We’ve all had that awkward moment when we showed up to a party over or underdressed for the occasion – the last thing you want is to have this feeling for an entire week in another country!
Unsurprisingly, one of the most common questions we get from guests before they travel to Italy is, “What should I wear to not look like a tourist?!” For a non-local, we completely understand why this concern could be a stressor in and of itself! It’s not easy to decipher cultural norms if you’ve never been integrated into Italian culture before.
This worry can make packing for your trip to Italy more stressful than the trip itself!
As Italian travel experts that have been unpacking & packing for Italy for over 30 years, we’re stepping in to help you leave for the airport confident that you have everything needed for your Italian vacation. These packing tips will ensure you make the most of your time in Italy and spend less time deciding what to wear!
First-time traveler to Italy? Don’t forget to check out the top nine mistakes first-time travelers make – and what to do instead – before reading this blog post!
#1 BRING ITEMS THAT ARE VERSATILE
You’ll want to strike a balance between stylish and comfortable in Italy. Since most Italians take the opportunity to dress up for almost any occasion, even for a walk to the piazza, you’ll want to keep this in mind when packing. Put your best foot forward any chance you get with a smart casual style, and leave your exercise gear for the gym.
Men can’t go wrong packing collared shirts, polos, knee-length shorts for summer, and pants for Fall. While women will want to ditch the Lululemons for midi to maxi length dresses for summer, cardigans, and a great pair of statement earrings to spice up any outfit for an evening out on the town.
At the same time, you’re probably in for a good amount of walking, wine tasting, or maybe some even truffle hunting in the Italian countryside! Since you’ll be participating in various activities, we recommend bringing pieces you can repurpose throughout the day and travel with a week’s worth of outfits.
Pro-tip: If you’re traveling for more than a week, we highly recommend knowing where the laundromat is, as getting your clothes washed by the hotel can be very costly. You’d probably rather spend that on a great new pair of Italian-made shoes or an evening out at one of the many fantastic restaurants just walking distance from your hotel on your tour with us.
#2 SET OUT ALL YOUR OUTFITS BEFOREHAND
The best way to make your life as easy as possible while traveling? Plan out your outfits ahead of time at home, as opposed to throwing random items in your suitcase! We can promise you that you won’t wear half of them!
We’ve all had that feeling of having “nothing to wear” on vacation. You brought a shirt with no pants to match, and you’re quickly running out of suitable outfits! That’s why you need to pack with purpose!
Start by taking a look at your itinerary and plan your outfits according to specific activities. Are you going to be in the town square, truffle hunting, swimming, visiting stunning cathedrals, or heading to a historic monument? These are all activities that require wildly different outfits! You don’t want to panic halfway across the world with nothing to wear to sip Rosé seaside or dine alfresco on a crisp fall evening!
#3 pack LAYERS for your italy trip
Are you planning a trip to Italy in the Spring or Fall? You’re going to want to take this next tip seriously! Fall and Spring are stunning in Italy, with late summer-like weather during the day and dropping temperatures in the evening after sundown.
That’s why we highly recommend bringing items that are easily layer-able. You may choose to include cardigans, sweaters, scarves, or pullovers!
Insider Tip: Fall is one of the best times to visit Italy. Read more here to find out why!
#4 MERINO WOOL IS YOUR FRIEND
Wondering what material you should use to layer? If you’re traveling in late fall and want to ensure you’re warm enough to dine al fresco and soak up the atmosphere while sipping a Spritz in the piazza, Merino Wool is a great fit!
Merino Wool is light and won’t take up much space in your suitcase. In addition, it’ll keep you warm when the temperatures drop in the evening or if you’re caught off guard by some unexpected windy winter days!
#5 CHECK THE TEMPERATURE before you pack for italy
Choosing the right website or app to get your weather information from can help you to pack the right items for your trip. After years of Italian travel, we’ve found that Accuweather is the most reliable app when packing for your Italian trip.
Of course, nothing beats having someone on the ground! When you book your trip with us, you’ll be able to reach out to The Italian On Tour Travel Concierge should you have any questions or concerns about the weather while on your trip with us! Plus, inside the Vacation Vault, you’ll get access to “What to Know Before You Go Guides,” ensuring you’ll be well-prepared for your next Italian vacation with us!
#6 CONSIDER THE CULTURAL CLIMATE
Italy has many historical monuments that also happen to be churches! You must have covered shoulders and clothing that hits below the knee to enter.
You’ll want to avoid being caught off guard, especially in the summer. To avoid any cultural faux paus, we highly recommend that women pack maxi skirts or dresses, linen scarves, or cardigans for Italy to cover their shoulders. This way you’ll avoid offending any locals and guarantee that you don’t miss out on some of Italy’s most spectacular artwork.
Another thing to remember is that Italy’s general cultural climate may be different than in your home country. Italians tend to dress for the occasion and put their best foot forward when they get the chance, even when simply heading to the town square. To avoid looking like a tourist and not feeling like a fish out of water, pack versatile clothing that still prioritizes an element of style and class.
#7 PACK COMFORTABLE SHOES
Comfort doesn’t have to equal zero style! With athleisure hitting all corners of Italian fashion, pairing a cute pair of white tennis shoes with a summer dress is socially acceptable and an outfit choice that will easily take you from a morning walking tour to an afternoon of wine tasting on tour.
But when you have to choose between the two, comfort trumps style. Remember, most of Italy’s gorgeous squares and charming medieval towns are best explored on foot, and you don’t want to return home with blisters! When you tour with us, you’ll have the added bonus of being driven from point A to B in private vehicles, meaning that on most days, you can always pack an extra pair of shoes to change into if needed.
#8 SKIP THE JEANS
While jeans are certainly okay to wear in Italy, some aspects may make you rethink packing them in your suitcase.
Since jeans are made from a heavier material, they may take up more space in your suitcase than they’re worth, which will weigh down your baggage.
Another strike against jeans in Italy is their long dry time. Plus, most AirBnbs in Italy do not have dryers, and hotel laundry services can be expensive. This may make them difficult to transport or inconvenient to wear more than once on your trip to Italy.
But there’s no need to worry about expensive laundry services on your trip with us. We’ve got you covered with a laundromat conveniently located within walking distance from your hotel, so if you’re extending your trip following your time with us, you’ll leave with clean clothing!
#9 WATCH THE WEIGHT
Lugging around a heavy suitcase your entire trip can really put a damper on your Italian vacation, especially if you’re planning on using trains as your primary mode of transportation. Before you leave for Italy, you’ll want to make sure that you can easily lift your luggage up and downstairs so that you won’t struggle when hopping from train to train to make your next connection.
Pro-tip: When in doubt, pack less than you think you need for touring Italy. At the very worst, you’ll have an excuse to pick up a few extra items on your trip to Italy!
#10 KNOW YOUR VOLTAGE
This is a big one that you may forget to think about! Italy is wired for 220V, which is different from the U.S., which is wired for 110V. This means you’ll need to be aware of the voltage of the appliances you’re packing, such as flat irons or hair dryers. We recommend purchasing both an adapter and a converter for your time in Italy so you don’t have any issues with your appliances.
Adapters convert to new outlets, while converters transform the voltage, so you’ll need both or an all-in-one adapter/converter to ensure you can use any appliances that have made it in your luggage to Italy.
Packing doesn’t have to be stressful. With a bit of planning and some insider knowledge, you’ll jet off to Italy stress-free, ready to have the trip of a lifetime!
Want more expert travel tips? Become an Italy Insider and grab your FREE guide HERE, where we let you in on the top 10 mistakes that even the smartest travelers make on their trip to Italy!
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