Home Other What to wear in Rome – packing for Italy

What to wear in Rome – packing for Italy

by MashaP
Rome Dress Code

What to wear in Rome – travelers guide to Rome, Italy

I’d like to write about what to pack inside your suitcase for your Roman vacation; most of our readers would like to know how to adjust what they wear to best fit in and be comfortable when visiting Rome. I believe in the slogan “you’re free to wear what you want” but if you don’t want to “stick out” immediately and you don’t want to have people saying “I am a tourist” all over, please do not do the following:

-wear socks with slippers or open shoes

-wear white socks up to your knees

-walk around with baseball caps

– wear multi-color shorts that don’t go to your knees

-sticking t-shirts in your pants

Always keep in mind one word and you’ll never fail “elegance”. I do recommend you visit the stores and buy Italian clothing. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it has to be quality.

Living here I have noticed one thing; when it comes to dressing up, foreigners have another body temperature feeling when it comes to putting on winter or summer clothes. Italians put on heavy clothing from October through May. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot outside…they go with the months. Tourists go with the outside temperature. You’ll find tourists bathing in the sea in April, something an Italian would never do.

What Shoes to wear when visiting Rome

I would prefer to start with the shoes,simply because I think it’s the most important aspect of your clothing and this will be one of the very few times where it’s not going to be about esthetic!  Rome’s roads are made out of cobblestones. Men wouldn’t have any problems because they wear flat shoes anyway. Regarding the women, you have two choices.  Either you wear flat shoes or if you simply can’t resist, only wear high heels  with a flat sole.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing high heels if you’re in for sight-seeing.  Italian women usually dress quite well, but of course it also depends on where they are going. During the summer you can  put on slippers, walk to your destination, change shoes and wrap up the slippers in another bag to put inside your purse.

In the evenings you’ll want to be more elegant if you go to a restaurant, so choose a shoe which is more elegant for example a flat shoe with some Swarovski stones or a simple elegant high heal shoe. If you have to walk a short distance on the cobble stones, balance your weight to the front tip. If not your heels will get caught between the stones and the shoes ruined. A taxi is preferable.  For men I would say to wear a closed, elegant shoe in a darker color for the evening.

Romans eat around 9.00PM or latter. Restaurants open around 7.00PM or 7.30PM but you’ll only find tourists at the table…


During the day a medium sized bag will do for women and/or a back pack or pouches are quite common for men. I usually want to fit in my camera, sunscreen in the summer, wallet and a small water bottle. Passports should  stay in the hotel room. In the evenings a smaller purse is required for the ladies. The best thing would be to have your purse match your shoes.


During the day line can be long pretty long, especially if you’re visiting the Coliseum or the Vatican. The lines are not protected with shade proving structures anywhere in Rome. If you want the latest fashion and one of the best quality hats ever, then go and buy from the store Borsalino near Piazza del Popolo. You’ll find something for the summer as well as for the winter season. The style and the cut is a little like the Panama hats. I wouldn’t wear an ordinary baseball cap or those hat visors for women which I don’t even think they sell here in Italy…

Pants and Shorts in Rome

Shorts, like really short shorts are not worn here in Italy. Sometimes you’ll see a teenager running around like that but it is unusual. If you do wear short shorts, you should make sure you keep something that you can use as a coverup just incase you are turned away from a church or other establishment. In the summer, wear light colors and clothes which are made out of linen or cotton. In the evening long pants are preferred because they are more elegant. Trousers are fine. Choose a belt which has a smaller rim and buckle to sweat less and feel more comfortable.

Swim wear in Rome

Most pools require that you wear a bathing cap. Often you can buy one directly there for around 5.00 euro. On the beaches it is allowed to go top-less even if it’s out of style now and no one does it anymore.  European men generally do not wear shorts style bathing suits for swimming but speedo style bathing suits. Both are fine and no one will notice.

Eyeglasses in Rome

I would say that Italy is the capital of the world regarding eyeglasses! All the big fashion names make them and it doesn’t matter if it’s summer, winter, sunny or raining. Italians will have them on. Some women put them in their hair as an accessory.  I would recommend you buy them here!

Shirts in Rome

Even if it’s hot, please do not wear tank tops when visiting Rome because you will need to cover your shoulders when entering churches. For men cotton polo shirts or linen shirts will do fine. Remember to always keep the colors cream or sandy colored. Do not wear dark colors during the summer.

Dresses in Rome

Cotton and linen dresses will be perfect to wear in Rome. Always make sure it goes below your knees and you have something like a scarf to cover your shoulders with when visiting the churches or Vatican area.

Winter time Clothes in Rome

If you decide to come to Rome during the winter from December to March, I would suggest you put on your clothes in layers so you can take some of if it gets to hot and leave it on when it gets colder. Gloves, hats and scarves are recommended! Also take an umbrella with you. A water resistant jacket and shoes are fine. Jeans are perfect for both men and women.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment