This Local’s Approved Packing List, What to Wear in Italy, is brought to you by TFG’s guest fashion blogger and native Italian, Jacopo Grazzi. He is currently studying fashion in the UK and giving TFG his European insight. Check out his blog and you can follow him on Twitter. Thank you, J!
What to Wear in Italy: Dress Like a Local
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 what to wear.
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 north-east, but I’ve traveled all over my country, so I can help give you tips on what to wear throughout Italy.
Weather in Italy
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 (+35/40°C), including May and September, but it’s 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 sun’s rays. You can burn easily if you are outside during the hottest hours of the day.
Touristy cities like Venice or Rome are made for walking, so make sure to choose comfortable shoes. Consider waterproof shoes for the colder months and simple, comfortable canvas shoes for the warmer months.
A pair of fancy heels is recommended, as locals like to dine out with style and elegance. Also, in some venues, hosts at the entrance might not let you in if you’re wearing flat shoes!
TFG recommends choosing wedges over stilettos to walk safely and smoothly over cobblestone streets.
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. Also, the Italian brand United Colours of Benetton is recommended for basic items, and there’s a branch located in every city.
What to Wear in Italy in Spring
1. Long Sleeve Sweater 2. V-Neck tee 3. Lace Up Top 4. Sheer Loose Blouse 5. Crop Top 6. Tunic Dress 7. Textured Dress 8. Skinny Jeans 9. Straight Leg Denim (similar) 10. Long Skirt (similar) 11. Camel Blazer (similar) 12. Hooded Raincoat 13. Wedge Pump 14. Lace Up Oxford 15. Quilted Bag 16. Cat Eye Sunglasses 17. Travel Umbrella 18. Silk Scarf 19. Stone Necklace 20. Straw Fedora Hat
Spring in Italy is unpredictable. The temperatures can vary from chilly to warm and sometimes even hot, from a minimum of 15°C to a maximum of 28°C. When it rains, and during early morning hours, the temperature can go down to 10°C. Checking the weather forecast is highly recommended.
Italy Packing List:
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.
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. The latest trend is long maxi skirts in a light fabric. Match the bottom with a classic tee or pretty blouse, and don’t forget a set of sweaters or light jackets for layering on cold days and evenings and a waterproof outwear item, such as a light trench coat, for unexpected rainstorms. Light brogues or waterproof canvas shoes are essential.
Accessories include a silk neck scarf for cold mornings, jewelry (remember to not take expensive pieces), and sunglasses. A sun hat is recommended but not essential.
What to Wear in Italy in Summer
1. Pleated T-Shirt 2. Printed Top 3. Spaghetti Strap Peplum 4. Striped Crop Top (similar) 5. Off Shoulder Top 6. Shirt Dress 7. Swishy Dress 8. Casual Shorts 9. Cuffed Denim Shorts 10. Floral Midi Skirt 11. Striped Cardigan 12. Denim Vest (similar) 13. Gladiator Sandals 14. Summer Wedge 15. Straw Tote 16. Sunglasses 17. Straw Fedora 18. Travel Umbrella 19. Infinity Scarf 20. Triangl Bikinis
Summer in Italy is insanely hot; temperatures can reach 35°C or higher. In some cities in the north, such as Milan and Venice, it can be extremely stuffy due to the humidity. 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.
Italy Packing List:
According to my experience, choose light and bright colored clothing to avoid scorching in the blaring heat. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sun hat, and your sun protector cream.
If you go to the seaside, pack a colorful bikini. An elegant old-fashioned monokini is acceptable if you don’t want to show too much skin.
For city sightseeing, dress comfortably with loose and light clothes. Shorts and skirts are essentials; use a tank top or a dressy blouse and a hat to 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.
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 people wearing flip-flops if not at the 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.
What to Wear in Italy in Autumn
1. Cable Sweater 2. V-Neck T-Shirt 3. Striped Top 4. White Shirt (similar) 5. Peter Pan Collar Top 6. Lace Up Skater Dress 7. Drawstring Dress 8. Skinny Jeans 9. Skinny Jeans Denim 10. Suede Skirt 11. V-Neck Cardigan 12. Biker Jacket 13. Peep Toe Ankle Boots 14. Tassel Ankle Boots 15. Leather Satchel 16. Sunglasses (Similar) 17. Travel Umbrella 18. Printed Scarf 19. Slim Belt (similar) 20. Layered Necklace
Autumn does not differ much from spring. Temperatures fluctuate from 15°C to 24°C 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.
Italy Packing List:
When planning what to wear in Italy in September and the 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 packing list for Italy consisting of mostly black, chic leather boots, a stunning handbag, and silk printed scarf.
What to Wear in Italy in Winter
1. Henley Shirt 2. Denim Shirt 3. Cable Knit Sweater 4. Striped Sweater 5. Turtle Neck Sweater 6. Knitted Dress 7. Roll Neck Dress 8. Flared Jeans 9. Biker Jeans (similar) 10. Check Pocket Shirt 11. Padded Coat 12. Quilted Jacket 13. Snow Boots 14. Winter Fur Boots 15. Satchel Bag 16. Knitted Beanie 17. Cable Knit Mittens 18. Circle Scarf 19. Striped Umbrella 20. Tights
As mentioned before, winters can be quite cold. 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. The temperatures range from +10°C down to -8°C. And where the climate is humid, it’s colder–you can feel it in your bones.
Italy Packing List:
To make sure you don’t freeze when planning what to wear in Italy, 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 sleeves tops, warm sweaters, and cardigans.
Leather boots like these are perfect for travel in Europe during this time of year.
Italy Summer Clothing for Men
Men’s summer clothing was a hot topic on TFG’s Facebook page, so we’re sharing a quick visual to help you get your guys ready for a trip to Italy in the summer.
Travel Outfit Ideas For Italy
Have a great time in Italy!
What are your essentials in your Italy packing list?
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.
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