The following is a guest packing list provided by Suzy Guese. See all packing list posts here.
You might say packing and Italy are my two great loves. I should include some hunky man in that list, but I can’t deny a perfectly packed suitcase bound for Italy.
Beginning at 14 years old, I started a trend of frequenting Italy. I studied Italian in Sorrento for a month in summer. I would return just over a year later to study in Sicily for a semester in the fall and winter. Rather than going home, I jumped up to Florence to study for yet another semester in the country, spending late winter, spring and summer in the Renaissance city. After college graduation, I spent a few months in Italy yet again and then I returned last summer for three months, traveling from literally the top of the country to the very tip of Italy’s stiletto.
Yes, I really do love Italy and packing for it always brings a certain thrill.
However after all of these trips of frequenting Italy in different seasons and different geographic locations, I have made some packing errors whether it be bringing too much or thinking I could wear sandals year round. Having learned from my mistakes, I hope Italy novices can in turn pack better with this list.
I have included items that work year round, with some adding and subtracting for different times of the year. While Italy is diverse, it is pretty similar from toe to heel throughout the different seasons. From a two-week excursion to the country to semesters spent studying abroad, this list should be sufficient.
Depending on where you will be in Italy and what you will be doing, some of these items aren’t necessary. If you are traveling around Sicily in December, it will be cold and call for heavy coats and boots. If you are stationed in Florence or Rome for the summer, the heat will be engulfing. Sun dresses and breathable fabrics are the answer.
- 3 Basic Tank Tops
- 3 Basic T-Shirts
- 3 Nicer Blouses — Italians dress up. If you want to fit in, don’t look like a slouch.
- 3 Dresses — One with sleeves to go into churches and for cooler months in Italy.
- 2 Pairs of Skinny Jeans
- 1 Heavy Jacket (Pea coat type) — For late fall, winter and early spring only.
- 1 Lightweight Jacket — For fall, spring and summer only.
- 6 Pairs of Socks — For late fall, winter and early spring only.
- 7 Pairs of Underwear — A week’s worth you can wash out easily.
- 2 Yoga Pants — For more active days hiking or to sleep in.
- 1 Swimsuit — The country is surrounded by the sea!
- 1 Scarf — Basic in color so that it will go throughout each season. You can also use this to cover up in churches.
- 3 Sweaters — For late fall, winter and early spring only.
- 1 Pair of Walking Shoes — Make sure you test these out before leaving. In Italy, you will walk everywhere.
- 1 Pair of Flats — Flats are prefect for summer, fall, some days in winter and spring in Italy.
- 1 Pair of Flat Boots — If there is one item I didn’t think I needed before setting off for Italy it was boots. You will use these more than you can imagine. It rains in Italy and the winters can be bitter cold. Flat boots are easy to walk in and they keep your feet warm.
- 1 Pair of Flip-Flops — For miscellaneous purposes but most importantly the beach!
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Toiletries are ridiculously expensive in Italy, especially for the amount of product you get in little travel sized bottles. If you want to save some money, bring some of your favorites from home. Your load will lighten as you use more products throughout your trip.
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Bar of Soap
- Hair Brush
- Hair Ties
- Tiny Tide Packets — You can wash your whole wardrobe in the sink with these miracle packets.
- Pumice Stone — More so than in any other country, I always feel like I walk more in Italy. Most Italian major cities are walker friendly, but your feet pay. Italians don’t keep their streets entirely clean. The only way to keep your feet completely clean, especially in summertime from the dirty Italian streets, is to pack a pumice stone. I tried searching for these in Italy and found the Italian equivalent, rocks.
- Mosquito spray — The mosquitoes are mean in Italy. Florence is hit hard in summer with mosquitoes due to its location along the Arno River. The same can be said for coastal locations like in Sicily.
- Laptop — This varies based on the person but I couldn’t live without mine. (Alternatively, you could get crafty and ditch the laptop.)
- Camera – DSLR or point and shoot.
- Internet Card — If you are staying for a while in Italy, consider purchasing an Internet card with a local phone company. I bought one for 60 euros and it lasted 3 months.
- Luggage Lock — Petty theft is common in Italy. Keep your luggage locked up in your hotel room.
- 1 umbrella — Or you can buy one from those men who pop up on street corners whenever it rains in Italy.
- Cell phone — Not just to communicate and use apps, a cell phone can be a great way to avoid heckling Italian men. I often would pretend to be on the phone walking down the street to avoid unwanted attention.
- Wine Opener – Especially for the cost conscious traveler, you are going to want to pick up a cheap bottle of Italian wine at the supermarket on occasion. If you don’t have a wine opener this can be problematic for your evening. Pack one, for you never know if you might need it.
Tips for Fitting in While Traveling in Italy
If you want to blend in, baseball caps and white sneakers are not the way to go. I prefer to blend in as much as possible in Italy for my bright red hair tends to mark me as a foreigner in the country.
Dressing in short-shorts and tank tops in summer isn’t always the best option for Italian men will hassle you to the point of following you down the street, block after block. If you don’t want this kind of attention, dresses are a better option in summer along with those trusted skinny jeans.
However, no matter what you pack for Italy, the attention will most likely come even if you are wearing a potato sack. On second thought, you may want to throw in some earplugs to drown out those catcalls.
Booking Accommodation in Italy
Accommodation to fit any budget can be found across Italy. Super budget travelers will enjoy couchsurfing or hostels, while those looking for a more comfortable experience can search for AirBnb’s and hotels. Start searching now and book early if you plan to travel in high season. Click here to search the best deals on hostels and hotels in Italy.
Have you traveled to Italy? What do you recommend packing for the country?
P.S. Italy Travel Guide + Packing Guide to Summer Holiday in Rome
Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Italy
Lake Como Volta Lighthouse and Brunate Jeep Sightseeing Tour ↗
See Lake Como from the hills with this Brunate and Volta Lighthouse tour.
The Original Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter’s Dome Climb ↗
After getting sweeping views of Vatican City and Rome beyond, proceed inside for a guided tour of the church itself, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel.
About the author: Suzy Guese is a travel writer, born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She fell in love with travel at a young age on family road trips and vacations to Europe. Italy in particular has always had a special place in her traveling heart, so much so that she is always plotting a return. She has studied, traveled and eaten her way from the top of Italy’s boot to its pointy heel. Suzy writes about her travels on her website Suzy Guese, Traveling with a redhead temperament and on the One Travel blog.
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As always, great tips from Suzy. There are some things on here I had not thought of, like the wine opener. I like that you mentioned what’s appropriate in churches. Before I left to study in Florence, our professor explained that to us, stressing that it was our responsibility to be respectful. It’s something a lot of people don’t realize when traveling in Italy.
Definitely also bring a plug converter, since the power outlets in Italy are different. Charging a laptop or phone is impossible without one, and they might be difficult to find once you get there (or pricey if they are in the tourist shops).
One thing I would add to this list is dry shampoo.
The shoe list is dead on – heels + cobblestone = bad news so don’t even bother wasting room in your suitcase. I might even suggest bringing two pairs of flat boots though. I wore mine almost every day I lived in Florence and by the end of my time there they were pretty worn down. Although I guess the alternative is to buy another great pair of boots IN Italy. 🙂
I would also suggest bringing an Italy power adapter. It’s such a beautiful country you’re going to quickly kill the battery on your camera & you’ll need some way to recharge it! I got mine here: http://www.travelproducts.com/italy-grounded-plug-adapter.html before I left so I didn’t have to worry about finding one once I got there.
Do you recommend flat boots even in summer?
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this list! I’m moving to Naples for a few years and my most of my things will take several months to arrive. I am NOT a light packer, so this list will help me slim down my baggage that I can take with me. Thank you for taking a huge weight off my shoulders (literally)!
Have a splendid time in Naples, Melissa! And let us know how the packing works out.
Update- Well, I’ve been in Naples for a few weeks now. I packed according to this list (mostly) and am so glad I did! I only have a few changes that I would add for me, and some things to consider for those on extended stays.
For those traveling in the late fall/early winter:
– If you are like me and anything below 50 degrees is very cold to you, pack a long-sleeved shirt (or two) and an extra sweater. Probably not necessary if you won’t be on an extended stay, but if you are you will wish you had them.
-An extra pair of jeans is always great to have, but not your favorite old ripped up ones. If blending in is your goal, you will want a pair of fashionable ones (skinny, trouser, etc).
– For your light coat, pack a raincoat. It’s something I had to purchase once here because the winter here in Naples is rainy!
-If you have room bring extra boots. I brought one black and one brown pair and am glad I did. I have yet to see an Italian wearing tennis shoes, with the exception of some blinged out Chucks and neon colored Nikes, something to consider when choosing your footwear. I brought a pair of Clarks as my walking shoes. Plan to use those flip-flops exclusively on the beach and not as regular footwear. All your footwear for walking around town needs to be closed-toed!
– I’m not much of a dress person, but I brought them. I haven’t been able to do many touristy things, like visiting some of the old churches, so I will wear them when I do but I haven’t yet. I did bring a skirt and some leggings, and have worn those a few times. Maybe an option for those of you who aren’t into dresses.
-Slippers or warm sock with grip, floors in Italy are generally marble or tile and can get very cold in the winter.
-Tide packets have saved me a few times and were not something I would have thought to bring on my own.
-Get a good converter app, so you know how much you are spending in dollars. Pay for things in cash, many banks charge international fees every time you use your debit/credit card in a foreign country.
– Don’t carry large purses, at least not in Naples. Limit the items you need to carry with you and carry a small bag, preferably one you can drape across your body. Theft is common, as noted in the article, and people on scooters will grab it as they pass you. Pickpockets here are professional, so be cautious. Not meaning to scare you, but be very aware of your surroundings and don’t make it easy for them.
Thanks again for the tips! I am so grateful I found this website. I will be referring back to other packing guides while we travel Europe.
Melissa, I’m so glad to hear it all worked out! Thank you so much for the feedback and thanks also for the additions! Every traveler is different so the more info we can share, the better 🙂
Daniela Gonzalez says
Great packing list! I would just recommend those travel rolls of toilet paper as I ran across several restrooms lacking it!
ALWAYS important to have tissues or the like in your purse/pocket. Great tips 🙂
Annie Kennedy says
Panty liners and wet ones. You find small flat ones in a plastic wrap. Use a lip liner with blusher
. Makeup :a tinted sunscreen. Dyed eyelashes and brows save on make up!
Def your own shampoo and conditioner a good concentrated brand like Redken or Purology. Can be mixed one to nine in a little plastic sqeuse bottle
A foot cream
foot powder works as a deodorant and perfect on clammy upper legs.and under arms
Turning 68 TRAVEL IS MY MOST FAVORITE PASTIME
Allie H. says
We went to Rome in April with my husband’s parents and in rained the entire time! We were taking tour-groups around locations heavy with opportunities for rain puddles and though we were wearing walking shoes, I saw a gal with rain boots and I thought it was genius! Wished I’d thought to bring those from home…since we lived in Switzerland at the time it wouldn’t have been an altogether extra thing to bring since it was raining when we left and raining when we got back from Rome! Whenever I travel, if I take boots, I fold my underwear and rolls my socks and make as much use of the extra pockets of room as possible.
Jen T. says
Loved the post! The most random item I brought with me turned out to be the best! This is specifically for people backpacking. I bought a poncho for my pack… sounds frivolous right? But is turned out to be amazing on walks through the cities and countryside in the rain. Everything on my pack was kept perfectly dry (since my pack wasn’t waterproof). But another useful feature is I didn’t worry about pickpockets at all regarding my pack while I was walking through crowed areas. I recommend it to everyone. And if you are staying in a hostel, a headlight is very useful.
Enjoy your travels!
Thanks for sharing, Jen! Love the poncho idea – so useful!
You’re so right about the Italian men! I once got followed down an alley by two guys in a golf cart–they didn’t mean any harm, but I was NOT in the mood for it. I turned around and yelled at them, which was by far the most effective strategy I tried. You just have to tell them to go fuck themselves and look serious about it. Silly American girly deference (i.e. smiling while telling them no) won’t do you any good here, because they’ll feel like your words say no, but your face says yes. Just a little cultural difference to be aware of!
I’ve actually got to disagree with you on taking full-size toiletries and detergent, though. I sacrificed my huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner at the airport for weight before I even left, and I’m so glad I did! I was able to find GREAT shampoo for 2 or 3 euro–you’re right that they’re small, though. I was there for five weeks, and I probably went through a bottle a week. (I was so sweaty sometimes that I showered twice a day, though.) Everything I tried made my hair look amazing in the hot, humid summer weather, and that’s an experience I never would have had if I’d taken my American products along. And I felt the same about the laundry detergent I bought there. Washing things by hand and hanging things to dry is much more common in Italy, and so I found that their detergent worked way, way better for that purpose than any American one I’ve found, even Woolite. I find that I have to rinse SO thoroughly with American detergent, and even so, my clothes sometimes dry crunchy and uncomfortable. Not so with the Italian stuff. I wish I could get detergent like that back home, actually!
Jennifer Bradley says
One of my friends warned me that Italian men pinch and her boobs were black and blue by the end of the trip. I wrapped up well and was only pinched on the bottom, but then my breasts are rather puny in comparison. Apart from that love the place and your comments are v. useful.
I went on a trip to Italy this summer and we visited PLENTY of churches… so something I would add is a maxi dress and scarves to drape over your shoulders for church sightseeing in the summer. It was SO hot while I was there and I was glad to have a dress that was loose and stopped at my mid calf. Same with the scarf, because I could take it off after leaving the church to get cooler.
Lynn Stephens says
Lots of good suggestions! We travelled to Italy two years ago for three weeks. We found that Rick Steves book very helpful. I took only a carry on bag on wheels, and packed half as many shirts, socks and underclothes. I figured I could purchase anything else I needed. I washed out what I wore that day the following evening usually. I would recommend a wash clothe and pick clothes that are somewhat coordinated. And don’t dress down, look nice and you will be treated accordingly. We took only our IPOd’s which were great to go online, listen to books or music and not a huge loss if stolen. We had a great time!
Some great feedback here. So happy to hear you went carry on and still had a great time!
Adventurous Andrea says
I’m going to live a year in Torino and this list is seriously sooooo helpful!
Pack sensible shoes, an anorak and warm clothes, for winter in Turin is a serious one, with frost and snow possible from December to early March.
I will be going to Italy in May. Should I be bringing boots? I heard it will be quite warm.
Really great information! I am going to be in Sorrento/Rome in May. Should I be packing for summer weather? I too was wondering about bringing boots and a rain jacket…or will an umbrella suffice?
Did you find out about the boots and rain coat ? we are going to tour Italy this summer for a month… Thank you so much..
Thanks for the tips, I am going to Italy for a study abroad this summer, and was unsure what to pack. Colorado summers are so different from Europe and I have only been to the colder European countries in Spring before. I am so excited to go and this checklist should make the trip great! 😀
I too will be in Italy in May and am on the fence about a few things, especially since we will touring the country from N to S. Are boots necessary? How about a wide hat? Is it too early for a wedge sandal?
I am going to italy for 10 days in the end of march early April, will it still be cold or should I be packing more like dresses and springy clothes? Also can I just wear like Toms everywhere you think or should I try to find more shoes?
I’ve been to Italy a few times, usually in June. My experience during June is, it is chilly in the North part of the country (Venice) and gets warmer the further south you go (Rome is warm, with Naples being even warmer, and Sicily quite warm). I never took boots, but I did take jeans and used them. I wouldn’t necessarily take wedges because again, if you are doing a lot of walking, you are going to want comfortable shoes on cobblestones. I took cute flats, Toms, and sandals. I have also found the times I didn’t bring a warmer sweater or sweatshirt were the trips when I could have really used one. Again, like others have mentioned, make sure if you are going in to a religious site to have on appropriate clothes. Italians are very serious about showing respect in churches and will not let you in if you are not dressed appropriately. Some sites do have something you can use to cover yourself, but don’t count on that. Hope this helps some.
I just found your website!! I absolutely love the idea of creating a blog solely about things to pack when traveling. This was extremely helpful because this summer I will be going to Italy and I actually bookmarked this so I can refer back to it! Keep blogging for al those travelers out there like me:)
Michelle Kiel says
Hello. Love that I came across this blog!
Heading to Rome May 27 and will end up in Venice – headed home June 6. Shoes are my big concern. I will be packing active skorts (with shorts underneath) for hiking, biking, Vespa tour so will bring cute Diesel sneakers for those outfits.
I’m packing long skirts and maxi dresses for the rest of the trip. I was planning to bring a pair of Tory Burch sandals but worry that these may not work for the long walking. Does anyone have a suggestion for a cute sandal that works with dresses?
My closet is filled with over 100 pairs of shoes, most of which are heels and platform wedges (4″ or more). I prefer the wedges but from what I’ve read, not practical.
Thanks for any help you can provide!
Going to Italy in May was wondering if you got any good advice on good footwear would be much appreciated thanks.
I am going to amalfi coast and tuscany in September, first time to italy will be on a tour will be travelling over to Rome by myself any tips to see rome as a middle age woman travelling alone? This is my first time overseas so I am anxious as well as excited about it.
Allie H. says
Hi Veronica! I would suggest carrying a smaller purse or wearing a light jacket that has pockets on the inside for your wallet & passport, or cargo pants or wear a cross-body purse so you can tell if someone on the metro or in large crowds is tugging at it, but nothing just with straps that someone can swipe off your shoulder and run with. If you’re going to be collecting souvenirs I’d suggest a backpack for the same reasons. Don’t count your money in the street. Don’t get me wrong; Rome is so amazing and the people are very nice but every country has their pickpockets and shady neighborhoods that if you don’t want to avoid, it’s best to take precautions. I even had a small pocket knife, even though I was traveling with my husband and my parents-in-law. He carried one, too. If you prefer pepper spray I’d suggest that as well. It sounds so serious but you can never be too careful, especially traveling alone. Hope this helps!
I’d be very careful here – carrying weapons is a risk and you are treading a thin line legally speaking. I believe pepper spray is illegal in Italy. Always double check local laws!
on a different note, I am in my 20’s and spent a few months in Rome (late winter to summer) and never felt less than safe! standard common sense rules apply (don’t walk alone at night, careful talking to strangers, etc.) but I found that particularly once tourist season picked up, even late night there were lots of people out and about. I think the biggest thing is understanding the area you are in! avoid the alleyways and small streets in the dark. Also, the place I felt least secure was at ATMs getting cash out – try to go with a friend and make sure no one stands too close behind you or tries to talk to you (i.e distract you) while you’re doing it.
I’d actually argue against a backpack, in my opinion in puts a target on you as a tourist (and not an especially savvy one). Keep credit cards and cash in different pockets in your purse, so that if someone pick pockets you the chances are they’ll only get one or the other!
Allie H. says
I just think that if you have a bag where you can feel if someone is trying to pull it off your shoulders and can’t, you’re better off. A purse can be swiped off one shoulder and it’s gone…two straps and you have a better chance of keeping the bag and pitching a public fit so someone might be inclined to help you out. That’s why I argue for cargo pants to keep your wallet in…you’re definitely going to notice someone brushing up against your thigh. If they swipe your purse that way, they’re going to end up with trinkets and maybe your hotel key. No big. Honestly, you’re going to look like a tourist anyway, if you speak bad Italian like I do or don’t look like the native population, you’re going to stand out. It’s how you project yourself that makes all the difference
I’m in my mid-40s and I’ve been to Italy alone more than a dozen times. I suggest the following:
1. Show no cleavage ever. Italian men are very different than American ones.
2. Put your money in your bra or your front pocket, where you can feel if someone is trying to lift it off you.
3. Only use well-lit public ATMS, and withdraw a little cash (euros) daily as opposed to taking a big chunk out on Day One. It’s worth the few minutes to not have much to lose. (ATMs are cheaper than most US credit cards, but Capital One doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees, and I’ve heard neither does Discover)
4. Your feet will hurt, no matter how broken in your shoes are. Bring a lightweight faux pumice stone from Target, some overnight foot softening cream or Vaseline and powder. You’ll be so glad you did! And bandages, just in case.
5. Stay out of Trastevere after dark if you are alone
6. When nice Italian men offer you dinner, drinks, etc., realize they are usually married (in our age group) and agree to meet them at the location, not let them pick you up or even know the name of your hotel.
7. Amalfi is quite hot still in Sept. I skip jeans and shorts and just bring 4-5 sundresses.
Thank you for the tips! My husband and I are visiting Italy the last two weeks of September. From what I’ve read, this is an atypical time of year to visit. Should I pack for cold or warm weather (we land in Rome and will travel north along the West coast). We will pack as lightly as possible so I’m looking for all the tips I can get:) thank you and thanks to everyone who left helpful comments!
hi! im 17 and I’m going to Italy this summer with my parents and 2 younger brothers (15 and 9) and i was wondering if you all had some tips for making the whole family look less like a tourist. we will not be with a group or tour guid so hopefully that will help, but what about dress and mannerisms? i know classy and chic for my mom but can i dress a little more boho esc? like maxi skirts and dresses and leather sandals, crop tops? And what about my little brothers? ….they need a lot of work. I’m so excited but a little nervous so i would appreciate all the help and advise as possible!!! thanks so much
Katherine H. says
I’m traveling to Rome sorrento and Capri and was wondering if a Kavu over the shoulder bag would be ok. The zippers can be hidden and they unzip downward but also has a hidden pocket inside…
What type of shoes did you end up being the most comfortable in? I am leaving in a week for a tour of italy trip. What would you suggest?
My husband and I leave for Cinque Terre and Florence (with days trips to Venice and Rome) in 10 days. And, I have a broken foot so I’ll be walking in a boot most of the time. I’m nervous about what shoes to wear since I’ll already be hobbling a bit. It’s too late to buy anything b/c I don’t have time to wear them in … I’ll be packing Rainbows, Keens and flats.
I wanted to check with you about the locks for our luggage. We’ll be staying 3 nights in one hotel and 5 nights in another … do you think we need to lock our luggage when we’re out of the room for the day or just lock it when we’re travelling from one location to the next?
Loved your list and have added some of your suggestions to my packing list.
Judy Miller says
Lock the suitcase every day. Why not?
Can anyone vouch for the weather in early September in the Rome to Florence and Cinqueterra area?? I can’t tell if it will be cooler like fall in the States or still feel summery. Any ideas?
I love this list! I’ve been to several parts of Italy in the summer, but this December will be my first trip to Lucca in late fall/early winter. I very much appreciate the tips!
Going to Venice, Florence and Rome in early November (6-16) and wondering how the weather is during that time? I’ve heard cold and rain? Anyone go during November? Thanks
This site is great! We will be traveling throughout Italy the last two weeks in September beginning with Venice, then Florence, Tuscany, Rome and amalfi coast. Just how warm is the weather typically? I hesitate to pack summer-like clothing since i consider September early fall. I really need some helpful advice. I have laid out 1pair black capris, 1 pair khaki capris, 1 pair black pants, 1 pair skinny jeans, 1 pair tan pants along with short sleeved and long sleeved tops. Also 2 dresses ( not for daytime) & one daytime dress, one black skirt, a raincoat, bathing suit, pashmina and scarves. Am I about covered? Most of the short sleeved tops are summer colors….is this ok? How hot will sorrento be at the end of September?
i am going in a few days for 2 weeks. i was told to dress for the season meaning italians wear scarves and boots in fall no matter the temp. my friends never wore dresses. i am bringing a black dress that covers my knees and can go day-night just in case. i am bringing couple pashminas and light sweaters to layer and make me covered for churches. a few tanks that i can layer with light sweater(super thin) we are taking trains so i am only bringing a roller board and small back pack. have fun! i am so excited. i am nervous about my shoes! i always wear wedges or open toed shoes and still havent found the perfect pair!!!!! have boots arriving today from zappos! ps remember that black leggings go with everything as does denim and you can roll them up for the “capri” look! that is my plan! i wear my clothes until they smell 🙂 my friend wore open crocs her entire visit. i bought patricia crocks and they are super comfy and waterproof even if not “cool” also i was told and read italians go black or neutral occasionally red. i bought a couple burn out style kind of long sleeve from express and you can layer with colored tank. i got black and white. also can use a scarf for color. my colors: black, white, gray, denim and cinnamon red. cinnamon brown boots (my fashionista friend said looks cool with black or anything.) good luck
Hi, am in my mid 40s, single and just booked 10 weeks in Italy May-30July 2014.
This blog has been sensational for tips – any further recommendations on what direction I should take from Milan. Was thinking of travelling down the east coast to Sicily then up the west coast to Cinque Terra. Any ‘must sees’ and ‘must takes’.
I’ll be in Italy in mid-March and the weather is looking at bit cold and rainy. Are jeans common there? I was only planning to bring one pair as they aren’t the most comfortable to walking. Also, are knit pants frowned upon as I have some that are very good for walking about and do not look like yoga pants. 🙂
I’m also going to Italy (Venice, Florence, Rome) this month! In two days to be exact (eek!). I’ve been reading a lot of packing lists, but this one is the best! Plus the comments are really helpful. I’m going to take one pair of black jeans. I was planning on taking an extra pair in dark blue, but I think I’ll be fine w/o. I’m also taking a pair of track pants that could be dressed up or down, a pair of green pants, and a couple of dresses. With a few tops, I think I’ll be fine for two weeks.
I am 82, visiting ancestral home in Florence for ten days next June. Small suitcase so I can lift it. Do not want to look like a tourist, what to bring? Thinking two dresses, two skirts, two slacks (or two capris?), matching tops and pashminas. Travelling with walking shoes, bringing Birkenstocks and one closed flat shoe. Plus the usual toiletry paraphernalia. Is this adequate? Never been, meeting family for first time, want to leave a good impression. Thank you for any comments to help me out.
Linda Grisham says
maybe a cute hat for light rain and a scarf that matches everything11Have fun!!
This website is wonderful. Me & my husband are traveling to Europe via cruise ship in October for 3 weeks.Visiting Venice,Capri, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Messina, Naples, Pompeii. Suggestions for packing. Going to churches. Are Leggings acceptable with long tops for church. Thks
Hello! I’m going on my honeymoon in Jan 2015. I haven’t seen may post on what to pack for January. Any tips? We’ll be going for 2 weeks all over Italy! Thanks so much!
Hi Jennifer, depending on where your going, January is not the best time for a vacation in italy. Cold, rainy, sometimes frost and snow up north. Definitely pack boots and lots of sweaters and scarves.
I lived in Italy for several years and the key to looking native is a jacket. That is, a tailored blazer or leather jacket or even a nice cardigan for all ages. Raincoats are practical, but honestly, everyone uses an umbrella. Scarves, sunglasses, and nice shoes help as well.
As for jeans, make sure they are fitted and dark with little colorful stitching (this means everywhere). Nothing is more American than baggy, medium blue jeans with yellow stitching.
As a side note to all Cinque Terre visitors. Make sure to bring a sturdy pair of athletic shoes. You will thank yourself later. I wore sandals there, and my feet were literally black and blue and red for weeks afterward. And I knew I was going to hike.
You. Are. Absolutely. Amazing…..seriously! What I’m curious on is weather; I’m going across the New Year and was wondering what part of this list I should include.
Awesome site! I was looking for what I need to buy/pack for our destination wedding to Italy and 10 day Europe trip when I found your site. We are keeping our original date but instead of getting married at the Disney Castle we are getting married in Florence (he surprised me last night). Our date is in January. I know it is going to be super cold but since I am from central florida I am not used to the cold as we wear flip flops and shorts year long. What should I buy to pack? I was given a rolling duffle as a wedding gift already to use.
I have a strapless dress so I am planning on getting a cape or nice fur jacket and thinking white furry boots instead of pretty heels, but not sure what else, lol.
Will you have others traveling with you for the wedding but heading home right afterward?
I would discourage you from bringing big furry boots you will not wear anywhere else during your trip. If you want to do boots, maybe make them your accent piece (get a colored boot you can wear for the rest of your trip). Remember, you have to pack that stuff around for the rest of the trip! If you insist on something white, consider a lower profile white flat, perhaps — you’re right to not want to bring a heel. It will just get stuck in the cobbles.
For colder weather pack warmer clothes. I would suggest:
2-3 tank tops and short sleeve tshirts (total – as undershirts)
2-3 long sleeve tshirts
2-3 layers tops (flannel, denim or button down cardigans)
1-2 heavy sweaters
1 light-ish jacket
1 coat (warm, but roomy so you can layer under it)
3 pants (slacks and skinny jeans)
1-2 pairs of leggings and tights (for layering)
MAYBE 1 dress you can wear with leggings/tights — I wouldn’t in January, but that’s just me
1 boot (I’m bringing Chukka-style boots)
1 walking shoe (bringing Sanuks — not warm but I’m going in October)
1 flat (leather ballet flats)
1 flip flop (showers/hotels only
1 warm pashmina-style scarf (faux ones on Amazon run $5-20 — you can get one you love more as a souvenir and ditch the cheap one!)
1 travel umbrella
Pick a color family and stick with it. Survey what you already have in your closet from the above. I know I get shop-happy whenever I’m about to go on a trip, but often realize I had something better already in my closet. Shopping in my own closet I have TONS of grey clothes (I actually looked through my Facebook profile pics and I seem to always choose pictures where I am wearing grey, so I’m obviously more comfy in it). I used that to base my choices on for this upcoming trip. Most of the clothes I’m packing are grey/black/white with a couple splashes of green and blue. I can take any shirt and match it to any top. I can layer almost any top 2-3(some even 4) deep if it gets cold. I can put my leggings under my pants if it is really chilly. I can wear just a shirt and slacks if it is warm in Rome. Also, hardly anyone will know me, so who cares if I wear the same fabulous get-up 4 times on a two week trip?
Best of luck in planning your wedding trip! It will be an excellent adventure and your *might just* want to pack one small checked bag for your wedding stuff if you just can’t imagine not having wedding-specific items. In my experience you can sometimes get the airline staff to hang your dress in their coat closet on the plane in addition to having one carry-on item. I would get in touch with your airline, though, to see if this is something they’d offer.
i packed for Italy acorrding to this list and i totaly blent in! thx
Grace Hernandez says
I found this super helpful! I was wondering if you had any extra tips for long term stay (15 months to be more precise). I’m moving from Miami to Milan in the fall of 2015 to study… Anything else will help greatly!
Hi Grace – remember that you can buy most things you need there. On a 15 month stay it’s pretty much inevitable 🙂
Good list and glad I am a man and this is really good for my wife to have it. Thanks for sharing.
MP E says
In July we are going bareback sailing on the Amalfi coast for one week, and Rome for another. Boots? Flats? Since most of my time I’ll be on a boat, I could still get away with amazing wedges for dining out at night, and not sacrifice any space in the luggage, right? Otherwise, day sightseeing can be accomplished in hiking shoes and shorts without disrespecting the culture or making a fashion faux pas?
If you’re not Italian, chances are you’re going to stand out no matter what. Go for comfort. There’s going to be a lot of tourists in both destinations 🙂 Have fun!
It is true that everyone will know you’re a tourist either way 🙂 If you want to be a bit more up to European style while hiking around you could opt for a sneaker that is somewhere between fashion and function (like the Asics Tiger line), which you will find many Italians wearing about town, but I also found had enough grip for hiking in Cinque Terre. Remember Amlfi Coast area is hilly… Even a conservative wedge might have you regretting your choice when you have to make a decent down a hill (as I am finding with my new shoes today in Ostuni!). It’s more of a slipping hazard than discomfort. I generally opt for my Patagonia flats for 3/4 of my outfits, even on long walking days, and they translate well to dinner out. Regret it once you get there? Buy a gorgeous pair of handmade sandals/flats 🙂
Hi, I’m planning on going to Italy next summer for about 6 weeks but I was thinking of taking walking sandals (closed toe ones), flip flops (for shower/beach) and a pair of pumps for my more dressy option. Do you think taking closed toe walking sandals would be okay? I’m mostly visiting cities. Thanks
If you’re not bringing proper walking shoes, then just make sure the walking sandals are super comfortable. That’s the most important part.
Thanks for the helpful packing list. I’ll be using it as a starting point to our trip to Molise and Sicily next month.
Sofia G. says
Hi, I’m heading to Italy (Florence, Rome, Sorrento) in a couple of weeks (March 9-18) is it ok if I bring some white converse and vans? I’m 15 so I don’t think I’ll look too strange 🙂 I’ve been reading that it’ll be chilly so I’m taking a few pies of skinny jeans, legging, and cute sweaters + a dress and scarf for when I visit the Vatican. Will this be alright for my trip?? Thank you!
Wow I read the post trying to get as much insight as what to pack and expect. This post is amazingly helpful as well as all the other helpful responses with tips. I read every single one thank you everyone. I will be going this fall for the month of October seeing as much as I can from Venice all the way down to Sicily. Is it safe to say it will not be too hot or too cold?