Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Ferie time again.

For those who don't know, August is not a fun time to be in Italy. August in Italy means "Ferie". Ferie is what the Italians call it when they take their yearly vacation, which almost the entire country does at the same time - in August. August is also the hottest month in Italy and the stifling heat makes it hard to do anything so the entire country takes vacation and goes either to the sea or to the mountains. For an american, it's like nothing we've ever seen before, you walk around some cities and towns and every single bar, store, restaurant and shop is closed. The typical thing for them to do is put a sign on the window telling the exact dates that they will be closed for ferie. For those of us whose routine remains the same, August can be a very frustrating month as nothing is open. Imagine a world where everything closes at the same time. At least that's how it used to be when I first got here back in 2000. Back then I can remember driving over half hour through 4 or 5 different towns just looking for an open pizzeria.

Lately however, I've noticed that more businesses are opting to close for only two weeks in August rather than the traditional full month. Some places in fact are even staying open entirely. These places usually announce this with a huge sign saying something like "SEMPRE APERTO IN AGOSTO!" - still open in August.

Most other western European countries do their vacations in August as well so it's also not a good time to drive on the autostradas as they are crammed full of Germans and Dutch travelers towing their big clumsy camper trailers around the peninsula. When we were in Germany we didn't even attempt to come visit during August as it would mean sitting in traffic jams for hours. I've often wondered why the northern Europeans do it year after year.

As for me, I'll be working as usual. but we're considering taking a weeks vacation to go to Cinque Terra around the first week of September...after all the Germans and Dutch have left of course.


Anonymous said...

you're Rick Steves.


Rik said...

Don't compare me to that @$$hole.

Anonymous said...

you're the Travel Gnome.