As both a fairly seasoned traveler and a resident of Italy, I have some experience in packing for travel here to share with you.
Packing for summer and winter are fairly easy here…in the winter it will be cold and rainy or cold and snowy depending on how far north or south you are in the country…in the summer it will be hot, damn hot…in August you will melt…you need a bathing suit and sunscreen.
In spring and fall the weather here is extremely variable. This is not just based on where you will be in the country, of course the more northern regions, like Milan, Como and Venice, will tend to be cooler. But within regions temperatures and weather can vary significantly…and by significantly I mean within 10C/20F within a day or two.
Because of the tendency for weather to change and for most travelers to want to experience a fair amount of the country in a fairly short amount of time here are a few tips to keep you dressed comfortably for the weather:
- Pack layers—this is key, when you set off in the morning you will want an average of three or four…by late afternoon you could be down to the final layer. I prefer skinny strapped tank tops, short sleeved shirts, light sweaters and a light jacket. These all pack easily.
- Always pack a bathing suit…you never know when a gorgeous beach day will present itself…it could happen in April or October.
- Sunglasses are a must.
- Do not forget to pack shoes for various climates…cold feet do not make for comfortable walking tours. To save packing space wear the bulkiest shoes you will be bringing on the plane.
- Pack the smallest umbrella you can find…there are generally people selling them when storms pop up, but it is nice to have one ready and it will rain in both the spring and fall.
- Make sure to reserve some room in your luggage for shopping…if you do not find at least five adorable things you want to buy here then you are, indeed, unusual.
- If you are arriving on a Sunday make sure that you have all of your necessary toiletries…depending on where you are staying it may be difficult to find them on Sundays (or especially the Monday after Easter) and going two days without a toothbrush is never pleasant.
On a final note, make sure to get a good sized memory card for your camera and pack extra batteries…you will take a HUGE amount of photos here.