Although visions of sun, heat and gelato might immediately spring to mind when you think of Italy, it isn't always warm or sunny there. Savvy travelers who want to visit Italy without the crowds or blistering temps plan their travel for October when prices fall along with the temperatures. Visitors can enjoy an Italian fall, generally consisting of mild days and cool nights with occasional rainy days. Although mild temperatures across Italy are the norm, you might encounter unseasonably warm or cold weather. Packing stylish, yet practical clothing allows you to embrace la dolce vita without freezing in cooler temperatures or getting completely soaked by unexpected showers.
Italy’s diverse geography, which ranges from mountains to flat plains, can add another wrinkle to your “what to wear” dilemma. With itinerary in hand, look at the average seasonal temperatures for each city or region to help you decide the types of items to bring. A common itinerary might include Venice or Milan in the north, Rome and/or Naples in the south, and Florence in the middle. Adjust your wardrobe accordingly. If you plan to spend time along the ocean or at the beach, water temperatures can range from pleasantly warm to practically frigid. Many hotels close their outdoor pools in September, and beaches might no longer provide lifeguards or other amenities. Bring a swimsuit just in case, but prepare plenty of non-swimming activities as well.
How do you manage to bring along a variety of clothing for such diverse climates and weather patterns without overpacking? Layer up! Europeans love scarves and light sweaters for good reason. Scarves can pull your outfit together and provide an additional layer of warmth on chilly evenings. Cardigans provide a quick and easy way to cover up in Italian churches that forbid bare shoulders. A vest can provide another layer of warmth if your travel plans take you to the mountains or to chillier northern climes. Top your entire ensemble off with a light, waterproof jacket, preferably hooded, to keep you warm and dry.
Dress Like a Local
While you might catch a glimpse of some Italians wearing shorts and sandals in the summer months, most locals put these items away in October. Since many cathedrals will not allow men or women to enter while wearing shorts, save room in your suitcase for capri pants, knit skirts, cargo pants and other more versatile items. Europeans rarely wear white running shoes outside of the gym, but they wear stylish, colored athletic shoes virtually everywhere. Bring along a pair of your favorites along with a pair of flats or low wedges. Remember to factor the ever-present cobblestones into the calculation when tempted to include your favorite high heels. Comfort is key, as you will invariably walk a lot in Italy. Leave pastels and whites at home since they stain easily, and Italians usually do not wear them outside the summer months. Instead, don clothing in neutral shades of gray, black, olive and khaki.
Casual... or Not?
Italians hold a well-earned fashion-forward reputation. However, although you might spy designer clothing, shoes and handbags everywhere, Italians don’t expect visitors to dress like fashion icons. Men should bring along a few collared shirts for evenings out as well and a pair of khakis or slacks. Women can manage with a couple of versatile dresses, a pair of dressier slacks and a couple of skirts. Don’t forget tights or leggings for cooler nights. Fashion lovers might opt to tote their belongings in a small backpack and splurge on an Italian leather purse. Leave behind flashy, expensive jewelry ‒ Italian pickpockets are almost as legendary as their fashion sense.