First of all, thanks for not laughing. If the cooler weather in Italy continues in June I think I will need to pack a thing or two to keep my legs warm, beyond the one pair of pants I was going to wear on the plane. I am more of a skirt/dress person and would be very comfortable wearing the black tights I wear all the time at home. They would also take up very little room in the carry-on and dry overnight. Will black tights qualify as a knee covering at the Vatican or do the knees need to covered with a long skirt or pants?
The tights works - knees covered.
The problem is with exposed skin. Tights are fine.
I just heard from some of my friends in Florence that if tourists totally have to take over their city in Summer, they at least get to see lots of short skirts with as much exposed skin as possible. I haven't heard if their wives think the same, but that what my friends told me this weekend. Leave tights at home, this bout of unseasonably cool weather won't last that long.
We were in Florence May 3-11, and the most common clothes worn by Italian women were dark jeans or dark tights. Younger women wore skin-tight jeans. Scarves provided a dash of color.
At the Vatican I would err on the safe side with a knee-length skirt or pants. It's just a matter of which guard's line you go through as you approach the basilica; some don't care if you're wearing a shorter skirt with tights, but others get all bent out of shape about it and won't let you through. One didn't want to let me through with a skirt that reached the top of my kneecaps. It's easy to give them the slip and get into the basilica anyway (guilty as charged), but I would council you to be prepared for any and all circumstances, and to just wear a longer skirt or pants. Tights with shorts do seem to be pretty commonly worn by young Italian women, so you shouldn't have any problem fitting in. You could probably get into any other church dressed that way... just not the Vatican.
Take the tights, you'll be bang on trend. And warm.
One pair of tights takes up no room in suitcase, shove them in a pair of shoes or in some corner. Take them if you want, but seriously doubt you will wear them( weather will improve)
I tend to get chilly in the evenings and brought tights even in July, although not heavy ones. I wore them in cool hotel rooms and under dresses and tunic tops for evening walks, etc. We are traveling in September this year and will definitely be taking tights. May not work at the Vatican to cover your knees, but they will work anywhere else.
Listen to Auntie Maggie
And the decision is...the tights are going in the suitcase. I'd rather have them there if I need them, than not, and won't have to re-think the skirts I was planning on taking. And it sounds like I will get bonus points for being on trend!