Italians like to dress up and when mingling with the locals you will feel most comfortable in smart casual dress. However there are masses of tourists and student visitors too, so you will see a mixture of styles.
Your designer labels won't be out of place if you do wish to show them off, but be wary of flaunting any valuables in crowded places.
There is so much to see, and Rome is an easy city to explore on foot. Make sure you take comfy footwear as there are cobbled streets, steps to climb, plus religious sites and museums with wooden floors (try Hotter shoes, they provide total comfort and look great too).
St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Cityhave a strictly enforced dress code – everyone must cover bare legs and shoulders, or you will find yourself buying paper pants! Do remember this if visiting in summer.
There is a lively cafe culture with tables and chairs set on almost every side street, whilst the Piazza Navona has a buzzing array of restaurants plus outdoor artists, musicians and other street entertainers. On cooler evenings you may want a jacket or warm shawl to put round you, although the larger restaurants do have heaters for year-round al fresco dining.
Leave your swimsuit at home it's very unlikely that you will find facilities to use it.
As with many tourist cities pickpockets are rife – particularly around the station and other crowded areas. Ensure your valuables are hidden and secure at all times.
If you're catching a local service train (not Intercity) from Rome's Termini station to the port of Civitavecchia, be aware that once inside the station you need to walk to the local platforms which are quite a long way (allow 10 minutes). This will be much easier in comfy flat shoes and with lightweight luggage – especially if you're short on time. You MUST validate your ticket in the platform machines too before boarding. The trains are not busy outside of commuter hours and there is room for reasonable luggage. There are several stops in the Rome area, so the journey is much quicker from stations on the outskirts.
A pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up any outfit.
And a few well-chosen pieces of costume jewelry will also transform any outfit.
Save your high heels for the evenings, but if you are walking far you might find stylish flats or wedge heels more practical.
If you are planning on visiting any religious sites then be sure to dress conservatively and take a pashmina to cover your shoulders and bare legs. It can also be very chilly inside the churches, even when it's hot outside.
Clothing Tips for Men
Feel free to be stylish.
When eating out or visiting the opera etc, opt for smart shoes.
If visiting churches it can be cold inside, even in the hot summer months – you may like to carry a light sweater or jacket to put round you.
For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.
Pack for the Weather
It can rain at any time and our advice would be to pack a lightweight raincoat and travel umbrella even in the summer.
During May, June, July, August and September the sun is fierce, so be sure to pack sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), sunhat and sunglasses.
In winter (December, January, February) dress up warmly, with layers and take a warm smart coat and warm scarf.
Clever layering is the key to dressing for changeable weather.
We love the Weather+ app – it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too – a nice way to remember your trip 🙂 Download for iPad/iPhone or Android
Other Things To Pack
Be sure to pack your deodorant, as this can be hard to buy in Italy.
If you're aiming to travel with just carry-on baggage, try the CabinMax soft-sided rucksack – it's light, roomy and has plenty of pockets to keep your stuff organized. You can use packing cubes to compress the volume too.
And a lightweight shoulder bag or day sack will come in handy to carry your sightseeing essentials. Note that some museums and galleries do not permit entry with large bags or backpacks, and there is not always a cloakroom facility.
If you tend to buy bottled water, consider carrying a LifeStraw Filtration Water Bottle – fill up from any source and get clean, safe drinking water without wasting plastic bottles.
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees – use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! You can pick up a wide range of Italian goods from food to clothing to leather (just beware of fake ‘designer' brands), or why not have a caricature or portrait done at the Piazza Navona.