Packing for Italy

Bows & Sequins Italy Itinerary + Packing Guide! Amalfi Coast (Positano, Capri, Maiori), Florence, Tuscany, and Rome

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m headed to Italy next week and I could not be more excited! I’ve actually never been to Italy so back in February when a group of six of my college friends told me they were going to Italy for another friend’s wedding in July, I jumped at the opportunity to travel with so many of my friends at once. Especially as we get older, it seems like these trip are fewer and farther between! I extended my trip a bit, so I’ll be arriving a few days early and traveling alone until I met up with them after the wedding.

I’m leaving this coming Monday for almost two full weeks… I honestly don’t even know the last time I’ve gone on such a long trip. (If ever!) But since I’ll be in each place for only a three nights at the most, I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!

I’m starting my trip on the Amalfi Coast in Positano for two nights, taking a day trip to Capri, and then heading to Maiori (farther East on the Amalfi Coast) to meet up with my friends for three more nights. From there, we’re heading to Florence for three nights, complete with a day-trip to Tuscany. (#wine) And after that, we’re spending our final three nights in Rome! There are quite a few other places I want to visit in Italy (Venice, Burano, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Cinque Terre, and Portofino to name a few…), but I’ll just have to save those for another trip. 😉

My type-A planning side has really come out while planning this European excursion. I’m blaming it on my starting the trip solo… No one else to figure out what to do, where to go, etc! And to be totally honest, no one else to annoy to with a tight schedule! I’ll be sure to share my full itinerary, broken down day by day, once I get back.

I’ve traveled solo in the US a lot for work (and some play), but this is the first time I’ve truly traveled alone in Europe. I’ve spent days by myself in Europe, but I’ve always had friends to meet back up with at night. I think nighttime will definitely be the weirdest part… There’s so much to do during the day, but going for a a drink (or aperitivo) and to dinner alone will be different than most trips I’ve been on. I oddly like eating by myself from time to time, so hopefully it won’t feel too weird! Have you ever traveled in a foreign country by yourself? Would love to hear any of your tips or recommendations! I usually just have a Wifi hotspot that I bring along when I’m traveling in Europe, but I went ahead and finally got an actual international phone since I’ll be by myself for a few days. The piece of mind of being able to call and not have to fire up the hotspot just makes me feel a lot more comfortable! I plan to grab an early-ish dinner each night, with plenty of time to get some work done after, and to wake up early and seize the day. I’ll definitely be reporting back with any and all tips for traveling solo that I learn along the way! (My friend Merritt recently wrote a post about this that I found very helpful.. You can read that here!)

Alright, now on to the fun part… Packing! Or maybe not so fun if you aren’t really sure what to bring. Luckily for you, I’ve been researching for days and have a pretty good idea of what to pack! Since I’ll be in a few different places, I figured I’d share two different guides… One for the cities and one for the coast!

I’m usually fairly strict about my carry-on only rule, but I’m going to give myself a pass for this trip. I’m flying United both ways (I have status with the airline so I get to check a bag for free.) and I’m flying direct in and out of Rome from Chicago (less of a chance of the bag getting lost, etc.). I’m going to be sure to pack my valuables, toiletries, and at least one set of clothes in my carry-on bag just in case, but it’s not every day that you go to Italy, you know? So if I want to pack an extra pair of shoes for a cute Instagram on the Amalfi Coast, I’m friggen doing it. ✌🏼 My plan is to try to pack everything into my carry-on suitcase (21″), but I’m not going to stress it if I end up having to use my mid-size suitcase (27″). With my four hotel/city changes, I really don’t want to be shlepping a huge suitcase so we’ll see what ends up happening. But on the other hand, it’s not that big and it has four spinner wheels on it, so we’ll see. Can you tell how much back-and-forth is going on in my head?!

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What to Pack for the Amalfi Coast

@bowsandsequins' Packing Guide for Going to Italy's Amalfi Coast in the Summertime! Positano, Amalfi, Capri, Sorrento, Maiori, Minori, and more!

Striped Hat  |  Yellow Necklace  |  Sunscreen  |  Mirrored Sunglasses  |  Orange Romper  |  Pom-Pom Clutch  |  Bright Lipstick  |  Striped Towel  |  Orange Tassel Earrings  |  Lace-Up Sandals  |  Pom-Pom Tote  |  Striped One-Piece

The Palette: Brights and Whites! The picturesque colorful fishing villages and lemon groves along the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean are the perfect backdrop for crisp whites and bright colors.

Straw Hat // What’s more fabulous than a floppy hat while sunbathing on the coast of Capri?! A chic hat is a must-pack!

Flat Strappy Sandals // There’s no shortage of colorful sandals this season, and I think they’ll be the perfect compliment to the colorful backdrop that is the Amalfi Coast! I plan on buying a pair of local leather sandals there, too. With the steep walkways and countless steps throughout these coastal towns, I’m not going to risk a rolled ankle with flimsy sandals. Ankle straps only, please! (Also loving the look of these espadrilles!)

Bathing Suit // For our boat tour around Capri and my day-trip to a Capri beach club, I knew a blue-hued suit was absolutely necessary. I’m packing this bikini that I got at the beginning of the summer, and I just ordered this striped one piece, you know, just in case I’ve already indulged in too much pasta. 😉

Straw Tote // There’s nothing more chic than a straw tote when you’re vacationing along the Mediterranean.

Sunglasses // I don’t think I’m going to pack any of my designer sunglasses this trip. With so much travel, I’m bound to misplace a pair. Nordstrom has so many great pairs under $100, so I’m going to pick up a pair of two for the trip. A goes-with-everything gold pair that’s perfect for boats and beaches, and a tortoise pair that will go perfectly with my city wardrobe.

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What to Pack for Italian Cities in the Summer

@bowsandsequins' Packing Guide for Going to Italy in the Summertime! Rome, Italy, Venice, Tuscany, and more!

Straw Hat  |  Camera  |  Neck Scarf  |  Sunglasses  |  Striped Dress  |  Espadrille Sneakers  |  Pleated Shorts  |  Passport Cover  |  Crossbody Bag  |  Suitcase  |  Watch  |  Lace-Up Sandals

The Palette: While I’m typically all about the color, my wardrobe choices will be a bit more subdued when we travel inland to Florence and Rome. Lots of white, with hints of navy and black.

A Straw Hat // While this probably isn’t the most practical for walking around (Am I the only one who has a problem with hats staying on my head while moving?! I seriously think my head is misshapen.), I definitely want something to keep the sun off of my face all day. I just picked up this one and love it!

Lace-Up Sandals // With the cobblestone streets and all of the walking I plan on doing, I’m not packing a pair of heels. Flat lace-up sandals, a pair of espadrille wedges, and a short block-heel sandal are the three pairs of shoes I’ll be living in in both Florence and Rome. (Also going to bring a pair of sneakers in case of blisters or if my feet really need a break!)

White Dresses // Little white dresses are going to be the name of the game for me! It’s going to be H-O-T when we are there… The forecast rages from 93-96 degrees Fahrenheit each day we are in Florence and Rome. I can’t imagine wearing much else than breezy LWDs!

Sneakers // I think this one goes without saying. I’m sure my feet are going to be killing me by day nine when we get to Rome. Cute, comfy sneakers are a must!

Italian Churches and The Vatican // While it’s preferred that you wear long pants and long sleeve tops to visit churches in Italy, the temperatures are going to be in the high 90’s when we are there. From the research I’ve done, the absolute bare minimum (no pun intended) is to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. (This goes for both men and women!) I plan on wearing a longer midi dress that hits well below the knee (or this cropped maxi!) and a denim jacket over the top that can easily be removed before and after our tour.

Shorts // Flowy shorts that wear like pajamas are going to be a must in the heat, too! I recently picked up this navy pair and this black pair, plus I have this lace pair from Express!

Crossbody // When I’m doing a lot of exploring in a new city, I like to keep my hands free because I usually have my giant Canon strapped around my shoulder like a true tourist. (Anything to get the shot! haha) Believe it or not, I don’t have a black crossbody bag… Need to get one ASAP. (Or maybe just buy this one in Italy?! Kidding… Kind of.)

And lastly, it’s worth noting that I’m not bringing anything remotely tight. I fully intend on over-indulging  on pizza, pasta, and gelato! 😉

What did I miss?! Anything else you’d recommend bringing along?

Leave a Comment

37 Comments

  1. 7.12.16
    Kate commented:

    Hope you have a fun time!!! Take lots of pictures!
    -kate
    -Katekoutures.blogspot.com

  2. 7.12.16
    Leah commented:

    I was just in Rome, Florence, and Venice in May! I was actually very surprised that the churches were not strict with what you wore. Florence was more strict but even at the Vatican in Rome I saw lots of short shorts and bare shoulders. As long as you aren’t wearing super short shorts you should be fine. I would have packed much differently if I knew I could have at least worn short dresses. It was hot in May and I packed mostly maxi skirts to be safe. I also admit my biggest fail packing was I didn’t pack any tennis shoes. I brought all flats and sandals and thought I would be okay. Over our 11 day trip we walked over 114 miles and my feet killed me every day! I have all the restaurants we ate at if you want any recommendations! We loved both Rome and Florence but Florence was by far our favorite out of the two!

  3. 7.12.16
    Shannon commented:

    Great list! I spent a year in Europe (teaching English in Madrid), and Italy is definitely a country I want to visit again. Rome really does live up to all the hype! Safe travels 🙂

    shannoninthecity.com

  4. 7.12.16

    I’ve loved vacations I’ve taken solo. It sounds like you’ll have the perfect mix of by yourself and with a group. Have a blast!

  5. 7.13.16
    Alexandra commented:

    I’ve traveled through Europe by myself and have been to bars and restaurants alone. I would suggest that maybe you try sitting at the restaurant bar and talking to people or just grab a table a people watch, it’s always great. I also always bring my journal to write about my day and perhaps do some planning for the next day. Have a great time!

  6. 7.13.16
    Melissa commented:

    Have a great time Jessica. Reading your post is getting me excited about packing for my upcoming trip to St Lucia. Italy is on my travel wish list,

  7. 7.13.16
    Jessica commented:

    You’re going to have so much fun! Personally, I’d bring the larger suitcase. Since you’ll be wheeling it behind you anyway, you may as well have extra room for the souvenirs you’ll snag along the way. Nothing is worse than paying for an overweight bag (or buying a second suitcase the day before you leave!).

    Definitely bring the sneakers along for all of the walking you’ll do! They might not be the preferred pair for the Instagram, but you’ll appreciate the comfort.

    http://bedknobsandbaubles.com/

  8. 7.13.16
    Lindsey Heath commented:

    Girl, I am leaving for Positano on Tuesday, how crazy is that?! Youre going to have such a great time! If you have the time, you can hike the Path of the Gods which will give you amazing views and photos. Have fun!:)

  9. 7.13.16
    Rach commented:

    So exciting! I can’t wait to see pictures! I never travelled alone internationally so I am definitely curious to hear what your thoughts are after your trip!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  10. 7.13.16
    Kelli commented:

    I’ve done a trip around Italy and Rome was one of our stops. It’s so amazing. I hope you have a wonderful time. Your list is great. Like another person commented, I would say to make sure your shoes are super comfortable, because you will be walking a lot for most things, but the line to the Vatican, Colosseum, etc. can be hours of standing still. I used a crossbody while I was there and it was perfect. Make sure it’s one that closes easily, strictly for safety reasons. Also get a proper cappuccino while there! I hope you have such a great time.

  11. 7.13.16
    jessica commented:

    Sounds like an amazing trip! I could never do 2 weeks with a carry on so god speed if you do it!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

  12. 7.13.16
    Jenn Lake commented:

    Can’t wait to see all of the pics! Loving all of these outfit options – beyond chic!

  13. 7.13.16
    Jillian commented:

    I visited Rome, Florence, and Capri last year! You’re going to completely fall in love. In Capri, make sure to take the lift chairs up to the very top in Anacapri. The 360 views of the island are incredible! In Florence, make sure to venture down the little side streets. The cutest cafes and bars and shops are tucked into them. Enjoy!!!

  14. 7.13.16
    Alyssa commented:

    I’m SO jealous about this trip! Make sure you have sleeves for the Vatican and some of the other churches – I once had to borrow a guy friend’s button down (he had on an undershirt with sleeves) because I had cap sleeves and those were not okay.

  15. 7.13.16
    Meghan commented:

    Bring a colorful summer scarf for your LWD! That way you can wear it as a shawl for the churches and its a bit lighter than denim! And takes up less packing space! Enjoy i studied abroad in Florence and loved it!

  16. 7.13.16
    Lindsey Simon commented:

    Oh I hope you have so much fun! Love the orange romper and pom sandals!

    Love, Lindsey
    http://www.thenomisniche.com/

  17. 7.13.16
    Gina commented:

    I lived in Rome two years ago and your color palate for the cities is perfect! Romans are all about the neutral colors. Have a wonderful trip!

    PS Don’t miss Giolitti for gelato in Rome 😉

  18. 7.13.16
    Lulu commented:

    You’re going to have the best time!! In Rome, you MUST go to this gelato place called La Romana. It’s not only the best ice cream/gelato/sweet thing I’ve ever had but they’re SO nice there… and give complimentary whipped cream. I still dream of this gelato regularly. And if you go, please snap about it so I can live vicariously. Dar Poeta is also an amazing (and surprisingly inexpensive) pizza spot in the super cute area of Trastevere. And lastly, because I know you love a good bar, in Florence there’s one called the Skybar at the Continentale which has pretty much a 360 view of the city. Can’t wait to follow along!

  19. 7.13.16
    Christina commented:

    Your trip sounds so awesome – you’re going to so many beautiful cities and I hope you have an amazing time!! Two tips that I thought of for traveling in Italy are: 1. If you’re hoping to rent a Vespa at any point, I would recommend booking it ahead of time or at least researching the websites of local companies to see if they list the days they’re open – when my best friend and I were in the Almalfi Coast we wanted to rent one but we didn’t do our research beforehand and all of the shops were closed for no reason on the day we were interested in renting one! 2. If you’re planning on taking any trains between cities, always make sure you know how or where to validate your ticket – usually you have to do this at a small machine before you get on the train, otherwise they can fine you if you forget and that wouldn’t be fun, especially if you’re alone at the time. Workers at the train stations usually knew some English, so they’d likely be able to point you in the right direction 🙂 Again, hope you have a great time and can’t wait to hear what you thought of all the cities afterwards!

  20. 7.13.16
    Emily commented:

    Definitely bring a coin purse to keep Euros, it’s so much easier than bringing along your entire wallet! Have a fantastic time, Italy is amazing!!!

  21. 7.14.16
    Jill commented:

    This trip sounds amazing! I have traveled to Europe alone…London, Dublin, Paris (didn’t care for Paris) and I will be going to Amsterdam next year. Traveling alone to a country that doesn’t speak English is a bit daunting to me but I need to get over it! I want to see Prague and Budapest too. Can’t wait to read all about it when you get back!

  22. 7.14.16
    Sonya commented:

    I was in the Baltics, Amsterdam, and Paris on my own in May of this year and I went to Iceland last year by myself. Solo travel is fun and liberating. You’ll make more friends and be more open to talking to people. Have a fun trip!

  23. 7.14.16
    Janae commented:

    I love Italy! With that being said, I whole heartedly agree to bring comfortable shoes. Bring supportive sandals and sneakers! I unfortunately didn’t, and I had to pay the price and buy expensive shoes there… not fun. In case you do get blisters from the cobblestone streets, I would suggest bringing Band-aids and Neosporin because you never know! Have a great trip!

  24. 7.14.16
    Olivia commented:

    omg love this post such good tips! Love all the outfits!

  25. 7.14.16
    Mariel commented:

    I just got back from Italy! Yes yes try to bring your smaller suitcase, especially if you’re using trains to travel. I can’t imagine having had to haul a bigger suitcase across the cobblestone streets of Florence or Rome from the train to my hotels. Also Italians seem to have this amazing talent of only packing the most microscopic of bags.

    I foolishly thought loafers & white converse would cut it, but after being out all day long I bought an emergency pair of Nikes in Milan!

    The churches, especially in Rome, are super strict about the “covered knees & shoulders”. I was all about the short sleeve midi dresses.

    Have fun!

  26. 7.14.16
    TAMMY commented:

    Enjoy your trip. Good fashion choices. Cant wait for you to model all of those white dresses and other bright colors for us. Good idea to leave the flip-flops home. Sneakers are a must because you will be doing a lot of sight seeing. Don’t forget the bikini too.

  27. 7.15.16
    Haley commented:

    I just got back from studying abroad in Italy – you’ll love it!! Amalfi was so beautiful (especially Positano) and Florence was my favorite (a little bias since that’s where I lived). For Florence, definitely go to Edorados for gelato (open later and it’s the best one – they make their waffle cones in house!), go to La Giostra for the best dinner (pear ravioli, fresh burata, a free sampling plate and the best Tiramisù) – lots of celebrities go here, and for pizza go to Gusta Pizza (ask for them to make it heart-shaped and take it to go to eat on the Ponte Vecchio). Good luck and please snap it so I can feel like I never left!

  28. 7.15.16
    Andrea C commented:

    You trip sounds awesome!
    I was in Italy (Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, and Lake Como – specifically) for 12 days in March! It was amazing! Everywhere was pretty strict for my group, but it was rainy and chilly so everyone was covered up anyways.

    Rome was so much fun to get our travel legs started – a must that my coworker offered up was going to Campo de’ Fiori for pizza. It’s priced by the weight and bonus, you get it to go and you can walk around the market with pizza and beer. They also make great pastries. I would also suggest Cajo e Gajo in Rome. We sat outside and gorged on bruschetta, carbonara, pesto pasta, and mussel linguini and Peroni’s for lunch.

    For Florence, I’d suggest going to Yellow Bar (I had the tomato gnocchi, and sage ravioli), Gusta Pizza (get the gusta pizza with pesto), and ¡Perché no! (The best almond gelato I had, hands down!).

    In general, I’d suggest getting a cone when you get gelato. We didn’t see many trashcans when we wandered and the last thing you want to do is carry your cup around.

    I hope you have a wonderful time! Safe travels!

  29. 7.16.16

    I hope you have a great time and I can’t wait to see blog posts about your trip!!

  30. 7.18.16
    Katie Nelson commented:

    Another idea for the churches is to pack a lightweight scarf that you can throw over your shoulders or tie around your waist. Then, you can just toss it in your bag when the tour is over. I find I’m always chilly indoors, so this can also be nice for dinner or other indoor activities on the sweltering days! Have fun 🙂

  31. 7.20.16
    Lindsay commented:

    I think it’s so cool that you are traveling alone for a little bit. Not many people do it, and it’s definitely something that is admirable!

    Love your snaps btw! Have a great trip!

  32. 7.22.16
    Joanne commented:

    Hey! Great post! Sounds like a great trip. FYI – Florence is in the Region of Tuscany.

  33. 7.28.16
    Maggie commented:

    I have so enjoyed following along with you on your snapchat. You are so much fun!

    -Maggie http://www.thatgirlmags.com

  34. 8.13.16
    Emily Piskulick commented:

    packing for a trip that long is so hard! xo

    http://www.dearserendipity.com/