Please sign in to post.

Wearing a hat....and a few other cultural questions

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?

Posted by
2063 posts

People can tell you are not a local whether you are in a hat or not. I would certainly use it for sun protection, but I'm a little old school about wearing a hat inside a restaurant. For stores, I would not worry in the slightest--greeting the staff is more important.
I have dined while hiking in casual clothing, and again, I think how you conduct yourself is more important. Dressing appropriate for the restaurant is something important to me, but unless it is fine dining, I don't think you need to worry about it.

Posted by
25724 posts

a plain t-shirt or with writing on?

BTW - we are British tourists and both my wife and I wear sun hats everywhere - nobody has batted an eye lid...

My previous straw hat was bought many years ago in Assisi - now used for gardening.

My current hat was bought in Stresa.

Posted by
18869 posts

I wear a hat nearly 100% of the time when I'm outdoors. My dermatologist loves me. It's true that when I'm in European cities, it seems only tourists are wearing hats. City residents are probably not outdoors long enough for the sun to be a problem. I could make a similar comment about shoes: What a stylish Italian woman wears on her feet would not be suitable for most tourists. I am not going to risk skin cancer or a sprained ankle in a failed effort to fit in. Yes, if I remove my hat, my hair looks...not good. I think you'd be OK leaving the hat on, in general. Some churches may insist that it be removed. If you run into hot weather, you may find you want to remove the hat when indoors so you can cool off a bit, though that may not be necessary if the hat is vented, made of straw, etc.

Posted by
2493 posts

The hat is absolutely fine while hiking. It will be uncommon to see baseball hats in the city, but it’s not offensive or anything. Just not common. I wouldn’t wear it in indoor restaurants, though. Either eat outdoors or try out hairstyles that work under the hat or can be put up quickly when the hat comes off.

For restaurants lunch is more flexible than dinner. You’d be fine at a casual lunch - and if it’s in a tourist area even more so. Of course dirty or ill fitting clothes are not great but neat and casual is normal. For dinner you might want to step it up a notch. Pants or nicer capris, leather sandals or flats, a simple blouse or top instead of hiking capris, sport sandals, and a t-shirt.

Posted by
2798 posts

I always wear a hat both at home outdoors and when traveling. My favorite is a packable hat with UV protection. I wouldn’t go without it.

My favorite hat story happened in Greece. We had stayed at a hotel that we returned to 2 weeks later for our last night. When I approached the check in desk the clerk said, “The lady in the hat!” HA!

Posted by
656 posts

Everyone's going to know you're an American tourist. Talking to your husband in English is a dead giveaway ;-)

Baseball caps are less common in Europe. What we do is buy cheap straw hats (10E or so) that they are selling everywhere in souvenir stores, often even street vendors. Then leave it behind when we return.

Posted by
1288 posts

Wear what you want that is respectful to the culture because everyone else does, even locals.

Posted by
6714 posts

There are all sorts of hats - from super gaudy or geeky to super fashionable. Just aim for something practical and innocuous without large logos if possible. I would not wear a hat indoors. And I would definitely step it up in terms of dinner attire. If you look more put together/ neat, you will be treated better, especially if you are a solo traveler.

Posted by
2287 posts

I personally think that one's behavior is more important than one's wardrobe. If you're 50 and from the south, you know how to dress.

Posted by
2163 posts
  1. Everyone will know you are not Italian the moment they see you, even if you don't wear an hat and you don't say a single world. You could walk around Genoa reciting Dante with a perfect Tuscan accent, it doesn't matter: nobody would ever mistake you for descendant of the Medici. The best you could get would be locals thinking: "Look, another brit gone nuts because of sexual freedom and paintings"
  2. There is no Italian translation for dress code and restaurants can't refuse service to anyone unless he/she is naked. In other words: as long as your clothes are clean, you can wear what you want, the way you want.
  3. You can't offend anyone because of the way you dress, and most Italians wouldn't get the concept of being offended by how a foreign tourist dresses. You simply do not have that superpower. On the other hand valadelphia's message above is right on target: you must behave yourself, entering a place without saying "Good morning" would be offensive. Just like crying or asking for a discount multiple times.
  4. If you like/need/dream of wearing an hat do it. Nobody will care. Not only because Italians have been dealing with US tourists and their baseball hats since 1946, but also because they don't like to risk skin cancer while they are on holiday. Just like you.
  5. Since I doubt you are a Catholic Queen, you must take your hat off when you enter a church. It takes half a sec and makes aged locals happy, why not?
Posted by
18869 posts

I'm over 50 and a southerner, and when I was growing up many women wore hats to church. I think some churches (Catholic maybe?) may have required head coverings. Those were not baseball caps, of course.

Posted by
11 posts

I'm preparing to travel to Florence and Cinque Terre for my 2nd visit to Italy. This visit is with 2 friends - Last visit I went with my husband, in 2018, but he fell ill and most of the entire trip I was on my own exploring. I will say that I do notice the style is fancier in Florence - but there are SO many people, and from all over. Italy is one of the most popular destinations in the world for travel. The biggest thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the incredible country! Like Dario says - you will be recognized immediately. I tried to learn so much of the language and it was not needed - just a few words are polite. I will never forget the taxi driver in Florence, I was trying to ask a question of who said, "Why don't you just speak English, it's so much easier!"
When I was there lots of people wore hats of all kinds (again not as much baseball caps - but that is what I'm most comfortable in as well!)
If you are hiking to a restaurant, that restaurant gets lots of other hikers. You will know immediately just looking around. While I was traveling alone through the CT, I hiked up to a restaurant on the outskirts of Riomaggiore, I was in capris but I did bring more breathable blouses rather than t-shirts. Anyway - the patio was filled with a variety of people! Bikers in leathers, young couples, older couples, it was a melting pot. Another time I trained over to Vernazza and there were some white table-clothed, candlelit tables type places with diners dressed up, where you can see this is more of a restaurant for a fancier outfit than my capris and sandals, lol.
Also, watching all of Ricks travels to Italy - look around in the background! You can see the actual REAL people that are there. Use the internet and videos 100's of people have posted to see what you can expect. I will tell you from watching them and being there it is extremely realistic. If you have Rick's books on the cities you are traveling too, USE them! I can't tell you how much I appreciated using his Florence guide book to locate a reputable leather shop. My husband wanted a leather jacket from Italy SO bad - we found a great shop, he picked a jacket he loved, and I mentioned I found the store from my Rick Steve's book -they gave us a 20% discount!
I took a vacation to Charleston SC once on my own and absolutely loved it, a beautiful city with SO much to offer! I tried to hit up the must-do's, and I went to a fancy restaurant for their famed "Bourbon Pecan Pie", and while delicious, that was WAY more intimidating than any restaurant I dined in while in Italy.
I hope you have wonderful travels and enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1780 posts

Watch some Rick videos and only focus on the people in the background. Also watch those videos on Youtube where people strap a camera to their chest and ... just walk. My sense from these videos is that most of the world now shops at stores like H&M, Zara and a Gap equivalent. I used to say, dress like you were going to visit your aunt, now I bring a sportcoat just out of habit but it's certainly not necessary. Being respectful in churches is always in fashion, though.

Posted by
12479 posts

I'll agree that you don't need to stress about what you're wearing, Andi. The locals do not care as long as it's clean, tidy and appropriate for the venue, such as a church. I wouldn't personally wear a hat - especially a baseball cap - inside a "nice" restaurant but I'm sure it would be OK at an outside table at a casual cafe. Those can have very good food!

But speaking of churches....

Since I doubt you are a Catholic Queen, you must take your hat off
when you enter a church.

Dario, in my 1960's youth, head coverings were required for girls/women for mass when we visited my parent's Catholic friends and attended church with them. It was fun to have a hat that I wouldn't ordinarily have been provided for our Protestant services at home! So while I know that head coverings are no longer required for women, that they must take OFF hats they are wearing when entering an Italian Catholic church is new to me. I assumed the rule was only for men. ???

Posted by
19 posts

I just have to say - I love this forum. Not only did you all give me great input and experienced insight, ya'll also made me smile.
If you look more put together/ neat, you will be treated better, especially if you are a solo traveler.
I guess this is what I was most worried about, because as a solo traveler you sometimes feel awkward anyway when dining alone and I certainly don't want to draw attention to myself.

If you're 50 and from the south, you know how to dress.
Haha, yes. Which is why I still listen to my mother...sometimes.

the patio was filled with a variety of people!
This makes sense, that there would be other hikers there who were all hungry too. As well as many other people just there for the view and food.

I think after reading all of the excellent comments above I will be bringing a pair of sandals and a nice casual blouse to slip on before I go into anywhere and store my hiking shoes & tshirt in my backpack. And wear my hat, and not worry about it too much. I don't think I would ever be comfortable wearing a hat in a church, even if it was local custom, so I definitely won't be doing it in Italy.

Also, thank you winegypsy13 and others that suggested watching RS videos and other Italy videos. Great idea!

Posted by
908 posts

Post-Vatican II female here who didn’t grow up with hats or veils in church, and yet I’m also confused as to why a woman of any age would be asked to remove a hat in a Catholic Church? And yes, I don’t make a habit of it, but one time I had a baseball cap on in the summer and kept it on (it was a casual Mass) because I’m a woman, and it’s a hat. Are hats in churches viewed differently in Italy than the U.S.?

Posted by
2721 posts

I was raised that in polite society women keep their hats on indoors and men remove their hats when indoors. I am not aware this has changed. No one has ever asked me to remove my hat…although I don’t wear baseball caps (because I look horrible in So is this rule just a New England thing? I would not wear hiking clothes or beach clothes to a decent restaurant, but rather look clean and neat in street clothes at least. It really won’t affect your packing too much. It takes just one change of clothes. As a female solo traveler I think you will feel more comfortable, at least I do.

Posted by
4866 posts

I was taught that a gentleman never wears a hat indoors, especially when dining. Still, when in a sunny country like Italy, I wear a hat, but take it off indoors.

No worries, the locals know that I am not one of them, no problem. They can see my camera, guidebook, kakis and walking shoes.

Posted by
18869 posts

I only have a sample size of one, because I normally pull my hat off before heading inside. I neglected to do that before approaching the door of the Barcelona Cathedral (not La Sagrada Familia), and the door-minder told me to remove it. He was there to check for bare shoulders and knees, but the hat (a ladies' sun hat, not a baseball hat) was also not acceptable.

I know many Catholic churches don't actively monitor visitors' clothes, but I still try to stick to the local custom/policy--such as the requirement in some Orthodox churches for a scarf-like head covering.

Posted by
99 posts

i wear a hat all the time in the usa and i did the same on my recent trip to italy. i prefer coppola style hats to baseball caps but no one gave me a second look anyway. regarding the dress code, i always remove my hat when entering a church. i think shorts and tank tops are not considered proper church attire but enforcement seemed minimal. a few churches had signs listing don't. the only place i saw the rule actually being enforced was at the pantheon. i would think the vactican would be the strictest. i noticed a few women pull out a shawl or a wrap for the duration of a visit.

Posted by
1139 posts

"I've heard that Italians dress up quite a bit." - Only the same way the French and Americans do: when they have to. Wear what you want, and wear it boldly and proudly.

"you will be recognized immediately". - Yes, you will, because the locals all wear togas and sandals, with golden wreaths wrapped around their heads. Walk in normal clothes down a busy street in Rome or Florence and the Average Giuseppe won't have a clue where you are from.

Posted by
551 posts

This was several years ago but at a small church near Assisi I forgot to put my shawl on as I entered the church. I was promptly handed a scarf from the “you forgot to cover your shoulders” box.

Posted by
19 posts

Semi-related - a few weeks ago I unfortunately attended a funeral near Rome, and was surprised to see that a lot of people were dressed relatively casually (jeans, t-shirt). I'd expected all dark clothes and very formal. It was a very large turnout for a longtime local resident, and was during the week so I assume people didn't have time to change.

Posted by
2163 posts

head coverings were required

Kathy, As a roman priest loudly pointed out to a member my family: "Madam, Covering your hairs and wearing an hat designed by Elton John are not in the same league". Seriously, I think the differences in what's seen as acceptable depend on the long term consequences of the Second Vatican Council.

but enforcement seemed minimal

alomaker, It's called honor system, but it's not for everybody. Many Italians included.

the Average Giuseppe won't have a clue where you are from.

Gundersen... in your dreams: It's a sixth sense developed by those having to live with mass tourism; sandals & white socks will always turn the "German!" alarm on. A baseball hat over an unjustified smile will always unveil an American tourist.

As a side note, could I post a message on TripAdvisor's Dearborn page and write about the "Average Abdul"? Or about the "Average Jamal" in Harlem? Where is the limit?

I'd expected all dark clothes and very formal.

I am entering the phase of my life when there are more funerals than weddings, nobody younger than 70 wears only dark clothes anymore. The only one who still thinks that dressing very formal at a funeral is vital... is probably the 90 years old guy in the casket. And he may be the only one in a black suit, too. I'd never wear a yellow t-shirt at a funeral, but a dark one would be ok in Summer. The closer you are to the dead, the better you are supposed to dress.

Did you notice anyone in shorts? That would be odd for me, but things keep on changing

Posted by
234 posts

Hats are in general less common in Italy than in the past, but anyway are used.
A standard policy is that indoor is not so polite keep your hat, but is not so strict. As Italian we pay more attention when you sit at a table, where you should take it off. Somebody doesn't like very much people wearing hat while eating. This policy is important mainly for men, for women is much more flexible.
Means of transport are considered "outdoors", so you keep you hat on buses or trains.
In shops, groceries, malls... usually people keep the hat and nobody cares.
In churches and religious places men must take off they hats (and sometimes there are people who warn you, if you forget), while women should keep it on. The official policy for women is to cover their hairs, so you will see several old Italian women wearing a scarf or a kerchief.

There is a superstition: never put your hat on the chair (somebody says on the bed). I don't know why, but attract bad luck.

As the kind of hat. Baseball one is used mainly by boys/girls in Italy: not so many adults use it. Is much more used during sport activities, so doing hiking along paths you will see several people of any age using it.
The straw hat is not so common in Italy. Some women, mainly in summer, use it. In cities I believe only tourists wear straw hats :-D

What to wear in restaurants is much more tricky. The best suggestion is to take a look and check how other people is dressed in that place, to avoid to be out of place. Wearing formal in a restaurant on the beach where the most are in sandal and swimsuit is as weird like being in swimsuit in a Michelin 3* restaurant.

Posted by
9779 posts

While I no longer wear hats while traveling, if I was going to wear one in the heat, I'd probably choose a Panama one. Or even a Fedora. But probably not a Bowler.

Here's one bit of advice. If you plan to wear a hat to help with the sun and heat, make sure there is some type of vent in the hat to let the heat out from the top of your head. I bought an inexpensive hat in Jerusalem a few years ago to help with a trip to he desert. I didn't check for holes. There were none. I was hotter wearing the hat than not.

Posted by
908 posts

Thanks for the perspective from Italy. I was familiar with the dress code signs from having visited the Vatican and St. Peter's as well as the catacombs, but @acraven's comment about being asked to remove her hat in Spain just had me wondering. I suppose it depends on the particular church or basilica. In addition, I was visiting Rome in April and at that time of year fewer travelers would have on hats for sun protection.

Posted by
420 posts

Why not switch your hiking or sun hat for a Panama stylish hat when you go inside a restaurant? Those are considered more a fashion statement and I doubt anyone would think that looked strange.

Posted by
3477 posts

...raised that in polite society women keep their hats on indoors and men remove their hats when indoors... is this rule just a New England thing?

No, Wray, it's not just a New England thing. It is (or was) the way things were done in the South also. And it's still done by people of "a certain age".

Posted by
4594 posts

I am also of the generation in which women were required to wear head coverings - a hat or veil of some sort - in a Catholic church. If you forgot, someone would be sure to hand you a tissue and a bobby pin, so you could present yourself respectfully. (That was also the time when women were not allowed behind the altar rail ... except to clean!)

Most American Catholic women haven't worn hats or veils in church for decades, but in the past few years I've seen a shift back to head coverings. Veils, though, not hats.

I usually wear a hat when traveling (not a ball cap,) including in churches. I was gently admonished in Grenada, though, and told to remove my hat.

On a somewhat related note, my husband and I went to a Black funeral last week, and some of the ladies wore the most magnificent hats! I now need to go see the movie "Crowns."

Posted by
1758 posts

When my dermatologist told me to wear a hat to protect against skin cancer he failed to reference continents. I wear a hat when I’m outdoors and remove it when I’m indoors. I really think it’s just that simple. Safe travels.

Posted by
1097 posts

I am from California and it is very normal for women to wear ballcaps when doing outdoor activities, especially at the beach. More of the "trucker hat" with the mesh backing. I use my Kauai and Monaco ones all the time when I go to the beach (and I am 50+). As for hat Hair, not sure how long/short your hair is but I usually wear my longish hair in a pony with a French braid on the top, so it looks like I took some effort when the hat is removed and stays in place.
As for dress I think modesty over style is more important in Italy. I know Italians frown upon flip flops, but I use a wedge thong sandal like these:
I also use Capri/cropped pants, usually with a nicer pull over top/Tank (rayon) and jewelry for dinner.

Posted by
1139 posts

"Gundersen... in your dreams: It's a sixth sense developed by those having to live with mass tourism; sandals & white socks will always turn the "German!" alarm on. A baseball hat over an unjustified smile will always unveil an American tourist." - That's not what sixth sense is. Sixth sense is, for example, when every man of the same height and colour wears the same clothes, and you can still tell the odd man out. Sixth sense might have caught out my Welsh uncle and his English friend wearing baseball hats (New York Yankees) when travelling on mainland Europe.

Niagara Falls is close to me. What about the numerous people wearing wearing sandals and white socks by the river: surely they can't all be German? I was approached by people in Italy speaking Italian and German, and I'd say I look like neither. My wife was approached more often. She's the spitting image of a deceased American actress, of Italian descent: my wife doesn't have a drop of Italian blood in her. And I personally excuse all the Americans for smiling so much, unjustifiably.

"As a side note, could I post a message on TripAdvisor's Dearborn page and write about the "Average Abdul"? Or about the "Average Jamal" in Harlem? Where is the limit?" - I've never written anything on this forum to elicit the undertone of your message. Where is the limit? In North America the limit appears to be the common phrase of 'average Joe', which is neither inflammatory or controversial (for now, unless enough Joe's complain). For Italy, I only gueesed at 'Joe' in Italian. I'd wager Italians have similar phrases, which you might also find offensive. In England, Fred Bloggs is common.

Sure you could go posting your messages on TripAdvisor, you don't need my permission.

Posted by
2163 posts

surely they can't all be German?

Surely one of the oldest Italian jokes about Germans in sandals and white socks doesn't actually work in Niagara falls. It happens.

"average Joe', which is neither inflammatory or controversial

I assume It's not inflammatory as long as you are part of the same ethnic group of Joe. In other words in these day it's the "recipients" that decide what's offensive to them, not the "senders".

Up to the late 50s Italians used to call the Germans Crucchi (I guess it came from Krauts), but it's completely disappeared. I can't remember any other similar expression; the French have always been "the cousins" or "the @#£&!!!ing cousins" depending on the World Cup. We try to name Britons as little as possible, they could reply.

If I wrote about "Gennaros" in Naples or "Turiddus" in Sicily it wouldn't be appreciated. So now you know where the limit is. You are welcome.

Sure you could go posting your messages on TripAdvisor, you don't need my permission

I suspected it, nevertheless I am relieved to know it for sure. Thanks for your time.

Posted by
1600 posts

Acraven - women used to be expected to wear hats in church. Men didn‘t. Although at my local cowboy church, about half the men seem to.

I almost always wear a hat when touring and always take it off when entering a church.

Posted by
234 posts

A little OT, but could be funny: the nicknames we (in Italy) give to other people.
The problem in Italy is that, in a little way, we are too much independent and each inhabitants of a provinces hate the neighbours of other provinces. So we are full of rude (or at least no so polite) nicknames.
In general if you speak of an average standard unknown Italian you can say is a "pinco pallino". A little more formal (because used even in jurisprudence is say "Tizio, Caio e Sempronio" when you talk of some other people (the names can be used even alone, so you can say "Tizio", like say "John Doe").
Sometimes for men you can say: is a "signor Rossi" (Mr Rossi) and for women "la casalinga di Voghera" (Voghera's housewife). That nicknames are used to talk about something that anybody can understand. For example "Even a Voghera's housewife know how to open a can". Yes... is not so polite.
More rude is call people from southern Italy "terroni" (that could be translated in "farmer"). Is discussed what means "southern Italy: for the racist party "Lega" is southern Italy what is south of Po river. With the same meaning people from southern Italy call the northern "polentoni" (Polenta eaters, but sound even as "slow to understand"). Both are used only as offensive, but even as a joke if you are talking with friends.
Of course there are hundreds of local nicknames, often difficult to remember the origin. For example people of Bologna call us in Modena as "culi gialli" (yellow asses), probably due to the several old recipes with saffron done in Modena. In Modena we call the people of Reggio Emilia "teste quadre" (squared heads) and is unknown why.

As for foreign visitors for Germans "crucchi" or "Fritz" is still used, but only by people 40 years old or more.
French are called "mangia rane" or "mangia lumache" (frog eaters or snail eaters). Of course even in Italy we eat frogs and snails...
US citizien are sometimes simply "yankee".
Blackmen, from Africa, are nicknamed "vù cumprà", because the first ones arrived during the 80s working in Summer as peddlers on the beach and not knowing a very good Italian the phrase "vuoi comprare?" (do you want to buy?) was shrink in "vù cumprà".

Posted by
2163 posts

I didn't know about frog/snail-eaters for the French, maybe because they eat frogs and snails here.

The Piedmontese are called "Bogia Nen", litterally "those who do not move" in the sense of stubborn, a little dumb. It comes from a Battle fought in 18th Century and in the beginning it was meant as a big compliment. The good-hearted people from Piedmont let it become a mockery without complaining, and this says lots about them.

In the 70s just before an England-Italy friendly football match, a London tabloid wrote: "The stadium will be full of waiters and cooks". I guess the African men like to be called " vu' cumpra' " just like Fabio Capello, the Italian player who scored and mocked the English crowd after his famous goal, liked to be flagged as "one of the waiters".

Posted by
30 posts

I'm in the camp of wear-what-you-want. But if you are looking to switch hats: sources of packable womens travel sun hats (with brims) include Wallaroo, Nordstrom, Amazon, TravelSmith. To avoid hat-hair, I sometimes use a soft hairband before donning the hat. I've seen plenty of European women wearing brimmed sun hats throughout my decades of travel. (Some in bball hats too!)

Posted by
130 posts

If you're talking a baseball-type hat I think the stereotype that you're advertising yourself as American is outdated. Returned two weeks ago from Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. If I had a penny for every NY Yankee hat I saw it would have paid for my trip.

Posted by
12367 posts

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?

Good question but I noticed that a lot of the answers were "what you could get away with" which is different than how I interpret the question.

Each to their own, but when I travel I consider myself a guest in someone's home and and a representative of where I come from; and I dress accordingly and that usually means I am dressed as well as the best dressed person in the venue or activity I am going to.

As for RS's advice, I once saw a picture of him in the Hungarian State Opera House in brown chukka boots and a short sleeve plaid shirt. So Rick and I are going to agree to disagree on this one.

But that doesn't mean that I won't go out for a nice dinner wearing a nice pair of Luccheses and a beaver Stetson; cause I am not going to pretend to be what I ain't.

Returned two weeks ago from Switzerland, France, Germany and the
Netherlands. If I had a penny for every NY Yankee hat I saw it would
have paid for my trip.

Even saw that in Istanbul too. And when out walking around the streets of Kyiv I wore my Aggie hat.

Posted by
19 posts

Again thanks to all for their thoughtful replies. I especially appreciate Ricky for the wonderful insights into Italian culture.

There is a superstition: never put your hat on the chair (somebody says on the bed). I don't know why, but attract bad luck.
This was exactly the type of thing I never would have known or thought about. I have no illusions of appearing to be a local or an Italian, but would prefer not to appear to be one of the many obnoxious tourists who are insensitive to the local culture by wearing my hat at the inappropriate time.

VanDelphia - love the hat link! I may need one :)
Here’s what I currently have and like a lot, which I will probably be wearing for the trip.

Tutuko Womens Wide Brim Sun Hats Foldable UV Protection Beach Bucket Hats Ponytail Mesh Fishing Hat

Stan and James E - i agree

Posted by
58 posts

My Irish grandmother used to say it was bad luck to put a hat on the bed. To this day, I can't bring myself to do it. :-0

Posted by
500 posts

I wear usually a running cap (baseball) of some brand since they are lightweight and washable. Never had an issue anywhere in the world including several trips to Italy. I do remove it when going into churches etc out of respect.

Posted by
13 posts

I'm Italian and I've never heard that putting hat on the chair is synonymous with bad luck and I've never seen people that have been offended because of that.
Seriously, I think that it is more ridiculous to follow these superstitions.
Nobody cares what you wear, where you put your things and so on; yes, in churches a modest dress code is usually required and hat should be removed but, except in places like the Vatican, there is no any strict rules to follow, fortunatlely things are changed compared to the past.

Posted by
6840 posts

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.

That is not true. Hiking in the Dolomites last month I ran into a local Italian who was wearing a Chicago Cubs baseball hat.

Posted by
1758 posts

A Dutch hat question: Many, many years ago we were in a small cafe around Zaanse Scahns when I began sneezing violently due to allergies. The elderly woman who ran the cafe grabbed a fedora style hat off the rack, yanked it down onto my head practically to my nose, took the small rug off the table and propped that behind my back and made me lean backwards in the chair. The hat was so tight I thought I’d pass out if that could have been possible. She insisted it remain exactly like that. Thankfully I did stop sneezing but unsure whether the cure had effected that result. Any idea what was behind that? Still a fun memory.

Edit: And speaking of English weddings, did I understand correctly when I thought I was told that it is illegal to be married outdoors in England? We were touring a stately home -Haddon Hall- when it seemed the guide said just that.