We just got home from a wonderful 10 day trip to Italy. E and I went on our own for our 10th anniversary celebration. We traveled around the country by plane, car and train. It was fantastic! We were there during the summer (which is very very hot). Before we left I put together a thorough packing list for Italy and I wanted to share it with you for your next trip. Personally, I think this list could apply across the Mediterranean – whether you’re traveling to Greece, the south of France, Italy, Croatia, Spain or Portugal they are all very hot and humid in the late spring and summer and require specific items to bring.
What do People wear in Italy?
If you’ve never traveled outside your home country you might wonder how people in Italy dress on a day to day basis and if there are any dress codes or norms you’ll need to follow while you’re there.
Italians, in general, especially in the larger cities like Rome, Milan and Florence are often very fashionable. Many men tend to wear dress pants or suits all the time and women are often seen in heels. You don’t often see men or women (unless they’re teenagers) walking around in shorts and tank tops with flip flops despite the heat.
All this being said, both E and I definitely dressed for comfort and heat while we were there and it was great.
There is one caveat – if you visit some of the religious sites including the Vatican, churches (the Pantheon in Rome, the Duomo in Florence, the Duomo in Milan and the Cathedral in Siena) and synagogues remember to dress appropriately. Women should cover their shoulders and knees. Some of the sites prefer women to be in skirts rather than shorts. Some sites also prefer that men wear pants rather than shorts and tank tops are not appropriate. The Vatican even requests proper shoes – no sandals are allowed.Heading to the Mediterranean? Check out this helpful packing list and tips before you go! Click To Tweet
Packing List for Italy – For Her
Much of my wardrobe is pretty basic to begin with. I’m not too fancy with my clothing and tend to dress for comfort and function. This makes packing really easy when I’m heading somewhere hot. I also knew that we’d be really busy and I wouldn’t have much time to do things like go to the gym at the hotel. As such, I decided not to bring my workout stuff at all. This saved some space (and some guilt – I didn’t have to look at it the whole time lol).
I tend to buy clothing made from natural fibers like cotton, linen and silk. I find these natural fibers are more comfortable and breath better now that I’m always feeling hot (a side effect of loosing my thyroid).
In terms of tops, I brought quite a few t-shirts/tank tops – probably around 15 for 9 days since I knew I’d want to be able to change if I found myself super hot and sweaty.
Personally, I found bringing 4 pairs of shorts sufficient for our trip. Three of the pairs were cotton or linen and one pair was from lululemon and more of an exercise fabric.
For the evening, I brought one skirt, to match with a few of the t-shirts/tank tops and three casual dresses. I didn’t want to bring too much because we were travelling around by train a fair bit and suitcases can get so heavy really quickly.
I also brought a bathing suit and cover up because we were in Cinque Terre on the beach for a couple of days, a sweater in case I got cold (didn’t happen) and a couple of long sleeve shirts to bring to the religious sites as needed.
Shoes and Accessories
I would suggest trying to keep things light and not bring too many pairs of shoes. Four pairs worked for me. I brought one pair of beach flip flops, running shoes, Toms for everyday and a pair of ballet flats for the evening.
With respect to accessories, here are a few of my suggestions when packing for Italy:
- Sunhat – since it’s so hot this can really help. I bought a squishy one so I was able to pack it easily.
- Small cross body purse – it’s too heavy to schlep a big tote bag everywhere when you’re walking so much. By using a cross body bag you can put most of your stuff in the hotel safe and carry around only the essentials. I prefer a cross body style because I can easily hold on to it in busy places. Unfortunately pick pocketing is still a concern in Italy so you need to always be aware of your surroundings and your own belongings.
- Sunglasses – goes with the sunhat for sure.
- Wrap/shawl – we had to purchase a shawl while waiting in line at the Duomo in Florence because I forgot we’d be visiting that day and was wearing a sleeveless shirt, which isn’t modest enough for entering the church. You can also use the wrap on the plane when it’s freezing.
- Cooling towel – if you’re like me and get way to hot, a cooling towel can help. You just need to wet it and wrap it around your shoulders. It can help keep you cooler.
- Comfortable shoes – you’ll be doing a lot of walking on your Italian vacation so you’ll want to make sure you have shoes you can walk in.
Italy in the summer is very hot and sunny. Perfect for a vacation but you have to bring the right toiletries with you to make your stay comfortable.
- Sunscreen is a must. I would go with at least SPF 50. It can get a lot hotter than you realize really quickly and you don’t want to take the chance of getting a nasty sunburn.
- Bug spray – We didn’t bring bug spray and I really wish we had. There were little mosquitos everywhere and we were bitten alive. These bites were super itchy and uncomfortable.
- Hand sanitizer – Washrooms in Italy can be a bit more basic than your average North American washroom. As such, I suggest always carrying hand sanitizer around with you. It’s also helpful if you want to have a snack and there isn’t a washroom around for you to wash your hands.
- Extra toilet paper –There were definitely a few times when I got stuck without toilet paper… thank goodness I had kleenex but I think next time I’d like to make sure I have some extra TP for when I need it.
- Plugs that convert – the voltage in Europe is different than in North America. As such, you’ll need to make sure you have a plug that can convert and allow the plug to work.
I hope all of these items for your Italian vacation packing list help you figure out what to bring on your next trip away.