Don't ever come to Italy during the month of August. In Italy, the month of August is reserved for what is known as "ferie". Seemingly the entire population of Italy takes anywhere from two weeks to a full month off for holiday and heads for either the mountains or the beach. Almost every single store, hotel, bar and ristorante closes, sometimes for the entire month of August. Walking around some cities is almost like being in a ghost town. It almost has to be seen to be believed.
For us it's not a disaster because we get most of what we need on the base, but for people who live and like to do things on the economy, it can be very frustrating and inconvenient sometimes. Two nights ago the wife was too tired to cook so the X Man and I headed out to pick up a couple pizzas. We went to Antonio's. It was closed. We went to another one down the street, it was closed. We went to a third one, closed as well. I ended up driving for almost a half hour before I found a pizzeria that was open.
On the bright side, the drive home from work is not quite as bad because there are a lot less cars on the road. And I've noticed a subtle change over the five years that I've been here in that each year there seems to be one or two more places staying open in August. As long as there's one bar and one pizza place in town open, I'm happy.