Subject: Re: July trip to Italy and perhaps France - 3 adults

The trick to surviving the summer heat is to do as the native do - start early, retreat to cool spots during the hottest part of the day, saving your energy for late nights. It sounds obvious but not many non-continental Europeans tourists do this.

Don't try and do too much to begin with - let your body become accustomed to the heat. And careful on the iced water. I was always told by my Italian relations to cool my wrists down on cold water before drinking.

You could also avoid the crowds by going to lesser known places. If you are near Rome I recommend a visit to Ostia Antica - Roman ruins near the modern town of Ostia. You will have the place almost to yourself! Not far from that is the Necropolis, just a short drive from Fiumicino Airport. Again, empty. Ercolano is also a relatively quiet spot, as are the Greek ruins of Paestum. These are the best preserved Greek ruins outside of Greece.

And if in Venice, wander off the beaten track. You'll still find treasures and eat better, and cheaper, to boot!

Linda, Reading. UK