When to Go
There isn’t really a wrong time to travel to Italy but you need to look into the climate for your intended destination because the country’s climate varies north to south. Be aware that the entire country does not have the Mediterranean climate that you will find in the south (the tip of Italy’s boot) and on the Islands of Sicily and Sardinia. There you will find hot and even humid summers and mild winters, but as you travel north of course the winters are not so mild. In Rome you can expect very hot summers and more moderate winters, requiring a heavy coat even though snow is rare. The further north you travel of course the more extreme the winters all the way up to the Alps where the first snowfall is typically in November. Climate change has had an impact on the skiing in the Alps in recent years, so you may want to check ski conditions before booking time at a ski getaway. Knowing what weather to expect is necessary of course as you plan what to bring.
Keep it Light
Obviously the change of seasons and your travel itinerary will determine what sort of clothing you will require. Try to keep luggage to a minimum. One suitcase and one carry-on are ideal for travellers to this beautiful country known for its rich history, art, architecture, food and fashion. With so much to see and do you don’t want to be carting heavy bags on and off tour buses, along cobblestone streets or up and down the steps of stately palazzos. Many accommodations, train and metro stations don’t have escalators or elevators. If you can’t carry everything yourself, start purging or count on some serious weight-lifting endurance challenges and sweaty arrivals. Also, remember to leave enough room to bring back your souvenirs and any fashion finds you may discover in the land of Armani, Fendi and Gucci.
What to Bring
Seasoned travellers know the tricks of packing light: Choose items that you can layer to prepare for changeable temperatures, things that match so you get several different outfits out of a few pieces and garments you can wear casually or dress up a bit for eating out or going to the opera. A rain poncho takes little space in your suitcase the same way a few nice accessories help to stretch your wardrobe without taking up a lot of space.
Since many of the popular sightseeing stops across Roman Catholic Italy are shrines and churches, keep in mind that these sites are sacred spaces and require visitors to dress appropriately for a place of worship. From the Vatican to smaller churches visitors are typically asked to wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees – and this applies to both men and women. Women may find a nice skirt or dress the perfect option, with a cardigan or shawl to cover their shoulders while inside the religious sites. Men may opt for long Bermuda shorts or the zippered pants that will gain entry to a church and can be quickly converted into shorts afterward.