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Need tips on what to wear somewhere else? For a full listing of all our destinations, please visit our packing list page!
Wondering what to wear in Italy? TFG’s guest fashion blogger and native Italian, Jacopo Grazzi, shares his European insight with this Italy packing list and tips on how to dress like a local!
For more ideas on what to wear in Italy, please read this Ten Step Italy Packing Guide!
What to Wear in Italy: Packing List
Written by: Jacopo Grazzi
Italy’s clothing styles vary from the north to the south; it can be difficult to decide which approach to take when you’re planning your Italy packing list.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Clothing Style
- Travel Shoes For Europe
- Weather in Italy
- Travel Essentials
- What to Wear in Italy in Spring
- What to Wear in Italy in Summer
- What to Wear in Italy in Autumn
- What to Wear in Italy in Winter
- Italy Travel Tips
These are some other destination-based articles on what to pack for Italy you should read after reviewing the below packing list:
These are some popular shoes for Paris and Italy!
Day-to-day European style is more dressy than American style. This DOES NOT mean business clothing. Think dressy top (or the type of top you’d wear to work) plus nice jeans (dark colors are always a good choice).
In general, slim or Skinny fit jeans are the preferred denim option. If that’s not your thing, having tailored denim always makes for a smart appearance no matter what the pant style. For example, hemming the leg length so there’s not an excess fabric at the bottom.
Tip: ankle jeans are an easier way to get this look without a trip to the tailor.
But in other cities, like Zurich and Amsterdam, there’s a more relaxed view on fashion. You can feel free to use artistic license when it comes to your wardrobe. In ultra-chic cities like Paris and London, two of the major fashion capitals of the world, style is a way of life.
As with most destinations, practical sense applies. Leave the beachwear on the beach because it doesn’t translate well to streetwear in the city.
The same goes for gym wear; unless you’re actually headed to the gym, don’t dress in your gym attire as the locals will instantly recognize you as a tourist for the lack of effort that has been put into your wardrobe.
One thing to keep in mind as you’re planning your Italy packing list, one unexpected issue that many travelers discover once they get to Europe are the cobblestone streets.
While great to look at, stone streets aren’t always the easiest to walk on and can make for sore feet even if you don’t normally have discomfort. Depending on the city, these streets can also be hilly, slippery when wet, and uneven.
In addition, we all love to dress up, but avoid heels because they’ll leave you feeling uncomfortable. Opt for wedges if you must bring a heel. Do include one pair of shoes and one outfit that can be worn for dining out or experiencing the local nightlife.
Popular shoe options include (click each item below for suggested styles):
- Ankle Boots for spring and autumn
- Ballet Flats to dress up or for warm weather
- Waterproof Boots for rain and snow
- Comfortable Sightseeing shoes for year round visits
- Cute Comfortable Summer Sandals
Read this post about the how to choose the best walking shoes for Europe.
Milan and the north of this beautiful country have a very fashionable and sometimes over-the-top style. The culture is similar to big European capitals, where trends evolve and people customize their style according to personal tastes.
Rome and the south have more local trends and traditions. They don’t care as much when it comes to clothing, but make sure you don’t show too much skin–locals aren’t big on overly-revealing clothing.
Originally, I come from a city close to Venice in the northeast, but I’ve traveled all over my country, so I can help give you tips on what to wear in Italy.
As you plan the items in your Italy packing list, keep in mind that the north is normally cold in winter and warm and humid in summer. Cities located on a higher altitude are more windy and cold, but you can enjoy a summer heat, thanks to the sun.
The south is characterized for being warmer, year-round. In some areas, it doesn’t even snow! Rome and the south are very hot in the summer 35°C/95°F (May-September), but it can be enjoyable thanks to the sea breeze. Winters are warmer and not as cold, with better weather than in the north.
Sunglasses are a must every season; the sun seemingly never stops shining on the Italian peninsula. During spring and summer months, pack proper sun (and after-sun) protection if your skin is not used to the bright rays.
You can burn easily if you are outside during the hottest hours of the day. Don’t forget to add these to your Italy packing list any time of the year!
Find out why we love polarized sunglasses!
Touristy cities like Venice or Rome are made for walking, so be sure to choose comfortable shoes. Consider waterproof shoes for the colder months and simple, comfortable, canvas shoes for the warmer months.
Add a pair of dressy shoes to your Italy packing list, as locals like to dine out with style and elegance. In some venues, hosts at the entrance might not let you in if you’re wearing flat shoes.
We recommend choosing wedges over stilettos to walk safely and smoothly over cobblestone streets.
Here are some tips on how to choose the best shoes for Italy:
- Best Travel Shoes for Italy
- Shoes for Paris and Italy in Summer
- The Best Shoes for Travel to Europe in Spring
- The Best Walking Shoes for Cobblestone Streets
What to Wear in Italy in Spring
Spring in Italy is unpredictable. The temperatures can vary from chilly to warm and sometimes even hot, from a minimum of 15°C/59°F to a maximum of 28°C/82°F. When it rains, and during early morning hours, the temperature can go down to 10°C/50°F. Checking the weather forecast before creating your Italy packing list is always recommended.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- How to Pack for Europe in Spring
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Italy Packing List: Spring
Italian spring is beautiful–you can spot flowers and green everywhere. I consider spring the best season to plan a trip to Italy, as the temperatures are more moderate compared to summer.
Light brogues or waterproof canvas shoes are essential. Recommended accessories include a silk neck scarf for cold mornings, jewelry (remember not to take expensive pieces), and sunglasses. A sun hat is recommended but not essential.
Waterproof shoes don’t have to made out of rubber. Choose (faux) leather ankle boots instead!
Look for bright and light colors during this finicky season; when it’s sunny, it’s very warm. Jeans are a must, along with skirts in light fabrics. Stick to dark denim–it’s always in style.
Match your bottoms with a quality tee or pretty blouse, and don’t forget a sweater and light jacket for layering on cold days and evenings and a waterproof outerwear item, such as a light trench coat, for unexpected rainstorms.
Choose one of these stylish travel raincoats for women to keep you dry!
What to Wear in Italy in Summer
Summer in Italy is insanely hot: temperatures can reach 35°C/ 95°F or higher. In some cities in the north, like Milan and Venice, it can be extremely humid. The south is hot but it’s better ventilated, so it’s more enjoyable. Be careful to protect yourself during the hottest hours of the day by wearing suncream and a sun hat.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Top Summer Dresses Perfect for Europe
- Lightweight Jackets for Easy Layers
- Best Walking Shoes for Europe’s Cobblestone Streets
Italy Packing List: Summer
According to my experience when building an Italy packing list, choose light and bright colored clothing to avoid scorching in the blaring heat. Cotton, linen, and rayon fabrics are best.
If you go to the seaside, pack a colorful bikini. An elegant one-piece is acceptable if you don’t want to show too much skin. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sun hat, and sun cream.
For city sightseeing, dress comfortably with loose and light clothes. Skirts, capris, or (dressy) shorts are essential; a nice top or a dressy blouse and a hat will complete the look.
Make sure you are not wearing revealing clothing when you visit religious sites. You can be asked to leave or they might not let you in–bring a shawl that you can wrap around your shoulders for coverage when needed.
Planning to visit religious sites? Find out what to wear to the Vatican!
Pack a pair of beautiful summer sandals and canvas shoes for the day and a pair of open-toe heels for a fancy night out. Note that locals don’t appreciate flip-flops being worn anywhere but seaside.
In summer, most events are outside as many venues have gardens and al fresco spaces with evening cocktail parties and happy hours. These are the best times to wear your favorite cocktail dress and enjoy the summer breeze. It’s recommended to pack a light jacket and cardigan for cooler days and evenings.
This is a selection of the best sandals for travel in summer!
Italy Summer Clothing for Men
Men’s summer clothing was a hot topic on TFG, so we’re sharing a quick visual to help your guys with their Italy packing list for the summer. Tailored, smart shorts (not baggy cargo shorts) paired with stylish sneakers like these shown above are acceptable in hot weather.
Take a look at this carry-on men’s carry-on packing list for Europe for additional tips.
What to Wear in Italy in Autumn
Autumn does not differ much from spring. Temperatures fluctuate from 15°C/59°F to 24°C/75°F and it rains quite a lot. In the plains in the north of Italy, you can experience foggy days, which are quite fascinating in cities like Venice or Milan.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
Italy Packing List: Autumn
When planning what to wear in Italy in September and autumn, you should pack the same items mentioned in the spring section. These two seasons are similar and the only variations may be an umbrella and trench coat. The key colors of the season are brown, purple, gray, and black, but you can always choose lighter colors to provide relief from warmer weather.
When in doubt, plan a monochrome Italy packing list consisting of mostly black, chic leather boots, a stunning handbag, and silk printed scarf.
Follow this easy packing solution when traveling in between seasons!
What to Wear in Italy in Winter
As mentioned before, winters can be quite cold, so this will impact your Italy packing list. In the north, it snows a lot and sometimes it’s difficult to move around the city without slipping. The south is warmer but it snows at least once a year. Temperatures range from 10°C/50°F down to -8°C/18°F. And where the climate is humid, it’s colder–you can feel it in your bones.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Read this post specifically on what to pack for Italy in winter!
Italy Packing List: Winter
Pack a pair of warm gloves, a thick scarf, and a hat. If you are planning to go to the north, I suggest a padded winter coat and layer of merino wool thermals, too.
In the south, you can take a winter coat or a quilted jacket. The rule in winter is to dress in layers as temperatures might change during the day, so pack some long-sleeve tops, warm sweaters, and cardigans.
The secret to packing light in winter is thermal underwear for women–find out why!
Italy Travel Tips
One of our biggest travel tips for any destination is to buy either a print or digital guidebook. They help you plan your itinerary, give you insight on where to stay, and even give you facts about the historical sites, too.
These are a few popular Italy guidebooks:
Learn more about why I still use travel guides!
Accommodation in Italy
I prefer to to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like I’m living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
To maximize your vacation time, fly into the city where you’re starting your trip and out of the city where your trip ends. Many times it’s the same price and saves you from having to spend extra time and money to go back to where you started your trip.
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this.
I felt so fortunate to have been hosted by two tour companies in Rome and I had an incredible experience with both of them.
I did a Rome City Tour and a VIP Vatican Tour with Roman Guy tours. Not only were there were only 3 people on my Vatican tour versus the groups of 25-50 around us but my guide Nina was a local fashionista. I also got to skip the massive lines and enter the Vatican one hour before the public!
The other company that hosted me was Eating Italy. They gave me a complimentary Twilight Trastevere Tour and a Cooking Class with Nina. TFG readers and I both loved their tours! Read my reviews here and here.
In fact, I also did a tour with them in London. Even my English husband was happy with the food on that tour!
Disclaimer: we only work with companies that we think our readers would like and only feature them on the blog if we like them. If we don’t, we apologize and tell them we can’t feature them. Our readers’ best interest is always top priority!
Shopping in Italy
If you find you have left behind an essential, or need to add to your travel wardrobe, don’t panic. Italy is the cradle of fashion and all of the biggest brands are located in every city. Stores like H&M and Zara are highly fashionable, with a wide range of clothes.
Italian department stores such as Coin and La Rinascente can be handy when looking for quality items. You can also find designer outlet stores in major shopping destinations, too!
For more ideas on what to wear in Italy, please read this 10 Step Italy Packing Guide!
What are your tips for an Italy packing list? Comment below!
Please Note: Most of Europe’s Budget Airlines have this Carryon Bag Allowance: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Always check your airline’s individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
For more tips, please read these Europe packing lists:
Suggested travel resources:
- Lonely Planet Europe on a shoestring
- Lonely Planet Italy (Country Guide)
- Travel Shoes for Europe
- The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Europe
Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish tips for multi-country travel.
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