Italy Travel Guide – Ultimate Italy Packing List

Getting ready to head to Italy? Take advantage of my ultimate Italy packing list and buying guide so you have the best trip possible. I want to offer advice on a few different topics.

Sure, I will recommend what to pack and what to wear in Italy. But, more importantly, I want to share our tips on packing for Italy. In the end, I will share advice on topics you might not realize you need to consider. This is particularly important for people traveling to Italy for the first time.

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Ultimate Italy Packing List

We have loads of advice below on packing for Italy. But, before we get to the travel advice, I want to share a list of items many of our readers ask about. These are some of our favorite items to pack for Italy.

🇮🇹 What To Pack For Italy☀️ Italy In Summer/Spring🌨 Italy In Winter/Fall
👜 Crossbody BagKate Spade Crossbody Bags For Women (leather)Sherpani Crossbody Bag (cotton and canvas)
👜 Anti-theft PurseTravelOn Anti-Theft Bucket Bag (lightweight material)TravelOn Anti-Theft Heritage Tote Bag (cotton, canvas, and swede)
✈️ Air TagsApple Air Tags Samsung Smart Tag
🔌 Travel AdapterUniversal Adapter Italian 3 Prong Adapter Pack
🔋 Power Pack For ChargingAnker Power Packs (for charging on the go)
🌂 Windproof UmbrellaWindproof Travel Umbrella
💧Filtered Water BottleBrita Filtered Water Bottle
💶 Money Belt or Passport BeltRFID Blocking Stash Neck Wallet

Top Things To Consider When Preparing Your Italy Packing List

There is no way to write a short travel blog post on packing for a trip to Europe. We make different recommendations for different travelers depending on some of the following circumstances.  

  • Think about the time of year of your visit. Italian winter fashion is totally different than summer fashion
  • Whether you will travel carry on or will check your bag
  • How much walking will you do during your trip
  • What kind of activities are you planning? Is it an Italian city break or a beach break? Are you hiking or skiing?

Recommended Travel Purses For Italy

  1. Kate Spade Crossbody Bag – Great for day or night, slim, lightweight, holds all your Italy travel essentials
  2. Travelon Anti-Theft Bucket Bag, which is a little more lightweight for the summer and the Travelon Heritage Anti-Theft Bag, which is made of cotton, canvas, and swede and stands up to the weather in Italy in the winter. I’d recommend an anti-theft bag if traveling to Italy over the summer or in bigger cities, like Rome, Milan, or Florence.

Learn more about travel purses and bags for Italy in our post on the Best Crossbody Bags for Travel and the Best Anti-Theft Bags for Travel.

What Shoes To Pack For Italy

Italy can be summed up in one word – cobblestones. This is why durable rolling luggage is key. So are comfortable shoes. Despite the notion that Italians are dressed to the nines all the time, this is not the time to test out the new pair of high heels in your closet. Between rough cobblestones and slippery marble, the streets in Italy are stunningly beautiful but not super practical.

What To Pack For A Trip To Italy – Technology

In addition to a camera or smartphone, there are a handful of tech items that we recommend you add to your travel essentials list for Italy.

Apple Air Tags

I recommend the Apple Air Tags for people with iPhones and Samsung Smart Tags for those with Samsung devices.

You can use the smart tags in your carry on luggage and our backpacks as well. This will give you a little more security if your bags are stolen as they will assist you in tracking them down.

Power Pack

You will always want to travel with at least one portable charger or portable battery to top up your smartphones during long days of sightseeing in Italy. It is always helpful to carry your charging cords with you during the day because there are often cafes or restaurants where you can top up along the way. I’ve had a few power packs from Anker that have worked well. Just be sure that the cord fits the electronics you are traveling with.

Travel Adapter

I can’t say it enough, this is one of the most important things to pack for a trip. A proper travel adapter will help you charge all of your devices while traveling. I recommend taking multiple converters on a trip. We generally carry at least four on each trip, two for our laptops and two for our phones, so we can charge most of our devices at one time.

This is important when you have long days and might not have a ton of time to charge up back at the hotel. A Universal Adapter is the best value because it can be used in Europe, the UK, and Asia. For Italy, I would also recommend a couple of Italian-specific three-prong adapters.

Weather In Italy – What To Pack For Different Seasons

Italy in winter

Italy has four distinct seasons just like much of Europe and the US. There is some variation in weather by region. The Italian regions in the south have warmer temperatures than those regions in the north. 

In almost all areas of Italy, July and August are hot and humid. This is particularly true along the Italian Riviera or the Amalfi Coast, but there are at least breezes off the coast. Towns in Tuscany or Umbria can be sweltering.

Air conditioning is not as common as in the US, particularly in restaurants and cafes. Don’t assume that hotels will have air conditioning, many do not. If they do have air-con, it might not be to the American level. We visited a restaurant in Italy that had an air conditioner, behind a curtain, underneath an open window, so all the air escaped. It’s just not a priority in Italy.

Although winters in the south of Italy can be mild, in the north, expect the possibility of rainy days and even snow. There are some areas in Northern Italy where they ski. That’s how cold it gets.

When traveling to Italy in the spring or fall, check the weather forecast a week before departure. There can be some surprises with unusually cold weather in April and surprisingly hot weather in September.

During these shoulder seasons, it is best to pack to be prepared. This includes packing layers and possibly a rain jacket or travel umbrella.

Learn more about when to travel to Italy.

Italian Attire – Function Over Fashion

More than in many other countries, I think people concern themselves with asking what do people wear in Italy. To some extent, you should. Italians have a reputation for fashion. From Milan to the Amalfi Coast everyone seems perfectly put together.

But traveling in Italy is different from living in Italy. You need to fit everything in one suitcase and a carry-on bag. You need to worry about having enough clean every day clothing during your trip.

And, think about the lovely Italian cities and villages, filled with cobblestone streets, ancient stone staircases, and few elevators and escalators. With all of our recommendations on how to pack for Italy, there is a practical balance of fashion versus function.

It’s all well and good to dress to the nines, but if you are not dressed comfortably if you don’t have comfortable walking shoes, you will be miserable. That I can guarantee.

What to Wear in Italy Pro Tip

The literal translation of the Bella Figura is the beautiful figure, but it is understood as a reference to a person’s presentation. Italians generally seem to be dressed to the nines. But, think about function over fashion. Dress comfortably, but add a fashionable scarf or fun bag to dress up your outfit. That will be enough to be La Bella Figura.

Travel Packing Checklist For Italy – Accessories

Regardless of the season, there are some items that you should consider packing when traveling in Italy. Some of these recommendations may seem somewhat obvious to seasoned travelers.

Travel Umbrella

A lot of people pack a travel umbrella, which can be a small but important addition to keep you dry in rainy weather. We like to take risks here. We each have a rain jacket and many of the hotels we stay at have umbrellas to loan out. But, this is definitely not common.

If traveling to Italy in the Spring or Fall it’s probably worth it to travel with an umbrella just in case. Check out this Windproof Travel Umbrella.

Filtered Water Bottle

To reduce your use of plastic, I recommend bringing a Britta filtered water bottle so you can fill up your bottle from the tap in your hotel or apartment rental and carry it with you through the day.

Italian restaurants generally do not serve tap water. Instead, you will end up ordering a bottle of still or sparkling water at the restaurants for about €2 depending on the size. It’s worth it. Stay hydrated, particularly when traveling in Italy in the summer.

Other Italy Travel Packing Tips


If you have prescription medication that you must travel with, try to bring it in the original bottle that shows your name and details. We’ve never been stopped, but you never know. This is better than bringing random pills in a pill organizer.

As for other basic medication, I always travel with ibuprofen, Alka Seltzer, hand sanitizer, and other just-in-case items. It is super easy to purchase anything you need at an Italian pharmacy if needed.

However, I would rather have the basics like hand sanitizer and Alka Seltzer with me in case. You never know when you’re not going to feel good, potentially at night or on a Sunday when it is harder to find shops in Italy open.

Passport Requirements For Italy

If you are traveling from within the European Union, a National Identification card is sufficient. For the rest of us, a passport is required.

Be sure to have at least six months of validity on your passport. For example, if your trip begins on January 1, be sure that your passport doesn’t expire until after July 1.

Years ago, we would always carry a photocopy of both of our passports in every piece of baggage we carried (in case some were stolen).

Now, I recommend scanning a copy or taking a photo on your phone and keeping it in the “cloud.” This can mean keeping it in Dropbox, Google Drive, or even just emailing it to yourself so that you can access it if need be.

If you are American, be aware of the rules for Schengen. Essentially, because Italy is part of the Schengen Zone (which is different from the European Union) Americans (as well as Kiwis, Aussies, and Canadians) are allowed to travel in Italy for no more than 90 days within 180 days.

This is a complicated and comprehensive travel topic, but just be aware of the Schengen Visa rules for traveling in Spain and throughout Europe.

Money Issues – Accessing Money In Italy

This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions about traveling in Italy, or anywhere in the world, particularly from Americans. I will speak to this from an American perspective.

I recommend bringing one ATM card and two credit cards. Keep one credit card in your hotel safe, or hidden in a suitcase just in case your bag is stolen. Call your bank and you credit card companies before leaving to let them know where you are traveling and when so that they do not turn your credit card off for suspicious behavior.

Foreign Transactions Fees Using Credit Cards In Italy

Most important, check whether your credit cards charge Foreign Transaction Fees. Foreign Transaction Fees can be 2-3% of every purchase you make. Some cards have these and some don’t.

Most Chase credit cards don’t charge the fee. The same goes for ATM cards. Just call to confirm so you are not surprised when you get home with random fees. Also, Visa and Master Card are almost universally accepted. American Express is often not accepted because they charge a lot more fees. Discover is rarely accepted.

ATMs In Italy

As for money, the easiest and best way to access cash when traveling in Italy is to use the local ATM machines to withdraw Euros.

There is no need to convert USD to Euros at your bank before visiting Italy. There is no need to convert at the airport in the US or in Europe. Generally, the exchange rates and fees are way worse than simply withdrawing money at an ATM.

While in Italy, look for ATMs from major bank brands like Unicredit and Intesa. Avoid ATMs that are located as part of a souvenir shop or convenience store. To limit fees, we often withdraw €300 or €500 at a time.

Money Belt or Passport Belt

There is no reason to carry your passport with you during the day. Leave it at your hotel and have a copy or a photograph on your phone instead. That way it stays safe.

As for money, unless you carry a purse, you will want to avoid carrying a big wallet when traveling. You will also want to keep money your front pocket where it is most safe.

This is particularly true if you are used to traveling in big cities, like New York or Chicago. You just need to keep your wits about you.

All that said, if you would feel more secure using a money belt, we recommend this Stash Neck Wallet. It includes an RFID blocker, which means that your credit cards are more secure. It also has room for a smartphone to keep it secure as well.

FAQs – What To Pack For Italy 

Last, but certainly not least, we get asked the same questions a lot from people planning an Italian vacation. Here are a few.

What should I pack for Italy in the summer?

Italy is very warm in the summer months. You are going to want to have lightweight clothing to beat the heat. Shorts and skirts are acceptable, but if you are visiting any churches or religious sights, more modest clothing like collared shirts, longer skirts or pants should be worn out of respect.

How do I not look like a tourist in Italy?

No matter how good your Italy packing list is, you will look like a tourist. That said, there are a few steps you can take to help “blend in”. For starters, Italy is a fashion-forward country. Try to avoid looking like you are heading to the gym or doing yard work by wearing sweatpants or ripped clothing. Learning a few basic Italian words is always helpful and respectful of trying to fit in.

Is Italy cold in the winter?

Yes, especially in the North. Cities like Milan and Turin see temperatures below freezing as well as snow during the winter months. As you travel further south, you will find more moderate temperatures, especially in places like the Amalfi Coast but keep in mind mountainous areas where temperatures will be cold. Sicily and southern Italy are warmer compared to the north but perhaps not beach warm.

Can I wear sneakers in Italy?

Why not? Italy is a very fashion-forward country but this shouldn’t stop you from being comfortable. From long days on your feet to cobblestone streets, your feet are going to take a beating during your Italy vacation. Bringing and wearing sneakers is perfectly acceptable. That said, it’s always good to have a pair of “dressier” shoes for evenings or visiting sites like Vatican City.

Culinary Travel To Italy

Food Traveler's Guide To Emilia Romagna

Our Italy Travel Experience

Check out Food & Drink Destinations original founder Amber Hoffman’s book, the Food Traveler’s Guide To Emilia Romagna, which is available on Amazon. In addition to being a culinary travel guide to the region, it walks through how many of the typical Italian food products are made, like mortadella, prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

6 thoughts on “Italy Travel Guide – Ultimate Italy Packing List

  1. Michelle says:

    This was incredibly helpful, thank you! I hadn’t thought of the Brittany water bottle – so smart. And appreciate the explanation about shorts for women. I had heard not to wear shorts in Italy but your explanation was more comprehensive, especially in the context of your other recommendations. Thanks!!

  2. Piper says:

    This was extraordinarily helpful! Thank you so much!! I feel much better about how to pack for my trip! We are going to Rome, Salerno, and Venice (so kind of all over) and I definitely am glad that I read your page to help prepare! Grazie mille!

  3. Ann says:

    Hi! What size carry on for the Roam luggage? The regular or the XL? Seems like both are slightly over the carry on requirements of 22x14x9? Thoughts?

    • Amber says:

      We have the XL, which is now known as the large carry-on. If expanded, it doesn’t fit in the overhead bin. Ours doesn’t expand and fits perfectly in every overhead bin, even when flying Ryan Air in Europe and Frontier to the Caribbean.

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