Planning an Italian vacation can be so exciting. From deciding which cities to visit to discovering the different activities you can do, it’s easy to get caught up with the exciting side of planning your trip. That’s why I made the ultimate packing guide for what to pack for Italy so you can find everything you need in one spot.
When deciding what to pack for a trip to Italy, you should think about the time of the year you’re visiting and what part of the country you are going to. I give you a run down here about the clothes, accessories, and shoes you need for the different seasons, along with tips for how to dress from a local.
If you’re planning your trip and struggling with what to bring with you, keep reading to see what you should not forget to pack before your flight.
When deciding what to pack for Italy, it’s important to think about what you are doing and where you are going during your visit. Your suitcase is going to look different whether you’re going on a ski trip to the Dolomites or a seaside getaway to Porto Santo Stefano, so make sure to think about your personal plans when packing. You should consider the season and region you are traveling to. Check the average weather of the towns you’re visiting during the month that you’re going. Your packing list for the Amalfi Coast in October is going to look different than the Amalfi Coast in July. You should also take into consideration what activities you’re planning on participating in. Do you need to pack to spend your days drinking wine and enjoying the views in Tuscany or cycling through the Italian Alps?
Packing list for Italy by seasons
Below is a general guide of what you may need in Italy based on the season you’re visiting.
Spring is when Italy is starting to warm up for the summer, but in early spring it is still quite cool. While it can be easy to get excited with the thoughts of sunny days spent enjoying an aperol spritz on a terrace, it’s important to remember you may still be facing some chilly or rainy days. The most important thing to pack for during Spring is lots of layers. You will want to have a jacket and it’s also recommended to wear a light scarf that you can take off or keep on depending on how you feel. When packing, remember that the North is going to be much cooler than the South so be sure to bring a heavier coat. Below is a list of what to pack for Italy when visiting in the Spring:
- Long pants/ skirts
- Flowy dresses
- Shirts that can be layered
- Jacket or coat
Italian summers can get quite hot, so when wondering what to pack for a trip to Italy in Summer keep in mind that you will want breathable clothes. You should bring light dresses and skirts, tank tops, and shorts. Make sure to remember a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun and of course a bathing suit. See a guide of what to pack for Italy in the Summer below:
- Short-sleeved shirts, tank tops
- Flowy dresses and skirts
- Sun hat
Autumn is a transitional period, so you may have warm afternoons with chilly evenings. Like Spring, layers are key in Autumn. When packing, you should bring long pants or skirts and layering pieces such as jackets, overshirts, and scarves. I recommend that you pack both short sleeve and long sleeve shirts as the weather can be a bit unpredictable. If you’re headed to the sea, there is still a chance that you may want to go for a dip so you should pack a swimsuit. It is also advised to bring an umbrella in case of rain during your trip. See an Autumn packing guide below:
- Long pants or skirts
- Short and long sleeve shirts (use for layering)
- Jacket or coat (heavier coat if visiting the north)
Winter gets quite cold in Italy, especially if you are going up north. You will want to pack a warm, insulated winter coat. If you are headed for the mountains you will need to pack for snowy conditions, make sure to have warm socks, gloves, and a winter hat. You may want to bring thermal underlays as well, and if you’re planning on skiing don’t forget snow gear. Below is a list of Winter specific packing items that you should not forget when deciding what to pack for a trip to Italy:
- Insulated waterproof jacket
- Scarf, hat, gloves
- Warm pants
- Long sleeve shirts
- Thermal underlays
- Thermal socks
- Snow gear
Accessories and Necessities for Every Season
Passport and Visa Requirements
Before coming to Italy, make sure to double-check the requirements to enter the country. Based on your nationality, you may need a visa or travel documents to enter Italy. Starting in 2024, the European Union will be requiring ETIAS to enter many countries including Italy for many nationalities. Your passport is required to have at least six months of validity past your date of departure and two blank pages available.
If you are coming to Italy on a Schengen visa or another visa, travel insurance is mandatory. If you are not traveling on a visa then travel insurance is recommended but not required.
You should bring some cash with you when traveling to Italy. If your local currency isn’t the euro, you can either visit your bank or go to an ATM in the airport or near your accommodation to take euros out. Many places take credit cards, but you will want to have cash in case you stumble on a market or boutique that does not accept cards.
You need to bring clothes you can layer to Italy. The weather can change throughout the day so you will want to be able to have layers to be able to take on and off. When deciding what to pack for Italy, layered clothing is one of the most important things you can bring. On top of being functional, a loose overshirt or scarf adds a great touch to an outfit to add a bit of Italian flare to your wardrobe.
Make sure to bring an adapter for your electronics before your trip. You can get either a universal adapter or an adapter that works just from your personal outlet to a European outlet. If you are planning on bringing a hair dryer, check the voltage before packing it as many hair dryers use different voltages than European outlets.
Without even realizing it, you are going to be walking so much more than you do in your everyday life when traveling in Italy. From discovering the different attractions throughout the cities you’re visiting to hiking between towns on the coast, don’t be surprised if you finish a day and find that you’ve walked 20,000 steps. You will need comfortable shoes. Don’t try to face the cobblestone streets with heels or uncomfortable shoes in the beginning of your trip, save yourself the discomfort and wear comfortable shoes from the start.
Health and Hygiene Essentials
You will want to bring your everyday toiletries and hygiene essentials that you use back home. Traveling puts a strain on your body, so make sure you pack your regular skincare or shampoo products to make yourself as comfortable as possible during your trip. You additionally may want to bring small packs of laundry detergent in case you have to do laundry on the go during your trip.
3 Things to Pack for Italy in Summer and Spring
1. Sunglasses and Sunscreen
The sun is extremely strong here and you’re going to be spending a large majority of your days outside. Make sure to bring a good pair of sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.
2. Tote Bag
You’ll want to have a tote bag with you during your trip. There are so many little shops and markets that you are going to want to purchase things from while you are out and about. Bringing a tote bag is also helpful if you want to get snacks from the grocery store. Most stores charge a few cents for a plastic bag, plus bringing a tote bag is sustainable and cute!
3. Mosquito repellent
Mosquitos are very prevalent during the warmer months, especially if you are going to be near the sea. Pack mosquito repellent to try and avoid them.
3 Things to Pack for Italy in Winter and Autumn
1. Gloves and Tights
Italy can be very cold, and you don’t want to find yourself not enjoying yourself because you can’t get warm. You should bring gloves and tights to keep warm so you can properly enjoy strolling through Rome or admiring the beauty of the Duomo di Milano.
2. Raincoat, umbrella
You don’t want to get caught in the rain unprepared. Winter and Autumn can bring showers so when packing be sure to bring a raincoat and umbrella so that the rain doesn’t hinder your trip. Rainy days are the perfect time to visit some of the stunning museums in Italy, like the Vatican Museums.
It can be windy during the colder months, and cold winds won’t do wonders for your skin. You should pack a good moisturizer to keep your skin feeling nice and fresh.
Italian Dress Code
If you’re hoping to blend in in Italy, be sure to bring clothes that have a bit more of an elegant touch to them. Italians are very effortlessly stylish but they keep their wardrobe very comfortable.
Tips for Dressing Like a Local
The biggest tip to dress like a local when in Italy, is to not wear athleisure. You will never see Italian people wearing their gym clothes unless they are going to the gym, so swap the yoga pants for flowy linen pants when packing. Your packing list may be different if you’re going to the beach, where casual clothes are a bit more accepted than in big cities. If you’re visiting big cities like Milan or Florence, instead of wearing shorts and a crop top, try wearing a long flowy skirt and a nice top. For men, instead of wearing a t-shirt, try wearing a polo to look a bit more dressed up.
Footwear Essentials for Italy
Recommended Types of Shoes for Walking and Hiking
The biggest piece of advice for what to pack for Italy is comfortable shoes. You are going to be walking so much more than you’re used to walking and there are incredible hikes with irresistible views you’re going to want to experience. For day to day activities, you should bring a fashionable sneaker that matches your outfits but will be comfortable for you to wear walking all day. For hiking, you should bring a pair of exercise sneakers.
Appropriate Footwear for Different Seasons
Of course, you should base your footwear on when you’re visiting Italy and what you are doing. If you are visiting in the colder months, you might want to wear ankle boots, while in the summer it would be more advisable to wear a pair of fashionable sandals. No matter the season, you should bring a good pair of walking shoes.
Luggage Recommendations for Your Journey to Italy
Choosing the Right Luggage
As charming and beautiful as the Italian streets are, they’re old and many are cobblestone. Keep this in mind when trying to decide between a huge suitcase and a backpack. Rolling your suitcase through the Italian streets and up and down staircases can be difficult. When choosing the right luggage for you, you may want to research your accommodation and see whether or not you’ll have to start your vacation off by hauling suitcases up a staircase or dragging them over the cobblestone in a pedestrian-only old town. It may be a better choice for you to pack less and be able to fit your things in a carry-on suitcase or backpack.
Tips for Packing Light and Efficiently
The best way to pack lightly is to bring multi-functional clothing. Instead of packing a bright coat that will make a statement, you might want to pack a neutral coat that you can wear with multiple outfits. While you’re packing, try making outfits with all of your clothes to ensure that everything will be used at least once. When packing, I constantly try to bring articles of clothes that I love at home but never find myself wearing. Remember, if you don’t wear it at home you aren’t going to want to wear it when traveling. Pack versatile clothes that you know you love and feel good in.