It took me a good few years to become just about used to the intense heat of Italy’s often long and torrid summers.
Coming from the UK, where I relished the prospect of the temperature rising above 20 degrees centigrade, Italy with its heat hitting well over 30 degrees was something of a shock to my British constitution.
Summers in the UK are all too often watery, indistinct affairs. Only the name of the season hints that it may be different from the rest of the year. More often than not, it isn’t. The truth is, before coming to Italy, I had never known a ‘real’ summer, except, perhaps one in 1977.
In my first five years or so in Italy, I’d start sweating in May and more or less cease to drip at some point in late September. Sleeping was not easy. Working was tough too.
I remember sweating profusely while on buses in Milan in early summer at 8 in the morning. Surrounding me where Italians looking cool calm and collected. I was envious. Some of the Italian bus passengers would even close the windows on the bus, thus shutting off my only source of respite from the heat while the bus was in movement. I thought I might die before I got to work.
Thankfully, many of the places I worked in were air conditioned. Even now I remember hitting walls of heat after leaving the cool interior of Milan office buildings and coming face to face with the heat. It was a bit like the rush of hot air which hits you when you open a hot oven, except there was no oven door to close.
In those days my brow was sweaty permanently. I even got a sweat band to attempt to keep myself sane. It half worked! Shorts, sandals and very light clothes helped a lot.
Bit by bit, I became acclimatised – a process which takes a good few years. Slowly but surely, Italy’s summer heat seemed less traumatic. Having air conditioning put in at home also helped me get through particularly hot periods.
After 7 years or so, 25 degrees centigrade felt mildly cool.
30 degrees has become my heat tolerance threshold. Below 30 and I’m OK, over 30 and lethargy begins to set in.
Summer 2012 has been one of the hottest summers I’ve known for many years. It’s as if I’m not acclimatised at all. Back to permanently sweaty brow days.
Italy has had seven exotically named heatwaves this year. At the moment Italy is in the grip of the Colossus of the Deserts heatwave. In other nations, hurricanes are given names, in Italy, it’s heatwaves.
It’s hot. Very hot, perhaps a little too hot for this Englishman living in Italy to enjoy all the pretty peninsula has to offer. I have no option but to laze around all day and wait until the cool of the evening descends and chill out over a few cool beers.
If I move only a short distance, I virtually drown in my own sweat.
Still, relaxing and lazing around are really what summers should be all about.
I love summers in Italy!
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