I'll be in Italy in July and August. I've read that you should take a hat for sun protection/keeping cool. Is a hat a good idea? If so, what type?
A hat is not an absolute requirement, but I always wear something to keep the sun out of my eyes. Look for something lightweight, collapsible, and wide-brimmed. Travel stores and websites, and sporting-goods stores might have something you would like.
I always wear a hat or visor when walking around. They make ones now that are generally for sports that will wick away moisture & keep u cool by being breathable (letting heat escape from the top of your head). I always wear these types when I play sports or if I'll be outdoors where it's super hot - like Italy in summer! You'll absolutely die if u wear one that's not breathable, like 100% cotton. I've had heat exhaustion before caused by working out & wearing a non-breathable hat on a hot day.
I just bought a white (usually best) Under Armour hat @ my local Dick's Sporting Goods store. All the major sports brands (e.g., Nike, Adidas, etc.) make them - just find one that fits your head the best!
Cheryl -- living in North Carolina I assume you would have lots of reason to be protected from the sun and stay cool. Though you may be outside walking around a lot more than at home, do the same as at home. In the big cities, I'd wear a reasonably stylish hat, visor or scarf, if I needed head protection. Sunglasses are a must.
I never wore a hat until sitting in St. Marks the first time - the pigeons gave me inspiration to purchase a great straw floppy hat. Inow take on every trip weather Venice is a destination or not.
It's all about comfort. A hat keeps you cooler on brutal days and sunglasses spare your eyes.
Watch, you wont get any sun now!!!
I say take two. I always wear one and pack one -- just in case.
Don't let a sun-burned head mar your trip.
I've taken a foldable straw hat. I felt that it was a bit nicer than a baseball cap. I forgot a hat one trip and ended up with a cheesy "italia" baseball cap, it's now at Goodwill.
Make sure what ever you take is breathable. It's so hot in Italy July and August!