What to pack for traveling in spring in Italy: must have items to be comfortable and stylish while visiting Italy in spring.
It’s time to get hold of my packing list and get the bags ready for my spring trip to Italy!
Or rather, this time last week was the time to get hold of my packing list for Italy… Now it’s time for me to unpack. I am just back from a great week in Rome and I am currently taken by the very ‘interesting’ task of sorting out my stuff: what goes in the laundry? What did I actually wear? Do the things I bought there still look as good as they did in the shop?
You know yourself: a soul destroying exercise that seems made to remind you that your holiday is over.
Still, while my stuff lies piled up in my room, I decided to make use of this moment and write a post about packing.
I think this is the best moment to do it, because as well as providing me with an excuse (‘I can’t unpack now, I am working at my blog!’), this is the moment when I have very clear ideas on what I used/didn’t use which I hope can make for good advice for everyone else.
Or even for my next trip.
Please note: this post was originally written in 2015 but the packing list has been updated in late 2018.
Spring in Italy: what weather to expect
The official start of spring in Italy is the spring equinox (21 of March) and spring officially ends on the first day of summer, the 21st of June.
However, on an average year, you can start feeling the start of spring in the air already in February, when mimosa blossoms start to appear, and by June you feel you are very much in full on summer temperatures.
How you actually experience spring in Italy depends largely on where you are and on the year. Italy is over 1000KM long and its geography is made of mountains, valleys and a long coastline.
The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate but this variety of landscapes means that you will experience seasons differently depending how North / South and how close to the mountains you are.
As a general rule:
March is very much a transition month and can still feel wintery. If travelling to the North of Italy in spring, do bring a jacket, scarf and umbrella and leave summer clothes behind: March in Italy is not shorts season yet.
April can be lovely in Italy: temperatures start to rise and you can usually unwrap from scarves and coats. However, April can also be quite wet and it is not unusual to have heavy showers. A light jacket and windbreaker are good to have at this time.
May usually sees pleasant temperatures: days are bright, long and usually mild, sometimes even warm. At this time, you don’t need to travel with a coat but especially if visiting the North it is wise to still have with you an outer layer.
June is technically spring in Italy but Italians think of it as summer and with good reason. In June, temperatures rise steadily and you are likely to be wearing sandals and shorts at least in the warmest part of the day. June in the south of Italy is a summer month and you are likely to experience hot and sunny days for the whole duration of your trip.
My packing list for Spring in Italy
Italy is known for being stylish but to feel like a local you don’t need to splash out on the latest designer clothes. Rather, opt for good quality basics and dress them up with accessories.
Here are the staples of my Italy in spring wardrobe. If you are travelling with young children, have a look at my kids packing list here
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Good quality jeans
Italians have a real love affair with jeans and a good pair will go a long way, being out of place only in obviously dressy situations like the opera, a ceremony or a really posh restaurant.
In most other occasions jeans are perfectly acceptable: just make sure that they fit well, are not ripped (unless you go for that look but then versatility is gone) and they are paired up with a nice top and some nice shoes.
Long and short sleeved tops for layering
One day-to-night top / shirt
I always make sure to include at least one top who can bring me from day to night. I always notice that in Italy people show less skin than in many other countries (surely much less than if you go out here in Ireland) so my rule of thumb for something versatile is to choose a nice but simple top for the day that I can dress up with accessories for the night.
For men, my husband always packs a shirt and /or a polo shirt. If you want to blend in with the locals, it is worth noticing that Italian men tend not to wear short sleeved shirts (or short socks!).
A casual dress
I love wearing dresses when travelling.My favourite types are simple dresses I can dress up or down with boots or heels. In spring, you are likely to feel cold on your legs so my advice is to do like the locals and embrace tights! Italians love tights and you see them in all colours, worn at all ages.
A light jacket or trench
Temperatures rise steadily in Italy in spring so depending when you go, I would bring wither a short, puffy jacket or a light one. Leather jackets are popular in Italy, faux ones growing in popularity every day.
Cardigans are a great mid layer.I usually bring two in colours matching my tops.
Scarves are maybe the one thing Italians love more than jeans. Both men and women use them extensively to keep warm and as a fashion accessory.
Also, if you are a woman scarves can come in handy when visiting churches as you can wrap them around your shoulders and disguise your strappy top.
Italian cities are best discovered on foot and a good pair of walking shoes is essential. I usually bring a pair of runners (my favourite walking shoes are these adidas) and in usually also pack a second pair either cute flats or boots.
Whatever style you choose, make sure that for spring in Italy you pack closed toe shoes as you are unlikely to use sandals except on the warmer days from May onward.
Necessity of fashion obsession? A bit of both! Italians love sunglasses as a fashion statement but they are also a must have item in spring in Italy.
This might sound funny but necklaces can change up a look and are a good way to make a simple outfit look dressier for a nigh out. Also they are a very ‘Italian’ thing to wear if you fancy feeling a little like a local: bold, colourful ones are popular in spring.
As well as the above of course I had my basics, my travel document, handbag, camera and of course an Italy guide. Please always remember that in Italy you should always have your ID on you so make sure you have a day bag that can keep it safe!
I hope this packing list came handy. Safe travels!
For additional ideas on what to pack specifically for Rome, you might want to have a look at my previous post about packing, which you can find here
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