Planning your trip and wondering what to wear in Italy in summer? It’s one of the most beautiful, if not also one of the most crowded, times to visit Italy.
Whenever I travel, I like to find out a little bit about what the weather is going to be like, what the locals are wearing during that time of year, and also what is practical for someone who is going to be doing a lot of touring around.
Packing for Europe can always seem daunting if you’re from the US or Canada or some other part of the world. I feel like I grew up being taught that Europeans were fancy and classy, that no one wears sneakers or jeans.
When I studied abroad in college, I went to Switzerland and I packed like I was going to be spending an entire semester going to fancy dinners or nightclubs. It’s laughable now to think about it all. It’s really not like that.
I hope that is what this post helps you figure out what to wear in Italy in summer to enjoy a stress-free packing experience. Italy is one of my absolute favorite countries and while it’s certainly hot and sticky during the summer months, it’s also the perfect time of year to sit outside in the evenings with an Aperol Spritz and a platter full of cured meats and locally made cheeses.
What’s the Weather Like in Italy in Summer?
Of course, the what you wear in Italy in summer will depend largely on where you go. If you are headed south to Sicily, or even slightly north of there to the Amalfi Coast or Naples, it will be much hotter than up north in the mountain regions around Bergamo or Milan. I find places like Lake Como and Venice to be much cooler during this time of year than other parts of Italy.
In most parts of the country, July and August are hot, humid, sticky, sweaty, sunny, and did I mention hot? If you’re used to hot and humid summers, you won’t struggle much in this weather, but if you don’t have much experience with humidity, you’ll definitely want to make sure your hotel has air conditioning.
You can expect highs of 87 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August (about 31 degrees Celcius) with temperatures dropping to the low 70s in the evenings (mid-twenties Celcius).
It rains very rarely in the summer in Italy. June has an average of 2 days of precipitation and August has 3. You can leave your waterproof shoes and rain jackets at home. Even if it does rain, it’s so hot, you’ll likely be dry in a few minutes!
August Travel in Italy
It is VERY much worth noting that traveling Italy in August can be a little bit of a pain. Not in a terrible way, just in an unexpected way that may mess up some of your plans. Especially if you want to eat at all of the best restaurants in Bologna.
The 15th of August is a holiday and many restaurants close for that ENTIRE week. Some close for the week of that holiday and the week after. The really good restaurants close for the whole month of August. You’ve been warned!
What to Wear in Italy in Summer
My number one tip for traveling to Italy in Summer is linen. Linen is your best friend and it’s what all the Italians are wearing. I saw so many Italian women in long, flowy linen dresses and men in linen shirts and even linen trousers. I wish I had planned ahead and purchased a few linen pieces to take with me to Italy.
Of course, you can always do some shopping once you get there, but if you prefer to be fashion-ready as soon as you land, my favorite places for linen dresses, pants, and shirts are JCrew, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom.
Dresses & Skirts
While it’s not a requirement, dresses for summer in Italy is certainly what I would recommend. It is incredibly humid and I felt so much cooler on the days that I opted for a dress over a pair of shorts and a tank top.
More skin showing doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be cooler. With lightweight fabrics like thin cotton, breathable model, or linen, a long dress with a spaghetti strap or t-shirt sleeve will keep you cooler than a pair of jean shorts and a polyester blouse.
Dresses are also a great option for going from day to night without having to go back to your hotel room.
If you prefer to change things up, but don’t want to pack a ton, packing a few skirts is a really great idea. You can pack two or three skirts and then a week’s worth of blouses, t-shirts, and tank tops to change things up with. Like I’ve mentioned before, stick with lightweight fabrics and go for lighter colors that won’t attract the sun too much but also won’t show many sweat marks (for instance, light grey, not a great idea).
Leave your jean shorts at home. This is coming from a woman who loves her jean shorts. I pretty much solely wear jean shorts if I’m going to wear shorts at all and I very much regret wearing shorts at all on my trip to Italy. I had a pair that was somewhat fitted and one that was loose, and both made me sweat so much.
You guys, I was leaving sweat marks shaped like my butt on seats around Italy. Leave your jean shorts at home.
Unless of course, you’re one of those people who doesn’t sweat, then, by all means, bring your jean shorts. Just know that I recommended that you pack lighter-weight shorts for your trip to Italy. Go for loose, linen, or other lightweight cotton shorts that won’t cling to you. Just be careful with your color choices. You don’t want them to show off your under-cheek sweat!
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Italy loves a little cobblestone. Cute heeled espadrilles or other shoes that don’t have a sturdy rubber bottom are not going to be your friend in Italy. Unless you basically plan to just avoid walking at all on your trip (which I don’t recommend! Getting lost down the side streets is the best part about exploring Italy!), then make sure you pack some comfortable walking shoes.
Over the years, I’ve tested out a lot of shoes. I am definitely a style over comfort kind of gal, so after ruining my feet all over the world, I went on a serious search for a pair of shoes that I could walk in all day that still looked cute with my dresses.
I came up with a few pairs of shoes that have stood the test of time, that have taken me from mountains to Michelin Star restaurants (granted it was a Michelin Star restaurant that was also a takeout restaurant in Taipei). These are my top picks:
Rainbow Sandals. If you’ve read any other packing post on my blog you’ll know my deep, deep love for Rainbow Sandals. I have written an entire article about why they are the ultimate travel shoe. I love them and I am wearing them right now as I type this.
Converse. It took me a long time to come around to the Converse family. I only bought my first pair earlier this year and already I’ve worn them all over Germany, Italy, the UK, the US, and Mexico. I have walked for hours in these shoes. I clocked over 60 miles in 7 days in these shoes and there wasn’t a single blister, bunyon or bruised toe. I seriously think they are some of the best style-meets-comfort shoes out there.
A Good Bag
This is totally your preference. I don’t tend to have a bag that I use for travel. I like to bring one of my favorite purses, because why not? My requirements for a good bag for my trip is that it fits my camera, my phone, a small wallet, a water bottle, a light sweater (if you have a non-bag-toting partner like I do, you’ll want it to fit two of those).
I also make sure that it’s a neutral color like brown, black, navy, or grey so that it will match everything that I packed. I made the mistake once of bringing a fuschia purse (what, you don’t own a hot pink handbag?) and it clashed with so many of the outfits that I’d packed.
If you like backpacks or want to buy a new purse specifically for your next trip, these travel bags are my favorites. They are big enough to be a good day bag, but still stylish enough to not feel like you’re headed back to school.
I recently bought a foldable backpack which has been perfect for day trips or when I go out hiking on my travels like on a recent trip to Cassis.
This fold-up backpack from Amazon is easy to pack and then unfolds into a really fantastic high-quality day bag. I got it in black and it fits all my snacks, water bottles, and a few souvenirs I may have purchased along the way.
A little something that I’ve learned over the years is to carry a reusable bag that folds up into a tiny little thing that I can take out on days where we do a little bit of shopping. It fits easily in my purse and if my bag starts to get too heavy from waters or snacks or all of the clothes that I’ve purchased on my travels, then I just take that out and use it until I get back to my hotel room. These are good ones that you can order from Amazon that I’ve used in the past.
What Should Men Wear in Italy?
Men in Italy are stylish. I mean women are too, but men just have this sense of style that I have yet to see in any other country. Perhaps its the way they carry themselves. Maybe it’s their cravats and linen blazers rolled up to expose their tan forearms.
Luke wore lightweight cotton shorts and light-colored t-shirts pretty much every day of our recent summer trip to Italy. On the odd occasion that he wore a dark colored shirt, he immediately regretted his decision. The sun was so hot that anything too dark just made him feel too hot.
He stuck to comfortable Adidas sneakers (like these) that looked good by day with shorts and by night with chinos (also lightweight and cotton). He also always carried around a hat and sunglasses and used them whenever we were out in the sun for more than a few minutes at a time.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen!
Seriously – the sun is ferocious in Italy in the summertime. If you are going to be out exploring the cities of Italy or if you’re heading to the coast, you’ll want to bring enough sunscreen to keep you from getting burned.
I prefer options like this Neutrogena one or Badger sunscreen which you can order off of Amazon and is great for beach and water activities. They’re slightly more expensive than your average sunblock, but because they are made of natural sunblocks, they are thicker and last longer.
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