It is August and northern Italy is dead. Dead as in, I think most Italians are on vacation, many of them on the beaches of southern Italy.
The normally full parking spots on our drive way are empty. The parking on the streets is empty. The roads are nearly empty, especially in the afternoon. Many businesses are close for all or part of the month. Both of our neighborhood gelaterias are closed until the end of the month. Our pizzeria is closed until the 23rd. In some ways, its kind of eery.
Imagine most of your locally owned stores closing in August. Imagine that the shelves in the stores that are open, are just a little emptier than usual. Imagine everyone heading to the coast at the same time and spending 2-3 weeks there. Imagine driving through your hometown, or even city, and there is almost no traffic. Our friend Mike says that Milan is like a ghost town. Imagine a city of over a million people feeling like a ghost town.
We had known about the August vacation time when we moved here, but to experience it is very interesting. This is our second August here, and it still amazes me how much life slows down, quiets down and closes up. It is amazing to us, yet it is just part of the culture, passed from generation to generation. It just what Italians do, have done and will do. They all take vacations in August.
On the other hand, why would you want to go to the beach or to any other vacation destination when you know it will be absolutely crowded with people? That part I do not understand. Why not spread your vacations out?
I can't say much I guess. We are heading to England at the end of the month.