Is the "shoulder and knees covered" rule applicable for most all cathedrals in Italy??
Last Summer, I saw women and men sometimes having to buy disposable wraps for the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, the San Marco Basilica and a couple more I cannot remember. It seems that the churches have found a way to make extra money. They sell this disposable wrap for a couple of euros. Previously thses churches probably turned those people away. The only exception was St Peters' where I saw one man who was allowed to go through security and everything before he was turned away by a church official just feet away from the entrance. He went away angrily!
We decided to be cautious and all of us wore clothes that covered the knees and shoulders. The only place we wore shorts was in Cinque Terre!
I'd play it safe and observe the rule. It's also a mark of respect.
I agree with the poster above. The churches of Europe, while major tourist destinations, are not amusement parks, and should not be treated as such. No matter how hot it is, and even though you are not attending a religious event there, it isn't appropriate or respectful to dress as if you are at the beach. Wear clothes of the lightest weight material you can find, and cover up.
yes they enforce it no joking. you may end up wasting 30 min the the line and turned around.
It is a sad thought that there are so many people who do not know how to dress respectfully and appropriately in church. Many times when visiting a beautiful cathedral there will be people inside who are actually there to "worship".
We arrived in Munich on an early Sunday morning in March, we dropped our bags at the hotel and visited the huge cathedral during a morning service. It was actually quite refreshing to see families and friends who where there for the service and very few tourists flooding around.
We have to remember that WE are the visitors - so act and dress appropriately...it's not that difficult.
I keep a white button-up shirt tightly rolled up in my daypack. It goes with everything, and it doesn't wrinkle too badly, I just shake it out when I need it. It comes in handy for church visits, overly air-conditioned museums, and early morning strolls when it's still a bit chilly.
I agree with the previous posters. Showing up at a church in beach or hiking clothes is disrepectful, and it also shows a shameful lack of preparation... every guidebook tells us to prepare for this.
My wife bought a scarf from one of the street vendors and used it to cover her shoulders. The silk scarves fold up easily and really don't weigh anything at all. It came in handy for several cathedrals.