While preparing for our recent trip to Italy, we did our research to try to understand what we should wear. I looked at several websites and the overall consensus was that wearing shorts would make you stand out as a tourist because Italian’s do not wear shorts unless it is in the middle of the summer or they are going swimming. Also, apparently some cathedrals will not let you enter wearing shorts.
I am here to tell you, this is incorrect. You can wear shorts in Italy and look perfectly normal.
Here are a few examples of Italians wearing shorts when it is in the 80s.
We were going in September and the highs were in the upper 80s to low 90s. Wanting to fit in, I went ahead and packed three pairs of pants and three pairs of shorts. I am so glad I decided to pack some shorts!
On the first day, I wore some light kakis. We went to the Vatican and found that there were plenty of men wearing shorts. They were all allowed into all the chapels and museums. The second day, we went to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. This time I opted for shorts and once again I was surrounded by people wearing shorts. The last day in Rome we did a lot of walking, went to Campo de’ Fiori, the Trevi fountain, Pantheon, and a few other site and once again found the majority of people were wearing shorts. In fact, I think you would stand out more if you went to the Colosseum in pants on a hot day then sticking with shorts. Also, remember that Rome is full of tourist so you wont stick out anyway unless you are dressed horribly.
So why the misconception that Italians do not wear shorts?
- There are plenty of men wearing suits or slacks, but they are working. This is how they dress to go to work. When they are not at work, they wear shorts too. I saw plenty of Italian men on the Metro, at the market, going out to eat, all wearing shorts.
- You can wear shorts in Cathedrals, they just have to cover your knees. Below is a sign going into a cathedral. It is very clear you can wear shorts, they just have to cover the knees.
Now that we know we can wear shorts, here are a few other tips for clothing to wear in the summer in Italy
What to Wear When Sightseeing in Italy in the Summer
So yes, wear shorts. You also want to make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes or sandals because you will be walking and on your feet all day long.
What to Wear When Going in Churches
Some sites online will say you will be asked to leave if you wear shorts in churches in Italy. This is incorrect. Basically, they some will not allow short shorts and you must cover your shoulders. If you do not cover your shoulders with your clothes, you will have to buy something that will at the Cathedral like a poncho looking thing, so just dress accordingly.
Here is also a picture of men wearing shorts in a cathedral and a lady who was not covering her shoulders and short shorts and is now wearing a poncho looking cover up.
What to Wear When Eating Out
Once again, a lot of websites say you should not wear shorts and should have on nice shoes. I think this is also misleading. Just like anywhere I have traveled, it depends on the restaurant, location and time. If you are going anywhere in a very touristy part of town, wear what you feel comfortable in for that restaurant. Regardless where the restaurant is, if it is a casual restaurant then dress casually. If it is a really nice restaurant you need to dress up more.
Overall, during your trip to Italy, dress comfortably and put together and you will be just fine. I hope you enjoy your trip! Let me know if you have any tips yourself below.