August in Italy means time for vacation. Many businesses close, the city empties out, and most Italians hit the road for a vacation. As luck would have it for tourists, a lot of shops and businesses stay open all month long. At the end of the day, it can actually be a lovely month to visit Rome to get a bit of peace and quiet!

Three ideas for when temperatures soar and you can't take the heat:

1) Head underground and tour the site of the Domus Aurea, Nero's erstwhile home. Open every weekend, with mandatory guided tours. It can get so cool down there, you might even need a sweater!

2) Or take an evening tour of "Ghosts in Rome" — sure to send a few chills down your spine... Two hours well spent around Piazza Navona, Campo de' Fiori, and Ponte degli Angeli. For info:

3) If you're looking to get out of Rome, go spend a day in the water at Zoo Marine — a big amusement park with swimming pools, water slides, dolphin shows, pirate ships, and 3D & 4D movies. A shuttle from Termini Station leaves daily at 9:00 AM.

On August 5, there's the reenactment of the historical snowfall that happened in Rome in 352 AD. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary wanted to show where she wanted a church built in her name, so she sent a heavy snowfall in... August! And so the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore was built on the Esquiline Hill. The miracle of Our Lady of the Snows is remembered every year. Meet at 9:00 pm in front of the Basilica for a light and sound show with a "snowfall" of... petals.

August 7 #domenicalmuseo: State museums are free the first Sunday of August. You can go for free to the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Vittoriano, the Borghese Gallery, the Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo, and many others...

August 10 is the Feast of San Lorenzo, or the "night of the stars," when everyone heads out and trains their eyes upwards to watch the shooting stars. Don't know where to go to watch them? Try one of Rome's famous terraces: the Pincian on the Janiculum.

Since August 15 — the Feast of the Assumption — falls on a Monday this year, expect a long weekend. Originally only a religious feast celebrating the Virgin Mary, these days it's celebrated throughout Italy, even by non­Catholics. Expect less services, public transportation, and some closed museums on this day.

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