Understanding what to wear in Rome is something that flies under the radar for many people. When you look up the city on the internet, travel websites go into great detail about things like how Rome was referred to as the “Eternal City” for thousands of years. Or they talk about its remarkable monuments, landmarks, and how the Vatican City is the spiritual center of Rome.
But usually, they won’t talk about what you should wear when you go. Not having the right attire when you travel can make or break your trip. It’s hard to enjoy going anywhere if you’re freezing or sweating the entire day. Not to mention feeling embarrassed because you blatantly stand out as a tourist.
In this article, we will talk about what to wear in Rome for all four seasons. We will also discuss Rome’s specific dress code and respectful attire you should wear when entering churches and religious sites.
What to wear in Rome: Season by Season
The people of Rome enjoy a Mediterranean climate. The summers are usually quite hot in the middle of the day, while early mornings and late evenings can be quite pleasant. In the winter, the daytime temperatures are enjoyable while the nights can be chilly. Because of these temperature variations, you will need different clothing for different seasons. Here we will discuss what you can wear for all four of them.
Winter in Rome Clothing – (December – January – February)
Winters in Rome are usually mild, but the evenings can still be cool. Therefore, it is important to wear warmer layers like sweaters and trench coats that can provide excellent insulation. Jeans or pants will keep your legs warm in the evening when it’s chilly out. You might also want to invest in comfortable, waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and protected in case of rain.
Spring in Rome Clothing – (March – April – May)
In the spring, temperatures can fluctuate from warm in the day to cool in the evening, so it’s important to adjust to the climate. For tops, try to have a mixture of short and long-sleeved shirts so you can adapt to the changing weather. Comfortable pants are necessary (or pant skirts in the case of women) as well as good walking shoes or sandals so you can explore the city easily.
Summer in Rome Clothing – (June – July – August)
Hot and dry should give you a clue on what to wear in Rome during the summer, so it is important to have light clothes possibly made of cotton or linen that can help you stay cool. Consider t-shirts, tank tops, and sundresses that are ideal for this type of weather. For bottoms, shorts or skirts should be your go-to. To really beat the heat, try wearing comfortable sandals or breathable shoes.
Autumn in Rome Clothing – (September – October – November)
Autumns in Rome are similar to the spring, where temperatures can vary throughout the week or even the day. Have light-layered clothing for these changing conditions. Short-sleeved shirts can be good for the beginning of autumn but have something long-sleeved when the temperatures cool down. Pants are fine throughout the season but consider skipping the skirts come November. Rain also tends to increase during this period so think about a rain jacket.
Dress Code in Rome
While there is typically no strict dress code, the people of Rome tend to adhere to a more conservative style of dress. Flashy clothing isn’t necessary so try to wear clothes with clean and classic colors. Dressier outfits are an excellent choice for what to wear in Rome in the evenings. Shoes should not look worn or old, so make sure they are of good quality. Classic accessories like necklaces, watches, bags, and earrings are perfectly fine. As best you can, avoid looking like a tourist (skip the fanny packs).
Rome at Night
There is a certain level of sophistication that characterizes fashion in Rome, as with other European cities. As mentioned before, more formal wear is usually reserved for the evening. Women can be seen wearing dresses while the men have dress shirts or polos. Footwear will also be more formal. In cooler weather, people will wear stylish coats and jackets. A polished look is appreciated here, so make sure your clothes are well-ironed and that you are neatly groomed.
Rome at Day
When considering what to wear in Rome during the day, it tends to be more casual than at night, although you should definitely try for a clean look. Consider well-fitted jeans for men and stylish blouses for women. Comfortable, stylish shoes are necessary for lots of walking around the city. Mornings and afternoons can be mild and sunny, so many spring for scarves, blazers, or cardigans which can be removed or added as necessary.
Respectful Attire for Visiting Churches and Religious Sites in Rome
Keep in mind that there often is a dress code that visitors are expected to follow when entering churches or religious sites. When you adhere to this code, it serves as a sign of respect for the sanctity of these places. Each church might have its own set of rules, but there are some general guidelines that you can follow.
Silence is also a sign of respect when visiting religious sites. When you enter, it’s possible to see some people praying or quietly reflecting. Being loud or having conversations during this time could be seen as disrespectful. Also, be mindful of your mobile phones. Put it on vibrate and make sure to follow the church rules about photography if there are any.
When entering a religious site, try to have your shoulders covered, meaning no tank tops or sleeveless tops. Also make sure your shorts, skirts, and dresses cover your knees. When planning what to wear in Rome in summer, avoid very short skirts or shorts when entering churches (actually you should avoid very revealing clothing altogether). Please also remove any hats or sunglasses if you have them. Finally, try not to enter a church with sandals or flip-flops, as closed-toe shoes are more respectful.
Clothes Shopping in Rome
The variety of clothing shops in the city of Rome are staggering and cater to many different preferences and styles. Many people travel to Rome (or Italy in general) for their high-end fashion boutiques and luxury designer brands like Gucci, Valentino, Versace, and Prada. If high-end seems up your alley, check out the fashion districts like Via Condotti and Via Borgognona.
Rome also has excellent local artisan shops which offer handmade accessories and clothing items with unique designs. The vintage and secondhand scene is also flourishing in Rome and can be found in neighborhoods like Trastevere and Monti.
FAQs about what to wear in Rome
Still have questions about clothing options for Rome? Check out our FAQs section.
Can I Wear Sneakers in Rome?
Of course! You’ll need them when traversing this grand city. Although in the evenings try to wear something more formal and keep the sneakers at home.
What is Acceptable to Wear in Rome?
There is no strict dress code for the city of Rome unless you are entering certain buildings or religious sites. However, Rome leans more to the conservative side of fashion, so please keep this in mind while packing.