What to Wear in Rome: The Best Italy Packing List
Being in Rome is like taking a step back in time. Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by ancient sites and buildings. Cobblestone streets lead to arenas where gladiators fought, chariot races were held, and locals enjoyed open-air theatre. Sculpted fountains stand across from Roman temples and piazzas are surrounded by traditional colorful homes, with the smell of tantalizing Roman cuisine drifting around every corner. The biggest question you’re left with is, what to wear in Rome, Italy?
Italy is already renowned as a leading country for fashion so you can bet that when I booked my trip for a honeymoon in Italy, there was no way I was going to wear anything that screamed tourist! Keep on reading to find out exactly what to pack for a trip to Rome.
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Things to Know before Visiting Italy
Best Time to Visit Italy
High season in Italy includes July and August.
- With hoards of tourists visiting, many Italians leave cities like Rome, particularly in August.
- Expect many businesses to be closed during the month of August.
- Temperatures are scorching hot and sunny with an average around 78°F (26°C). If you are wondering what to wear in in Italy during the summer months, choose breathable clothing that’s comfortable and lightweight in the heat. Dresses are my go-to for a summer in Rome!
- Prices sky-rocket during this time of year and expect long lines, so I would avoid these months if you can.
The shoulder season, which is my preferred time to go is in April, May, June, and September to October.
- The spring season is a great time for foodies with local produce in abundance. Wine lovers will love the fall which is when the grapes are ready to be harvested.
- Weather is the best during these months with mild temperatures around 70°F (21°C).
- Prices can still be high during the shoulder season and you should book well in advance but on the plus side, there will be fewer tourists.
Low season includes November, December, January, February, and March.
- Weather can be rainy and cold.
- The average temperature ranges between 46°F (8°C)-55°F (13°C).
- While the weather isn’t the best, prices drop significantly, you won’t spend any time waiting in lines and no crowds of tourists.
Most nations can stay Italy visa-free for up to 90 days. This includes the countries of US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. EU nationals have no limit to their stay. Just make sure that your passport is valid for at least three months past the departure date.
- Euros are used in Italy.
- You’ll easily find ATMs readily available as well as places for international currency exchange.
- If you are on a budget, expect to pay around €10 while those looking to splurge could end up paying between €45-150.
- Check out Lonely Planet’s breakdown of costs for more details on expenses.
Tipping is customary in Italy although they do tip much less compared to the US and Canada. Where restaurants don’t include a service charge, tip 10%. For taxis, just round up to the nearest euro.
Essentials for a Trip to Rome
- Packing Cubes – It’s easiest to travel through Europe with just a carry on bag. Don’t worry, it is possible as I did it for my honeymoon in Italy. The best way to pack for Rome is to start with packing cubes. They are super useful to help you pack minimally and it fits perfectly in a carry on bag.
- Toiletry Bag – I like to keep my toiletries organized with a bag that has different compartments that I can hang up in the bathroom.
- Face Wipes – I never go on a trip without facial wipes. They are great for keeping you fresh during the day (especially during sweaty summers) and handy when I’m feeling too lazy at night to wash my face.
- Day Bag – I love this compact day bag which folds into a pocket.
- Travel Passport Wallet – I like to have everything organized in one place which is why this wallet is great. You can store your passport, flight tickets, cash and cards and is RFID protected.
- Portable Phone Charger – I found it super handy to have a phone to navigate my way around. However, this kills my battery which is why I like to have a portable charger with me so that my phone never dies while I’m out.
- Cell Phone Camera Lens – This nifty gadget clips onto your smartphone and works just like a camera allowing you to take zoomed in and wide angle shots.
- Travel Adapter – Italy like the rest of Europe has outlets on 220 volts. Countries like the US or Canada will need a travel adapter if you plan on plugging in anything to the wall. What’s great about this one is that it has two additional USB ports attached so you can plug multiple devices at the same time.
- Rome Guidebook – I’m the kind of person who loves reading up as much as I can before I travel to a destination. Lonely Planet is packed with information from helping you plan your trip, to the history and interesting facts to know.
- Wine Protectors – Jugo and I love wine so we bought a couple bottles in Rome which we wrapped in our clothes hopping it wouldn’t break. Luckily, it didn’t. Don’t be like us though and bring some bottle protectors to pack your wine in!
What to Wear in Rome
What to Pack for Exploring Rome’s Ancient Ruins
While Jugo and I were in Rome, everywhere we looked, we saw ancient ruins! The city is full of history with it’s most famous landmark being the Colosseum. Jugo and I had heard about the notoriously long lines, so booked our tickets in advance which cost €16 (~$20 USD) and allowed us to skip the line during peak season which was amazing! The ticket also includes entrance to Roman Forum which we also enjoyed seeing. While exploring around, this was my go-to outfit to wear in Rome.
- Summer Dress – It was so hot in Rome that I wanted to wear the airiest and light clothing possible which was a summer dress for me. It’s very versatile that works for both sightseeing in the day and a dinner out at night.
- Sun Glasses – These were a necessity against the suns piercing rays.
- Sandals – I prefer to avoid socks in summer as much as possible so normally opt for a good pair of comfortable sandals that you can spend a day walking in. I love Birkenstocks for this reason and like the metallic color.
- Water Bottle – Save money and bring a water bottle with you. There are nasoni (water fountains) scattered everywhere in the city so it’s easy to fill your bottle up with cool, drinkable water.
For ancient sites that are a little more off the beaten path visit:
- Circo Massimo – an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium
- Baths of Diocletian – An impressive roman bath complex that could accommodate up 3,000 people
- Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri – A basilica designed by Michaelangelo in the 16th century
- Domus Aurea – One of the most luxurious palaces ever built, dating back to 64 AD
- For more suggestions of Rome’s hidden gems, click here.
What to Wear to the Vatican
Whether you are religious or not, you can’t visit Rome without making a trip to the Vatican. Long lines are also guaranteed at this site but again, Jugo and I skipped the lines with our tickets that we booked the day before and cost €17 with an additional €4 reservation fee (trust me, it’s worth paying to skip the line!). We also found it super useful to have an audio guide as we toured the museum. You can easily spend a day here with so many things to see from the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (famous ceiling painting by Michaelangelo), to the Vatican Gardens, St. Peter’s Square, and even the Pope himself who holds Wednesday General Audiences. For more info on things to do click here.
- Dress – It is important to dress appropriately when visiting the Vatican. I chose a dress which covered my shoulders and went below the knee because it was hot and summer.
- Long Sweater – Inside the Vatican, it can be quite cool, so it is hand to have a light sweater.
- Flats – You will spend an entire day walking so make sure to have comfortable footwear.
- Shoulder Bag – I like to bring a cross body bag that’s not too big but can store my camera and wallet like this one.
What to Wear for A Night Out in Rome
If you are a foodie like me, you are going to love trying the traditional Roman cuisine. We loved dining at Flavio al Valavevodetto which is a unique restaurant built inside Monte Testaccio which is an ancient landfill that stored 53 million terracotta jugs used for wine and water. We had some delicious meatballs with sauce and amazing homemade rigatoni pasta with a carbonara sauce for Jugo and amatriciana sauce for me. This was our best meal in Rome! For more recommendations on Rome’s best dishes and restaurants, check out Lonely Planet’s list.
- Evening Dress – If you are wondering what to wear in Rome for a night out, I loved my chiffon cocktail dress. It’s light for packing, doesn’t wrinkle and looks great for any night out. If I’m going to a fancier restaurant, I just play up the dress with some jewelry, add footwear that gives me some height and curl my hair.
- Long Necklace – Add a pop of color and style with a rose colored long chain necklace.
- Wedges – My husband loves it when I wear heels. I like wedges since they look great with dresses are don’t kill your feet after a night out.
- Purse – This purse is very similar to mine and I like it because you can wear it as a shoulder bag or clutch.
Now you’re officially ready to travel to Italy. Do you have more questions about what to wear in Rome? Comment below!
Traveling to Other Parts of Europe?
If you are going to Greece check out:
- What to pack for Greece
- Greek Island Hopping
- Unique things to do in Athens
- The best Greek food you’ve got to try.
If you really want to go off the beaten path try …
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