I am visiting Italy for my first time in September for my 50th birthday. My mother, who has traveled to Italy a number of times, tells me that if I wear a hat it will be a big fashion faux-pas and make it obvious to everyone that I'm an American tourist. While I realize this will be obvious anyway if they talk to me, I'd like to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb if I can.
First of all, I'm planning to do a lot of hiking trails while there. When at home in the South USA, I always wear a baseball cap or sun hat to protect me from the sun while hiking. But of course, that leaves the problem of "hat hair" if I hike down to a restaurant or other attraction in the local towns. As a female traveler, would it be considered rude for me to leave my hat on when going into a restaurant or store?
Second question. I've heard that Italians dress up quite a bit. As I mentioned, I'm from the south, where the more posh restaurants (even in cities like Charleston) are just as accepting of a family coming in to eat dressed in sandals and shorts as they are a businessman or woman in work attire. Would it be offensive for me to go into a nice (not super fancy, but still nice) restaurant in capris, sandals, and a t-shirt?