Rome in summer is much hotter than I realised so I found myself heading out early in the day, taking a break over the midday heat (now I understand why the Italians have a siesta time) and then exploring again in the afternoon and early evening. I also ended up wearing a hat a lot and was quite amused at the many people who were carrying umbrellas to keep the sun off them.
I was outside a lot of the time in places such as the Colosseum, in the Forum (really no shade hardly to be found at all) and around the city centre. What I did find though was fantastic clean water from the many fountains. I had a bus tour booked and my guide on the tour told me to buy my first bottle of water and then just keep filling it up at the fountains and it is totally free! The water was probably the cleanest water I have ever tasted and it was lovely and cold and saved me lots of money! She also told me that if I forgot my bottle of water, I could put my finger over the spout and get a refreshing spray of cold water that way.
I had booked a Rome Vatican tour and I told my guide that I had read about a fantastic Italian summer treat called grattachecca (hand shaven ice and fruit syrup). So we walked from the Vatican along the Tiber River and she took me to Rome’s oldest Grattachecca stands along the Tiber River. I was absolutely amazed at the incredible combinations available. I ended up eating it a little too quickly and got “brain freeze”.
Another way I found to beat the heat of summer was of course having what Italy is so famous for…gelato! I must have tried just about every gelato shop in the city and there was not a bad one to be had! Be totally amazed at the mounds of icecream that will confront you and spend ages making your choice. I was absolutely in awe of the size of the scoops! I highly recommend doing a Vatican tour as the professional guides know all of Rome’s best kept secrets and are happy to share them.