What to Pack for Fall in Rome
Before too much time passes and we’re officially in the winter season, I wanted to answer a question that I get so often from people visiting Rome—“What should I pack for fall in Rome?”
Fall is one of the trickiest seasons to dress and pack for here in Rome because of the extreme temperature difference between early and late fall. While in September it’s still the height of summer here with days up to the high 90’s (30 degrees C), October has very warm days but also extreme rain at times and by November things have usually cooled down enough for a jacket and scarf to be appropriate.
To help in packing for this crazy season, I’m putting together a list of what I would bring to Rome in the fall, focusing on the clothing pieces that will be the most versatile.
Before getting into individual items of clothing, I’d really recommend this fashion blog’s 10x10 challenge that’s so easily adapted for travel and makes your life so much easier. Choosing 10 items of clothing (excluding outerwear and if you’d like, shoes) and wearing them over 10 days really shows you how far your clothing can go and how to mix and match pieces you already own. I love doing these types of challenges because they’re also a great way to curb spending impulses and overall have a more sustainable and ethical relationship with your clothing.
That said, you may want to bring more items if you’re traveling for longer or during a mid-season time period for more options. By dressing in layers and doing some outfit planning beforehand, you’ll find yourself a lot more relaxed when packing and dressing on your trip.
For the purposes of this post, I’m basing it on a 10 day trip in late October/early November and using some photo examples of what I packed for the trip I’m on this weekend in the Italian countryside (but which could be used for the city just as easily).
At least one light sweater to go under jackets and a heavier one to layer on top will provide a great base for your outfits while in Rome. I like to choose a couple of neutral colors and one pop to brighten up a boring outfit. In this case, I’m including a mustard yellow that I love for the fall season.
I personally don’t wash my bottoms between every use because I find they don’t need it and it extends their life a good deal. Jeans are obviously a must (maybe a light and dark/black wash) but then I bring a stretchy pair of pants that work for travel and layering under more voluminous tops or sweaters. Then one pair of “fun” pants in an interesting shape or pattern and that will do it.
1 dress or skirt
I love having a slightly “fancier” option that works if you dress it down with sneakers during the day or with heeled booties at night. A wrap maxi dress (or whatever dress you like for fall days) would work but I’m especially loving midi-length skirts right now either in a fun color or animal print and they work so well for day with a chunky sweater layered over.
6-7 base layers or tops
To me this category is comprised of the long-sleeve tops I layer under sweaters to keep them fresh. I’d rather change or wash this layer and keep the sweater available for more days. Including a few tops in basic colors and I think a fun printed blouse is nice to pair with jeans for a night out or day look.
2-3 jackets or blazers
Autumn in Rome really is the perfect temperature for a light jacket. Whether that’s denim or leather or both, they work really well here because you can stay warm enough without overheating. I’d also bring a blazer to wear during the day over a top or sweater and at night worn as a blazer dress with tights or with a low top. Grabbing your trusty leather jacket will really allow you blend in in Rome because women of all ages wear it out almost every night. And don’t forget something waterproof for the sudden deluges Rome sometimes gets during the fall (during the last week we’ve had more rain than we’ve had all year!)
3-4 pairs of shoes
A comfortable sneaker is a must for walking around during the day. I love Veja for a sustainable option or just grab your Nike’s and you’ll fit right in with the rest of the Italians. Booties are worn basically year-round here but are more appropriate from October on, so if you bring a pair with a flat heel you’ll be able to wear them during the day doing lots of walking which is so important. I would bring one other pair of “fancier” heels, either a bootie or block heeled shoe, and leave it here but if you’re a shoe person and can’t imagine going anywhere without at least 4, a pair of flats or loafers would work as well.
This is where I really like to bring a few options because jewelry, a scarf or bag takes up less space in your luggage but can transform an outfit. As usual, a crossbody for day-to-day wear is so helpful and can be transitioned to a night out easily. I highly recommend a smaller canvas or leather backpack so you can bring a snack or water along with you and shed your layers if you get too hot. I prefer a backpack to a tote because it’s more secure against pickpockets and better for your back.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Italy without a scarf of some sort. Italians rarely leave home without a scarf in these midseason periods and having a couple of different options can spruce up your outfit or keep you warm at night.
I also like a statement earring and bright lip to dress up an outfit from day-to-night and make you feel less out of sorts when you’re surrounded by Italians all dressed up.
So that’s my packing list for fall in Rome! It’s very customizable to your personal style and how comfortable you are with bringing less clothing. I’ve had experiences both ways, where sometimes I’m so glad I packed a lighter bag and everything worked out perfectly, but also a few times when I’ve been missing something and just had to make do. Whatever you end up bringing, your trip to Rome is bound to be a success and is completely not dependent on your outfit. Bring what you need to be comfortable and enjoy yourself!
If you enjoyed this list, you can check out the one I made for winter last year here. And if you have any questions about the weather or what to pack, leave them in the comments below.