Ferragosto, the traditional holiday dating back to the times of Emperor Augustus, technically runs from August 15 to September 1. During this time, many Italian families take their holidays and stores and restaurants (particularly the small, family-run establishments) often are closed. While August 15 is a national holiday and most businesses across the country are closed, that doesn’t mean August is a bad time to visit Italy. August travelers just need to be flexible. Call ahead to businesses and restaurants to get their holiday schedule. Many international travelers come to Italy in August while the locals head to the coast or countryside for holiday. Most museums and the Vatican will be at peak crowds, so planning ahead is best. The coasts and beaches will be hopping with local vacationers and out-of-towners alike. The weather is typically dry, sunny and hot so pack your shades and light clothing. All-in-all, August is still an excellent time to visit bella Italia.