We leave for Italy in two weeks. My weather perception of Italy, from what I've read, is hot and sunny. Today I put Rome into The Weather Channel search engine for a 10-day forecast and it showed rain for 5 out of 10 days and highs in the 60's (mostly). Is this typical or atypical weather? I was planning on bringing a light sweater to cover up shoulders in churches and for when the sun went down, wearing my one pair of lightweight pants on the plane, and packing 2-3 basic skirts, 1 pair of capris, and 4-5 sleeveless or short sleeve shirts. These are the clothes I would be comfortable in, on a sunny/partly sunny day with temps 75+. Do I need to rethink my clothes, and also include an umbrella and jacket?
I always bring something for rain, either a waterproof jacket (warmth/windblock for cooler temps.), or the tiniest umbrella I own. Many people recommend just buying one there if it starts raining, but they aren't wearing hairspray and mascara...I hope ;-) With those capris (good for rain), be sure you have a pair of shoes - certain kinds of sandals are great - that can get soaked and not ruined :-( And expect to get a little wet...hopefully, you won't. Get as much of your outdoor sight-seeing done as possible on the good days; leave the museums for rain days. Who knows what the weather will turn out to actually be in two weeks - maybe you'll get lucky with better weather!
We took a couple of cheap plastic ponchos and bought an umbrella there.
Some of it depends on your tolerance for being a little cold (or warm). I hate being cold, so when I've visited Italy in May or Sept/Oct, I take a few things I can layer. A long sleeve shirt with a tank top or tee shirt under it works well for me. If it's cold, I'm OK, and I add a lightweight fleece zip up if it's really chilly or at night. If it gets warm/hot during the day, I roll up the sleeves or take off the long sleeve shirt. I also travel with a very lightweight rain shell (the type designed for backpacking). In addition to keeping me dry, it's great as a windbreaker if it's chilly.
In just about any public space in Venice, Florence, or Rome and probably other places, too, as soon as it starts to sprinkle, you will be confronted with people trying to sell you an umbrella for 5 euro. Talk them down to 2. They are cheap, but wil keep most of the rain off you.
Thanks for the advice. I've got an Eddie Bauer waterproof jacket that rolls up pretty small, so I'll take it with me. I don't mind the gamble with the umbrella if they are readily available for $5 or less.
I always pack a columbia waterproof (not water resistant) jacket as it doesn't take that much room in suitcase and have been glad I had it. Summer of 2011 we were in Krakow, Poland, and it poured and I was glad my entire family had their waterproof jackets. Have seen some really hard downpours in Italy in the summer months too. You should be fine with your Eddie Bauer waterproof jkt. I am heading to Italy on a girl's trip in early July. Can't wait! Buon Viaggio!
Sure, all weather is typical. As my math teaching cousin says, "You leave the extremes to have an average." A rain jacket is always necessary. Our first trip to Rome ten years ago or so was in the first week of June and we followed conventional wisdom - "It is always hot in Rome." Took nothing of great warmth. It was so cold in Rome that for two nights the sidewalk cafes did not open the outdoor part. Same week one year later it is so hot that we are wondering why we bother with long sleeve and sweater clothing You have to be prepared for a range of weather that includes rain always. We are just back (yesterday) from Rome, temps were very mild with one day of heavy rain for a couple of hours and couple days of light showers from time to time but it was mid May. We find to the small umbrella about the size of a fat hot dog to be very handy. Add little weight and take up min room. If you have a rain jacket, make sure it is waterproof and not weather resistant which is a cop out phrase often used on nylon clothing to suggest it might shed water for a few min but will get wet in the end. A small attach hood is good also.
I'm in cloudy Vienna now and it's rained in Berlin, Warsaw and Krakov, only for an hour or so at a time, but it seems that lots of Europe is under a wet spot this month. Take the lightweight rain jacket, the €5 umbrellas can last a whole trip or turn out to be single-use disposables.
Leia, You are getting great advice from folks here. I have been in Italy (Milan to Rome) for 3 weeks now and have worn my rain jacket about 1/3 of the time, so, yes pack your new jacket, it's worth even minimal space in your luggage! Enjoy your trip!
In Rome right now and it's raining. We have our rain jackets. Vendors accosting everyone on every block to buy their umbrellas, which I can attest to are of the poorest quality. Bring a rain jacket with a hood or a plastic poncho if you are space conscience ....but do bring some rain protection...you just never know. It is spring after all! Umbrellas are ok, but I never bother, the rain jacket with hood is perfect for walking around.
Being from Alaska, we are always ready for "weather" and our usual theory is that if we take our rain coats and umbrella it won't rain. Not true on this trip! This time we used both every where we went, Rome, Venice, Tuscany and esp. Switzerland. Take your raincoat and umbrella and hopefully the sun will shine!
If you bring rain gear it won't rain. But if you don't it will.
I'm currently in Monterosso al Mare and it is cold and windy. During 4 days in Rome over the weekend, 3 days were very hot, one day was cool and rainy. It was chilly in Volterra, hot in Lucca. Definitely follow the advice to layer, short sleeve/long sleeve or sweater/rain layer. I threw my rain jacket in as an afterthought and am very glad I did! At least pack it in a compression bag and put it in the bottom of your suitcase.