It’s finally live! My full list of everything I brought for Italy! Sorry it took so long to compile guys–you have no idea how long these packing posts take to write ?
TODAY the wait is over, I’m really excited to share what I ended up wearing the most, what I didn’t end up using much of, and everything in between!
Before we jump in, important background:
We were gone for two weeks, end of June through early July, so by the time we left, summer heat was in full swing (although, I’m told, was not nearly as bad as August can be). We traveled to the following and encountered the following weather:
It was perfect during the day most days (hot but not unbearable heat), although got hot at the end during the day. The nights were perfect, but one night was slightly chilly. A light jacket or sweater would come in handy just in case.
Again, PERFECT weather. Not too hot during the day, but the nights did get chilly. This was definitely the chilliest weather we experienced, so if you plan to go to Tuscany, you’ll be glad you packed a leather jacket. See my post from Tuscany here!
Here’s where the heat really kicked in. I have never been so hot in my life as I was the day we went to Ravello. Drink a LOT of water and if you plan to do any exploring, you really should be wearing the coolest clothes you own (AKA the least amount of clothing possible) but also be cognizant that the sun can catch up with you. A long sleeve linen shirt or two will be your friend. See my Amalfi Coast Guide here!
Basically an inferno. I was absolutely miserable walking around in the city center in the heat of the day it was so hot. The #1 quality you look for in a hotel should be high functioning air conditioning. Again, minimal clothing here but you’ll be doing a LOT of walking–so make sure you plan for comfortable shoes and if at all possible, schedule your walking tours for night when it’s actually quite pleasant as far as temperatures go. (There are lot’s of night tours of the coliseum, Roman Forum, etc at night, which would be so cool I think!)
Not once did we run into rain, which was SO amazing! I don’t think rain is too common there in the summer, but obviously check your weather and plan accordingly. Under no circumstances do you need rain boots no matter what the forecast.
Visiting other times of year:
This guide is geared toward those who will be visiting in the warmer months, which as I understand is through the beginning of October. In that case, I think most of these basics will be perfect for you (especially the Everlane pieces), you’ll just want to add in a couple more layers and maybe a couple pairs of longer pants or two.
With that being said, let’s jump in!
What I used most:
For those of you who don’t care to read this guide in its entirety, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. If I had to hand out awards for “most valuable items” on the trip, it would go in this order:
- My Madewell backpack (something you will want for every vacation, international or domestic, no matter the season!)
- This linen midi dress
- My Everlane T-shirt and shirt dresses (linked below. Great for summer, fall, and spring travel)
- Scarves (to tie my hair back from my face. Essential on hot days)
- For footwear: a tie between my Jack Purcells (a year round staple, especially when traveling) and Steven Grecian Sandals.
I go into detail about what I loved about each, as well as everything else I packed below!
The Complete Italy Packing List
The #1 rule here: Do not bring anything you can’t wear during the day (with sneakers or comfy sandals) and at night to go out to dinner. If a dress doesn’t fall into both categories, it doesn’t make it into the suitcase! Make sure that it’s comfortable, breathable, it doesn’t rub in odd places and you aren’t constantly pulling or tugging at it. The last thing you want to worry about when you’re on vacation is adjusting your clothing!
Here are the kinds of dresses I brought:
I brought a variety of short dresses–many of which are sold out now, but I will link similar below! I really liked a mix of short and mid-length dresses!
Another thing–and it may sound vain, but you’re going to love looking at photos of your trip so much more when you love your outfit in them. To me there is nothing more darling and classic than a beautiful dress. You wan to feel beautiful when you’re in the most beautiful place in the world. Am I right?
Linen midi dress:
You saw it first in this post from Tuscany–this midi dress (above) was my #1 most worn item of the trip. It was so incredibly comfortable, lightweight, loose and flowy, and was perfect for walking around during the day and at dinner. Runs true to size. They also sell it at Shopbop and ASOS. (They all have different sizes in stock at different times so check them all if you can’t find your size at one!). Also, I love this adorable red one from Reformation!
The ones I brought are no longer available but shorter dresses are ideal for keeping you cool on hot days! I absolutely love this one that is gingham and ties in the back as well as this little retro striped one! This green linen mini is perfect as well. All look so cute with sandals OR sneakers!
Tip: Make sure with short dresses, you stick to versions that aren’t flowy, so you don’t have to worry about your skirt blowing up! (Obviously this is solved with midi dresses as well, which is why I love them so much.)
Everlane cotton midi dress: I loved this cotton midi dress, it was so easy to dress up and down and I wore it for both day and night! Runs TTS! Their new cotton double v swing dress would be perfect as well! Both are true to size.
Everlane wrap dress: Another great dress for day or night–I really loved this wrap dress. It’s made of a really unique fabric too and I found it to be more wrinkle resistant than others. (I blew up my travel steamer on our first day so reaching for the items that were the least wrinkled became more dire ?). Runs a little big!
Everlane t-shirt dresses:
I wore this grey striped linen blend t-shirt dress (below, wearing at the Colosseum) probably 6 different times on the trip, as well as this black and white striped cotton t-shirt dress and both were great.
Everlane button down shirt dresses:
These button down shirt dresses (you saw them styled first in this blog post) were my absolute FAVORITE to wear over a bathing suit for the pool and beach because they’re a one-piece outfit that buttons off really easily, but still looks really put together if you want to walk around and don’t feel like changing! I also wore them a several times traveling in between cities. I can’t recommend them enough. Run oversized, size down if you’re on the fence.
If you don’t want a long sleeve version, I also love this one from Caslon that has short sleeves!
Also, if you want sleeveless, this linen sleeveless shirt dress is so cute and it comes in both white and black!
So, admittedly, I wore dresses probably 90% of the time on my trip. They’re just a lot more comfortable and breezy to me but this is definitely a preference thing. Here are the tops I packed though!
Striped box tee:
This tee is so cute and I love that it’s cropped! It looks adorable tucked in or tucked out! Runs TTS.
White tank top:
I have the white Air Cami from Everlane and it’s super lightweight and easy to knot. So cute! (Runs a little loose) Also love the double v cami! (Runs TTS)
Black cotton tank top:
Another Everlane item that I love. A great basic black tank top and it’s only $20!
I was debating whether or not to bring this but I’m glad I had it on the plane and also a few nights on the coast it got a bit chilly, and it was nice to have something cuter than a sweater to wear out to dinner. I got mine in Florence at Massimo Leather but Nordstrom has a ton of really cute leather and suede jackets!
Long sleeved linen button down:
I always like to bring a couple options with sleeves because being out in the sun all day gets to be A LOT. Sometimes you need to cover up to avoid getting burned. And a long sleeved linen shirt like this one or this one is the perfect way to cover up without overheating.
You know my love of simple camisoles. I brought this cami. Honestly, I love the color and its very versatile! I also love Abercrombie’s camisoles! Nordstrom has a TON as well at great prices!
I originally wanted these Caslon pants for the plane but they were sold out in my size at the time (they’ve been fully restocked since! Hooray!) so instead I brought my comfiest yoga pants (I just got some from Zella that I love!) to wear on the plane and that’s pretty much the only time I wore them, so you could also replace these with joggers. (Shaheen has this pair from Lou and Grey and I felt how soft they were yesterday and now I am DYING for a pair!)
I brought a pair from Abercrombie that I love, and I thought I would wear them more but it was honestly just so damn hot I didn’t want anything that restricting or heavy on my body. Just my personal observation.
Pull-on shorts (below, wearing at Pompeii):
I actually didn’t think these shorts were very cute at first but they grew on me and I brought them because I knew they might come in handy–and they did. Let me explain–so, I brought my Allbirds sneakers (which don’t look cute with dresses, so I didn’t wear them very much) but I knew I might want them at the end of the trip when my feet were just shot–and I was right. These shorts were the ONLY thing that looked cute with my Allbirds and didn’t make me look like a tacky tourist. (I have a weird thing with people wearing trainer-like shoes with certain outfits.) They feel like NOTHING on your body and they’d be great for any outdoor activity like hiking, etc. They’re also great when you want to be cool but not wear a dress! These shorts and these shorts are also similar from J.Crew!
The pair I have is sold out but I love these, these and these are super cute and similar! I wore them the day we went to the Vatican because their dress code is strict and you aren’t allowed to show your legs (I’m sure I would’ve been fine with a midi dress but I was kind of sick of wearing my midi dresses like 6 times at that point) I paired them with a tank and sandals (both also linked in this post.)
Linen pants are definitely an essential when you’re going anywhere hot. Some days you just want to wear pants, you know? But you still want to be cool! These are a happy medium. (I also love this jumpsuit version with the cutest button-front detail!)
I brought my white Everlane denim skirt that I wore a few times in Florence, but then it just got too hot and sticky the rest of the trip so I opted for my lighter-weight dresses instead! Runs TTS.
What I wish I would’ve brought:
A few more lightweight shorts options like these and these! You will also notice that no jeans are on this list–I brought one pair of white jeans but I NEVER WORE THEM! So, if you’re heading to Italy in August, I’m telling you–you seriously don’t need jeans. (On the contrary, Neal wore his jeans a lot so. Maybe it’s a personal preference? I attribute this to the fact that men don’t overheat as badly as we do.)
You honestly don’t need that many shoes. A good pair of walking sandals, slides for pool/beach and sneakers! You definitely do NOT need to bring heels. Many streets are cobblestone which make walking in thin heels impossible–but if you do like dressing up a little bit, see my recommendation below!
Whatever you do, don’t bring any shoes with you that aren’t broken in! The only exception would be Allbirds, because they are the comfiest things you’ll ever put on your feet and they require no break-in!
I brought both my white Jack Purcell sneakers as well as my Allbirds. (Both run true to size). I only wore my Allbirds in Rome because my feet were so shot at the end of the trip that was the only thing I could bear to wear, but I loved wearing my Jack Purcells with a dress for exploring most days and that worked great. One activity you might want good sneakers for is hiking. The Path of the Gods in the Amalfi Coast is supposed to be incredible, but we didn’t actually do it! Next time!
Slide sandals (below):
I brought my favorite Steven Greece Slide Sandals (TTS) and got a lot of wear out of them. They are so comfortable. You want at least one slides option because they’re ideal for the pool, beach, and cute for going out to dinner at night. I thought a pair in white and black worked perfectly but they come in camel as well!
Comfy walking sandals:
I have a pair of old Splendid flat strappy sandals that I always bring on trips where I know I’ll be walking a lot, sadly I can’t link them because they’re from a few years ago, but I would recommend looking into something like these Madewell sandals (they have great reviews!) or these strappy wrap sandals! They definitely need to have a back strap to keep your foot in place, and a solid sole (not too flat or not too thing) for lot’s of walking on cobblestone.
Everlane Day Heels:
I love dressing up, so I brought my red Everlane Day Heels (size up if you’re in between) to wear out at night sometimes because they’re a little bit dressier than flats but just as comfortable! I can walk for MILES in them at a time!
Accessories and other stuff:
Madewell backpack (pictured below):
I used this backpack the entire trip as my only bag for two weeks and we both agreed it was the best thing we brought! You can wear it as a backpack or slip your arm through the handle and carry it next to you like a purse.
Some people have asked me if I felt nervous with a drawstring bag (i.e. pickpockets in crowds) but you can also slip your arm through the handle and carry it like a purse if you want to keep it close to your body, but what I did was just double knot it (it’s not easy to get undone in a hurry) and then carry it kind of close to the front of my body. It’s very secure!
It also comes in black if that’s more your color 😉
I wore this red one-piece in the photos below and loved the statement it made but this classic black bikini won “most worn” of the trip, as well as another one from J.Crew that has since sold out. I also VERY much wish I had brought this adorable gingham high-waisted bikini! J.Crew has the CUTEST bathing suits!
If you’re planning to go to Florence, definitely pick up a few scarves near the leather markets while you’re there! But if not, you’ll want to bring a couple with you. It’s nice to have a pashmina in your bag if you’ll be wearing sleeveless tops as some churches, cathedrals, etc, make you cover your shoulders and may turn you away if you don’t meet dress code. I loved wearing silk scarves in my hair to keep it out of my face! (Particularly, I love this one and this one!) I haven’t done my own scarf tutorial yet, but Keiko Lynn has a great tutorial that shows you how I tied my hair up most days!
Hats and sunscreen:
You’ll be outside a LOT so make sure you’re prepared with hats (I brought this one and one similar to this one!) and sunscreen! (Carry it with you in your bag! You’ll need to re-apply it a lot!) I’m kind of the person who always brings a hat and rarely wears it, but I was surprised at how much I wore it on our trip.
Herban Essentials Essential Oil Wipes:
I came across these little wipes on Amazon that are all natural and made from essential oil and I could not be more obsessed with them. I kept them in my purse and they came in very handy on so many occasions. There are so many times you have to use gross bathrooms and it’s much better to use these to wash your hands than touching the yucky faucet ?–also very good for post-gelato clean up too! (My favorite are the lemon or the lavender!)
Delsey Paris Rolling Suitcases:
At first I really wanted to try and be ambitious and just pack in a carry-on but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. I HIGHLY recommend my Delsey Paris 21″ Carry-On bag–it is SO incredibly well-made, holds a ton of stuff (Enough for 8 days in Paris!) and is so cute. I have a whole review on it right here.
HOWEVER, I would NOT recommend my larger suitcase that I have currently but what I WOULD recommend (that I should just bite the bullet and purchase) is the Delsey Paris 24″ or 28″ checked luggage. (Personally I think the 28″ would probably be so roomy that you’d fill it and then your bag would be overweight, but that’s just me). They have it on Amazon and it comes in brown or white, but since you’ll be checking it I would opt for brown.
Lo & Son’s Catalina Tote: (Pictured above)
The Catalina Deluxe Tote (pictured above) was my one carry-on item (I didn’t have a purse, I checked my Madewell backpack in my suitcase) and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. I freaking LOVE THIS BAG.
It has so many compartments and fits so much stuff! It also has a sleeve you can stick over your roller bag so it can sit right on top and never fall off. My favorite part about it is the separate compartment on the bottom. I was able to put my sneakers, shorts, and t-shirt in there to change into when I got off the plane so I didn’t have to go rummaging through my suitcase in the airport.
I also have the regular sized Catalina bag and I am obsessed with it as well. They have a big comparison page as well that you can use to determine which version is best for you!