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Heart of Italy Tour Questions

Excitedly planning for the HOI tour in August! Wondering about the dinners during the tour - what do most people wear? Do I need dressy clothes/shoes or will my daytime outfits suffice? Trying to slim down the wardrobe to fit in my carry-on suitcase but want to bring the appropriate items.

Also, the tour is the last week of August - I've read it will be hot (mid-80s) during the day. Do I really need a sweater or jacket? What about jeans? All advice will be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
7079 posts

Not been on this tour but, on the ones I did go on I wore my daily touring clothes. Usually by the end of the day I would freshen up and change and that would be the next days clothes.

I would be prepared for higher than mid 80s

Posted by
31215 posts


In my experience on numerous RS tours, casual clothing is fine for dinners. The weather in Italy in August will be hot so I wouldn't suggest bringing Jeans, however at least a sweater would probably be a good idea for the evenings. Even in August, I'd probably pack some kind of light rain gear or at least an umbrella (just in case).

Posted by
996 posts

I haven't done this specific tour, but I found that on our RS tour that everyone seemed to dress rather casually after a long day of touring. I'd usually freshen up a little, changing shirts, etc., but I didn't go out of my way to pack dressy clothes. If you do pack something nice, be sure to wear it more than once since you're carrying it around with you!

It will be hot then in that part of Italy. Think cool clothing, but don't forget about covering shoulders/knees if you plan to visit any churches. I'd definitely pack one, lightweight sweater or maybe a pashmina in case it turns breezy or to cover shoulders if necessary.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
933 posts

I've done 6 RS tours, including this one. I have rarely changed from my clothing for the day to attend a group dinner. Some people do, but I think it's a minority. Casual clothing is the norm for RS tours, but you should do what is comfortable for you. You will not be judged.

Posted by
1620 posts

Hi Tammy,

I've not taken a tour.

Overall, Italy has become more casual - even for the locals. I saw many women wear slacks, jeans (mostly teens or 20's) or leggings paired with a pretty top or sweater, jewelry, nice shoes or boots. The Italian women have more of a fitted look.

Here is a suggestion -

How about an "ankle pant?" or similar (like "slim leg pants") - If you know what they are, they can be dressed up or down in your situation.

Black, brown and navy are usually the good basic colors. Also, "slim pants" can be made to be casual or dressy.

Since you are going in August, perhaps you have or can find a khaki color. Paired with a light colored blouse or some other top, you'll look a bit 'dressier' and feel cooler at the same time. Wear a cute summer shoe or sandals if you wear them, and you're good to go.

I love scarves and bracelets and a couple of rings; they are my go-to accessories. (I always wear a crucifix, so I don't usually wear another necklace.) A Pashmina is nice too for the cooler evenings. It will make a cute souvenir.

Keep in mind that in Italian churches, esp The Vatican and St. Peter's, shoulders and knees must be covered - Women and Men - in case you are wearing shorts - even "walking shorts." Capri's would be okay since knees would be covered.

When I went to Italy, I like to "dress up" a bit for dinner. I would return early evening to my hotel, shower or freshen up and change clothes.

Have fun!

  • Adding: I would say no to the jeans - too heavy and hot in the summer. Unless you have the lightweight slim or skinny jeans; maybe wear those on the plane to and from.
Posted by
3420 posts

re a sweater. I was in New Orleans for a very hot week. My daughter checked her bag for the flight home and FROZE in the airport. To make matters worse, our flight was delayed 8 hours. Even in a hot location, I would always bring a sweater for my flight or cool restaurants or theatre. If you are a dress/skirt person, you might consider some thin leggings than could be slipped on should you need them at some point. They take up very little room and come in handy.

Posted by
4444 posts

We were in the area covered by this tour a couple of years ago in July, and the temperature was well over 90 several days, at least 10 degrees over "mid-80s."

But I would still bring a light sweater or jacket for cool or rainy evenings, and certainly for the plane.

We've been on 14 RS tours, and rarely do people dress p for dinner. It's not uncommon for people to gussy up a bit for the last group dinner the last night of the tour, but most folks just clean up a bit. :-)

Posted by
5637 posts

tammy, except for the last night, the group dinners are not so much an event as just an opportunity to re-fuel and relax. No expectation of socializing. Joe32's way of doing it: put on the next day's clothes for dinner, is a good way to deal with it, if that day'c closes have passed their expiration date. It might be a good idea to ask the tour leader if the restaurant is air-conditioned before deciding.

Posted by
8006 posts

I'll just add regarding the comment on shorts - our tour guide cued us the day before if we were going to see something where shorts would be inappropriate. Your overnight stops are Rome, Volterra, Monterosso al Mare and Florence so not as many churches as some might think. You'll spend a few hours in Lucca on your transit from Volterra to Monterosso.

I'd bring a sweater and a light rain jacket as Ken suggested upthread. I think I must draw in rain as I've had rain on every RS tour I've done including this one, lol!! I generally need a sweater or long sleeve option on the airplane so would have it for the tour anyway.

I generally wear the clothes I've had on during the day for dinner. In some circumstances you might not have much time to change between checking in to your hotel and leaving to walk to dinner. No dressy clothes or shoes needed. I have horrible feet so my basic touring shoe is an athletic shoe and I wear it everywhere. All of the restaurants will be pretty casual and I've never felt out of place.

Have a wonderful time. I will warn you - this is the tour that started my Rick Steves addiction, lol!! Wow, I had a good time!

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for all the great input! You've put me at ease about dinner. I especially like the idea of freshing up into the next day's clothes so that I don't need to bring extras or generate more laundry.

I originally thought jeans would be too hot but then every packing video and list I looked at included them. Now I think I'll trade them out for a pair of shorts instead.

Can't wait for August to get here! Thanks for the help!