Italy Packing List – What to Pack For Italy Season by Season
One of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, Italy makes it for a great holiday in every season. But what’s the perfect Italy packing list? What to wear in Italy in different seasons? And last but not least, what to pack for Italy sightseeing, especially when it comes to the Vatican and other religious sites?
What to Pack for Italy Season by Season
- Essential items to pack for Italy in every season
- Packing for Italy in Summer
- Packing for Italy in Fall
- Packing for Italy in Winter
- Packing for Italy in Spring
The Ultimate Italy Packing List
We drew a complete Italy packing list to help first-time travellers plan their trip. We included what to pack for Italy in each season but also a first section of more general items you will need no matter what month you are travelling.
These are essentials you will need to include when planning what to pack for Italy. Some are necessary as a passport/ID or the visa and some are more optional even though recommended, such as a camera, travel adaptor and similar basics.
Essentials to pack for Italy no matter what’s the season
Passport or national ID
This is pretty obvious as it’s not only essential when packing for Italy but everywhere. Citizens of the European Union can travel to Italy with their national ID, while coming from other continents they must show their passport.
As far as the visa is concerned, first check if you need a visa to enter Italy or the Schengen area also depending on the purpose of your travel and duration of your stay.
READ MORE: For more tips, check out our detailed guide to planning a trip to Italy.
Money and credit/debit cards
You can use your credit and debit cards in every ATM in Italy so there’s no really need to exchange your currency into euro before arrival. When you withdraw money from an ATM you will receive euro at the daily exchange rate. You will find ATMs also when you land at the airport or at railway stations if you arrive by train.
International Driver’s Licence
If you are thinking about renting a car in Italy, you will need an international driving licence, which can be issued in your home country. If you are thinking about visiting only the major destinations such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, without venturing off the beaten path, then relying on public transport is enough.
Actually, it’s recommended because the cities are well connected to each other with the train and once at the destination you can use a wide network of urban trains, buses, metro and tram.
But if you are planning to visit also smaller towns or regions Sardinia, Umbria, Puglia, Basilicata, solely relying on public transport won’t be enough and driving your own vehicle might be necessary.
READ MORE: Check out our post about renting a car in Sardinia.
Let’s face it, everywhere you will go in Italy will be worth a picture. Whether you visit big cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, or small towns and more offbeat destinations like Sardinia, you will definitely want to capture that moment. So a camera can’t really miss on your Italy packing list.
We love our Nikon D7100, but there are countless brands, DSLRs and compacts, so you can really choose what fits you best depending on the quality of the pictures you want and on how much space you are ready to give your camera gear in your luggage.
READ MORE: For more tips, check out our guide to the best travel cameras.
If you take a tour to a museum, an attraction or a neighbourhood and they give you an audioguide.
Often you can plug your headphone to better hear the guide and the explanation.
When packing for Italy, you might want to keep that in mind as you will be visiting plenty of landmarks.
Sometimes queues can be pretty long and exhausting. If you don’t feel like standing for hours, you can carry a small foldable chair to use whenever necessary not to bring too much pressure to your legs and knees.
I guarantee you will find this very useful when in line to enter the Vatican, whether it’s the Vatican Museums or St. Peter’s Basilica, especially in the summer months.
READ MORE: The best way to skip the queue is to book a private tour. Check out our guide to the best Vatican tours.
Wherever you want to go and whatever you want to travel, a pair of comfortable shoes is a top priority on your Italy packing list.
If you are visiting small villages, the countryside, beaches, mountains, you will likely need comfortable shoes.
But also if you are staying in a city, you will likely be walking a lot, climbing some towers or domes, or wandering those cobbled alleys typical from Rome but also other places, that really scream for comfortable shoes.
When travelling and especially when using public transport in big cities, pickpockets can be an annoying factor.
I suggest wearing some safety clothes with hidden pockets for your most important belongings such as money, bank cards and ID paper.
Check out all the models and types of clothes by Clever Travel Companion, from scarves to trousers to hoodies. They make them for every season and can turn very useful.
If your country uses sockets and plugs, you will need to include a travel adaptor in your Italy packing list. You will likely be carrying a smartphone, a camera, probably a laptop or a tablet.
Whatever electronics, you will need to charge the battery when back at your hotel, so a travel adaptor is essential. There are also those universal travel adaptors so that you can use it also in other European countries that have a different plug and also other Continents.
In Italy, you can find any type of medicine, but many require a doctor’s prescription. So if you know you need something like antibiotics or similar drugs, you should better carry them with you from home as here pharmacies won’t sell them unless you have a prescription.
More to that, keep in mind that travelling and straying off your comfort zone can be challenging to your stomach and immune system in general. Probiotics and natural remedies are easily sold in pharmacies and herbal shops, but you don’t want to be caught unprepared by an upset stomach. So there is no harm in including what you normally use in these emergency situations when packing for Italy.
Obviously, in Italy, you can find any type of toiletries you might be looking for, but let’s face it, can you see yourself running after shampoo, conditioner, hydrating lotion and makeup as soon as you land? I didn’t think so.
I suggest you include some of the toiletries you can’t live without when packing for Italy to cover your stay. If you have only a carry-on, you can use the handy TSA-approved travel containers instead of packing the full bottles as they will be confiscated before boarding if they are more than 100 ml.
Even if you are checking in a suitcase or taking a carry-on with you on the plane, I still suggest you carry or pack a small backpack to use in Italy when you are sightseeing. This way you can carry the stuff that you know you will need such as a bottle of water, a small umbrella, personal belongings, etc.
When you are using public transport, especially buses and metro, you might want to be extra careful, maybe wearing your backpack on the front rather than on the back. Check out our guide for the best travel backpacks.
A fantastic way to organise the stuff inside your suitcase or carry-on is by using packing cubes. They come in sets of different sizes so you can pack different items categories in different cubes.
It makes your luggage so tidy and Marie Kondo style that it becomes super easy to pack, unpack and find your stuff.
If you stay in tourist areas like the historic centre of cities like Rome, Florence and Venice, you will likely find the staff of hotels, restaurants and shops able to speak English and also other languages.
But if you move away from the city centre or travel to more offbeat regions, if you visit the countryside or smaller towns and villages, chances are residents will only speak Italian.
These are the occasions when you hope you added an Italian phrasebook and dictionary to your Italy packing list. There are several language apps but carrying a small book is probably the handier option.
READ MORE: For more tips, check out our complete and detailed guide on how to plan a perfect trip to Italy.
What to pack and what to wear in Italy in summer
Whether you are travelling for the beaches, you want to visit the major cities or explore the Dolomites in Trentino region, sunscreen is one of the first things to pack for Italy.
Summer here is pretty hot and the sun unforgiving, so I suggest even a high sunscreen. If you don’t get burnt much probably 30+ is fine, but if you have sensitive skin, I’d say 50+ is best.
Summer comes with mosquitos. While your hotel will likely have air conditioning, depending on where you go, a mosquito repellent will turn very useful. You might find mosquitoes more often in the countryside and coastline but it’s not uncommon to find them also in the cities.
There are the mosquito repellents that you need to plug to the electricity and they are probably better if you are renting an apartment, but if you need it while outside, you might prefer the lotions like this one or the bracelet like this one.
T-shirts, shorts and light clothes
What to wear in Italy in summer? As light as possible. The weather is very hot, in some places also humid. All you want is to be comfortable and light. Cotton t-shirts, shorts, light dresses are your best bet.
I suggest also at least one pair of light long trousers and some t-shirts that cover the shoulders for when you will be visiting the Vatican and religious sites in general. Here, in fact, both men and women are expected to cover both shoulders and knees.
Think Birkenstock, Keen, Croc and such. I always use lightweight runners for walking, but when it’s very hot you might prefer open sandals. For this, no need to give up on comfort.
There are many brands and models, make sure you pack a pair of good-quality sandals for Italy because you will be walking quite a lot.
There is nothing worse than queuing under the sun. And unfortunately, Italy in summer is so packed with travellers that you will inevitably go through some queuing time.
Wearing a hat will give you the necessary protection to avoid sunburn.
As mentioned before, the sun is pretty shining in Italy in summer. Add to your Italy packing list a pair of sunglasses as they will be much needed either in the mountain, on the beach or in the city.
If you are planning a beach holiday, swimwear will be the first thing you will be packing for Italy.
But even if you are staying in a city and your hotel has a swimming pool you will want to use to cool down or if you go to some thermal baths like the ones in Merano, you don’t want to be running around looking for a swimwear last minute.
READ MORE: Check out our guide to the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia.
What to pack for Italy in Fall
Fall is our raining season, so if you have a small, easy-to-carry and good-quality umbrella in your house, I’d say include it in your Italy packing list.
October but especially November are pretty rainy months, and if you don’t have your own umbrella you will have to buy one from the street vendors, which are usually cheap and break very quickly.
With the rain, you will definitely want waterproof clothes and Fall in Italy often requires a wind jacket, especially in the evening.
Even if some places like Sicily, Sardinia, Puglia or even Rome, are still warm in September and October, sometimes a light jacket for the evening is good to include when packing for Italy.
READ MORE: Check out our handy guide to how to make the most of 4 days in Rome.
Italy packing list for winter
Warm jumpers, trousers, socks, shoes are necessary items to pack for Italy in winter. Different regions, different weather and temperatures, but if you are wondering what to wear in Italy in winter, everywhere you will need warm clothes.
It goes without saying that if you are going skiing in Trentino, Veneto or Lombardia, you will need much warmer equipment than for Sicily, for example. And don’t worry about Italian fashion and style, Italians are pretty busy, not really time to check what tourists are wearing. Besides, if you come with checked-in luggage you will have plenty of space for some shopping in Italy.
Warm jacket or coat
On top of your warm jumper, a winter jacket or coat is necessary for winter. January and February are usually the coldest months all over the country, especially northern Italy.
In Trentino Alto Adige the temperature in winter can reach -10° Celsius with plenty of snow, so you want to keep warm.
Scarf, hat and gloves
Yes, even though it’s Italy, in winter you will need a warm scarf, a hat and gloves. I wear them in Rome and even in Sardinia, so if you are travelling to northern Italian regions they really are a must.
Florence, too, in winter can be pretty cold and some extra coverage will turn very pleasant.
Boots or waterproof shoes
If you are going to Venice in winter, you can’t forget to pack a pair of gumboots as the city gets often flooded. In other cities, you might not need gumboots but definitely, some waterproof shoes, be it boots, ankle boots, or whatever model you are more comfortable with.
Even if it doesn’t get flooded, also in Rome, when it rains in Fall it’s pretty serious rain so you want to be prepared and avoid keeping your feet soaked the whole day.
Packing for Italy for Spring
Layers of clothes
In Spring the weather is pretty unstable so dressing in layers is the only way you can avoid being too hot or too cold. If you are wondering what to pack for Italy clothes-wise, go for some light shirts both long and short-sleeve, blouses, trousers and also some warmer jumper and jacket. Wear layers so you can easily take them off and wear them back.
Spring goes from March, which is still pretty cold to June, which is the beginning of summer, so the weather changes a lot and you can only decide what to pack once you know which month you are travelling to Italy.
Scarf or shawl
Spring in Italy is usually beautiful, but it can be also tricky. I never go out in Spring without a light scarf or shawl. If you are prone to the sore throat like me, do carry a scarf with you as weather can be windy and also changing pretty suddenly.
More to that, a shawl is also useful to cover your shoulders if you are wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and entering the Vatican, Milan’s Duomo and other religious sites.
Light rain jacket
If your trip is in April or May, it’s not going to be cold but you might find rainy days. A light rain jacket is what to wear in Italy in April or May to protect your light clothes from rain and wind.
READ MORE: For more help and tips, check out our detailed guide to planning a 2-week Italy itinerary.
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