What to pack for Italy – A detailed guide to everything you need to bring no matter the season
Are you already excited about your trip to Italy? Maybe your plane departs in less than a week? And now you are looking for an Italy packing list, what to wear, etc? Well, your search has come to an end!
I visited Itay many times – in winter, summer, spring, and fall and put together this travel guide on what to pack for Italy for you. It truly is a great country with so many amazing tourist attraction (check out my list of the 20 top places to visit in Italy) and worthy of your bucket list.
At the end of the day, you really shouldn’t overthink it. Italy is as civilized as it gets and it’s easy to buy a replacement for anything you might have left at home. Still, you really should pack wisely for an Italy road trip. Most people are moving around quite a bit and you don’t want to carry around an excess of luggage for 1 week or more!
So without further ado, let’s get into my Italy packing list, shall we?
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Electronics you need to pack for Italy
Let’s start with the basics. Italy’s power grid runs, much like the rest of Europe, with a frequency of 50hz and a voltage of 230V. Type C and F plugs are the most common which means US Americans will need a travel adapter.
|I recommend buying an international one, except you never plan to travel again. Here is the one I have been using for ages.|
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|You should also check your electric appliances because you might actually need a converter. The label near the plug usually tells you if it runs on 230v/50hz. |
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Here are some other things you might want to pack for Italy:
- A (digital) camera or video recorder
- Spare SD-Cards: Italy is pretty, like really pretty. I always end up taking thousands of pictures. It’s not that you won’t be able to buy them in Italy, but you usually need them when there is no shop around (like in the middle of the Vatican). So consider buying spare SD Cards (these are the ones I am using)
- A power bank: Another thing I take on every trip is a power bank. I tend to use my mobile phone quite heavily and especially taking pictures drains the batteries. I like the Solar Charger 20000mAh as it is extremely versatile and reliable. Plus, it really serves you on any kind of trip.
You will find Wi-Fi pretty much in all hotels and even some restaurants and bars. Most Europeans don’t have to pay roaming rates, but all other nationalities may have to.
|So, definitely call your telephone service provider and check your roaming rates for Italy. If they are outrageous, do buy a pocket Wi-Fi device to stay online!|
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What to wear in Italy
The weather is pretty warm and mild in Italy throughout the year – except in the mountains. Summer can be pretty hot and dry the further down you go. Rome sees about 2 days of rain in August, while Bolzano far up in the North has quite a lot of rain (7 days) in the same period.
Late spring and Autumn are a bit wetter, with mild temperatures around 20° Celcius / 68° Fahrenheit, which makes these months one of the best time to visit Italy.
Depending on your itinerary (and if you travel onwards to another European country further North) you will have to pack a bit more versatile, but really don’t overdo it. Typically, Italians dress quite chic, so if you want to fit in, you should do likewise.
Here’s what you should definitely bring, no matter the season:
- jeans or trousers 2-3 pairs
- [summer only] shorts/ short summer dresses as you see fit
- a jumper or cardigan [not needed in summer]
- t-shirts as you see fit
- a shirt/blouse or two [short sleeves in summer]
- one dressier outfit for going to the restaurant
- Socks & underwear as you see fit
- A light rain jacket or windbreaker [not needed in summer]
- A very light scarf
If you plan to do go to the Opera (like the famous Scala in Milan), you definitely will need a suit & tie. Most fine dining venues expect a more formal evening attire as well (we are talking leather shoes and shirt, not frock! :P). Also, remember that you are required to cover your shoulders when visiting churches.
In case you are visiting in winter, your Italy packing list should definitely feature a proper winter coat, a hat, a scarf, and some gloves. If you are visiting the Alps, you really will need some thick and functional winter clothes – even in autumn and spring. High up in the Dolomites, snow is a possibility between October and March.
Shoes to pack for Italy
Italy has more to offer than just beaches, pizza, and pasta. You will spend most of your days walking around, so versatile shoes are a must. You should also know that you’ll be walking on cobblestone streets most of the time, so wearing high-heels might not be the best ideas.
In summer, your best bet is a pair of very comfortable sandals. Flip-Flops can be a great addition for visiting the beach, but your feet won’t thank you when you try to explore Rome wearing them. Here are the shoes I always pack for Italy:
- [summer] 1-2 pairs of comfortable sandals. I always take one pair of Teva Sandals ( men’s version | women’s version) ) and one more fashional pair for these days where I know I won’t be walking that much.
- [spring + fall] comfortable walking shoes – bring something that can withstand a little rain; I swear by the Adidas Terrex Swift – super light and easy to slip in (click here for the female version)
- [optional] pair of dressier shoes for visiting a restaurant/opera/theater
- [optional] high-ankled hiking boots (if you plan do explore the magnificent Italian alps)
- [winter only] Warm and water-proof boots suitable for walking
You should also know that Italy is quite famous for its shoes. If you are looking for a fashionable addition to your wardrobe, you might want to consider leaving a little extra space in your suitcase to accommodate some fine Italian leather shoes or heels.
Toiletries and medicine you need
Hotels usually provide you with all the basic necessities, so you don’t have to bring all that much to Italy. Also, it’s rather easy to stock up things you left at home as pharmacies and drug stores are quite abundant.
- High SPF sunscreen (I love the Neutrogena Wet Skin Spray; especially for days on the beach)
- toothbrush, dental floss & dentifrice
- antiperspirant (maybe something a little stronger)
- day creams & body lotion as you see fit
- sanitizing-gel (you will end up touching quite a lot of railing
- Blister-Blasters (I love Compeed) ); can easily buy it at the drug-store but you will want to have them with you when you need them, not when it’s too late, eh? :)
- Mosquitos are no rarity in Italy during the summer months. Insect repellant is (like this one) will be needed if you plan to leave the cities (so, beach and rural areas).
Other things that should be on your Italy packing list
Absolutely don’t forget to bring sunglasses! They are not only an essential accessory to experience the dolce vita, but you really will be able to enjoy a lot of sunshine.
Sadly, even in summer, it can rain. On my last trip (last week of August) we had two afternoons of light rain in one week. A full rain jacket will be too hot, but packing travel umbrella is actually not the worst idea. Of course, you can also buy a cheap one and resourceful sellers will be there the second the first drop hits the pavement. Personally, I’d like to travel a bit more sustainable and not buy things that end up in the trash at the end of your trip.
You definitely should consider bringing a little day pack where you can store hand sanitizer, drinks, and everything else you need while you explore the many Italian cities. I’d like to mention two things to consider though: First, you will have to lock even small backpacks when visiting a lot of attractions (like Leonardo’s Last Supper in Milan, or The Uffizi Gallery in Florence). And secondly, backpacks tend to make you sweat, so take something that doesn’t cling too much to your back.
If you plan to spend some time at the beach, a beach bag and everything else you might need at the beach (toys for the kids, etc) is certainly something to consider packing for Italy as well.
Furthermore, Italy has very good water quality. You can drink tap water without any concerns and there really is no need to buy water at the store (except you like it cold/sparkling). I really recommend packing a reusable water bottle (I use the Nalgene Silo HDPE Wide Mouth Bottle). Just don’t waste money on a filtering system so many other bloggers seem to be recommending. It’s expensive and not needed at all.
Much like my home country (Germany), people still pay a lot with cash in Italy. You probably won’t be able to buy an ice-cream using your credit card or get that slice of pizza from that street vendor most tourist seems to love. So, do bring a waller that can handle some coins :)
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