Table of Contents

27 Top Italy Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

27 Top Italy Packing List Items for 2023 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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From the romantic canals of Venice, to the shimmering bays of Amalfi, to the rich history of Rome – Italy is one of the most highly sought-after destinations in the world. This is not surprising since it’s brimming with ancient architecture, incredible landscapes, friendly smiles, and some of the most delicious food you’ll ever taste.

Many travelers don’t know what to wear in Italy and tend to over- or under-pack. With that in mind, I’ve created a list of must-have items for your Italian adventure – enjoy, and buon viaggio!

asher lyric and kingsley fergusson
Our family on vacation in Italy.

What to Pack for Italy – 27 Essentials

  • 1. Italy Power Adapter

    Standard U.S. electronics do not fit into Italian outlets. So in order to keep your phone and other electronics charged, you will need a power adapter specifically designed for Italian outlets. It’s crucial to get a high-quality adapter, as the risk of frying electronic devices with a faulty adapter is one most of us would rather not take.

    italy power adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Natural Jet Lag Relief Pills

    The trip to Italy can be a long and exhausting one with a big change from your local timezone. Instead of dragging your feet at the colosseum or sleeping your way through the Sistine Chapel tour – I’ve found that these homeopathic jet lag pills work surprisingly well and have zero negative side effects. Any frequent traveler understands the importance of minimizing jet lag because otherwise, you lose multiple days due to debilitating tiredness both on the way there and on the way home.

    Jet lag remedy pills

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Neck Wallet to Prevent Pickpocketing

    Italian pickpockets are masters at swindling your valuables when you least expect it. They prey on innocent tourists that are distracted by the beauty of Italy and use decoys like street shows, magic tricks, fake falling, and even children to divert your attention as you’re robbed. This theft-proof neck wallet can be worn under your shirt to keep you hands-free while concealing all passports, cash, credit cards, I.D., and phones. This keeps you discreetly on the go without looking like a tourist. A small investment with a huge payoff.

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 4. Gorgeous Outfit

    Italy’s renowned nightlife scene is oozing with finesse. From the glamorous fashions of Milan to the endless entertainment of Rome – you will want a very stylish outfit on hand. While the attire in Italy is laid-back and casual, you are still in the land of high fashion, world-class tailoring, and couture. I absolutely love this jumpsuit and get tons of compliments on it. It’s comfy, breathable, doesn’t wrinkle easily and looks great on many body types.

    Gorgeous Outfit

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Travel towels are one of the most versatile packing items you can bring on any trip. Whether it’s drying off after a dip in the Mediterranean, dancing under the Tuscan sun, sitting on the beach, or wiping away sweat — a travel towel is a must during any experience in Italy. We recommend these microfiber towels that are premium-grade, compact, odor-resistant, and dry much faster than cotton.

    HERO Travel Towel - Blue

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Lipstick-Sized USB Charger

    While in Italy, you’ll likely be away from a power source for extended periods of time. This nifty little external USB power bank solves the problem, easily charging your phone, camera, IPad, or any USB device while you’re out and about. It’s literally the size of a lipstick tube and I can’t tell you how many times it has saved me! Point blank – you don’t want to end up stranded in an emergency situation with a dead phone in a country where you don’t know the language.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 7. Activated Charcoal (Food Poisoning Remedy)

    Food poisoning while traveling is not uncommon. Bacteria-related illness can be caused by anything from street food to a Michelin-star meal (it happened to us!) And while the water is typically clean in Europe, our bodies take time to adjust to the new tap water, which can also incite a painful tummy ache. We bring along these activated charcoal tablets as a precautionary measure. They will spare you a day of distress on the toilet and quickly remove any toxins from your system.

    Activated charcoal food poisoning relief remedy

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Packing Cubes

    It’s difficult to simultaneously pack light enough for future shopping while still ensuring you have everything you need for a destination with multiple climates. These packing cubes make that task immeasurably easier. It’s an elegant system that will organize your items while keeping them super accessible. We also love the two laundry bags to keep your clean and dirty clothes separate!

    Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    Packing Cubes

    Or view them on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Comfortable, Attractive Flats

    These classic ballet-toe flats are the perfect way to explore the cobblestoned streets of Italy since you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. Wearing sneakers is a telltale giveaway that you’re a tourist, so opt for these flats that are more fashionable but just as comfortable. They add a touch of elegance to any outfit and you’ll be saying ‘grazie millie’ (a thousand thanks) as you walk around without blistering feet.

    Comfortable flats

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Italy is ranked as the third most targeted country for malicious online attacks. My family and I learned this the hard way when we were in Europe where I had my credit card number stolen after using the WiFi at our Airbnb.

    If you go on anyone’s public network while traveling, such as at a restaurant, hotel or airport, etc., you’re potentially putting all your important information at risk of being hijacked. But with a VPN you are protecting your passwords, credit cards, and identity with just one click. In addition to this, certain websites that you might want to visit won’t be accessible unless you have a good VPN like NordVPN. It works on all devices and is really inexpensive!

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 11. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Italy sees a lot of rain year-round. The climate in most regions is Mediterranean or subtropical, and the rainy season typically lasts from September through April, though summer rains are not uncommon. I’ve used this umbrella in gail force winds and even though it’s lightweight, it holds up incredibly well. It also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    travel umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Pashmina Shawl / Wrap

    Many travelers have been turned away from religious sites or more conservative attractions due to being improperly or immodestly dressed, and a simple lightweight shawl can help prevent that. This item is easy to pack, lightweight, comfortable, and fashionable, and can help you avoid be turned away from such sites. As an added bonus, a shawl like this can give you an easy extra layer to ward off an evening chill, cover your eyes while napping on a train, or quickly dress up a simple outfit if you decide to go to a nicer restaurant and feel under-dressed.

    Shawl beige

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Cooling Towel Set

    Regional temperatures can escalate to 100+ °F in the summertime. In these cases, a ceiling fan won’t do it and Europeans are notorious for their disbelief in air conditioning (gasp!) Avoid melting into a puddle with a self-cooling towel. Simply wet the towel, wring out any excess water, and it instantly becomes 20-30 degrees colder than the outside temperature. I wear mine around my neck and over my eyes while sleeping on balmy nights. It’s the best thing since sliced bread (maybe not focaccia, but close).

    towel pink

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Italian Phrasebook and Dictionary

    Italians love their colloquial phrases and idioms, and they’re generally pretty welcoming to friendly and respectful tourists. This means you’ll likely hear a lot of local Italian phrases, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard when someone uses a less-common local saying. Phrasebooks like this one are specifically formatted to be useful for travelers, with chapters of helpful every-day phrases and a translation dictionary included. The locals will sincerely appreciate your effort and as Elizabeth Gilbert says in Eat, Pray, Love – “Every word in Italian is like a truffle – A magic trick.”

    Italian phrasebook dictionary

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Luggage Locks

    A good luggage lock has so many uses. Use it to secure your luggage during transit, protect your day bags from pickpockets, and lock up lockers in hostels or tourist sites. If you use a lock on checked luggage, it’s important that it’s TSA-approved like these. I always bring at least two locks with me on any trip because they are 10x harder to crack than traditional 3-digit locks.

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 16. Travel Insurance for Italy

    International travelers visiting Italy are required by law to have travel insurance at a minimum coverage of approximately $50K USD. Keep in mind that your domestic health plan likely does not cover you overseas. Don’t risk paying six-figure bills for incidents that could easily be covered by insurance.

    We recommend TravelInsurance.com because they offer affordable plans that protect you against an array of common occurrences, such as canceled flights, lost bags, stolen items, and unforeseen medical bills. Compare the lowest rates side-by-side and get a quote in less than 60-seconds based on your personal trip goals.

    travelinsurance.com

    Compare policies at TravelInsurance.com ➜

  • 17. Brita Filtered Water Bottle

    In much of Italy, the water can be amazing. Many villages, towns and cities they have quaint public drinking water fountains which offer a free way to fill up your water for the day. With this said, there are some places that may heavily chlorinate the water and other locations where it might not be so safe to drink from the tap. For this reason, we always recommend bringing a Brita filtered water bottle to bring peace-of-mind and to save buying bottled water in plastic which is a big environmental pollutant.

    Brita water bottle teal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Lightweight Daypack

    With so many wondrous sites to explore, you’ll certainly be taking some day trips in Italy. I’ve found this Venture Pal backpack is the ideal sized bag for a successful day out; we used ours for taking long hikes around the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como. It’s very lightweight with lots of compartments, made better than some backpacks I paid 3x the price for. It even folds into itself when empty so you can unpack it from your checked bag and use it as a carry-on for the flight home.

    daypack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. Hanging Toiletries Bag

    European hotel bathrooms have limited countertop space and leave a lot to be desired as far as storage goes. This hanging toiletries bag is a game-changer when traveling through Italy and a wise addition to any packing list. It has a tow-away 360-degree hook and double zipper design that makes it leakproof (no more shampoo exploding all over your luggage!) You can hang it wherever you may roam, and it holds a massive amount of stuff.

    Hanging Toiletries Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 20. TSA-Approved Toiletry Bottles

    Don’t forget the TSA-approved bottles so you can pack your favorite shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer. You’ll still want to maintain your routine, even abroad. But many of your go-to products may not be available overseas. Instead of watching your beloved (and expensive) products go straight into the airport trashcan, use these 3 oz. containers. With a 3-layered design for leakproof protection, we’ve never had to worry about a spill or suitcase explosion.

    TSA-Approved toiletry bottles

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

    Mosquitoes can be the bane of Italy’s otherwise lovely summers. Places like Florence, Rome, and Milan are often swarming with the little blood suckers, not to mention the locations directly on the coast! I’ve found that these wristbands are a very effective way to avoid getting bitten and they last for a long time. You may also want to bring some extra spray-on repellent as well, in case it’s really bad where you are.

    mosquito repellent bracelets

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Travel Toilet Paper

    Italy is not an unclean place in general, but tourists are often surprised to find that bathrooms are not quite as well-equipped as they are at home. Travel toilet paper is an experienced-traveler’s best friend and can really save you if you are staying in hostels, traveling by train or bus, or backpacking. Just add some water and you’ve got a luxurious hygienic wipe that’s ready to use!

    Travel Toilet paper tabs

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Motion Sickness Patches

    Whether you’re on an undulating ferry boat to Capri, zipping around the winding roads of Umbria, or riding the metro bus through the buzzing streets of Rome – motion sickness patches are an essential item. This natural herbal treatment has no side effects and is safe for children over the age of 4. Simply place it behind your ear before going on a bumpy ride and thank us later.

    Motion Sickness Patches

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 24. Discounted Tickets to Top Italian Attractions

    Instead of waiting 3-4 hours for the most popular attractions, opt for the skip-the-line tours. Honestly, nothing is more satisfying than walking past a line of people wrapped miles around the corner as you stroll right in the front door. We use Get Your Guide to find well-reviewed, authentic tours at discounted rates.

    Witness the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the staggering Milano Duomo Cathedral. Wine lovers must try a real Chianti on a wine tour in Florence or take a day trip to Tuscany. If you’re near the coast, we recommend making time to see Pompeii’s ruins, it is a truly life-changing experience. You will also be near Naples to take an underground tour in the heart of the city.

    get your guide

    See all Italy attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

  • 25. Prepaid Italian Phone SIM Card

    Don’t pay the outrageous roaming rates from your domestic provider. Texts and calls can cost an arm and a leg when traveling abroad, so one of our favorite things to pack is a Prepaid SIM card. This one is compatible with 30 European countries. With 10 GB of data and up to 1,000 texts, all you need is an unlocked phone and you’re ready to carpe diem (seize the day!)

    Prepaid Italian Phone SIM Card

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 26. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    I don’t always recommend shopping for souvenirs, especially in destinations where the take-homes are tacky and worthless. But Italy will offer you world-premiere shopping that you shouldn’t pass up. This packable “just in case” bag is for the inevitable purchases you will make and it counts as a personal item on the plane so you can easily fit it under the seat.

    Some of the coolest goods in Italy are – wine, limoncello, truffle oil, olive oil, fresh pasta, spices, handmade art, Murano glass, Burano lace, designer perfume, leather shoes, ceramics, luxury fashion, and more.

    Just in Case bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 27. Wine Wings to Protect Glass

    From Sangiovese to Barolo to Brunello, you will absolutely want to take some authentic Italian wine home with you. These inflatable wine wings are highly underrated; made to cushion your bottles, they prevent any glass from breaking in your luggage during transit with a double-ziplocked and inflatable casing. Non-drinkers hack: They’re not just for wine. I’ve used ours for premium olive oil, perfume, spirits, basically anything made of glass!

    Wine wings

    View on Amazon.com ➜

What Should I Wear in Italy?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Well that applies to traveling anywhere in Italy, especially when it comes to appropriate, stylish, and comfortable clothes.

When going out to dinner it doesn’t hurt to dress up a little, and when you’re out for the day you’ll want to look decent and feel comfortable.

Bear in mind that the climate in most parts of the country is a mix of subtropical and warm-temperate (Mediterranean climate), and that Italy experiences seasons like much of the US.

What should WOMEN wear in Italy? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

What should MEN wear in Italy? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Packing for the Seasons in Italy

SPRING – March, April, May

Spring is a fantastic time in Italy – flowers are blooming, temperatures and weather are mild, and most of the winter’s chill has gone. You’re not safe from precipitation in this season, though – you will see some rain in most parts of the country, and you’ll need to pack accordingly.

Bring an umbrella and rain jacket, plus good walking shoes that can get wet.

Bonus tip: brightly-colored umbrellas are often carried by tour guides as beacons for their tour groups to follow, so try to choose one for yourself that’s not ostentatious, unless you feel like being mistakenly followed by a gaggle of tourists on St. Mark’s Square! Temperatures average between 60°F and 75°F (16°C and 24°C).

SUMMER – June, July, August

Most of Italy gets pretty warm during the summer, but not stifling. Breezes near the coasts are refreshing. Southern Italy can get quite warm, though, and humidity certainly adds to the effect. This is high season for tourism, so be prepared for crowds! Also prepare for summer rains – they do happen with fair frequency.

Plan to bring a swimsuit if you plan to spend any time near the water – this is the season for beach activities, after all. If you have the opportunity for a dip in any of the seas that border Italy, you won’t want to miss it!

A sun hat, sunscreen, and light layers are very necessary regardless of where you are. Cute linen pants are ideal, as are comfortable and cute walking sandals. Temperatures average between 77°F and 86°F (25°C and 30°C).

FALL – September, October, November

Autumn in Italy is an easy-to-love shoulder season. Vines hang heavy with ripe grapes, foliage is thick, the air is sweet, and the heat abates and gives way to soft breezes in most parts of the country. Nights are cooler, so you’ll want to bring layers and a shawl to ward off any chills.

Later autumn brings lower temps, so if you’re planning to visit around that time you’ll need to bring a light jacket and maybe even some gloves and a hat.

Nice pants, cute and comfortable walking shoes, and scarves are always in season! Temperatures average between 65°F and 75°F (18°C and 24°C).


WINTER – December, January, February

This is, as you might expect, off-season in Italy. If you can handle the cold and are interested in the various winter goings-on, it’s a fun time to see the splendid country! Weather varies greatly, and higher elevations get much colder than lower ones and those nearer the equator.

You will absolutely need a fleece or a good jacket for warmth. Also plan to bring a hat, gloves, and scarves to keep you warm while you’re out and about. Good, warm boots and walking shoes are crucial! Temperatures average between 50°F and 55°F (10°C and 13°C).

What NOT to Take to Italy

  • 1. DON’T PACK an overly full suitcase

    If you plan on bringing home any souvenirs, you’ll definitely need to leave space for them in your bags. There’s also the fact that a packed suitcase tends to be a heavy one. This can lead to fatigue from carting the bags around and it can cause problems with picky airline officials. Just leave the extra stuff like shoes, clothes, heavy books, computers, and guitars at home. Your wallet and your back and arms will thank you.

  • 2.DON’T BRING hairdryers

    Most hotel and hostels have them, so there’s really no need to heft around the extra weight and bulk.

  • 3.DON’T TRAVEL WITH expensive or irreplaceable items

    It’s never a good idea to bring expensive belongings along for the ride. These things tend to either be lost or stolen with alarming regularity, but most travel insurance has a limit on how much you can claim in personal damages if they will even allow you to do that. The best way to avoid a hassle is to simply leave anything at home that can’t be replaced.

  • 4.DON’T BRING extremely short shorts/skirts

    Italian churches don’t let people in that are improperly covered. This means that any skirts and shorts you plan on wearing must reach at least to your knees. Your shoulders likewise should be kept under wraps if you plan on visiting the country’s many religious sites. Italy tends to air on the more conservatively-dressed side anyway, so you won’t regret dressing accordingly.

  • 5.AVOID typical “Tourist” wear

    If you want to blend in with the locals, avoid filling your suitcase with questionable fashion choices like fanny packs, white sneakers, camouflage clothes, Hawaiian print garments, and so on. After all, people who look like tourists tend to be among the favorite targets of pickpockets everywhere.

  • 6.DON’T PACK extremely high heels or other uncomfortable shoes

    These aren’t going to mix well with the cobblestone streets that can be found in many Italian cities, particularly if you are a clumsy individual, and may severely limit the amount of exploring you can do.

FAQs about Travel in Italy

  • 1. What is a good, basic daily budget for Italy?

    Italy spring

    Travelers who don’t mind staying in hostel dorms, doing some self-catering, seeing a few paid attractions, and taking public transport should be able to get by on a basic daily budget of $75 in most spots. However, you might nonetheless want to add a bit more money to that tally if you plan on visiting places like Venice or Milan, because some cities are not known for their affordability. Your money naturally will go further in smaller towns than it will in large metropolises. Even so, it’s always a good idea to have a monetary buffer of a few hundred dollars or a decent percentage of the overall trip budget set aside in case of emergencies.

  • 2. Do I need to tip in restaurants in Italy?

    No. Most places will include a service charge on the bill anyway. While leaving up to 2 euros in change will certainly be appreciated by the wait staff, it’s not required at all.

  • 3. What are some interesting places to add to my Italy itinerary?

    amalfi coast italy

    Places that everyone has probably already heard about and no doubt made you plan a trip might have included fan favorites like the Vatican Museums, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Amalfi Coast, the Coliseum, Pompeii, Venice, Tuscany, the Cinque Terre, and the island of Capri. However, towns that are less popular with tourists such as Bologna, Siena, San Gimignano, Milan, Ravenna, Naples, Padua, and Lucca are all well worth a stop.

    Intriguing sites like the Castel de Monte near Bari and the geothermal waterfalls near Saturnia are likewise great places to spend some time. Travelers to Rome should certainly check out less popular sites nearby, such as the Villa d’Este, Herculaneum, and Ponza Island along with obligatory stops like the Coliseum and the Vatican Museums. Other places that travelers might want to investigate further include the many islands in the Venetian lagoon, the Lake Como area, the Ligurian coast, the Italian Alps (the Dolomites), and Sicily.

  • 4. What is the best time of year to visit Italy?

    Cropped gondolas storm

    The early spring and late fall are widely considered the best time of the year to stop by since they provide travelers with a good compromise when it comes to important factors like crowds, weather, and overall prices. During these months, most attractions aren’t operating at max capacity, hotel prices are reasonable, and the Italian weather tends to be reliably pleasant. Of course, as mentioned before, rain is likely at any time of the year so you’ll want to plan accordingly. Chilly evenings are certainly possible during the shoulder season and, as a result, these months might not be your best option if you’re looking to spend a lot of time at the beach.

    The country is naturally at its coldest and wettest during the winter. However, it is almost always slightly warmer in the southernmost portions of Italy than it is in the far north. Even so, the low season can be a godsend for budget travelers who don’t mind bad weather or working around attractions with reduced hours

  • 5. What are some good Italian movies to watch before my trip?

    We have compiled a list of the best Italian movies of all time which will give you plenty of great options. We’ve selected numerous movies set in Italy which will definitely get you excited about your vacation and we also list romance, mafia, horror, and many more. Honestly, watching Italian films with English subtitles is one of the best ways to learn the language and get the Italian vibe flowing!

  • 6. What’s the best way to get from Rome to Venice and vice versa?

    venice italy

    The train is probably your best bet. It’s not much more expensive than the bus but it’s a whole lot faster. In fact, it should save you several hours. There is even an overnight train that runs between the two cities. This could be a good way to maximize your time at both places and likely save some money, but you should probably only consider this option if you don’t mind arriving very early in the morning, can live without air conditioning, and are able to sleep on moving trains.

    Low-priced, direct flights between the two cities might be a viable option for some travelers. However, getting to the airport and back from either place will take additional time and money so be sure to factor that into your calculations before making your choice – it all depends on your travel and comfort priorities.

  • 7. How much will a traditional cooking class cost me in Italy?

    Naturally, it varies. The cost is usually dependent on how long the class lasts and what’s included. You may nonetheless luck out and find a highly-rated experience that runs between $30 and $50 per person. These classes typically cover one or two basic dishes and don’t last very long, which is probably just fine for some travelers. However, most lesson prices start around $80 and go up to about $160. These normally last longer and cover more dishes. Just be sure to adjust your trip budget accordingly if this is an activity that you plan on doing during your stay.

  • 8. What are Italy’s major airports?

    Vespas

    The airports where international travelers will probably be arriving are the ones near major cities like Rome (FCO and CIA), Venice (VCE), and Milan (MXP, LIN, and BGY). Other important airports can be found near Bologna (BLQ), Naples (NAP), Pisa (PSA), and Bari (BRI). There are also ones at Palermo (PMO) and Catania (CIA) on the island of Sicily. Some these are very busy during the tourist season but are relatively quiet at other times of the year.

  • 9. What are the main ferry ports in Italy and where do the ferries go?

    The ones that will be of most interest to travelers leave from places on the country’s eastern coast such as Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice. These boats typically head across the Adriatic Sea to countries on the other side like Greece, Croatia, Albania, and Montenegro. Ferries also leave from places on the Tyrrhenian Coast such as Genoa, Civitavecchia, and Livorno. They head for destinations such as Barcelona and Naples as well as nearby islands like Corsica and Sicily. Of course, there are far more ferry services available than just those listed here.

  • 10. Is it safe for women to travel alone in Italy?

    Absolutely! Women travel around Italy on solo trips frequently and seldom have any issues. Most troubles can be avoided with basic travel-sense and standard precautions. Don’t walk alone at night, keep your valuables to a minimum, and wear them close to you in a passport pouch. If you’re concerned about travel safety, it’s best to research current travel warnings before you finalize your plans.