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Wondering what to wear in Rome Italy? We’ve got the do’s and don’ts of what to add to your Rome packing list when visiting this fabulous city. Keep reading to learn more!
What to Wear in Rome
When in Rome, do as the Romans! The best way to dress appropriately when visiting a new city is by taking a look at what the locals are wearing. Rome native Lucia is here to offer Travel Fashion Girls advice on what to wear in Rome when you visit her beautiful city during the summer.
To enjoy your stay in the Eternal City, you need to pack the right clothes so you can comfortably enjoy all the beautiful Italian sights.
What do People Wear in Rome? Italy Clothing Style
The most important thing to remember about Rome fashion trends, is that they’re more than likely going to be very similar to what’s popular at home and in other parts of the world.
Deciding what to wear to Rome and other parts of Italy should be more about balancing comfort, practicality, and your personal style. When you feel good you look good and confidence is the most important thing you can pack.
Generally speaking, Italian style is more dressy than American style, but this DOES NOT mean business attire. The easiest way to put together polished travel outfits for Rome is to start with well-fitted basics and add tasteful jewelry with well groomed hair and makeup.
The secret to a polished “European” look is for your clothing to fit your body well. Choose clothing that isn’t overly snug or loose. You can achieve this by tailoring things such as jeans, tees, and dresses. It’s the small details such as tailoring and accessories that will elevate your Rome outfits.
Tips for What to Wear in Rome
There are three main things to keep in mind when planning what to wear in Rome:
1. The weather in the summer is scorching hot. You might find yourself so overwhelmed by the heat that all concept of style goes out the door in desperation to stay cool.
Choose pretty but practical clothing in breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon. The best clothes to wear in Rome in summer are dresses. Specific suggestions below.
These are our readers tips on how to stay cool in the heat.
2. While there isn’t a “Rome dress code”, when visiting religious sites like the Vatican please plan for modest clothing. You should cover your shoulders and knees.
However, if you’re traveling in summer, you likely won’t want to cover up in the heat. The easy solution: an airy dress that covers your knees. Store a light layer in your purse, like a thin cardigan or denim jacket, so you can throw it on when you enter the site.
Read this post to find out exactly what to wear to the Vatican.
3. The cobblestone streets are brutal. Those cute strappy sandals or fabulous heels you planned to wear in your Instagram pics in front of the Colosseum? Forget them.
When it comes to Rome in the summer, most travelers had one of two looks: cute dress and sandals or cute dress and trainers. My guess is that by the end of their first day sightseeing they quickly realized they wouldn’t be able to continue unless they wore more practical shoes.
Plan for comfort!!! These are the most cute and comfortable sightseeing shoes to wear in Rome.
The last thing you’ll care about after a long, hot day of walking around Rome is whether or not your shoes are fashionable! When your feet hurt, nothing else matters, so plan strategically from the start. Plan for tired feet and consider the 90+ degree heat when you plan what to wear in Rome in summer.
Also, while ballet flats are cute, don’t make these your main sightseeing shoe!
Here are some ideas of practical yet fashionable shoes to wear when tackling cobblestones in Europe!
What to Pack for Rome: Clothing
Take the above items into consideration when planning your Rome packing list and deciding how to dress in Rome. Now, let’s address some detailed packing suggestions.
Jersey Sleeveless V-Neck Dress, available sizes XS-XXL
Dresses are a girl’s best friend when it comes to traveling, especially when you’re deciding what to wear in Rome!
- They’re feminine, so you instantly feel girly and dressed up.
- You don’t have to worry about mixing and matching; they’re an all-in-one outfit.
- The right dress can keep you fresh and cool in the oppressive summer heat of Rome (or any destination)!
Anastasia Shirt Dress, available sizes 2-18
The key to choosing the right dresses is all in the fabric. For summertime, avoid fabrics like polyester and opt for breathable styles in various lengths in rayon, cotton, viscose, and linen.
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
As you plan what to wear in Rome, make sure you pack at least one dress that falls below your knees so you can wear it to the Vatican, looking respectful but feeling fresh. Whether it’s a maxi (long length) dress or one that falls just below your knees, choose a classic cut that doesn’t scream beach.
Want more inspiration? Take a look at these summer maxi dresses!
Jersey Short-Sleeve Dress, available sizes 1X-7X
Packing for Rome can be very simple. If you’re traveling for one week, just pack seven dresses! Talk about a minimalist, feminine, and SIMPLE capsule wardrobe! After experiencing the blistering June heat in Rome, I’d now choose to only pack airy dresses on a summer trip.
For added versatility, these are popular convertible travel dress styles!
Linen Sleeveless Dress, available sizes S-XXL
Choose whatever length of dress is most comfortable for you, but don’t forget the secret is all in the fabrics. Sleeveless styles will offer the most comfort in the heat.
If you like dresses but hate the dreaded chub rub, find solace in these thigh chafing products!
Strapless bras don’t work for you? Have you ever had a bra fitting? It’s life changing NO MATTER your size! Knowing your right bra size can open up many new clothing options. Learn more!
Pretty Garden Wide Leg Playsuit, available sizes XS-XL
A wonderful alternative to dresses is a romper. These are great because you have the convenience of wearing shorts without feeling like you’re dressed inappropriately in a stylish city like Rome.
The main thing to remember when choosing what to wear in Rome is to avoid items that are overly casual. Look for structured fabrics. In this case, a polyester (or other synthetic) blend would usually be dressier than an all-cotton style.
We recommend a classic, neutral color romper that looks dressy, comfortable, and casual at the same time.
These are the our readers’ favorite rompers for travel!
Banana Republic Linen Romper, available sizes 0-20
Don’t want to show your legs? Rompers come in all pant lengths! You can wear a long romper instead of a maxi dress if you feel more comfortable. Stay away from polyester when your legs are covered and look for rayon or viscose styles instead.
Read these tips on how to avoid a boring all-black wardrobe when you travel!
If you’re not a fan of long skirts, dresses, or rompers, bring trousers that you know you’ll be comfortable wearing in the heat. Avoid jeans and opt for lightweight capris or wide leg trousers.
Always check the weather before your trip to determine the expected highs and lows in the forecast, which will impact your decisions for what to wear in Rome. This will give you an accurate idea of whether you need to bring trousers to wear in Rome. If the temperature in the day or night seems like it will be cool during your trip, bring one pair of pants.
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
Even if you don’t plan to wear pants during your trip, you may want to wear a pair to travel to and from Rome from your destination. In this case, wear a pair in-flight that you could also wear in the city if needed.
These are the best travel pants for women!
It can be difficult to find summer tops that look city- versus beach-ready. However, the key is to choose neutral colors in classic shapes and styles that can be paired with detailed, structured, or colorful bottoms.
Bring along a few basics you can mix and match with anything, like a timeless white v-neck tee or a sleeveless well-fit blouse. Avoid logo t-shirts choosing comfortable but dressy tops like the Michael Stars Jersey Lycra Draped Halter.
Simple looks effortlessly chic when you have clothing that fits you well and is tailored for your body.
If you’re traveling for one week, then plan for seven outfits. In this case, if you plan to bring dresses, just subtract seven with the number of dresses you plan to pack and then you know how many tops you need.
For example, if you plan to bring four dresses, then you only need three tops and one or two bottoms to make seven days’ worth of outfits.
Likewise, if you plan to bring two dresses, then you’ll need five tops plus two or three bottoms so you can have a unique outfit every day of the week without needing to do laundry.
Read our four custom capsule wardrobe guides for a more thorough breakdown!
For tops, bring at least one light long sleeve that you can layer over the other tops on a cooler day or during your visit the Vatican. The rest of your tops should be breathable, to keep you cool.
Avoid any blouses that need under layers–you want to keep your clothing as far away from your skin as possible, especially on humid days.
Choose colors that can mix and match with all your skirts or pants so you can wear them interchangeably to make various outfits.
Did you know you can make three weeks’ worth of outfits with just eight to ten pieces of clothing? Learn how here!
Allonly High Waisted Button Pleated Midi Skirt, available sizes S-L
If you’re not much of a dress person and prefer separates that can mix and match, then a skirt is perfect for you. Like dresses, choose summer-appropriate fabrics like rayon, cotton, and linen.
For added versatility, these are popular convertible travel dress styles!
Eileen Fisher A-Line Skirt, available sizes XS-2X
If you only pack one skirt, choose one that can be worn with all your tops, for maximum versatility.
The easiest way to pair separates is to choose solid, neutral color tops and a printed or solid color skirt to match. Unless you’re a pattern pro, avoid too many prints and colors in both tops and bottoms.
This is a list of the most recommended travel skirts!
What to Pack for Rome: Shoes
Comfortable Sightseeing Sandals for Summer
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.
Wedges, not Heels to Dress Up
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.
Versatile Sneakers for Non-Summer Months
Popular shoe options for what to wear in Rome 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.
Rome Traveling 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!
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 Rome
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!
Please read this 10-Step Italy Packing Guide for more tips on what to wear in Rome.
What’s on your Italy packing list? What would recommend for what to wear in Rome? Share in the comments 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 Rome and Italy packing list, please read:
- What to Pack for Rome: Pretty, Practical, and Prepared
- My 10 Piece Packing List for 10 Days in Paris and Rome in Summer
- Learn How to Dress in Rome with the Experts from Eating Italy
- What to Wear in Italy
- 9 Tips on How to Dress in Italy
- 10 Step Packing Guides Italy
- Packing for Italy: a Northern Italian Summer
- The Ultimate Fashion Guide for Your Trip to Italy in Summer
- The Best Travel Shoes for Italy to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist
- What to Bring to Italy in Winter: Clothes Shoes and Accessories
For more tips on Europe packing lists, please read:
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 outfits and travel tips for 9 countries.
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