What to wear in Italy

Italy is a stylish place; you'll want to pack your Sunday best to fit in with the locals. But depending on what time of year you’re travelling to Italy, your packing list may change.

Summer highs in southern Italy often rise above 40°C, so light, breathable cotton or linen clothing is the way to go. T-shirts and shorts, skirts or light trousers are the best choices, but keep in mind that if you want to head into religious sites, such as the Vatican, covering from the shoulder to knee is compulsory – for women and men. If you’re heading to coastal areas, be sure to pack your bathing suit.

Winter temperatures can vary quite dramatically from south to north. While the south has milder winter temperatures, hovering around 10°C during the day, in the northern reaches of Italy they can fall well below 0°C , with snowfall common in winter. This is when you’ll need layers – you’ll probably get away with a couple of warm jackets and sweaters for the south, but thermals, windbreakers and fleece or down jackets are recommended for the north.

If you’re travelling outside of full summer or winter, check the weather forecasts before you leave and get a good mixture of both warm and breathable gear. Choose clothing that’s easy to layer and pack away.

In terms of footwear, sneakers and/or sandals made for walking are essential. Pathways at historical sites are often rocky and uneven, and the footpaths in main cities aren’t much better.

Must-pack items for Italy

  • Loose, breathable clothing, like t-shirts, shorts and skirts that cover the knee, and loose trousers
  • Thermal layers, long pants and warm jackets (if travelling in the cooler months)
  • Swim shorts or bathing suit
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip flops

See our ultimate packing list for a more comprehensive list of items you should bring on your trip to Italy.

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