Hot Hot Hot. Beating the heat in Rome and Bradford

With both Rome (39 degrees) and the UK (3rd hottest July) ‘enjoying’ a summer heatwave, which city has the best tips to stay cool?

Try to find somewhere with water


Bradford’s Mirror Pool, Centenary Square

Bradford has always had a fountain in the square by the Italian inspired town hall, but since 2012 with the introduction of the Mirror Pool, we’re allowed to bathe in them too. I can’t really say swim, maybe paddle. But the 100 fountains have become a favourite with families on a hot day. 

As for Rome, NEVER EVER bathe in the fountains unless you’re Anita Ekberg. 

Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona

You could be facing arrest and a lot of very unhappy Romans. These are Bernini fountains people, more than 300 years old. Priceless. Go to Bradford if you want a fountain to wet yourself in.

Drink plenty of fluids

Rome solution – nasoni

Keep an empty water bottle with you at all times in Rome and be on the look out for these little fountains called nasoni scattered across the city. I love the nasoni – ice-cold water available free of charge – one of my favourite things about Rome. A life-saver on a hot day walking through town. There is even a map of where they can be found, although I don’t have any problem stumbling across them on most occasions. 

Bradford solution – tea
My parents have always sworn by plenty of cups of tea during hot weather (or at any time/temperature if truth be told) They reckon that their method works because the hot tea makes you sweat, therefore you are accelerating the body’s natural mechanism to cool you down. Hmmmm.

Seek a bit of shade

Whilst I have spent the past week trying to walk in any piece of shade I can find to avoid the sun, the opposite is true for most people in Bradford. At the first sign of sunshine, you must throw yourself wholeheartedly into it. Who knows how long it will last?  Perhaps only until the next cloud blows across the sky. You MUST make the most of any sunshine that comes your way. The same applies inside your house. Here in Rome, blinds are kept down throughout the day in an attempt to keep out the light and suffocating heat. Think of your house as a cave. Whereas in Bradford, throw open your windows, there’s light! there’s sun! We need the Vitamin D.


Ice-cream and lots of melon make Rome an easy place to eat in the heat. Probably best to avoid a full plate of pasta mid-day though. At the moment I’m a bit obsessed with the refreshing properties of the very English, very humble cucumber sandwich. After a summer visit to Babington’s Tea Room in Rome last year I’ve been re-introduced to the delights of simple slices of cold cucumber, salt and white bread. Maybe with a bit of ice-tea to complete the English afternoon tea feel.


I hate trying to get to sleep in the heat. I keep my windows open in winter. Not living in an air-conditioned flat, I have tried the following over the past week:

  • a fan – also has the benefit of blowing mosquitoes away I’ve heard
  • a frozen bottle of water put in the bed  – like a reverse hot-water bottle and as it defrosts you have cold water to drink
  • a pillow in the fridge – it wasn’t that cold and smelt a bit strange
  • a wet cloth to mop my fevered brow.
When last in Bradford a few weeks ago there was still a duvet on my bed. Looking forward to returning to the northern heatwave in a few days. I hear it’s long since past. 


  1. Do as many of my neighbours and make the most of the cooler evening air by watching TV from your balcony dressed only in your vest and underwear. Give ’em a hairnet and you’ve got Fellini’s Roma (this is the men I’m talking about:-)

    Liked by 1 person

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