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How to pack for Italy in October

I'm a first time traveler to Italy (female). My goal is to not have a checked bag, carryon only. We'll be in Siena, Montepulciano, and Montefalco for almost three weeks. I'm primarily a jeans a T shirt sort of girl. I'm looking for recommendations on how to pack as far as appropriate clothing, such as deciding between a dress or a skirt that can be dressed up or down. Are jeans appropriate attire for casual sightseeing and dining? I want to be comfortable and fit in stylewise as much as possible. Thanks for any advice.

Posted by
3134 posts

I am not a dress or skirt person, so I would never think of bringing one to Italy or anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. I wear black jeans (NYDJ), almost everywhere. I think nice blue jeans would be fine as well, I just don't happen to have a pair so someone else can comment. While I haven't been to Italy for several years, I can't imagine they have stopped wearing jeans (but they won't look like yours, IMO) I do now pack a nicer pair of black or navy blue slacks just in case a more formal setting crops up; i.e., opera, an extreme. My tops and scarves are what will dress my outfit up. If I were to wear a dress...hmmm, didn't even for my daughter's wedding, but...I would buy a simple black travel dress and leave it at that.

Posted by
6399 posts

Hombre here, so take with a grain of salt, but...

Many of us don't think jeans are a good option for travel. They're heavy, bulky, and they take forever and a day to dry.
As far as "appropriate" from a fashion sense? Don't worry about what's "appropriate" (other than in churches, etc.). Wear what you want, nobody else cares what you are wearing - really.

In October, you should plan for the potential of variable weather - most likely it will be warm and pleasant, but be prepared for some slightly cooler, occasionally wet weather mixed in.

Bring clothes that you're comfortable in - including good shoes that you will do OK walking in for many hours.
Enjoy Italy!

Posted by
378 posts

I've been to Italy in October (and going again this year!) and depending where in Italy you are and if it's early October or late October can make a difference. In Piemonte area (way north of where you will be) you might think it would be colder but it was downright hot and I am planning to take capris and tee shirts this year. In the Genoa area it was warm some days and cool/rainy others, so jeans were the ticket. I would think in the Tuscany area it will be warm, so bring a little of both types of clothing.

Posted by
7897 posts

For October, I would dress like I do at home.
One thing I do is take my jeans and khaki pants to the laundry and have them heavily starched. They still look okay after a week and they seem to shed dirt.

Posted by
10337 posts

I would pack capris as it may be too hot for jeans. If I pack jeans, I take black ones as they can be dressed up more than blue ones.

Posted by
11069 posts

I always travel with jeans (2 pairs) and a pair of ubiquitous black pants for when jeans won’t do. I love Eileen Fisher crepe pants for travel. This is exactly what I took for two months in Europe last fall. We were in Italy in Sept & Oct. (We lived in Italy for 5 years. I wore jeans from mid-Sept through May.) I like NYJD brand and I usually get three days out of a pair when traveling.

My tops are a mix of tees, a cardigan or two, and a couple of lightweight blouses that are a bit more polished. We hit a cold spell in the Dolomites and had to buy fleeces in mid-Sept, which actually came in handy later in Oct in London, as well. Next year I will work in a packable down jacket as we are spending considerable time in the Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. I suppose it will be the warmest fall on record if I am prepared for extreme cold. :-)

BTW, I only consider a dress in the height on summer.

Posted by
13225 posts

I take jeans. You can find women's jeans in a dark wash that have a fabric mixture with some polyester. Those are the ones I take and they dry overnight, especially in Italy. I do sink wash exclusively so this is what works for me.

Will you be the first or last of Oct? If the first half, I would also plan to take a pr of capris in case it's still hot. If you've got the kind that roll from long pants to short, they will be good as well.

I don't wear dresses or skirts at home so I don't take them on vacation.

I do take 4 or 5 short sleeve Tees - a combo of Land's End Cotton/Modal shaping tees as well as usually 2 cardies from Land's End. I usually am gone a month. I take a couple of scarves but really you'll be spoiled for scarf choice in Italy!!

I always take a waterproof (not water resistant) jacket anywhere I travel.

Here is a thread regarding a capsule wardrobe from last Spring when I was in Paris and Brittany. Prior to that thread we had been having a discussion on working out colors for capsule wardrobes. I would pack this same wardrobe for Italy in October except I might swap out a pr of jeans for a pr of capris. If it had been really hot, I would swap out the black jeans with the Costco Travel pants which are a lighter fabric. I want everything I have in my bag to go with everything else. All tops with all bottoms with all cardies with all scarves.

You may enjoy looking at She has really fun color suggestions for developing a capsule wardrobe. Many of her suggestions are WAY above my price point but sometimes she uses examples of a core wardrobe from LLBean or LandsEnd. Her things also tend to be dressier than I want as a retired person in a rural area! Yep, jeans and tees for me too, haha!

Posted by
2766 posts

Jeans are fine. For day-to-day sightseeing, jeans and a t-shirt are no problem at all. If you want to dress them up for evening dining (not formal), choose a "stylish" pair, nicer (but still comfy) shoes, and a top with a scarf or necklace. If you wear sneakers or less-than-cute walking shoes during the day (perfectly normal!), change it up with flats or ankle boots for a nicer evening outfit.

Generally, black, gray, or dark wash jeans work as long as they fit well. The trendy ripped jeans are popular but need to fit as designed and have the right shoes, which I find annoying for travel.

I like dresses and skirts for summer - cooler than pants, nicer than shorts, dress up or down - but don't find them all that useful in October. If you like them, by all means take them, but if you don't then there is no real need to.

In Rome last fall I had two pairs of skinny jeans (black and gray), a few tops in solid colors, a loose cardigan/jacket that matched a few of the tops, a scarf that matched the tops, two necklaces and a bracelet, a dressier blouse, a rain jacket, a pair of cute low-profile sneakers, and a pair of black ankle boots. I'd wear the sneakers during the day, and change into the ankle boots for dinner/evening. The boots were comfortable for walking around to/before/after dinner (a few miles at times), but I didn't like wearing them all day. Sneakers are more common than they used to be - but not the big bulky modern running shoe type. Think converse or a more "retro" style.

Posted by
59 posts

There where so many cute skirts and dresses when I was there. I wouldn't bring any. If you feel inspired buy one.
As for fitting in. Dont try. Be as you are. If you try to be like them, most likely you wont be able to figure it out and end up being uncomfortable.
People over there want to meet you as you are and the uniqueness of where you come from and really...there are so many one pays attention. Just bring your open kind heart. Wear your jeans and t-shirts.
I saw jeans all over the place everywhere.
I agree a capri jean would be nice.
A lightweight pant other then jeans would be helpful for packing like maybe prana halle. Water resistant and you wont have to wash it for a week. Drys fast.
Bring a cardigan and wear it on the plain. Use that dress yourself up a bit.
Bring your best pair of walking shoes or sneakers whatever they look like. Then one comfy walking flat or sandal for a touch dressier.

Posted by
15298 posts

I'm primarily a jeans a T shirt sort of girl.

You're my kind of girl! This one is sort of allergic to skirts and dresses. I haven't traveled Italy with anything BUT jeans and have had no issues with them. Now, we don't eat at fancyshcmancy places which require more spiffing up, and my denims are neat and tidy with no rips or tears. They're also the more lighter-weight type. So, if your blues (or blacks) are your best friends, then take what makes you feel comfortable. Want to dress up that T-shirt? Tie on a lightweight scarf: instant style!

You will see jeans all OVER Italy on tourists and locals alike.

Posted by
125 posts

Unfortunately we don't have a Costco so I have to be satsfied with Sams club. That said, we're traveling to Germany, Austria, and Italy in Sept (3 weeks..1st timers).
I got a pair of black ankle length "jeans" that are a stretch material with elastic waist....SOOOO comfy. Also at Sams I got a couple Habit brand shirts, I call them Fisherman shirts. Lightweight. Nice looking and dry superfast.
Also, TJ Maxx has ankle length stretchy jeans that look really nice and are the most comfortable pants I have ever owned.
I'll add a tshirt, dress, cardigan, and some scarves....that's all I'm taking.
Doubtful I'll see the same people twice so who cares if I wear the same outfit 2 days in a row.
Have fun!!

Posted by
444 posts

I was in Italy in late May last year and I took 2 dresses (casual ones) from Athleta. They are cute, pack easily, no wrinkles and I could wear with sandals and sneakers, and throw on a cardigan for churches etc. It was pretty hot when we were there so I never wore pants. I had capris for the flight there and back but honestly, I hate wearing pants in the summer. I wore mostly shorts and the dresses. My favorite Athleta dress is the Santorini, but it does not cover the knees, I had a longer skirt I wore for when I needed that.

Have fun!

Posted by
305 posts

I was in Italy in October 2016. I do wear the dresses so I had 2 dresses for the hotter days. 2 pairs of jeans NYDJ brand (they tend to dry quicker) and 1 crop pants for the Vespa day and a pair of leggings. I do grey/blue combo in the clothing so I can mix and match. One of the dresses is my travel dress that I wear on the plane with leggings. I have a silk/wool combo cardigan for cooler weather. We were there in the first part of October so my only coat was a raincoat that stores in a bag. I did it all carry-on. Bring an umbrella or be prepared to buy one from the guys that spring up at the first drop of rain.

Posted by
8 posts

Jeans are too heavy to travel with. And hot. Look into yoga pants, they can be tasteful lol. Old Navy has good ones. Do you have a laundry facility in or near your hotel?

Posted by
4082 posts

I'm also not a skirt or dress person. I own neither because I look awful in them. I look much better in pants.

I avoided jeans for years until I finally took a pair. Even in Italy last summer, they weren't too hot for me and dried just fine. After many trips over the years, I am quite accustomed to "European dry." That's dry enough to wear knowing that the garment will finish drying on my body.

I tried NYDJ and they are not cut for my body. I'm a devotee of Slim-Sations which fit me perfectly and are very comfortable. I wear a 16 in that brand. My straight leg jeans weigh 16 oz. My navy blue straight leg pants weigh 12 oz.

At 10 oz for size XL, my lightest pants are Mountain Hardwear's Dynama pants in black. These are new. I like the way you can ruche up the hem.

Yes, I do weigh everything. I can't really tell if something is heavy or light unless I weigh it. I even took my kitchen scale shopping with me a few days ago! Obsessive, I know.

Posted by
16893 posts

I have usually had very warm weather in central Italy in October and been comfortable in lightweight capris and short sleeves. But note that either fashion or the calendar or their grandmother dictates Italians to wear jackets and sweaters in October, regardless of the temperature.

Posted by
6 posts

I just returned from three weeks in Europe. I wore the Prana brand Kara style jean almost every single day. They look like skinny jeans but feel like yoga pants. They come in many colors from indigo, black, patterned, to white. I took the dark ones and they were great... you can dress them up or down. Have a blast. (I wore them with keens or dressier shoes and they work fine with both)

Posted by
24 posts

Yoga pants is best for traveling. Aside from it is lightweight, it is also very comfy to wear and another suggestion is I prefer dresses than skirts because skirts will still need tops and It will hassle when you are packing.