Listen up, Italians. Air conditioning will NOT make you sick.

disclaimer: This is me just venting (ha!). I actually am not a big fan of air conditioning (ha again! I kill me.). Here’s what I really think helps indoor air quality:


I am originally from a hot climate. My home state in the US regularly sees summer temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

I remember the wall of heat that plasters your body as you step out the door.

I remember the warnings about the heat index and the idiots who fainted from trying to exercise in the middle of the day.

I remember the glasses of ice that melted in 2 minutes flat.

Ya know what else I remember?


I remember needing a light sweatshirt to go into a restaurant during summer.

I remember cuddling up under a thin summer blanket to watch a movie.

I remember sitting at a desk and NOT sweating.

I also remember my mom telling me stories about how her ITALIAN father would not let them turn on the AC until the thermometer reached 100. Then, once it was on, everyone had to wear a scarf so as not to get sick from the drafts. At the time I just thought Nonno was a picky old man.

Now I see the truth. He was simply Italian.

Dear Italy,

Air conditioning will not make you ill. It will not cause your bowels to become over-active. It will not close up your throat and give you a stuffy nose. It will not make your muscles ache. It will not kill you.

Mechanical ventilation and the proper conditioning of the indoor air will, however: prevent you from sweating while still in a cold shower; purify your air and reduce the amount of small particulate matter you breathe in on a daily basis; make you more productive and more focused in your work; and it will make you not want to kill yourself and anyone whose skin touches you.

That’s all I have to say.

(Happy Ferragosto, everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely time sweating.)

12 thoughts on “Listen up, Italians. Air conditioning will NOT make you sick.

  1. I have been in Italy in stifling heat in October and complained in a shop about the lack of air-conditioning, only to have the assistant say ” Ma Signora, e Ottobre!” I have also seen people in puffer coats in 30 degrees and when questioned the reply was ” Ma Signora, e Ottobre!” Italians seem terrified of fresh air and the possibility of a breath of air attacking their throats.
    I avoid Italy in the hot months where possible and return to Brisbane for a delightful winter. I am about to head for Bagni di Lucca in a couple of weeks and I am hoping the current spell of hot weather will be over.

    • I think your strategy of avoiding the heat in both locations is brilliant… I wish I could do that.
      I dunno…
      get air conditioning.
      They think it’s ridiculous to install an AC unit unless there are elderly in the house, at which point it becomes acceptable.
      The fresh air to the throat thing is a huge huge thing here. The drafts! The drafts are always out to get you! I’ve seen kids on the beach with scarves around their necks, no joke.
      I’m determined to get to the bottom of it. I think it may have its origins in the same place as the fact that they always say things are bad for your liver – ‘mal di fegato’.
      🙂 Thanks for your comment, Debra.

  2. Oh Ragazza, can I identify. This is my third Roman summer without an air conditioner and definitely the worst. Lately my Italian husband and I head over to his parent’s for reprieve, yet the A/C is hardly ever on and when it is they cannot stop complaining about the air blowing on their necks. My husband told them they would never survive in my native Texas with all of our ceiling fans.

    • I know! I foolishly made the suggestion of installing ceiling fans here… that was shot down immediately. The drafts!! The drafts!! 🙂

      I like your blog, fellow Texan. Oops. shhh… (I’m getting less and less anonymous the more I write).

      • Anonymity is hard to maintain once you get rolling, and I like your blog too. I like your honesty too, I find that I tiptoe around a little, probably more than I should (wink, wink).

  3. Io amo l’aria condizionata, ma il motivo per cui l’aria condizionata si usa poco in Italia consiste nel fatto che in Italia l’energia elettrica costa molto di più che in USA. Semplicemente l’aria condizionata è un lusso in Italia.

    • La parte strana è – a me non piace l’aria condizionata! Ho bisogno di fare una versione aggiornata di questo articolo, spiegando che i miei veri lealtà trovano in ventilazione meccanica. Purtroppo in Italia, meno dell’1% delle case hanno ventilazione meccanica, che risolverebbe non solo i problemi di eccessivo calore, ma anche l’umidità, muffa e condensa. I costi energetici associati sono così piccoli che anche lo standard ‘Casa Passiva’ richiede lo … è solo un paio di ventilatore, ma possono cambiare la qualità dell’aria interna immensamente. Se vuoi saperne di più, visitate il nostro blog lavoro (dove mi trovo un po ‘più diplomatico e un po’ meno conflittuale!). Mi dispiace per il mio italiano!

      The strange part is – I don’t like air conditioning! I need to do an updated version of this post, explaining that my true loyalties lie in mechanical ventilation. Unfortunately in Italy, less than 1% of houses are equipped with mechanical ventilation, which would solve not only the problems with excessive heat, but also humidity, mold, and condensation. The energy costs associated are so small that even the Passiv House standard requires it… it’s literally a couple fans, but they can change the indoor air quality immensely. If you’d like to learn more, check out our work blog (where I am a little more diplomatic and a little less confrontational!).

    • “Io amo l’aria condizionata, ma il motivo per cui l’aria condizionata si usa poco in Italia consiste nel fatto che in Italia l’energia elettrica costa molto di più che in USA. Semplicemente l’aria condizionata è un lusso in Italia.”

      exactly the same in france and we pay for water a lot more too that’s why we take a bath once in a week and not everyday like the americans (but we shower everyday lool) 🙂

  4. I can really relate to this. It’s getting hot and humid in Bologna and my struggle to get students to accepts a fresh breeze into the classroom has already begun. I won’t be able to even attempt to turn on the air conditioning until I have large sweat beads falling and a student takes pity on me. It amazes me how some students would prefer to suffer in 40 degree heat rather than have a comfy 25 degrees with air con because it might lead to a chill. A chill which is made all the more unlikely by the use of ubiquituous scarves. Thanks for making me laugh. Sarita

  5. I hate AC… prefer wind or my face or simply suffer 🙂 btw more you try to refresh and more you will feel hot… simply your body will be get adapted to an hotter temperature and everything will be fine…

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