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Clothes in Italy for women :)

Hey there, Just wondering on what most women wear in Italy? I will be in Venice, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Rome. I am sure I will need hiking shoes for Cinque.

I have a few questions, they might be a little silly, but I wanted to know in any case-

  • Do a lot of people wear shorts in Italy? Is it ok to wear shorts and skirts with string tops. Is that too casual?- I am thinking of taking a couple of evening dresses too..

  • I like to walk in flipflops, is it ok with to wear flip flops with shorts and skirts in Italy?

  • Anything else I should surely take with me?


Posted by
423 posts

Priya, I cannot speak to people wearing shorts in Italy because I was there in early May, but I can speak to the flip flops. I brought mine, mostly to wear after bathing, but I wore them once in Venice and was sorry I did. With cobble stone streets and many steps, I would recommend instead, wearing a comfortable sandal with some support. You will be able to walk many miles without a problem.

Posted by
1814 posts

You will not be allowed into churches with the clothing you have selected. Shorts are not worn in Italy, except by Americans. I'd suggest capri pants and/or a skirt or pants. You may wear shorts when hiking, but they are not appropriate for cities.

If you wear "string tops" I certainly hope you take a cover up and wear a bra.

Flip flops are terrible shoes to wear when touring a country. Some gal wore some to Pompeii and they broke at the start of the tour...she had to catch a taxi back to the hotel..that kind of spoiled the tour for not only herself, but for her husband...and they lost the $100 the tour cost. Wear shoes with support and a back strap or expect to break your flip flops or sprain an ankle when you slip.

You don't need "evening dresses" A nice black simple dress - ONE, will be plenty, if even that.

You best read more on this board for how to dress when traveling in Europe. It already sounds like you are planning on taking too much to wear.

Posted by
28 posts

Thanks for your replies!! I will dress as per your recommendations.
One more question- Are summer dresses ok? Summer dresses with comfortable sandles.


Posted by
32 posts

I will answer like the others. spend some good money on good shoes. I wore Keen's and Merrells and am so glad. No problems at all. Also wore capris everywhere. So did my young adult daughter and daughter in law. No shors, halter tops, sleeveless dresses, or sun dresses. Shoulders and knees are to be covered when in churches. I agree, one good black skirt or dress is plenty, preferably jersey so it won't wrinkle and will dry quickly. we took nylon capris and tops and had no problems. Remember just like we can tell when a European is in the states by the way they dress, the opposite is true, too! Have fun! It's a wonderful country to visit!

Posted by
125 posts

I was in Northern Italy (San Remo) this June for a wedding and saw many native Italians wear shorts during the day, including my 83 year old grandfather who has lived in Italy his whole life. While not as many women wear shorts they opt for skirts instead. I never encountered problems while wearing shorts or skirts in Italy, however, I did only stay in the northern to central part of Italy. I often wore tank tops with thin straps but brought a short sleeve button up top to wear over for the times I went inside. Except for the wedding I did not wear a fancy dress. I took flip flops but only to the beach.

Posted by
29 posts

Had a self-induced problem with my normally comfy walking shoes after three days in Rome and I was forced to resort to flip-flops -- Rocket Dog brand with a thick sole and canvas thong. Had absolutely no trouble wearing those on the streets of either Rome or Florence for a couple of days while my feet healed.

The only people I saw wearing shorts last month throughout Italy were teenaged girls; pretty much all tourists, though not all were Americans.

If this is a summer trip, wear lightweight clothing -- cotton or linen. It is seriously hot there right now.

Posted by
75 posts

Hi Priya if you like shorts get yourself some convertable pants. I got some that zip off the knee that don't wrinkle and dry quickly and have security zippers. I have the denali convertable pants and they are great. You just unzip the bottom of the legs when you want to. No flip flops get yourself some teva's or chacos or something of the type your feet will thank you. sketchers has some cute shoes that can go either way now dressy or tennishoe looking. A small sweater to cover the arms. Don't feel bad I like to dress like you when I get home but hey its Rome, and when in rome. LOL

Posted by
39 posts

Priya - Based on your clothing selection, it sounds like you are a younger traveler (so am I - 32 yo). I was in Italy in May/June 2005 and wore skirts, tank tops with thin straps (wide enough to cover my bra strap) and dansko sandles every day. I carried a scarf in my day pack to cover my shoulders in churches. I brought one jersey knit black dress for evening. Used the same scarf to "dress up" my black dress. I also brought a pair of Born flip flops and had no problem walking in them. They were leather and had a cushey footbed - not cheap plastic ones. There is really no way to not feel underdressed compared to Italian women (especially in Rome) so just go for comfort! Have fun!

Posted by
26 posts

Priya - While I don't wear shorts when I am in Europe I do wear skirts with string tops all the time in the summer, I also wear sandles with it. I take a small shawl with me that I keep in my bag and just throw it over my tops when we go into the churches. I take a black dress for evenings I like to dress up at night. I do take my flipflops with me and like another poster I ended up wearing mine an entire day as I had so many blisters on my feet, they were a lifesaver.

Posted by
57 posts

We travelled in Italy from Bellagio all the way down to Paestum in May. The only women wearing shorts (that I saw) were on the Cinque Terre Trail, and those in flipflops were miserable! It is a rough, rocky, uneven trail; so wear shoes with support there, if you hike. No shorts worn by women or men in the cities (except by some tourists). We saw a young woman wearing a short skirt and sandals get turned away at St. Peter's Cathedral after she stood in line quite a while. Capri's were everywhere. Short-sleved shirts made from the right fabric can be just as cool/comfy as string tops. Personal observations, only. Have a great trip!

Posted by
689 posts

I just returned. You see everything and anything. If you want to visit churches plan long skirts and tank tops with a shawl or sweater to cover your shoulders. It was hot there and I wore long flowing skirts and tanks and good hiking sandals the entire time. I was comfortable and could go anywhere I wanted with out glares.