What to Wear in Italy: Packing List for Year Round Travel

What to Wear in Italy: Packing List for Year Round Travel

Wondering what to wear in Italy? TFG’s guest fashion blogger and native Italian, Jacopo Grazzi, shares his European insight and tips on how to dress like a local!

 


What to Wear in Italy

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 northeast, but I’ve traveled all over my country, so I can help give you tips on what to wear in Italy.

 

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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°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.

 

what-to-wear-in-italy

Michael Kors Backpack / Polarized Sunglasses / Italy Guide Book

 

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

 

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.

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.

A pair of fancy heels is recommended, 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.

 

what-to-wear-in-italy-shoes

Waterproof Boots / Comfortable Wedges / Italian Sneakers

 

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. You can also find designer outlet stores in major shopping destinations, too!

 

What to Wear in Italy in Spring

 

Italy: Spring

1.  Linen Shirt 2. Silk Tank Top 3. Button Up Shirt 4. Chiffon Blouse 5. Swing Dress 6. Striped T-Shirt Dress 7. Skinny Jeans  8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Pleated Midi Skirt 10. Raincoat 11. Poncho 12. Cardigan Sweater 13. Black Flats 14. Booties 15. Straw Floppy Hat 16. Leather Crossbody Bag

 

Weather:

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 any trip is always 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 in light fabrics. Stick to dark denim–it’s always in style.

Match your bottoms with a classic 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.

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.

 

Choose one of these stylish travel raincoats for women to keep you dry!

 

What to Wear in Italy in Summer

 

Italy: Summer

1. Basic Shirt 2. Silk Tank Top 3. Strappy Swing Top 4. Pussybow Blouse 5. Striped T-Shirt Dress 6. Red Bow Front Dress 7. Utility Short 8. Casual Shorts 9. Pleated Midi Skirt 10. Skater Skirt 11. Off-the-shoulder Blouse 12. Cardigan Sweater 13. Slide Sandal 14. Summer Wedge 15. Straw Hat 16. Leather Crossbody Bag

 

Weather:

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.

 

Italy Packing List:

According to my experience, 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!

 

What to Wear in Italy in Autumn

 

Italy: Autumn

1. Basic Tee 2. Silk Tank Top 3. Button Up Shirt 4. Chiffon Blouse 5. Swing Dress 6. High Low Loose Shirt Dress 7. Skinny Jeans  8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Mini Skirt 10. Raincoat 11. Poncho 12. Cardigan Sweater 13. Boots 14. Ankle Boots 15. Scarf 16. Leather Crossbody Bag

 

Weather:

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.

 

Italy Packing List:

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 packing list for Italy 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

 

Italy: Winter

1. Button Up Shirt 2. Wool Sweater 3. Cotton Blend Sweater 4. Henley Tee 5. Wool Kimono Dress 6. Loose Fit Knitted Dress 7. Skinny Jeans  8. Mid Rise Skinny Jeans 9. Winter Jacket 10. Down Jacket 11. Poncho 12. Print Skirt 13. Boots 14. Ankle Boots 15. Cashmere Beanie 16. Leather Crossbody Bag

 

Weather:

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. 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.

 

Italy Packing List:

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.

Waterproof leather boots or warm brogues are essential. A waterproof rain jacket can be useful, but I would suggest taking an umbrella, as it is more handy and fashionable.

 

The secret to packing light in winter is thermal underwear for women–find out why!

 

Italy Summer Clothing for Men

what-to-wear-in-italy-dress-like-a-local

 

Men’s summer clothing was a hot topic on TFG, so we’re sharing a quick visual to help you get your guys ready for a trip to Italy in the summer. Tailored, smart shorts (not baggy cargo shorts) paired with stylish sneakers like these shown above are acceptable in hot weather.

 

For more ideas on what to wear in Italy, please read this Ten Step Packing Guide!

 

Travel Outfit Ideas For Italy


 


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.


More Europe Packing Lists:

Suggested Travel Resources:

 

Please read our Ultimate Packing List for Europe featuring stylish tips for multi-country travel.

 


 

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We hope this packing list helps you plan what to wear in Italy so you can dress like a local. Don’t forget to share the love on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!


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67 Comments

  1. Hi there! I will be going to Florence, Venice, and Rome from December 23-Jan 3 and I am trying to figure out what shoes to bring. I am leaning towards booties/heels for night time and a pair of oxfords for day time exploring the cities, but I’m not sure if oxfords will be warm enough. Also I will be celebrating my 21st birthday while I am there and was wondering what people would usually where when going out for drinks at night?

    Reply
    • Hi Taylor, thanks for your question! The most important thing to remember is to find something that you feel comfortable in that makes you feel special for your birthday! I am actually going to post your question on our Facebook Page to get you more insight, so make sure to check back there so you don’t miss your questions! https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl

      Reply
  2. LOVE your posts! We’re traveling to Sorrento in mid October. I’ve planned an 8 day wardrobe around navy, white, red & gray. My shoe choices are strappy tan wedge sandals & top siders. Any other suggestions?

    Reply
  3. Thank you, these lists are so helpful!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome :) Glad you find them helpful!

      Reply
  4. Is it still common in Italy (specifically, Venice or Cinque Terre) that restaurants don’t let you in without heels?

    Reply
    • There are a few restaurants that have this rule, however many touristy places will let you in without heels. As with other places in Europe, comfortable shoes are always a must! Take a look at this article about shoes in Italy and what other readers think of heels http://bit.ly/28aU1LI

      Reply
  5. I’m leaving for Italy in a couple of days and will be there for a few weeks and would like to know if you recommend any good, yet fashionable, walking shoes. I’m not one who usually wears a canvas-type shoe and the one pair I do own no longer fits. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Faith :) It depends what kind of activities you’ll be doing i.e. hiking or city walks but this guide could point you in the right direction – http://bit.ly/1rOuabK – Have a great time in Italy and good luck with the shoe hunt!

      Reply
  6. Absolutely awesome post. I only wish it came out sooner and that some items could be purchased from Canada

    Reply
    • Hi Julia :) Glad you liked the post! We’re posting daily on the site so keep checking back in to see if there is anything helpful to you :)

      Reply
  7. I agree with another poster, shorts don’t belong on this list. You will never see Italians wear shorts unless they are children. Skirts, or capris.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  8. Thank you for the tips, I used this for packing for Italy in the March, it helped so much.

    Reply
    • That’s awesome Demra! We’re happy to help :-)

      Reply
      • what about for men?what to wear? we will be there on the second week of april. thanks

        Reply
  9. I going to an outdoor wedding in June and its in Sorrento. What should I wear.

    Thank you
    Claire

    Reply
  10. Hi! I am going to Florence in mid March to visit friends studying abroad. What they have told me so far is that people in Florence dress in very neutral colors and kind of simple clothes. Is this true? I want to make sure I pack accordingly and don’t stand out as an American touristy looking person lol

    Reply
  11. I have not been to Italy in 15 years! There is no rule on having to wear dress/skirt or hair coverings when going in to churches any more ?
    Thx

    Reply
    • I’ve been advised that you do still have to cover your shoulders and cover your knees when visiting a church.

      Reply
  12. Hi im going to tuscany in october any help on what the weathef is likely to be and what to pack would be really helpful …im comfortable in flat pumps skinny jeans loose blouses silk scarfs and blazer will these be to warm any help appreciated x

    Reply
    • Hi Jill, the best advice is to keep an eye on the weather on http://www.bbc.com/weather/ and for extended forecasts check out http://weather.com/

      Your outfit sounds great so perhaps you can start off with that as a base and work around it: add a coat, scarf, and boots if the weather’s colder or don’t wear the blazer if it’s warm. Be prepared to layer during this time of year. These tips could also help: http://goo.gl/GjjCaY I’ll also post your question on our facebook page to get more feedback for you. https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • I haven’t been to Milan since 2104, but will be there next month. Sounds like skinny jeans are still the way to go, correct?

        Reply
        • It doesn’t seem that they’re going anywhere any time soon ;-)

          Reply
  13. Hi..
    We are planning to visit Italy (milan) in the Christmas holiday.. What clothes and shoes shall i bring specially we are from warm country and coming with my little kids.

    Reply
  14. Helpful for every season! I am going to Europe in the winter and spending a good amount of time in Italy, so this list will definitely be something to refer back to!! Glad I found your site.

    Thanks, girl!

    Reply
  15. Dear Alex

    I was in Rome 2 weeks ago , and I have searched every website looking for a paticular Italian clothing store on ether Via Frattina ViaVia Borgognona
    Walking down either street from the Spanish steps it is on the left hand side of the street near the top . It is a high end store only found in Italy with women clothing. Do you happen to know the name of it?

    thank you for your help.

    Karen Smit.

    Reply
  16. So excited to finally go overseas and Italy has been my dream. Will be in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and even Lugano, Switzerland. Do you think it will be better to pack boots, sneakers, loafers or sandals? I’m not sure how cold my feet will be.

    Reply
  17. very informative blog!love your website..just in time!have plans to go to rome italy with my friends by first week of november. should i follow autumn packing coz im not very sure what type of clothes to wear..we also have plans in visiting venice and milan..also, need your advice on what shoes to wear!do i need to bring extra?well be there for only 8 days..thanks so much for this article!

    Reply
  18. Great informative article on what to wear. I would absolutely caution not to wear flip flops unless you’re at the beach since you’ll immediately stand out as a tourist. As a far as revealing clothing, just make sure you always have a light jacket and I would avoid short shorts. Italians are bit more modest in their dress but they always layer and accessories. As long at you throw on a light blazer and a scarf you’ll look great. For what not to wear, check out this article https://florentinelife.squarespace.com/trends/

    Reply
  19. My husband and I are planning on spending a few weeks in Italy late Sept/early October, these lists are wonderful! Also, thanks for posting a list for men, that’s very helpful. If we are doing a lot of sightseeing, would flat-soled leather boots be appropriate? I don’t want to wear tennis shoes everyday. Amazing blog, having fun getting ideas for my shopping list!

    Reply
    • You got it right! That seems to be the best way to go in Europe especially as the weather starts turning. Have fun!

      Reply
      • I had the same question about going to several cities from Venice to Rome leaving the first of May. The last time I was there in May I got cold at night and was wondering if I could wear my flat black “riding” boots. They are so comfy to walk in but I don’t want to look out of place. I am also taking ballet flats for warmer days. Should I leave the boots or take them?

        Reply
  20. So happy I found your website! My dream vacation has been Italy for almost 30 years and I’m finally getting the chance to go next end of March/beginning of April! I’ll be hitting Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples over a 17 day period and I don’t know if I should pack for Spring with some warmth for Winter? And what kind of overcoat or coverup would you recommend? Will it rain a lot then?

    I have so many questions and I’m so excited!!

    Thanks again!
    Julie

    Reply
  21. Such a blessing that I found your blog! Going to Italy (Florence, Venice and Rome) for my 1 year wedding anniversary this upcoming December. I always overpack, and am really worried about fitting everything I need for 8 days in a carry-on luggage during the winter in Italy. Can I do it? Also, hearing about all the pickpocketing, what do you recommend for holding my money/cards, and my cell phone? Just trying to make sure I’m prepared!
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  22. Love your website, follow you on instagram and facebook! :) In two weeks I’m leaving for a 20 day trip that starts in Venice,Florence,Rome, Sicily (Palermo) and ends with four days in Paris. I tend to over pack always! (even for weekend trips!) Not sure if I should include more summer than Fall clothes? Thank you :)

    Reply
    • Thank you Mimi for your compliments and following TFG :-) I’d say pack for Fall with a variety of clothing that you can layer. Always check the weather reports to your destinations first so you can plan as accurately as possible. I’ll also post your question on Facebook to get more feedback for you. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
      • Hi Alex,
        I didn’t see Mimi’s question on Facebook. Also, is it ok to wear a white capri in October in Italy?
        Thanks

        Reply
  23. Super helpful! I am leaving for Italy this week for a ten day trip (Rome, Venice, Florence, Sienna, Amalfi Coast) and I think I’ll lean more toward the summer wardrobe but will add a few fall pieces just incase! I wasn’t planning to pack a pair of heels (and I am a huge heel girl)…so now I am rethinking my no heel decision. Perhaps wedges can suffice?

    Reply
    • Hi Rachelle, I’ll post your question on FB to see what everyone thinks :-) Thanks!

      Reply
  24. Thank you for “What to Wear in Italy” it helped so much ;) My suit case is packed and ready for Rome next week!
    I love this Travel Blog!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Ricki! Hope you have a great trip :-)

      Reply
  25. Love that you put this together. Doing a 17 day tour of Italy starting mid-September – should I follow more of the summer or autumn list?

    Reply
    • Maybe a bit of both since the weather will vary based on your location.

      Reply
  26. Thank you so much fo putting these lists together – super helpful in determining what’s acceptable by geography. Traveling to Italy mid-September for just over two weeks – should I be leaning more towards summer or autumn if our itinerary includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Como?

    Reply
    • You should plan for both since the weather will vary based on your location – just plan to layer :-)

      Reply
  27. Thank you so much for putting these together. I always struggle with what to pack based on culture and geography. Headed to Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice, Como and Milan) on the 10th of September – any packing suggestions? Should I be leaning more towards summer or autumn at that point?

    Reply
  28. Incredibly stylish! Will there also be a Scotland series?

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s a little delayed but it’s coming :-)

      Reply
  29. Great job! Thank you for confirming too, in the south, don’t show too much skin. I often see tourists in short shorts, tank tops, too much skin. I don’t even pack shorts for the south. Can’t wait to return to Italy this fall!

    Reply
    • Happy that Jacopo was able to give us info straight from the source :-)

      Reply
  30. This could not have come at a better time for me! I’m packing for Italy as I write this! Might throw in an extra pair of heels…

    Reply
    • Happy the timing was right :-)

      Reply

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