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Best of Sicily Ladies Packing Report

Hi Everyone!

I was going to start this post with "Hi Ladies!" but have learned from past postings that there are men on this Forum who like to read these packing reports in order to help their wives when they hear the (sometimes) dreaded question: "Honey, what do you think I should pack for this trip?" They can simply say "Hey, I remember seeing a post about that and let me just find it for you. It may help." Win, win.

I booked our February 12th tour back in August and started my research by looking at the weather conditions on the RS site, really liking what I saw: An average daytime temperature between 50 and 60 degrees (F) and mostly sunny conditions - perfect as far as I was concerned, since I knew we'd be walking, walking, walking. Also, since our previous tours were My Way tours and this was our first guided tour, I paid much more attention to the itinerary - it helped me with questions like "Am I really going to need my black travel dress? We're with the group for many meals instead of being off by ourselves." I didn't take the dress and it was the right decision for me.

This is what I packed:

1 pair Black Charter Club (Macys) Straight Leg Jeans - lighter than most jeans due to fabric blend and stretch. I wore them tucked into my boots as that is what I do at home
1 pair Black J. Jill (Pure Jill) leggings
1 pair Black Eileen Fisher crepe pants**
1 Black Eileen Fisher elbow length tunic**
1 Black Eileen Fisher long sleeved t-shirt
1 Black Eileen Fisher elbow length cuffed t-shirt
1 Black Leith (Nordstrom) button up seamed waist length shirt - this was a big win - more later
1 Rose Leith (Nordstrom) button up seamed waist length shirt
1 White Eileen Fisher long sleeve t-shirt
1 Free People black/pink floral bat wing blouse - so glad I had this with me
1 Black/Multi paisley knee length ruana
Large Black cashmere wrap **
3 scarves - based on the 3 colors I chose - black, rose and white - each one had to go with most everything
2 Belts - one black with studs and one silver wrap around** - 1 worn on plane
8 pair undies - Jockey Supersoft
3 bras - two black, one beige
1 lightweight short nightie
5 pairs of socks - 3 100% cotton, 2 Smartwool
Black Columbia Splash Waterproof raincoat, gloves and umbrella - never used (lucky us!)
Black knee length Teva de la Vina boots**
Aravon walking shoes
Black Eileen Fisher lightweight waffle weave car coat** - this was another great travel find. I wore it every single day
** = Worn on Plane

I like to choose 3 wardrobe colors for each trip, one of which is always black. For this trip I chose black, rose and white. My greatest find for this tour were the black and rose seamed Leith shirts from Nordstrom's. They roll, they can be sink washed, shaken out and hung to dry and they are ready to go the next day with minimal wrinkling - I made sure to do a trial sink wash at home before I packed them. They look nice and can be worn alone or over a t-shirt as a jacket, which is my preference - they were my wardrobe staple, along with my black jeans, on this trip. I added a scarf or the ruana and I had a new (sort of) outfit! Another thing I'm so glad I packed (and I almost didn't) was the Free People blouse. So much walking makes me hot, even in a cool climate, and it was a pleasure to have a blouse that I reserved only for dinners - putting it on felt good after a quick refresh in the late afternoons. The two things I could've left at home, and this surprised me since they were staples on my last two tours, were the leggings and the EF tunic. But then again on those two tours there was much more bus time, so wearing those two pieces with my flannel shirt dress felt like pajamas but still looked nice. Live and learn. I hope this packing report is of some help to others who are considering taking this tour in the winter months, as I'd like to think I've paid forward some of the great packing advice I've received on this forum. Cheers!

Posted by
1894 posts

That's great to hear back what worked and what didn't.
BTW: What's a ruana?? or is that a typo...

Posted by
1315 posts

A comment and a question. Comment: I mostly agree with this list, but I take only 5 pairs of undies and 2 bras. Question: why both a wrap and the ruana?

Posted by
154 posts

A ruana is a cross between a shawl and a poncho - much like a cape but with ready cut arm holes. Mine (I have several) are from Evereve here in Minneapolis and the manufacturer is Lovestitch. You can wear them long or tie the front like I do. They are great for dressing up a pair of jeans and they work year round. I am always on the lookout for simple pieces that change the look of an outfit for a reasonable price!

Posted by
154 posts

Hi Laurie Beth! Our comments seemed to have crossed. I always take that black cashmere wrap because I get cold on planes. It also does double duty over my car coat, depending on what the climate is - it got used on this tour, though not quite as much as the other tours we've done. The ruana is one of my very favorite wardrobe pieces as far as versatility goes - it can change the look of an outfit in an instant and it's very lightweight - doesn't take up much room. Since I don't take a robe to save space I keep that ruana by the bed to throw on over my nightie in case of an emergency - fire, etc. I try not to get tired of my travel wardrobe but sometimes it's difficult - a little thing like that ruana makes me feel like I have an extra choice.

Posted by
1315 posts

Thanks, and BTW I used to live in Edina where I had a wardrobe of sweaters, shawls, jackets and coats. When I lived in TX my townhouse didn't even have a coat closet and I used to laugh about that.

Posted by
9929 posts

What beautiful colors for a capsule wardrobe! Sitting here on a cold snowy day the black, rose and white just seem so fresh, clean and happy!

You know I love to read what people take on their trips so thanks so much for posting your packing list. It looks like everything worked for you. Interesting that you had old standbys that you didn't wear much. I wasn't familiar with the Evereve company but they have some pretty stuff on the website.

Were the temps as expected in Sicily? I've been watching temps in Paris for a trip soon and it's been warmer than I thought it might be this time of year.

So glad you had fun!

Posted by
154 posts

Hi Pam! The weather in Sicily was absolutely beautiful every single day of the tour - even the local guides commented on how lucky we were. It did take a turn the day the tour was over and apparently was very cold for the locals - it was in the 40s and they were dressed as we Minnesotans are when it is below 0 - parkas and scarves. I had no idea they even owned parkas and scarves. We were planning on staying two extra days but left after one because of Etna's behavior - we thought it prudent to get back to Rome so we could make our connection to Amsterdam as planned. I'll write more about this when I post my tour report.

Thank you for your kind comments about my packing list. You are one of the women on this forum who took the time to help me when I was getting ready to take our first tour in 2015 and had no idea what I was doing. Pack light? What? I can't do that! Well, now I know that I can, and it is very liberating. I find it rewarding to pass on what I've learned to other women who may be wondering what in the world to take on a tour. A few key quality pieces, some fun accessories, comfortable footwear and I'm ready to go!

Posted by
173 posts

Thank you so much for this helpful post. I'm going to Sicily in September, so different weather I'm sure.

Posted by
245 posts

I enjoyed reading your post. I am kind of obsessed with packing and specifically packing light, and am always interested in seeing what other ladies bring. Thanks!

Posted by
961 posts

Great list. I always enjoy reading others' packing lists to reinforce my packing light with some options of new clothing added. I too travel with Teva de la Vina boots - either the low or tall, one time both, and really love how they perform for me. I like your color combinations too. The rose and white is refreshing and to me signals a spring is coming theme.

I've never worn any Eileen Fisher clothing but have seen mention of it several times here on the forum.

Thank you for sharing with us!

Posted by
6809 posts

I was on this same tour, and I can assure you that Liz looked fabulous every day.

Posted by
959 posts

Nice post! Glad you had a great time and the weather cooperated.

How about your luggage?

Posted by
154 posts

Stan! What a nice way to start the day - reading your sweet comment! Thank you. That was such a beautiful tour with a great group of people! I had to laugh when your wife sent out that funny picture regarding too much cannoli - the food and wine on this tour were so consistently outstanding that I really didn't want to step on the scale when we got home but thought, well, better face it right away. Imagine my shock and delight to see that I'd dropped 8 pounds! I laughed with my daughter yesterday, saying that maybe I should go back and repeat the tour several more times. Haha!

Posted by
2057 posts

Hi Liz. This was such fun to read! It sounds as if you packed exactly right and really enjoyed your tour. I DID repeat this one! I do love a list and am going to print yours for future reference and also will forward it to my granddaughters. It will be a great place for them to start for the Paris tour we will be taking later this year. Thanks for taking the time to post; you have indeed "paid it forward"!.

Posted by
13225 posts

Can you share a link to the Leith shirts? I cannot find anything like that on the Nordstrom website. And is the fabric "slinky" or clingy?

Posted by
154 posts

Hi Andi! I can certainly see why you took this tour twice - it was simply awesome! Hi Lola - the shirt is actually called the "Leith Relaxed Seam Detail Top" and, according to the website, is sold out in all sizes. It is not slinky or clingy - the fabric content is 83% rayon and 17% nylon, which explains why the wrinkles fell out while air drying. If you are interested I would keep checking the website every few weeks - since Leith is a Nordstrom brand and they've sold so many of these shirts, chances are good that they'll bring it back like they do other best selling items. The retail climate is difficult right now so it would seem to me they'd want to cash in on a well made, popular item. One tip - order a size up. I first ordered my usual size and it shrunk almost a full size after hand washing it! I can still wear it but like my clothing a bit relaxed. I then ordered both colors and sized up, hand washed them and was quite happy with the fit. I'm always on the lookout for reasonably priced pieces that can do double duty at home and for travel so will let you know if I find something comparable to it. Cheers!

Posted by
9929 posts

"It did take a turn the day the tour was over and apparently was very cold for the locals - it was in the 40s and they were dressed as we Minnesotans are when it is below 0 - parkas and scarves. I had no idea they even owned parkas and scarves."

Oh gosh, this made me laugh. I've had that happen in Rome and Paris!! In Rome I had on a SS Tee and capris and the locals had puffy jackets and scarves, lol!! Just one more way that I can be ID'd as a tourist!

Thank you for your kind words. When I started light packing in about 2010 I, too, could not believe I could do this. I got a lot of ideas here and various websites/blogs on how to put together a capsule wardrobe and it still fascinates me. To me, having a beautiful basic color palette is a key factor and your black, rose, white is exactly that. I might have to go to Land's End today and see what I can find in a pink tee in my usual travel tee shirt line!

A digression here - many years ago a woman who ran a dress shop in a small town told me she always put pink clothing in her windows in February and things would fly off the racks. She felt people were sick of winter and the pink was a harbinger of spring. Oddly this was in West Central FL where the days were sunny and not particularly cold! That is exactly what your colors reminded me of...and yes, I need some pink today to counteract the snow and gray!

Funny you and Stan were on the same tour. Get cracking both of you on your Trip Reports, lol!!

Posted by
6809 posts

Liz, I am enjoying High Tides right now.

I would publish my packing list too, but, as my wife says, I make everything look like aspiring hobo-chic. And I think I "found" the weight you lost.

I will just add that I am thinking mid March-early April would be the optimal time to go to Sicily, weather-wise.

Posted by
154 posts

Thanks Stan! I personally loved the weather we had, but I'm from polar vortex country and every day we were there was like a beautiful spring day in Minnesota. I can certainly see why you would think that March/April would be the best time to go, but I could never handle the heat in the summer months, particularly with all the walking and scampering around on ruins. Pam and Tammy - I have 28 pages of notes to condense for my Trip Report, so I need several days to organize them into a report that won't bore people to death. Besides, I have really fun things to do here like laundry, cleaning, looking out the window in disgust and wishing I were back in Sicily, etc, etc. You know, the usual fun filled extravaganza that greets you when you return from a trip. Cheers!

Posted by
7 posts

Seems like a lot of clothes to me. Last time I went to Italy it was in November/December. I was there for 3 1/2 weeks (Rome, Venice, Brescia). My color scheme was black, white and purple. I took a pair of black jeans and black cords, 1 pair very light lounge/sweat pants; 1 pair walking shoes and a pair of black flats; 1 black cardi; 1 black long sleeve v-neck sweater; 3 nice t-shirts - one saved for evening; 1 button up long sleeve shirt (purple), 4 pairs of socks, 4 undies I could throw away (more below), 2 night shirts (also throw aways), 2 bras (beige & black), a rain jacket (Lands End, folds into its own pocket), wool scarf, gloves; One generic watch (cheap), 2 pairs of earrings (1 silver tone, one gold tone). I wore the black jeans, slipover sweater, long sleeve shirt, rain jacket and walking shoes. I take throw away undies - undies that are kind of on their last legs, and night shirts because I throw them away before I return to have room in my bag (1 bag. 19 inch) for purchases. I also purchase a touristy t-shirt or 2 in large sizes to wear as night shirts and bring home ( I have a collection of Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts that I wear as night shirts at home). Toiletries take up a huge amount of space so I use the toiletries in the hotels except for my own face soap. I travel solo so I pack very light. Lugging suitcases on and off of Italian trains is no fun. More than once I've tossed clothes that I found I didn't need. I quit taking "in case" clothes. I've discovered that I will get by with what I bring, or if something is really a necessity, I can buy it. (Once I went to Florence in April and it was much warmer than I expected, so I bought a lighter top and capris). If the bag is expandable, I don't expand it until I am on my way home.
I am curious to know what people think of various types of luggage. I've used a 22 inch and 19 inch Victorinox, which I like but they are heavy. I just bought 2 expandable Biaggi roller bags because they are so light weight. They look like they will be difficult to roll through train stations, however, as they have straps not hardware for pulling (which also means there is more space inside). I also bought a contraption at Edwards Luggage that you use to fold your clothes very flat into something like an envelope. It works very well. I've been using packing cubes for a long time. They make packing and unpacking much easier.

Posted by
154 posts

1stonesfan1, welcome to the Forum! Thanks for posting - it's always fun to see what works for other women. We had the same amount of bottoms and shoes, but I had one more top than you. I won't get into undergarments. I think my list looks longer due to the accessories, but then again I am an accessories person, When compared to clothing, they weigh pretty much nothing and can change that same old outfit in a flash. My carry on bag is 22" by 14" and weighs 20 pounds. I have learned to live with it.

Posted by
115 posts

Thank you for your detailed list. I am planning for a 15 day trip (including a week long Norwegian Fjords Cruise) and am appreciating the choices everyone makes. It’s very helpful for someone like me.