To craft rugged luxury itineraries for open minded explorers seeking faraway and bespoke experiences
*This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. Why affiliate links? They help keep this blog running and a free resource for you to use! Thank you for your continued support.*
Last Updated Aug 17, 2023
Deciding what to pack for any trip is daunting but figuring out what to wear in Italy can honestly be a traumatising task! Hosting two fashion capitals of the world, it’s no surprise that fashion is taken pretty seriously in Italy. The prestige of cities like Milan and Rome comes with the renown likes of designers as Gucci, Armani, Versace, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana.
There are so many factors at play in the question of what to wear in Italy. With all of these historic designers, it can seem a little intimidating and you may feel pressured to renew your entire wardrobe before your upcoming trip, but this is not necessary (though who doesn’t love a pre travel shopping spree?)
With a few new additions to your wardrobe and some smart packing, you can go to Italy looking like a fashionista without breaking the bank.
And while this Italy packing list is mainly geared towards, of course, Italy, the general rules apply for places other places in Europe too such as France, Spain, Portugal, and Greece!
Ready to embark on an unforgettable Italian adventure? Let The Boho Traveller turn your Italy dreams into reality! Whether you’re yearning for the romance of Venice, the artistry of Florence, or the culinary delights of Rome, we’ve got your ideal itinerary waiting.
Italy’s cobblestone streets will destroy your feet and your life if you are not properly prepared. While the most obvious option is throwing on a pair of trainers, you might want to think about your fashion choices in Italy. Italians dress savvy, and if you want to blend in, a cute pair of flats or loafers are calling your name.
Packing for Italy can be as simple as investing in these amazing loafers from Birdies – the only loafer or flat I will even bother to buy anymore. They have 7 layers of memory foam comfort and amazing arch support. The perfect shoe for wandering in Italy all-day.
My personal shoe packing guide for Italy are as follows
In my not Italian and very humble opinion, a scarf is the staple of the Italian wardrobe. If you don’t pack a scarf – no matter the season, you are doing things wrong. A lightweight pashmina in the summer does wonders to your wardrobe – throw it over your shoulders and you can now enter a church. Tie it around your waist while at the beach club and you are set to sit down for lunch. Tie it around your head as you drive down the Amalfi coast and feel like Audrey Hepburn, or maybe that lady from White Lotus.
While a scarf might cover your shoulders, it won’t cover your knees and this is a consideration when you are deciding how to pack and what to wear in Italy. Personally, I always tend to dress a little more conservatively abroad than I typically would at home. The point being, especially in Italy, sometimes this modestly is required.
If you are walking around all day and plan on going into any cathedrals, expect to have knees and shoulders covered. As Rome being the center of the Catholic faith, Italy even these days remains heavily influenced by the power of the Vatican. Guys, this goes for you as well! Cute tea-length dresses, loose linen pants, and scarves to cover your shoulders will help you fight the heat, look cute, and stay prepared for any adventure that comes your way.
Though not a necessity nor Italy specific, this is a rule I live by when packing in general. Packing neutral colours (or just sticking to one colour scheme) will make your life so much easier. Wearing black and neutral or earth tones will go a long way on this trip. Not only will you blend in more and draw less attention to yourself through avoiding bright colours, but if everything in your suitcase belongs to the same colour family, you can mix and match clothes with a lot more ease. This allows you to have more outfit options on your vacation!
Plus, black is always a classic and will always look good! These colors also generally photograph well and match the surroundings. If you need that pop of color opt for a fun purse or accessory.
Pack some jewelry along with you to dress up any simple outfit and look fabulous with simple ease.
You’re not dressing to go to class, or heading to the gym! You’re in a country where fashion & style is appreciated and valued. Look nice, and have fun while doing so! I didn’t believe anyone when they told me people in Italy dressed much nicer than at home, but they were so right. I love how dedicated people are to getting out of bed and putting on something besides another pair of pajamas (don’t get me wrong – my work from home life this is the norm!).
Pack all the cute summer dresses, and leave the sweats at home (except for the plane – nobody is judging you on that long haul flight!)
I get it, I love my jorts as much as the next girl, but its probably better if you leave the cutoffs at home. Sure, a nicer, longer, more fashion-forward pair is OK – but in general, most Italians – especially the old school ones, don’t wear shorts. Not even the men really wear shorts in the summer.
Lots of sundresses and flowy skirts will be your best friend during your time abroad in Italy. Skirts are great because you can mix and match tops, and sundresses are fantastic for the simplicity of just throwing them on and walking out the door.
I get it, walking around in the heat with your foot sweating in a flat or loafer doesn’t sound totally ideal. I like to pack a cute pair of sandals or slides to wear in Italy. The key is finding sandals or slides with great support that are comfortable. Birdies make a beautiful slide that I absolutely adore, and even Teva sells some really cute flatforms that have the same support and comfort their…erm…less fashionable options offer but look much cuter.
For the most part spring in Italy is lovely and warm, however mornings and evenings can be a little chilly, so it’s best to pack a light sweater to make sure you stay warm while you’re wandering the streets in the evening. This goes especially true, even in the summer when you are on the coast. Winds can pick up and if you have been in the sun all day you’ll be chilly when you sit down for your evening dinner out by the sea.
You can’t possibly forget your bikini when it comes to planning a trip to Italy…uhhh HELLO AMALFI COAST?!?! My favorite bikinis that are made locally in my hometown, and are totally customisable and reversible are WhiskiniBikinis! Literally obsessed. They are pretty much the only bikini I wear, but they are a little bit skimpy 😉 I’ve shared some of my other favourites below!
A cute cardigan or sweater is essential to fall fashion, especially in Italy! The Italians, like everyone else and especially us travellers LOVE layers. Pack a few cute cardigans to wear when you don’t really need that coat.
I know not everyone is looking to invest in a jacket that does everything, but it is possible to have function and fashion all at once. One of my absolute favorite outerwear companies is Helly Hansen, a Norwegian brand that specialises in sailing and ski gear. This doesn’t mean it isn’t fashionable though, almost all of the jackets (and sportswear) you see me in is Helly Hanson. Obsessed doesn’t begin to cover it. On each of their jackets, it will tell you the type of weather the jacket is made for and what kind of technology it holds to keep you warm and dry. I’ll finish gushing now…but just go check their stuff out. If you buy something and don’t love it I will personally try and help you find a jacket that is better. Check out their selection of rain gear here.
Winter and fall in Italy can be a little rainy- as the 2019 floods in Venice have shown. When you pack for Italy make sure to toss in a raincoat and expect for a few days with some drizzle. And don’t forget your umbrella! If you can combine one of your winter jackets as a rain jacket, you are even better off!
Italians LOVE their puffy jackets. They’re really easy to travel with as well as most of them roll up very small and leave room in your luggage for other things. However, I’m personally not the *biggest* fan of the style, so I always make sure to pack for Italy in winter a classic black pea coat.
When you put on a skirt you can also put on a pair of tights to help you keep a little bit warmer. My favorite Italian brand for tights is Calzedonia. They are of amazing quality and they come in lots of fun designs. Pop into any store in Italy while you’re over there or do some online shopping before you travel!
Obviously everyone has a great pair of jeans in their wardrobe, but you’re going to want to spice things up while you are traveling in Italy! Pairing a cute pair of tights with an adorable skirt or dress is a great way to spend your days in Italy. These skirts are so simple and a perfect example of what to wear in Italy!