in the kitchen.
Al fresco dining becomes more than just a way to eat. It’s a cherished ritual.
Picture long, leisurely meals under the open sky, where time seems to slow down, allowing for every bite and conversation to be savored.
Tables are often spread in outdoor settings, from quaint courtyards to seaside terraces, underscoring the connection with nature.
Insalata Caprese, with its ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil, is a simple yet perfect start. Seafood risotto, cooked to creamy perfection, brings the bounty of the sea to your plate.
And then there are the local pasta specialties – each region boasting its unique twist, from the delicate aglio e olio to the robust carbonara, all showcasing the depth and variety of Italian culinary artistry.
But in Italy, meals transcend the act of eating. They are vibrant celebrations of life.
Each gathering around the table is an opportunity to connect with family and friends, to share stories and laughter.
It’s this spirit of togetherness, combined with the exquisite backdrop of the Italian landscape and the tantalizing flavors of the food, that truly encapsulates the essence of an Italian summer.
Vineyards & Agrituismos
Dining in a vineyard or at an agriturismo (a farm stay) is another quintessential Italian summer aesthetic experience, particularly in regions like Tuscany, Umbria, and Puglia.
These meals are often set amidst picturesque vineyards or olive groves.
You’ll dine in a rustic setting under grape vines and fairy lights with glasses clinking. Every bite and every moment are to be savored
Tip: You can pair this setting with a cottage core dress for the maximum aesthetic effect.
After dinner, as the sun begins to set and the heat of the day mellows, locals and tourists spill out into the street and piazzas to partake in the passeggiata, a cherished Italian tradition.
The passeggiata, or evening stroll, is less about physical exercise and more about socializing, seeing and being seen.
People dress up in their evening best and leisurely walk through the main thoroughfares and along the promenades, stopping to chat with friends, enjoying a gelato, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
Italians also love to hit the beach, especially in August. The pristine sandy beaches with their clear blue waters are an integral part of the summer aesthetic.
The coastline transforms into vibrant social hubs, where the rhythm of the waves sets the pace for days spent basking in the sun.
From the glamorous beaches of the Amalfi Coast to the rustic charm of Puglia’s seaside towns, each shore offers a unique experience.
It’s a time for leisure and relaxation, for simply lounging with a good book and the sound of the sea as your soundtrack.
Vespa & Boating
Summer in Italy is also the time to rent a vespa or take a vespa tour. Bask in the golden sunlight as you zip through vineyard and olive groves.
Italy’s rolling hills are lined with cypress trees and dotted with historic farmhouses. A vespa is a classic and exhilarating way to travel.
Of course, nothing says summer like boating on the azure waters of the sea or enjoying a gondola ride, especially in the coastal regions and Venice.
To really enjoy la dolce vita on a vacation in Italy, you should rent a villa for a serene and private escape.
It’s a chance to enjoy your own space after sightseeing, away from the bustle of tourist spots. Pay attention to whether it has air conditioning when you book!
Pick one with classic Italian architectural elements – terracotta roof tiles, stone or stucco walls in warm, earthy tones, and graceful arches. Preferably, the facade will be adorned with climbing vines or bougainvillea.
Many villas come with beautiful gardens, private pools, and terraces with stunning views. This connection with the surrounding nature is a key part of the relaxed, rejuvenating ethos of the Italian summer.
With a villa, you can also try your own hand at creating an Italian meal in an old fashioned kitchen, just to channel Under The Tuscan Sun. Visit local farmer’s markets to stock up.
With a baguette in hand, you’ll walk through rows of colorful seasonal bounty and high quality ingredients — fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meat and other local specialties.
It’s not only practical but also a delightful sensory experience.
Recreate The Italian Aesthetic At Home
If you can’t get to Italy, you can re-create a Mediterranean inspired space in your home.
Spruce up your summer wardrobe. Buy some minimal chic pieces, many of them in white.
Buy some stylish Italian sunglasses. I love the Illesteva brand.
Set up a pergola or outdoor dining area in your backyard or on your patio. Use a simple, elegant table setting, perhaps with a red checkered tablecloth. Install some bulbs, fairy lights, or lanterns.
For food, visit your local farmers’ markets to select fresh produce and ingredients. Experiment with Italian cuisine, focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Make homemade pasta, pizza, or try your hand at traditional dishes like risotto or caprese salad
When decorating your Italian-themed table, flowers are an essential addition. But you still want it to look rather rustic and not overly formal.
So add some pottery pieces to the table, perhaps to hold fresh ingredients or herbs, or rustic pillar candles.
Be sure to start the evening with an apertivo, a Peroni or Aperol Spritz.
Invite over friends, take hours to eat and drink, and then have your post-dinner passegiatta.
You could also host wine tasting events with a selection of Italian wines. Pair them with Italian cheeses, olives, and artisan breads. Learn about different Italian wine regions and share this knowledge with your guests.
Or, you could be like the Italians and hit the beach. Choose a beach that offers a serene and scenic environment and rent a rustic or historic cottage.
Bring along a stylish sun umbrella, a comfortable beach chair, a novel, and a plush towel to lounge on.
You could pack a picnic with Italian-inspired treats like prosciutto and melon, caprese salad, fresh focaccia, and a bottle of Prosecco. Use a wicker basket for a touch of rustic charm.
And remember that sometimes, the sweetest life is the one lived simply, surrounded by the people and places we love.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the Italy summer aesthetic. You may find these other Italy travel guides useful:
- 12 Ways To Spend 1 Week in Italy
- 5 Ways To Spend 1 Week In Sicily
- 10 Day Tuscany Itinerary
- One Week Amalfi Coast Itinerary
- One Week in Umbria Itinerary
- 7 Day Road Trip From Venice To Milan
- Italy Bucket List
- Historic Landmarks in Italy
- Most Beautiful Towns in Italy
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert in Italian culture and aesthetics, I can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the Italian summer aesthetic. With my first-hand knowledge and depth of expertise, I will guide you through the concepts mentioned in the article and offer insights into each aspect.
Italian Summer Aesthetic
The Italian summer aesthetic is a combination of "la dolce vita" (the sweet life) and effortless style, set against the backdrop of the Mediterranean's sun-drenched charm. It represents a way of life that celebrates beauty in simplicity and is experienced through leisurely grace and a mindful pace. This aesthetic is not just a style, but an entire experience that many find appealing both in their own lives and as a travel experience.
During the Italian summer, fashion is light and comfortable. Italians opt for linen or cotton shirts, flowy sundresses, wide-brimmed hats, stylish sandals, and sunglasses. The color palette tends to be neutral, with occasional pops of color and minimalist jewelry. The aim is to achieve an effortlessly chic and nonchalant look that is suitable for the warm Mediterranean climate and adaptable for various occasions [].
In Italy, summer is a time when life is lived outdoors. Whether it's socializing, dining, or relaxing, Italians embrace the outdoors in various ways. The passeggiata, a leisurely stroll down the street, is a cherished tradition. Other activities include enjoying cocktails at cafes, gathering with family in gardens, or witnessing romantic sunsets from hilltops. The long, warm days invite exploration, such as gentle strolls through ancient ruins, Vespa rides along country roads, or leisurely boat trips along the coast [].
No Italian summer is complete without the leisurely enjoyment of cocktails. Aperol Spritz is a quintessential Italian aperitif that combines Aperol, sparkling Prosecco, and a hint of soda water, garnished with a slice of orange. The Negroni, a classic choice, is a mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, garnished with a twist of orange peel. Another option is the Campari soda, a blend of sweet vermouth and club soda, garnished with a twist of lemon. These refreshing beverages are perfect for warm summer evenings [].
Wine tasting is an integral part of the Italian summer aesthetic. Italy's winemaking tradition is deeply intertwined with its culture. During a wine tasting, you can sample a variety of wines, from robust reds to crisp whites and sparkling Proseccos, each reflecting the local terroir. These tastings are often accompanied by local foods that complement the wines, such as artisan cheeses, cured meats, and fresh breads. The combination of flavors, set against the backdrop of vineyards and historic estates, creates a sensory delight that epitomizes the Italian summer aesthetic [].
Al Fresco Dining
In summer, Italians embrace al fresco dining, where the abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients takes center stage. Vibrant colors and flavors come alive in dishes featuring ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and fragrant lemons. Al fresco dining is not just about eating; it's a cherished ritual that involves long, leisurely meals under the open sky. Tables are often set in outdoor settings, from quaint courtyards to seaside terraces, emphasizing the connection with nature. It's a celebration of life, an opportunity to connect with loved ones, share stories, and savor every bite [].
Vineyards & Agriturismos
Dining in a vineyard or at an agriturismo (a farm stay) is another quintessential Italian summer aesthetic experience. Regions like Tuscany, Umbria, and Puglia offer picturesque settings amidst vineyards or olive groves. These meals are often enjoyed in rustic surroundings, under grapevines and fairy lights. The ambiance is serene, with glasses clinking and every bite savored. It's an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Italian countryside and indulge in the flavors of the region [].
After dinner, Italians partake in the passeggiata, an evening stroll through the streets and piazzas. This tradition is less about physical exercise and more about socializing, seeing and being seen. People dress up in their evening best and leisurely walk through the main thoroughfares, stopping to chat with friends, enjoy gelato, or simply take in the sights and sounds of the city. The passeggiata is a cherished Italian ritual that adds to the summer aesthetic [].
Beaches, Vespa & Boating
Italians love to spend time at the beach, especially in August. The pristine sandy beaches and clear blue waters are an integral part of the Italian summer aesthetic. From the glamorous beaches of the Amalfi Coast to the rustic charm of Puglia's seaside towns, each shore offers a unique experience. Additionally, renting a Vespa and exploring the rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves is a classic and exhilarating way to embrace the Italian summer. Boating on the azure waters of the sea or enjoying a gondola ride in coastal regions and Venice are also popular activities [].
To fully enjoy la dolce vita, renting a villa for a serene and private escape is highly recommended. Villas with classic Italian architectural elements, such as terracotta roof tiles, stone or stucco walls, and graceful arches, provide an authentic experience. Many villas come with beautiful gardens, private pools, and terraces with stunning views, allowing you to connect with the surrounding nature and embrace the relaxed ethos of the Italian summer [].
With a villa, you can also visit local farmer's markets to stock up on fresh produce and ingredients. Walking through rows of colorful seasonal bounty and high-quality ingredients is not only practical but also a delightful sensory experience. It allows you to recreate the Italian aesthetic at home by experimenting with Italian cuisine and focusing on fresh, high-quality ingredients. You can try your hand at making homemade pasta, pizza, or traditional dishes like risotto or Caprese salad [].
Recreating the Italian Aesthetic at Home
If you can't travel to Italy, you can still recreate a Mediterranean-inspired space in your home. Spruce up your summer wardrobe with minimal chic pieces, especially in white. Invest in stylish Italian sunglasses, such as the Illesteva brand. Set up a pergola or outdoor dining area in your backyard or on your patio, using a simple and elegant table setting, perhaps with a red checkered tablecloth. Install bulbs, fairy lights, or lanterns for ambiance. Visit local farmers' markets to select fresh produce and ingredients, and experiment with Italian cuisine using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Host wine tasting events with a selection of Italian wines, paired with Italian cheeses, olives, and artisan breads. Finally, embrace the Italian spirit by hitting the beach or creating a rustic and historic cottage experience [].
I hope this comprehensive guide to the Italian summer aesthetic has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration. Enjoy embracing the beauty, simplicity, and joy of the Italian way of life!