So, going to Venice, Florence and Rome in about a month and plan for a healthy dose of churches and HOT weather. Want to confirm that most of the churches prohibit shorts for men. Will they not allow me to enter wearing shorts? How about longer shorts that cover knees? How about if I wear shorts and tie a jacket around my waste to cover my knees? And finally, what do you think about those zip-off pants/shorts?

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
809 posts

Don't wear shorts in church, just like you wouldn't do in the States (I don't know if they'll allow you, but it won't be welcome and it will be bad form). Steer toward lightweight pants instead. PS. To minimize the discomfort, maybe you can pick one day that is "church sightseeing day" and just save the pants for that one day - on the upside, it's much cooler inside the churches (you may be cold with shorts). I had this same issue with mosques in Istanbul - although in Istanbul it turned out not to be wise to wear shorts either (after one day, I abandoned it altogether)

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Let's solve the jacket problem before we move on. What would you do, exactly, with a jacket after it'd been tied around your waste. :)

Posted by Elle
3 posts

...tied around your waste.... ??? I don't think so.... LOL!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1735 posts

It's not a matter of what you can get away with. Would you wear shorts to an elegant restaurant or a friend's formal party, even if you could get away with it? I think not; you'd show appropriate respect for the people and the context. It is so offensive to see the demeanor of many in historic churches... too many of whom are American. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard Americans yelling at guards when they are not being admitted because liturgy is scheduled to start (including yelling at guards because those of us there to worship were being allowed in).

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
955 posts

If you are going during the hot summer months it would be worthwhile to take some very lightweight and light colored pants. Look for washable linen and you will probably be more comfortable than wearing shorts or jeans. Even if you can get away with wearing shorts you will have a better travel experience by showing respect for cultural norms and exceeding the usual tourist by dressing a little nicer. I wear a sport coat at night if it isn't too warm and while I know I don't blend in as a local, I do feel that it gives an advantage of possible better seating at a restaurant for example. You will be treated with the same amount of respect that you show.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
567 posts

When we took our RS trip in Italy several men used those convertible pants. My husband bought some after the trip because he thought they covered just this situation.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

If you're starting in Rome, off to the richt as you are about to enter the square, there a souvenir joint that sells paper britches. I don't know how long they'd las, even if you stayed out of briar patches. The problem with the convertible trousers is that, regardless of configuration, the zipper rubs your leg raw if you do a lot of walking.

Posted by Rosalyn
1416 posts

I don't think Ron needs any scolding about respect or devotional attitudes. He knows there are dress codes and wants definitions of what is acceptable. I have seen more detailed prohibitions posted on church doors which make covering the knees, by skirt or shorts, as the cutoff point for admission. I've also seen churches with baskets of scarves at the entrance for covering shoulders; but some men tied them, sarong fashion, around their waists (Ron, note spelling) to provide the required modesty. I would have thought zip-off pants an ideal solution, but Ed says no. Still, it seems worth looking into further.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
4459 posts

Funny, I never even noticed the zipper on my nylon convertable trousers. In fact, I've never even unzipped them to convert them into shorts. As to the rumor that only American men wear shorts, it was very hot in Venice last May, and I saw lots of men in Bermudas and they all seemed to be speaking French.

Posted by Ron
Hermitage, Pennsylvan, USA
7 posts

A thosan apologess for the mispeling. Happy that I could provide an easy target for your lame jokes. Just seeking some honest advice. Didn't expect to have my faith and respect of religion questioned as a result. It's those kind of responses that make people avoid these kinds of forums.

Posted by melissa
42 posts

Get yourself a nice pair of darkish zip-off pants; a pair you could happily wear in a church or restaurant in the evening when it cools down. The weather in Italy can change so quickly that if you choose to wear shorts or long pant you will wish you had made the other choice at some point each day.
Try amazon -

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7870 posts

Mancapris are fine. As long as your knees, shoulders and everything in between are covered.

Posted by karen
Long Beach, CA, USA
110 posts

My husband LOVES his convertible pants and wears them all the time. We've walked far (even did a run ) and he was comfortable the whole time. No rubbing at all. I am sure he wishes that dress pants came with a zip off pant leg. Ron, I'd skip the jacket tying around the waist. That won't really resolve the issue. Just wear light pants or the convertible ones and you'll be fine. I am not sure I would run the risk with "longer shorts."

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
4009 posts

Ron, Italian churches in particular are strict about their dress codes.'s zip-off pants or something looser and cooler for Italy. Sorry. Same goes for the women's dress...cover up. AND teens.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6472 posts

"Mancapris" are NOT fine for St. Peter's in Rome. It has to be long pants for men. They're generally fine for other churches, but it's hard to find an American man who feels comfortable wearing them. :-)