What to wear in Italy is one of the first things to consider once you plan the basics of your first trip to the country. Packing can be simple. Generally, Italians are stylish and we recommend dressing casually that way you’re comfortable when hanging out with locals.
Italy is a stylish place, but it’s also a country that leaves much to be explored on foot and seasons vary. There is a huge difference in style and weather between the different regions in Italy, and nailing down what exactly to throw in your suitcase may be daunting. Some of the best solutions are to keep it simple with clothes and come prepared for a variety of activities and social functions. Staple items in your wardrobe can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits.
Italians are known for being fashionistas and we suggest anyone traveling the country take their style seriously too. So, when we’re in Italy we stand at the espresso bar, don’t order cappuccinos afternoon, and dress to kill.
What to Wear in Italy
Summer In Italy
Dressing well in the summertime isn’t rocket science. We both choose to go for timeless clothing items when traveling around Italy and Europe. I opt for an easy dress with a classic cut in neutral colors. Combine that with a small handbag, black flats, and a nice pair of sunglasses you’ve got the perfect summer outfit. Men have it easy as Cameron loves to wear either chinos or jeans with a classic white T-shirt with an accessory like a nice watch.
Winter In Italy
Sticking to classics is always the best way to tackle the winter climates. We like to bring two coats for the winter because we’re active travelers. That means we both bring our favorite down jacket for hiking or winter activities. For walking around cities we both like a classic black peacoat, maybe it’s the New Yorker left in us. Other staples like a nice scarf and the right pair of boots can make your outfit and keep you warm.
A comfortable pair of shoes for both men and women are essential when packing your bag. However, I wouldn’t recommend packing those terrible clunky hiking shoes many backpackers bring. Most of the cities in Italy are 100% walking cities, so prepare to work off that pasta!
Cameron like to pack two pairs of shoes depending on the season. The first is a relaxed shoe like Vans and the second is a dress shoe that depends on the season. He recommends boots in the fall/winter and dress shoes in the spring/summer. If you plan to hike in the dolomites are Cinque Terra boots are a good idea no matter the season.
I don’t think you can ever go wrong with these boots and a pair of skinny jeans. Again, to reiterate a pair of black flats are always great to have in a suitcase. One last tip! Stay away from heels, many Italian towns have cobblestone streets and you don’t want to break an ankle trying to look good.
You’re going to Italy! Chances are you will want to buy something and stash it somewhere. Not much of a shopper? You will still want a nice purse to keep your valuables safe and together. Men – put your wallet in your front pockets when at big tourist sites. Italy is notorious for pickpockets and they love to operate in big crowds and public transport.
A variety of coats
The weather in Italy differs drastically, and freak days can spring out of nowhere. When we were Amalfi Coast we were scheduled to have sunshine for the entire week. Instead, we were met with mostly showers. It didn’t matter to us though, we had rain jackets to venture into Positano with! Depending on the season I would make sure to pack a good winter coat (yes it gets cold in Italy,) as well as a stylish peacoat so you blend in with those stylish Italians.
It gets sunny in Italy, and unless you’re walking around museums you will be outside most of the day. Make sure to protect your face with a nice sun hat. Boys – please don’t get caught in a baseball hat in Italy, you will 100% be pegged for as an American tourist – and not in a good way.
Italy is a pretty stylish place. If you can fit it in your bag I would definitely bring your favorite styling tool. I like putting a little bounce in my air with a large barrel curling iron.
Clothes to Consider
There are many outdoor activities in Italy (hello Cinque Terre), that require some flexible clothes to hike in. So when you’re wondering what to wear in Italy consider packing at least one active outfit. My absolute favorite brand of activewear is Alala. Alala makes top quality yoga pants, sports bras, and comfortable tops. If you’re planning on doing a hike in the Dolomites make sure to get a good hiking backpack.
Use the code TWP15 at Alala for an exclusive 15% discount.
A dinner outfit
My first trip to Italy I only had backpacker clothes. I didn’t have one single item that would have looked suitable to go out to dinner in Florence in. Make sure to pack a nice black dress for nights out.
Anice shawl is always a nice option to have to wrap around your body on a cold night while still looking chic.
Extra Items To Bring
Bring your phone! Most cafes in Italy have some sort of WiFi and it’s always nice to pop into these places and catch up on anything you may need. We also use our iPhone for maps to get around the city – which you will need in the big ones like meme and Florence.
Investing in some sort of higher quality camera will most certainly pay off in Italy. It’s one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to and I can’t imagine if I didn’t have a camera to capture some sort of memories of the Cinque Terre or Sicily. I travel around with my Fujifilm X-T10and 200mm telephoto lens, but I’m also never afraid to take out our tiny and discrete GoPro whenever necessary.
Many of the big touristy sites have self-guided tours. Like the Colosseum and Roman Forum, I find it’s always nice to have your own personal earbuds to stick into your ear for these tours.
Plan Your Trip to Italy
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals.
Check out some of our preferred partners below:
- Accommodation in Italy: To feel more at home we use Airbnb you can check out some tips and read more about getting an Airbnb coupon code here. Or just take this coupon for your first stay!
- Best Hotels in Italy: We’ve got the most drool-worthy list of the best hotels in Italy. Check it out here!
- Flights to Italy: Compare airlines, dates, and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Water: We found the water in Italy fine to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go Waterbottle
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