This month, as temperatures peak and air quality plummets, visitors to Florence may find themselves wandering a city nearly void of Italians. Owing to its particular geographical position — lying in a low-level basin between hills — in late summer Florence becomes an intolerably hot and hazy place. Thus, many locals depart this time of year, seeking cool, clean mountain retreats or the idle pleasures of a seaside respite. It is a pragmatic custom, then, sole succor to a cruel summer. But not only this. For the August holidays in Italy, culminating on the 15th with Ferragosto, are rooted in tradition as old as the Roman Empire itself.