Vibrant gelato, bulging trattorias, noisy bars and blazing sun pretty much define an Italian summer.
There's also fashion, food and fast cars.
And it's the latter I explored recently in the north of the country, making my way to the Lamborghini factory not far from Bologna.
Cruising from Modena towards Sant'Agata gives no hint of what's ahead, the meandering fields interspersed with farm houses typical of so much of the Italian countryside.
Even entering the town doesn't suggest it's the birthplace of some of the fastest, most desirable supercars to ever grace the planet.
But a few hundred metres in and the rustic buildings turn to a modern, glass-fronted facility replete with Lamborghini flags.
Unlike the Ferrari factory – where you have to buy a car or know someone in high places for a peek into the inner sanctum – the Lamborghini factory is open to public tours (at a cost).
It's a terrific insight into how low-volume cars are made, the clinical, slow moving production line a high-powered collection of cylinders and carbon fibre that emerges as something with true Italian pedigree
Seat of your pants
But it was after the tour I was most looking forward to: a few hours with an Aventador S. As the V12 hero in the Lamborghini lineup, the Aventador perfectly sums up the Lamborghini ethos.
My car had black detailing perfectly contrasting the deep grey paint flecked with coloured metallics.
Sliding inside instantly screams performance, red leather in abundance to contrast the black touches. The fighter jet-style red flip for the start button is a nice touch, as are the exposed hexagonal bolts.
The infotainment system is Audi-esque (both brands are part of the Volkswagen Group) and the key comes courtesy of Audi, too.
An inside job
Despite its broad cabin and lengthy dimensions the Aventador is far from welcoming inside, its low-slung roof and high door sills making for a cosy cabin where headroom is at a premium.
While forward vision is OK, anything out the back of the car is severely limited, the toothed engine cover poking into what limited view you have out the back window.
With tourists buzzing the countryside, it's not exactly reassuring.
You're never in any doubt it's the engine that is the highlight of the car. All 6.5 litres of V12 fires to life with a raspy, raucous roar.
There's a loveable rawness to the noises, too. They're loud and in your face, clearly employed to turn heads as much as the wedge styling.
It doesn't take long to realise traffic lights are in some ways your friend, providing an opportunity to flick the shift paddles down a gear or two, in turn unleashing some wonderfully authentic bangs and cracks. There's nothing fake about the noises emanating from the Aventador.
Passing under a short bridge provides the perfect excuse for a rev of the V12, the roar reverberating off the concrete walls.
If possible, make a U-turn
I've left my directions to Google Maps, which doesn't seem to appreciate just how bulky an Aventador is; at 2030mm wide (or 2265mm with mirrors) it's 50mm broader than a Toyota LandCruiser.
One of the narrow country lanes it's directed me down looks more like a driveway. It'd be too small for a Fiat 500, let alone the muscular haunches of a Lamborghini.
Fortunately it's one of the few places I don't spot traffic, the apparent randomness of the road choice not high on the must-travel list for the surrounding flocks of tourists.
Yet that's a rarity and it quickly becomes apparent the Aventador succumbs to much of what makes Italy so appealing in summer: the thick traffic keeping its supercar tendencies restrained.
A brief blast in first and second gear brings the fun to a halt very swiftly, the rump of the car ahead growing in the windscreen within seconds.
None of which detracts from the aural intensity and sheer thrusting force of a V12 at 8000rpm. It's an engine that gets better the faster it spins, the rush beyond 5000rpm a blast.
For the number crunchers there's 544kW to play with, or a full 744hp.
Yet even with so much potential under your right foot it does take long before myriad Fiats and Peugeots buzzing through the low speed towns are right on your tail, everyone constrained by the congestion.
Taking it easy
Despite the ability to hit 350km/h and top 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, the Aventador can be tediously slow at times.
The low nose needs respect over humps and dips, a hydraulic lift system helping add much needed millimetres to the marginal clearance.
And turning around requires patience and space. Suddenly roundabouts become your friend, the relative ease of spinning around 180 degrees more appealing than having to select a sympathetic driveway and pray for the traffic to part.
On the clock
My drive ends up being less than an hour, the challenges of wrestling a car clearly keen on big speed around choked Italian roads taking their toll.
Not that it detracts from the theatre that is an Italian supercar. The Aventador is a bit like a glorious, screaming engine that happens to have a passenger compartment attached. You get the impression if the Italians could have shaved another millimetre or two off the headroom they probably would have.
It's compromised but alluring, ferocious but fun. The sort of car that nails the brief for special occasions.
Not caught up in traffic.
Now, time to find a gelato…
The writer travelled to Italy with Lamborghini.