Italians like to dress up and you will feel more comfortable in smart casual dress, particularly away from the tourist hotspots.
This is definitely a location to show off your designer labels if you wish.
Make sure you take comfy footwear for daytime as there are loads of cobbled streets, plus religious sites and museums with wooden floors (try Hotter shoes, they provide total comfort and look great too).
If you are visiting the big cities leave your swimsuit at home it's very unlikely that you will find facilities to use it.
Clothing Tips for Women
Feel free to be glamorous and stylish.
A pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up any outfit.
And a few well-chosen pieces of costume jewelry will also transform any outfit.
Save your high heels for the evenings.
When visiting restaurants our advice would be no sneakers; this is a time to get those glamorous sandals or shoes on. We love the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range - using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
If you are planning on visiting any religious sites then be sure to dress conservatively and take a pashmina to cover your shoulders and bare legs. It can also be very chilly inside the churches, even when it's hot outside.
Clothing Tips for Men
Feel free to be stylish.
When eating out or visiting the opera etc, opt for smart shoes.
If visiting churches it can be cold inside, even in the hot summer months - you may like to carry a light sweater or jacket to put round you.
Pack for the Weather
It can rain at any time and our advice would be to pack a lightweight raincoat and travel umbrella even in the summer.
During May, June, July, August and September the sun is fierce, so be sure to pack sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunhat and sunglasses.
In winter (December, January, February) dress up warmly, with layers and take a warm smart coat and warm scarf.
Clever layering is the key to dressing for changeable weather.
We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android
Regions of Italy
If you're heading to Pisa and want to climb the famous leaning tower, you'll definitely want comfy flat shoes to negotiate the 300 spiralling steps (which can be slippery). Some people find it strenuous and you may get dizzy. No bags or backpacks of any size are allowed in the tower - you'll need to leave them at the free bag drop point. Entrance is by ticket only and strictly time-controlled, so you may wish to book your slot in advance to guarantee entry - don't forget some photo ID for picking your ticket up when you arrive.
Pompeii is a popular day trip from Naples or Sorrento. It's well worth a visit, but be warned the site is vast and has almost no shelter or shade. In summer it's roasting (take a sunhat and cover up) and if it rains you will get wet (pack a hat and waterproof)! The terrain underfoot is dusty and uneven, with some large cobblestones which are quite hard to walk on and will be slippery if wet; comfy flat shoes are essential, and we'd suggest closed shoes are preferable to sandals. There is only one cafe near the entrance, but a few drinking water fountains are available at various points. You won't be allowed in with large backpacks or luggage, and if you want to hire an audio guide be prepared to leave some ID.
If you're aiming to travel with just carry-on baggage, try the CabinMaxsoft-sided rucksack - it's light, roomy and has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized. You can use packing cubes to compress the volume too.
And a lightweight shoulder bag or day sack will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials. Note that some museums and galleries do not permit entry with large bags or backpacks, and there is not always a cloakroom facility.
If you tend to buy bottled water, consider carrying a Go! Filtered Water Bottle - fill up from any source and get clean, safe drinking water without wasting plastic bottles.
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees - use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! Lace and glassware are popular buys from Venice, look for leather goods in Florence and fashion from Milan. If you choose to bring back Italian wine remember liquids need to be packed in your checked-in luggage, unless you buy at the airport.
Last updated 28 April 2016.
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