Planning a trip to Italy? Ah, we’re so excited for you! As locals, we know that Mediterranean weather varies wildly, from season to season, from city to city, from north to south, and everything in between.
While we recommend that visitors always research the season and check possible weather in advance of the trip, even that isn’t always foolproof.
Here are ten things you shouldn’t forget to pack for your trip to Italy, no matter the season or the destination.
1. Clothes that mix, match & layer well
Our number one recommendation is to pack clothing that mixes, matches and layers well. Whether you’re visiting more than one place, or just going from a day trip to an evening dinner, it helps to keep things light if everything goes well together. Italians are an aesthetic people, and you’ll blend in better if you look well put together.
That being said, if you plan to be outdoors, pack accordingly. In the Dolomites in winter, you might need to add a warm jacket. In the Cinque Terre, you should remember hardy, comfortable shoes for all the walking you’ll do between villages. Heading for the Amalfi Coast or Lake Como? Pack your seaside best for those post-beach cocktails.
Just be warned: the cities of bella Italia are not the place for your Crocs or hiking boots. If you want to fit in with the locals, take care to make sure your walking shoes are as good looking as they are comfortable.
3. A good looking, comfortable day pack
This is true no matter your destination. From the cities to the hills, having a comfortable bag to carry all your things is just a good idea. For Italy, we’d recommend something that also looks cool (are you noticing any patterns here?) but above all, make sure it’s comfortable and holds everything it needs to.
In the cities, you’ll need to carry your reusable water bottle, to fill up at all the fountains of Rome for example. You’ll need your coffee cup for your daily cappuccino, as well as sunglasses and sunscreen, a scarf (we’ll get to that), chargers, your camera and maybe even snacks.
This applies to everyone, especially if you’re travelling in summer. Yes, that might sound counter-intuitive, but if it’s hot, you might not be dressed particularly modestly. However, when you’re visiting any one of the many churches and religious buildings that dot the entire country, you may be required to cover your skin from shoulders to knees. This applies to both men and women, and they reserve the right to turn people away, even after queuing all day.
5. Your finest clothes
In the beginning, we advised that you pack light, and we stand by that. However, if you’re planning to hang out in the evenings, say on this tour of Milan, Lake Como and Venice, consider bringing some slightly dressier clothes.
Although you’ll be dressed smart-casual during the day, Italians love to get dressed up, and in the evenings, you’ll see the locals hanging out in high heels, dresses and collared shirts. This is a great opportunity to show off your finery.
6. Your proper camera
Between the ancient ruins, the historic buildings, the jaw-dropping scenery and the dramatic landscapes, this is not a trip to leave your camera at home for. You’ll be whipping it out around every corner to take all the photos that will help you remember this trip for a lifetime.
Imagine yourself taking in the galleries of the Vatican, admiring Michaelangelo’s David in Florence, or the winding beauty of Sorrento in the Amalfi Coast (all possible on this incredible 9-day tour). You’ll never regret taking your good camera to record that beauty.
7. Adaptors, chargers & a portable charger
If you’re like most of us, you’ll have an arsenal of electronic gadgets that need to be charged and kept going throughout your trip. Depending on where you’re travelling from, you may need an adaptor to accommodate your chargers. European plugs are 220V to 230V, with two round prongs.
We’d also recommend taking along a lightweight, compact portable charger. There’s nothing worse than Google mapping your way across Venice when your battery runs out and strands you in a dim alleyway. On that note, if navigating yourself around doesn’t sound like too much fun, check out our City Sightseeing tours and we’ll show you the ropes.
8. Sunglasses & sunscreen
This feels like a no-brainer in summer, but it’s just as valid every day of the year. Italy is sunny for a large majority of the year, and if you’re going to be outside for any part of the day (including walking to and from your car) you should be wearing sunscreen.
Sure, you can pick up sunscreen and sunglasses in most cities, but remembering your own will save you time and money (especially if you wear prescription specs!). Pack them into your daypack and reapply the sunscreen frequently. Sunburn (and a squint) just isn’t a good look.
And don’t forget, it’s especially important to wear sunglasses and sunscreen when you’re in the snowy, winter Dolomites! Light reflects off the snow, so you can get burned from two sides.
9. Water bottle and your reusable coffee cup
We’ve mentioned it before, but in the interests of making sure you’re travelling sustainably, we’ll highlight it again. It’s important to stay hydrated (and caffeinated) when you’re traveling.
Rather than spending your hard-earned Euros on bottled water, bring your own and refill it. Whether you go to Rome, Venice or Florence (or all three in this 9-day 7 Wonders of Italy trip) you’ll find ample opportunity to keep your bottle full.
Italy also has a huge coffee culture. Locals prefer to order their espresso and drink it standing up at the coffee bar. But if you’re on the go and prefer to order your coffee to go, consider bringing along your own cup. They come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and should pack easily into your daypack.
Oh, and remember: Italians only order milky coffee, like cappuccino or caffè latte, at breakfast time.
10. Dress for the region and the season
Whenever you’re planning on visiting Italy, remember to dress for the region and the season. You might picture Italy as the land of chilled Prosecco and Aperol Spritz, but the reality is that it gets cold and wet for most of the winter. It even snows up in the Dolomites, so pack your cold and wet weather gear!
In the summer, especially if you plan to be near the beach, pack in a couple of swimming costumes and cover-ups. It’s possible to be prepared without packing the kitchen sink if you plan ahead.
Are you ready to go?
So, there you have it. Ten things you should pack and remember for your trip to Italy, no matter the region, season or destination. We hope this helps you plan, both your itinerary and your packing list. We can’t wait to hear how you found our motherland!
If you’re ready to start planning your trip to Italy, get in touch! We’re ready to answer all your questions and help you plan everything from day-trips to multi-day holidays where everything is taken care of.