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Italy Packing List – Tips and Advice Based on 20 Years of Experience

You’ve booked your flight to Italy and your hotels and now it’s time to pack!  I know, it can be overwhelming.  Don’t worry, by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be ready to fare la valigia (pack your suitcase) for your trip.

Why listen to my advice?  I’ve been traveling here since 2003 – guiding visitors from around the world, exploring with my family, and as a solo traveler.  I’ve learned what to bring (and what not to bring), and some important tips for making packing smooth and worry-free.

Read on for:

  • Help deciding what to pack for your trip to Italy
  • Tips for packing for an Italian vacation
  • Tried and tested Italy packing lists for women and men
  • What not to pack on a trip to Italy
  • Our Printable Italy Packing List PDF – click here to go straight to it
  • FAQs about packing for an Italy trip

First trip to Italy? 10th? Either way, check out our 200+ Essential Italy Travel Tips!

If you’re coming to Italy with kids, you may like our
Italy Packing List for Kids
Italy Packing List for a Baby or Toddler

Packing For Your Italy Trip – Things to Think About

As you start thinking about what to pack, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

Length of Trip

Packing for a week-long trip to Italy will be different than packing for a month-long adventure.

Destination in Italy and Time of Year

Depending on where and when you travel in Italy, you’ll need different things.  If you’re planning on spending a week in the Dolomites (mountains in Northern Italy) in December, your packing list will be drastically different than if you’re spending time at the beach in Puglia in July.

Trying to decide when to visit Italy? Check out our monthly guides:
Italy in January
Italy in February

Italy in March
Italy in April
Italy in May
Italy in June
Italy in October

Italy in November
Italy in December

How Much Time You’ll Spend in One Place

If you’ll be spending a week in a villa in Tuscany, your Italy packing list won’t be the same as someone packing for a whirlwind trip to Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. 

If you’re staying in one place, it’s less of a pain to bring a big suitcase or a lot of luggage.  But, if you’re moving around, you’ll want to have a lighter, easy-to-maneuver suitcase (and fewer pieces of luggage).

Your Personal Body Temperature

Are you someone who’s always a little bit chilly?  Or do you sweat even in the winter?  If so, keep that in mind when you’re packing for Italy.  If you tend to be cold, make sure you pack a cardigan even in the summer – it will come in handy on the plane and in any air-conditioned spaces you enter.

Activities in Italy

Will you be hiking or skiing in the Dolomites?  Are you planning on walking around cities from dawn ‘til dusk?  Will you be sampling Michelin-star restaurants?  Perhaps spending the entire trip lounging on the beach in Forte dei Marmi

If you know you have certain activities planned, make sure you’re packing for them!  This may sound simple, but I’ve had guests arrive for a hiking trip in the Dolomites wearing leather pants and friends show up for a beach vacation without a swimsuit. 

Sure, you can buy what you need here in Italy, but sometimes it’s best to bring the items from home.  For example, it’s better to bring worn-in hiking boots for your trip to the Dolomites rather than purchasing them here. 

Access to Laundry

If you’ll have access to laundry (whether you have your hotel do it for you or you visit a self-service laundromat), you can bring less clothing. 

Otherwise, you can either do your own laundry (bring quick-drying clothing items) or bring enough clothes, so you don’t have to do laundry. 

This is a very personal choice, and you shouldn’t make a choice that’s doesn’t work for you.  If you can’t stand hand-washing laundry, your trip to Italy isn’t the time to try it again.

Important Tips for Packing for an Italy Vacation

Some essential tips I’ve picked up over the years:

  • Dress comfortably.  You will not enjoy your trip if your feet are sore or full of blisters or your pants are too tight.  Important:  My #1 tip for packing for Italy – make sure you have comfortable shoes and pack the right shoe style for you.  If you are most comfortable in athletic sneakers, bring them – your feet will thank you.
  • Don’t stress about ‘blending in.’  Every Italian you see knows you aren’t Italian. 
  • Embrace a portion of the concept of bella figura.  To fare bella figura is to present yourself well, both in how you look and how you act.  If you’d like to practice it, choose tailored, well-fitting, clean, non-sporty clothing (no XXL t-shirts for men or yoga pants for ladies).  But know that it’s totally ok if you don’t dress this way!
  • You can wear the same items of clothing multiple times.  No one will notice (or care) if you wore the same sweater yesterday or the same pair of shoes every day.
  • Let go of your ‘just in case’ items.  True, the weather may turn and you may wish you’d brought another sweater in October.  Guess what?  If that happens, you can buy one here in Italy!  What a perfect excuse to go shopping.  And, you’ll have your Italian sweater as a nice souvenir (that you’ll actually use) from your Italian trip.
  • Bring basic toiletries.  It’s fun to shop in Italy, but you won’t want to spend too much time hunting down basic toiletries.  If you do need them, you can find basic toiletries here in Italy at grocery stores, pharmacies, perfume shops, and toiletry shops.  Good To Know:  If you’re arriving in the evening (when shops are closed), make sure you pack anything you’ll need for your first night and morning (like toothpaste). 
  • Pack worn-in shoes.  Blisters and uncomfortable shoes are never fun, but especially not when you’re planning on spending the entire day walking around Rome or Pompeii.  Likewise, make sure you’ve worn your clothing before you arrive.  Itchy sweaters or pants that ride up your bum are extra annoying while you’re traveling.
  • Choose a simple color scheme.  I recommend sticking to neutrals (blacks, greys, whites, blue, browns, or creams) or simple colors with splashes of color or patterns.  Also keep in mind your tendency to spill.  If you’re a bit messy, avoid white clothing which will show the pasta stains from your delicious tagliatelle al ragù in Bologna.
  • Choose the best travel fabrics.  Choose breathable pieces that can be layered easily.  If you’ll be doing laundry, make sure your clothing dries quickly.  Although many suggest linen for beach destinations in Italy, the material isn’t great for travel – it wrinkles and stretches easily.  Yes, Italians wear it, but they’re washing it before they wear it again.
  • Pack underwear in your carryon.  After multiple delayed flights and extended layovers, I now always pack a spare pair of underwear (and socks and a shirt) in my carry-on bag.  You’ll be glad you have an extra pair if you get caught somewhere without your luggage.
  • Bring what you love to wear and use.  I often hear “don’t pack that” or “you must leave that at home” when discussing what to bring on vacation to Italy.  It’s important to bring things that you love that that make you feel good.  For example, if having your hair straightened and looking perfect makes you feel great, bring your hair straightener!  (But, check the voltage because you may need a power converter.)
  • Less is more.  When applied to packing for your first trip to Italy, it means packing, and then removing ¼ to ½ of what’s in your suitcase.  If you’ve already been to Italy, you probably remember overpacking for your first trip.  Keep that in mind as you’re packing for your upcoming trip!
  • Don’t change who you are.  If you love dressing up, don’t try to pack 5 items of clothing in a carry-on bag for your month-long Italy trip – you won’t be happy.  If you enjoy wearing a full face of makeup every day, bring your makeup!  If you feel most comfortable in leggings, a t-shirt, and a Patagonia fleece, then dress like that in Italy.  The most important thing is to be comfortable and happy while you’re visiting bella Italia.

Italy Weather by Season and Destination

Weather varies dramatically in Italy by location and season.  For guidance on what to pack, take a look at the temperature and precipitation averages for where you’ll be and when. 

Most of Italy experiences hot summers, while winters vary dramatically depending on where you are – you could be bundled in a heavy coat in the snow in the northern mountains or sitting at an outdoor café in short sleeves in Sicily. 

Spring and fall are usually mild but unpredictable – you may see a lot of sun or plenty of rain.

Northern Italy sees more rain during the summer months, while the south has most of its rainfall in the winter.

Northern Italy – In general, northern Italy has cold, wet winters and warm, humid summers.  Many places see snow in the winter, especially in the mountains. 

Central Italy – Central Italy typically has hot summers and cold, humid winters.   

Southern Italy – Italy’s southern section usually has hot summers and mild winters. 

Good To Know:  The weather can vary, so it’s important to check the weather before you leave and make small adjustments to what you’ve packed.  For example, October 2022 is unseasonably warm – at the end of the month we’re wearing short-sleeves during the day!

Good To Know:  It can be cold in buildings during the winter, especially now that electricity prices have increased dramatically.   In summer months, air-conditioning is not very common and when you do find it, you’ll probably notice it’s not as strong/cold as you’re used to.

Italy Monthly Weather and Precipitation

To give you an idea of temperatures and rainfall you may see on your Italy trip, take a look at the monthly averages for a few popular destinations around the country:

Italy Monthly Temperatures (high/low in °C):

 MILANVENICEFLORENCEROMENAPLESPALERMO
JANUARY7° / 0°8° / 0°11° / 3°12° / 3°14° / 5°15° / 10°
FEBRUARY10° / 1°9° / 1°13° / 3°14° / 3°14° / 5°15° / 9°
MARCH15° / 5°13° / 5°16° / 6°16° / 6°17° / 7°17° / 10°
APRIL19° / 9°17° / 9°20° / 9°19° / 8°19° / 10°19° / 13°
MAY24° / 14°22° / 14°25° / 13°24° / 12°24° / 14°23° / 16°
JUNE28° / 17°26° / 17°29° / 17°28° / 16°28° / 18°27° / 20°
JULY30° / 19°29° / 19°32° / 19°31° / 19°31° / 21°30° / 23°
AUGUST30° / 19°29° / 19°32° / 19°32° / 19°31° / 21°30° / 24°
SEPTEMBER25° / 15°24° / 15°27° / 15°27° / 15°27° / 17°27° / 21°
OCTOBER19° / 11°19° / 11°22° / 12°23° / 12°23° / 14°24° / 18°
NOVEMBER12° / 5°13° / 6°16° / 7°17° / 7°18° / 9°20° / 14°
DECEMBER7° / 1°8° / 1°11° / 3°13° / 4°14° / 6°16° / 11°

Italy Monthly Precipitation (mm):

 MILANVENICEFLORENCEROMENAPLESPALERMO
JANUARY11824203449
FEBRUARY11823253353
MARCH131518192630
APRIL383449344331
MAY34303014117
JUNE253525662
JULY13216230
AUGUST182312542
SEPTEMBER262227202633
OCTOBER352550343045
NOVEMBER312051485446
DECEMBER101337324355

Italy Packing List for Women

People often tell me they want to dress like an Italian woman.  Just like with women in your home country, style varies dramatically depending on age, location, personality, and income level.  You may see an older woman in Milan dressed head to toe in tailored Gucci, a mom in Umbria wearing distressed jeans and sneakers, or a woman in the Dolomites at a restaurant in hiking gear.

For a trip to Italy, I recommend packing items that are your current style and that you can layer and mix and match:

Clothing to Pack for Italy – Year Round

  • Comfortable sneakers – These can be athletic sneakers (especially if you’re exercising during the trip or if you have foot problems) or casual trainers like Stan Smiths, Veja, or New Balance trainers.  Make sure they’re comfortable and worn in – these will be the walking shoes that you wear for the majority of your trip.
  • Another pair of shoes – Depending on the season and where you are, this may be a pair of flats, boots, or sandals.  If you bring sandals, I recommend something like Birkenstocks that have a little bit of a lip around the edges (to avoid stubbing toes and super dirty feet).  Good To Know:  If you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach, you’ll probably want to pack a pair of flip-flops/thongs.  You may also want slippers for hotel stays.
  • Short-sleeve shirts – Casual t-shirts or blouses.  Tank tops work too, but you’ll need to cover your shoulders to enter churches.
  • Long-sleeve shirts – Button-down shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts, or blouses.
  • Sweater, fleece, or cardigan – Helpful to have with you as a layering piece.
  • Pants – Full-length or capri-style, depending on your preferences and when you’ll be traveling.  I find pants from Athleta to be excellent for Italy travel for many styles and age ranges.  You’ll see jeans and slacks more than leggings.
  • Shorts, skirts, and dresses – Keep in mind that you will need to cover your knees for entrance into churches.  If you’re planning on climbing any towers or hiking, you’ll want to avoid wearing skirts or dresses on those days. 
  • Underwear, bras, and socks
  • Pajamas
  • Dressy outfit – If you’re heading to a Michelin-star or ‘fancy’ restaurant, you may want to have a dressier outfit.  It could be a dress or even a blouse that you pair with your daytime black capri pants.
  • Workout clothes – If you like to jog, go for early morning walks, or do yoga, make sure you’ve got the appropriate clothing with you. 
  • Laundry bag

Clothing to Pack for the Summer in Italy

  • Light scarf or shawl – Can be used as a cover up when entering churches, as a picnic blanket, or to avoid getting chilly on an air-conditioned train.
  • Light jacket or cardigan
  • Swimsuit
  • Sundresses – They’re very versatile – you can wear them for sightseeing during the day, at the beach, or at dinner in the evening.  Avoid linen if wrinkles or stretched-out material bothers you
  • Hat

Clothing to Pack for the Winter in Italy

  • Warm scarf
  • Warm coat
  • Weatherproof shoes
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat

Women’s Toiletries & Health

Remember that you can get anything you need here in Italy, but maybe not the specific brands you’re used to.  So, make sure you pack your favorite facial moisturizer that you can’t live without!

You may not need everything on this list, but here are some things you may want to bring on your trip to Italy:

  • Toiletry bag – Also, pack liquids inside Ziploc bags to avoid leaks.
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription medication
  • Over-the-counter medication – Brands that you know work well for you.
  • Face wash
  • Face moisturizer
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Contacts
  • Contact Solution
  • Makeup
  • Hair products
  • Hair bands – I always bring these from home. I find the quality to be better.
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush – If you bring an electric toothbrush, check the voltage (my Sonicare needs a converter).
  • Dental floss
  • Sanitary pads and tampons – Bring them from home.  For example, the organic pads and tampons I get in North America are much better (more absorbent) than the ones I find here.
  • Nail file
  • Nail polish – For touch-ups
  • Razor
  • Tweezers
  • Basic 1st Aid Kit
  • Brush
  • Prescription glasses
  • Face masks – no longer required in most places in Italy (required in hospitals); you may want them for crowded places like museums, buses, and markets

Italy Packing List for Men

Good To Know:  If you wear larger sizes, make sure you bring what you need.  There are very few ‘Big and Tall’ shops here in Italy, and you’ll have trouble finding clothing to fit you.

Clothing to Pack for Italy – Year Round

  • Comfortable sneakers – These can be athletic sneakers (especially if you’re exercising during the trip or if you have foot problems) or casual trainers.  Italian men are wearing sneakers by Adidas (Stan Smith), New Balance, GGDB, and Autry at the moment.  Make sure they’re comfortable and worn in – these will be the walking shoes that you wear for the majority of your trip.
  • Another pair of shoes – Depending on the season and where you are, this may be a pair of leather shoes, boots, or sandals (like the Birkenstock Arizona).  Good To Know:  If you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach, you’ll probably want to pack a pair of flip-flops/thongs.  You may also want slippers for hotel stays.
  • Short-sleeve shirts – Casual t-shirts or collared shirts.  Tank tops are rarely seen, even at the beach.
  • Long-sleeve shirts – Button-down shirts, long-sleeve t-shirts.
  • Sweater, fleece, or sweatshirt – Helpful to have with you as a layering piece.
  • Pants – Jeans or slacks.  Most men do not wear sweatpants except at the gym or lounging at home.  If you like your cargo pants, bring them!  Don’t bring linen pants if wrinkles or stretched-out material bothers you.
  • Shorts – Italian men wear shorts.  True, if you head to the business district in Milan, you won’t see any men wearing shorts.  But when it’s hot, Italian men wear shorts – in cities, at the beach, and even in the evening to a casual restaurant.  Please do not sweat bullets during your vacation because someone told you men can’t wear shorts in Italy.  It’s simply not true. 
  • Underwear and socks
  • Pajamas
  • Dressy outfit – If you’re heading to a Michelin-star or ‘fancy’ restaurant, you may want to have a dressier outfit.  Some restaurants have a dress code or require jackets – call or email to find out.  Occasionally, the restaurant will provide a loaner jacket for you.  Keep in mind that you should not wear shorts to a nice restaurant, and some restaurants also prohibit male diners from wearing short sleeve shirts.
  • Workout clothes – If you like to jog, go for early morning walks, or do yoga, make sure you’ve got the appropriate clothing with you. 
  • Laundry bag

Clothing to Pack for the Summer in Italy

  • Light jacket or sweater
  • Swimsuit
  • Hat

Clothing to Pack for the Winter in Italy

  • Warm scarf
  • Warm coat
  • Weatherproof shoes
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat

Men’s Toiletries & Health

You may not need everything on this list, but here are some things you may want to bring on your trip to Italy:

  • Toiletry bag – Also, pack liquids inside Ziploc bags to avoid leaks.
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription medication
  • Over-the-counter medication – Brands that you know work well for you.
  • Face wash
  • Face moisturizer
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Contacts
  • Contact Solution
  • Hair products
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush – If you bring an electric toothbrush, check the voltage (my Sonicare needs a converter).
  • Dental floss
  • Razor
  • Tweezers
  • Basic 1st Aid Kit
  • Brush
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription glasses
  • Face masks – no longer required in most places in Italy (required in hospitals); you may want them for crowded places like museums, buses, and markets

Italy Packing List – Electronics

  • Smartphone
  • Ipad
  • Kindle
  • Chargers
  • Portable phone charger – You’ll be using your phone throughout the day, so you’ll probably need an extra charge at some point
  • Noise-canceling headphones – helpful for plane and train travel
  • Earbud headphones – great for listening to music or audio tours during your trip
  • Hairdryer – they’re usually available at hotels, but if you need yours, bring it
  • Hair straighteners, curling irons, etc
  • Camera

Italy Packing List – Important Documents

  • Passport
  • Visa – if needed
  • Medical prescriptions – also have a copy online or with someone back home
  • Driver’s License – see above
  • Travel Insurance
  • Credit Card – make sure your bank knows you’ll be traveling to Italy; ask for a PIN (needed occasionally in Italy); ask if you’ll need 2-factor authentication for online purchases (if so, get bring a 2nd card that doesn’t need it, unless you’ll have access to your home phone number while traveling)
  • ATM Card – make sure your bank knows you’ll be traveling to Italy and that you have a PIN number
  • Important Phone Numbers and Trip Confirmation Documents – also have copies online or with someone back home
  • Allergy Card – Make sure it’s translated into Italian
  • Cash – bring euros if you can get some before you leave; otherwise, bring your home currency so you can exchange it in case of an emergency (your wallet is stolen, or your credit/ATM cards don’t work)

Italy Packing List – Miscellaneous Items

  • Swiss Army Knife – useful for picnics and many other scenarios
  • Travel Umbrella – In Italy, umbrellas are either cheap and low-quality or decent but overpriced.  Bring your own from home!
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel pillow
  • Money and document storage – Money belt, wallet, purse, or bag with hidden compartment
  • Ziploc bags – use different sizes to store dirty clothes, use as rain protection for your phone and wallet, or store snacks that you buy at the grocery store or local market
  • Packing cubes – if you haven’t used them, know that they’re game changers!  Sort your clothing by day or type (undies & socks, dress clothes, etc).  You can also use them for toiletries or shoes.
  • Favorite snacks – For example, I always bring beef jerky and Clif bars back from the US to have as snacks here.  If there’s a particular snack you know you like, bring it for food emergencies (although hopefully, you won’t have any!)
  • Guidebook – bring a paper version or download it to your tablet (personal preference)
  • Phrasebook or app
  • Pen

What Not to Pack for a Trip to Italy

I recommend leaving the following at home:

  • Raincoat – Instead, bring an umbrella.  Raincoats won’t cover backpacks or tote bags, which you’ll likely carry around with you as you explore Italy.
  • Reusable Water Bottle – I’m all for saving the planet, but Italy just doesn’t have enough places to refill your bottle to warrant carrying one around with you.  We don’t have them in airports, at train stations, in shopping malls, etc.  You’ll find yourself buying a bottle of water to refill your bottle.  Sure, there are some public fountains in many Italian towns and around big cities, but you won’t feel like hunting them down. 
  • High Heels – Too many cobblestone streets and uneven surfaces make walking in heels very difficult.  True, Italian women wear them, but to the office (which has smooth floors) and in the evenings (and they’re likely taking a car or taxi to their destinations).  If you want some height, try a wedge.  Or stick with a beautiful, flat dressy sandal.
  • Jewelry and Valuables – Leave the diamonds and your special necklace at home.  You won’t want to leave them at the hotel, and there’s always a chance you’ll forget them or lose them.
  • SIM Card – Yes, you can buy them at home, but they’re usually overpriced, and you’ll struggle with overseas customer service if you have a problem.  It’s best to purchase an Italian SIM card at a Vodafone, TIM, or Wind/Tre shop when you arrive in Italy.  Rates are best, and you can always go into a shop if you have a problem.  Or, book an international plan with your home carrier.  This is a great option if your credit card requires 2-factor authorization (you make a purchase online and the merchant asks for a confirmation code that’s sent to your home phone number).
  • Things You’ll Use Once or Not at All – If you don’t use your crossword book at home, you probably won’t use it here.  If you think you might use the big floppy hat on your day in Positano, just leave it at home.  You’ll be fine without it!  Only pack items that you’ll use, and use multiple times!

I hope this has helped you get a better idea of what you need to pack for your trip to Italy!  Don’t forget to print out our free Italy Packing List!

Printable Italy Packing List

To print our ultimate packing lists for Italy, just click on either image and a PDF will open up in a new tab. You can print the PDF or save it to your computer, tablet, or phone.

Italy Packing List FAQs

Is it okay to wear jeans in Italy?
Jeans are definitely acceptable to wear on vacation in Italy, and you’ll see many Italians wearing them – from slim-fitting dark jeans to acid-washed distressed jeans. 

Is laundry available in Italy?
You can do laundry in Italy in a few ways: at your hotel (serviced, fee), at your apartment, or at a laundromat (self-service or serviced, fee).  Remember to take into account drying time (clothes dryers aren’t common in Italy).

Is it acceptable to wear leggings in Italy?
Yes, many women wear leggings in Italy.  Wearing workout leggings for non-sporty purposes is less common.  Most Italians wear gym clothes to the gym or for a workout and change afterward.

Should I pack a carry-on only for my trip to Italy?
If packing carry-on only works for you, go for it!  But, don’t feel pressured to do so.  Remember that you won’t be able to pack liquids over 100ml or many souvenirs!

Should I bring a travel towel?
You don’t need a travel towel unless you’re planning to stay at hostels or you’ll be using free beaches (spiagge libere) often during your trip.