Bought your plane tickets (or train) to Rome? Have an itinerary planned out? Now you’re ready to start planning packing for Italy.
Any given month of the year, we have friends or family members staying with us. From England, Canada, France or simply from Rome, we love having people stay with us so we can show Umbria off.
We’ll visit small Medieval hilltop towns to see 12th-century churches, try local wines at our favourite restaurants, and indulging in some gelato while wandering around a piazza.
But before friends arrive there is always an email saying ‘I don’t know what I should be packing for Italy??!!’ So this is what I tell anyone who visits us for the first time. Included is also a list of what don’t you need to bring.
Packing For Italy: What to Bring?
Packing. It’s never easy to know what size of
Or deciding on dresses vs trousers.
And I always get tripped up over how many, and which, shoes to pack. At the moment I’m keeping it to 3 pairs of shoes regardless of the length of the trip.
And while packing for Italy depends on where you’re going, what activities you’re planning on, and what time of year it is, there are a few items you should always bring.
1. A Water bottle
This is the most important thing to pack after your passport and a way to pay for your holiday. Last month, in April, I brought my water bottle with me on a trip to Naples and Pompeii. Inside the ruins of Pompeii, there is only one place where you can buy water. But there are many water fountains to access fresh cold water if you have your own bottle.
Even in Napoli, a water bottle is a great idea. Why are they so famous
And with Capri leading the way by banning any form of single-use plastic, it’s only going to be more important.
The bonus? How much plastic and money you’ll save. Interested in learning more about water fountains in Italy? I’ve written all about them here.
2. An Umbrella, When it Rains it Pours!
A small, light good quality umbrella can be a lifesaver.
Even in the summer, there are thunderstorms.
And in Italy it never drizzles, it’s always a downpour.
There are always guys ready to sell you one on the street, but you’re lucky if those umbrellas last the day.
3. Something To Carry It All Around In
It could be a purse. But a small lightweight backpack is best for long days sightseeing.
Everything should fit inside: the umbrella, the water bottle, a guidebook and a shirt or scarf for covering up in churches and the odd spot with strong air conditioning.
4. Comfortable Footwear: Trainers/Runners/Sneakers
Whatever you want to call this footwear, they’re essential.
You’ll walk a lot.
Most sightseeing, like at museums, ruins or when shopping on the Ponte Vecchio, is done on foot. Make sure blisters don’t ruin your holiday.
In the summer I choose Birkenstocks for the days I’ll be walking over 10 km, but the rest of the year I have a few pairs of stylish sneakers so my feet aren’t wrecked by the end of day.
5. Long Pants/Trousers For Men And A Scarf/Long-Sleeved Shirt For Women
Packing for Italy means you need to keep in mind that it’s a Catholic country, and Catholic churches have a dress code.
Men should not be wearing shorts or hats inside a church.
And women need to have their shoulders covered and not be wearing shorts or skirts that are very short.
Some churches aren’t strict, while others have white plastic sheets they hand out, but there are a few, like the Vatican or the Basilica in Assisi, that will not let you enter.
Speaking of clothes, if you’re traveling in the summer I strongly recommend bringing clothes made of natural fibers.
My summer outfits center around wide leg linen trousers with silk tops or dresses made from silk or linen.
6. A Sun Hat
Sunblock, or suncream, is great, but it doesn’t prevent sunstroke.
If you’re planning on spending a few hours in the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, or Pompeii this is something you will not regret packing.
As early as April or as late as October can be hot enough to bother me. I know Italians rarely wear hats, but for me it’s necessary.
Or to save space use your umbrella to keep the sun off.
7. A Bag For Shopping
A grocery bag that folds up and takes up no space or weight. These can be so useful for dirty clothes, shopping at the market, or carrying your lunch on to the train.
What Can I Easily Find In Italy?
I bring my own sunblock for my face, but there are lots of options in grocery stores and pharmacies all over Italy for general use.
Unless you need prescription glasses, there are lots of cheap sunglasses sold on the streets of Rome, Naples, Florence, or Venice. For 5 euros, 12 months of the year, you can buy a fun pair that should get you through your holiday. As Italians wear sunglasses all year round, you’ll fit right in. And if they survive your holiday, then they’re a great souvenir.
You can buy great toiletries here that you won’t find at home. Some might find shopping a waste of precious holiday time, but I love checking out grocery stores and makeup in different countries. It’s a peek into the day-to-day life of a country. A great way to bring home useful memories and a fun shopping trip is an Italian must.
Want to bring your own shampoo? Then consider just buying a drug store conditioner (called
What Should I Not Be Packing For Italy?
Controversial, I know. And obviously, some people are still going to travel with their hairdryer. But consider this. I have never been to a B&B,
2. Shoes You Can’t Walk In
This is Italy,
My favorite thing to do in Italy, more than drink wine and gaze at sunsets, is to
3. A Suitcase You Can’t Pick Up
If you’ve booked all your hotels and they are all 4 stars, then this might not apply to you.
But, if like you’re like me and don’t book everything before leaving, enjoy staying in a variety of smaller places with kitchens, and are taking trains or buses to several destinations, do yourself a favor and pack as lightly as possible. I know it’s hard, my husband and I have bought new luggage while on holiday in Japan and Canada.
Packing for Italy in the summer is much easier than in the winter. Summer clothes aren’t bulky and there’s no winter jacket to drag around.
But regardless of the season, traveling in Italy means staying in places with no elevators. It means running across a train station to try and make that connecting train.
And of course, a few purchases made along the way: a bottle of wine, some chocolate, olive oil it all takes up space and weight.
Thinking Of Visiting Umbria While In Italy?
Now you know about packing for Italy, what about fitting in a stop in Umbria? Halfway between Rome and Florence, the region of Umbria is delicious, green and peaceful.