10 Ways to Have an Italian Girl Summer—No Plane Ticket Needed

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that Italy has become the undisputed hotspot for summer travel. With snapshots of Tuscan vineyards, heaping bowls of fresh pasta, and chilled glasses of prosecco overlooking the Almafli coast peppering our social media feeds, we’re all desperate for a taste of la dolce vita this summer. The only problem? Jet-setting off to Europe isn’t cheap, and between student loan repayments and the ever-rising cost of living, most of us don’t have the extra funds to visit Italy this summer.

The good news is that you don’t need to shell out your savings to embrace everything the Italian culture has to offer. We’ve taken notes from Italian women and rounded up the best ways to bring the vibes of Italy straight to the comfort of your own home. Here are 10 ways to have an Italian girl summer without actually traveling to Italy.

Source: Dupe Photos | Ashley Diego

1. Have a waterside picnic

Raise your hand if summer in Italy makes you think of dining al fresco in a place like Capri or Positano where you can overlook the sparkling waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you’re not traveling to Italy this summer, bring the Almalfi coast vibes to you by having a picnic near some water, whether that’s on a beach, near a lake, or alongside a river. Make it authentic with dishes like bruschetta, antipasto, caprese sandwiches, fresh fruit, and biscotti for dessert. Complete the meal with your favorite Italian wine and sparkling water to make it feel like you’re truly picnicking in southern Italy.

2. Make Sunday dinners a regular thing

Family is at the heart of Italian life, and coming together for a leisurely meal every Sunday is an important Italian tradition. Embody true Italian girl energy this summer by inviting your family or closest friends over on Sundays for a simple meal and some quality time. Serve Italian staples like bread and oil, caprese salad, and a pasta dish before finishing off with an Italian dessert like cannoli or tiramisu (we won’t tell if it’s store-bought rather than homemade). Instead of stressing about your chef skills, use Sunday dinners as an opportunity to connect with others and try out new dishes.

3. Go stargazing

Summer is a magical time, and la notte di San Lorenzo—the Italian tradition of watching the night sky for shooting stars to wish on—embodies this perfectly. While this tradition occurs every year on August 10 in Italy, there’s no reason you can’t partake at home or make it a habit all season long. Find a quiet spot away from any bright lights, spread out a blanket, and make the most of those fleetingly beautiful summer nights.

italian girl summer farmers' market
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4. Shop at your local farmers market

Italians are known for their delicious food, and using fresh ingredients in your cooking is one of the easiest ways to bring the flavors of Italy to life at home. Live like an Italian girl this summer by regularly shopping at your local farmers market. Fill up a tote bag with classic ingredients like tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, kale, citrus fruits, and fresh herbs. You’ll be amazed how using fresh, local ingredients can upgrade your cooking, and it’ll help you romanticize your meals the same way you would in Italy.

5. Visit a winery or vineyard

Spending the day at a Tuscan vineyard might not be in the cards this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some amazing wine closer to home. Grab a group of your favorite people and head to a nearby winery or vineyard for the day. Dress like an Italian girl with bold prints and luxe accessories, and enjoy tasting an assortment of reds and whites alongside a nice charcuterie board.

6. Take a sunset stroll

It’s no secret that Italians know how to romanticize their lives, and embracing their tradition of taking evening strolls (AKA la passeggiata) is one of the best ways to do just that. Take a sunset stroll around your neighborhood, head to a bustling part of town that’s easily walkable, or make it extra special with a walk along the beach. It’s a great way to get outside, do some people-watching, and spend some quality time with yourself or a loved one.

italian girl summer beach

7. Spend a day at the beach

Every year on and around August 15, Italians close up shop in honor of Ferragosto. This Italian holiday has ties to ancient Rome, and it involves taking some much-deserved time off and heading to the coast or into the mountains with loved ones to escape the summer heat. This summer, celebrate your version of Ferragosto by spending a day (or two!) at the beach with your people. Fill a beach bag with sunscreen and reading material, pack some drinks and snacks in a cooler, and head out early to spend the day by the water. And if you really want to channel Italian girl vibes, throw on a sundress as a coverup and wrap your hair in a scarf à la Sophia Loren.

8. Enjoy your morning coffee the Italian way

If there’s one thing Italians know how to do right (aside from food), it’s coffee. Italians are the undisputed champions of espresso, and a typical Italian breakfast consists of an espresso with milk and a pastry. If you want to live la dolce vita this summer, start enjoying your morning cup of joe the Italian way. Instead of grabbing your usual iced coffee on the go, order an espresso you can sip slowly or try making coffee at home using a moka pot. And if you want to make it really authentic, treat yourself to some biscotti, sfogliatella, or another Italian breakfast pastry along with it.

italian girl summer
Source: Dupe Photos | Alyssa Turner

9. Indulge in gelato

In Italy, indulging in gelato is a regular occurrence, especially during summer. Treat yourself like an Italian girl this summer by opting for gelato instead of your go-to sweet treat. This authentic Italian dessert is softer and more flavorful than ice cream, and it’s made with less sugar and fat than its traditional counterpart. Find a spot that makes it fresh near you to put an Italian spin on your typical ice cream date, or grab some from the grocery store to romanticize a night in.

10. Float paper lanterns in the ocean

Lumini in mare is the Italian ritual of floating paper lanterns in the sea, and it’s one of the easiest to re-create at home. If floating lanterns in water is legal where you live (each state has its own regulations), grab some lanterns (you can easily find biodegradable ones on Amazon) and your besties and head to your nearest ocean or lake. Make it symbolic by writing what you want to let go of on your own lantern. Then, send it on its way and relish the feeling of watching your worries drift away from you under the nighttime sky.

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