What to pack for summer in Rome
Sharing all of my tips for what to bring to stay cool and not stick out on your trip to Rome this summer.
Dressing for summer in Rome is no easy feat. Striking the perfect balance of comfort, staying cool and not looking too out of place while you’re visiting is never easy and when temps are hovering around 95 F/35 C, staying cool usually wins out over style for me.
That said, I have a few tricks for what to pack for your trip to Rome and how to dress when you’re here in the summer months. I’ll try to cover all the bases but of course you need to narrow things down based on the weather and what activities you have planned (city vs. beach or countryside really affects this list!)
Here’s what to pack for summer in Rome
Plenty of tops/shirts
Unless you’re blessed with a washer/dryer wherever you’re staying on your trip, having a variety of tops and t-shirts is essential. I sometimes change mine twice a day— nothing’s worse than having to keep your sweaty, gross shirt on for dinner after a day touring the city.
Light button-down shirt(s)
As long as it’s breathable, a button-down is a great alternative to the strappy tops you’ll probably be wearing most days. Unless you’re super diligent about sunscreen application, sunburns are a real issue here and it’s nice not to have to worry about your shoulders if they’re covered.
Shorts/skirts that aren’t too restricting
Personally, I leave my jean shorts for the beach and when I’m not wandering around the city because I feel much more comfortable in a pair of slightly-longer, fabric shorts or a skirt. Gotta keep things breathable down there!
Whether they’re made of linen, cotton or a blend, as long as they’re wide legged and breezy, loose pants are the way to go. You never have to worry about covering your knees for a church and you’re completely protected from the sun without getting too hot.
Linen or cotton dresses that you can wear multiple ways and either dress up or down are perfect for summer in Rome. I’m loving the midi styles that cover your shoulders (great for sun protection and Vatican-approved) and your legs so any metro rides or gusts of wind won’t cause you to expose yourself.
If you’re planning on wearing sandals, make sure they’re both comfortable and heavy-duty enough that you’re not slipping around on the cobblestone streets or getting blisters after hours of walking around. I like to switch between a comfy pair of sandals (either Birkenstocks or a pair that fully straps to my feet) and sneakers so I don’t get any blisters and I have some options when it comes to making my outfits.
A light jacket or wrap
In the height of summer, you probably won’t need this at all, but for evenings in May or September, it’s nice to have something to throw in your bag for going out in the evening. Whether it’s a thin jacket or wrap is up to you!
Your cutest wide-brim hat
Having a hat to protect yourself from the sun and camouflage your hair after it’s fallen flat in the heat is essential. Consider a packable one if you want to put it in your suitcase but if you’re set on a straw hat, rock it on the plane ride over.
A light daypack and small crossbody
If you’re planning on being out in the city exploring all day, I would definitely recommend a small backpack to stuff a bottle of water to stay hydrated and maybe your camera. It’s nice to have a slightly bigger bag to fit more into during the day, but make sure it can be closed tightly so it’s secure when you’re in a crowd. A small crossbody is also convenient for daytime adventures and for going out at night. While larger totes or top handle purses can be pickpocketed quite easily, I’ll grab onto my crossbody and cover it with my hand when I’m in a crowd or on the Metro and I feel much safer.
Some of my other tips for dressing for Rome in the summer
I’m a huge fan of linen all year, but there’s nothing better for the hot, muggy summer months. I love linen pants especially because they’re breathable, cover you up enough so you feel comfortable in a city-setting and for any church visits, and are often less restricting than shorts. A linen top (bonus points if it’s a matching set!) is the perfect way to stay cool and breathable.
Stick to one color palette
As always when I’m packing for a trip, I try to choose all of my clothes so they fit with each other and I can mix and match. For summer that means a lot of tans, whites, some black and a few patterned/colorful pieces. Wearing lighter colors also makes a big difference when you’re standing under the sun for hours!
Accessories do all the work for you
Having a fun hat, earrings or sunglasses can really dress up an outfit that starts to feel stale if you’re repeating it. Dressing in all one color (love an all-white outfit with linen pants and top!) with some earrings is the perfect combination for hot summer days or nights in Rome, imo.