The Ultimate Packing Checklist for an Italian Summer Vacation

by | 17 May 2024

Imagine it: you’re skiing in the Dolomites, wandering Rome’s Colosseum, then spending an afternoon cruising the Sicilian coast, all in the span of a few days. Whether you’re traveling by plane, rental car, or relying on Italy’s exceptional railway network, you can cover a sizable portion of the country in a two-week trip. Which makes a packing checklist quite difficult to create. 

It’s one thing to scribble down a city break packing list for a long weekend away from home, but a holiday check list spanning multiple climates means finding a balance between bringing everything you need without overwhelming your arms with luggage. Well we’re here to help to make the most of all Italy’s amazing landscapes, in three bags or less.

Still hoping to get away in 2024? Travel ‘Business Class’ for less with our seasonal travel deals here

For travel inspiration: Italy destination guide


1: The Italian Essentials 

A lady pacing a suitcase, including beige wooled knits and a cream handbag.

No matter where you’re traveling in Italy, there are a few items you’ll likely need. 

  • 1 respectable, conventional outfit. Many holy sites, such as the Vatican, have dress codes. Bringing one semi-formal outfit will ensure you are allowed access to these sites; and if you don’t wear it in a church or cathedral, you’ll still have a nice outfit to wear for more formal nights out.
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes. Whether you’re a history buff or a shopaholic, you’ll have no trouble hitting your step goal while visiting Italy. Comfortable, secure footwear are essentials on any Italian packing checklist, particularly if you’re headed to Rome, Florence or Naples.
  • 1 day bag. There’s so much to explore even in the smallest of Italian villages, so you’ll want to be ready to wander without limits. Bring a lightweight backpack or large purse with you to hold your essentials for a day trip, such as a refillable water bottle, sunscreen and a small umbrella.

Discover Italy in “Business Class” style on: Best of Italy

For inspiration on when to travel you may enjoy: Blossoming romance: Why May is the best time to visit Italy


2: High Altitudes & Low Temperatures 

A wide shot of a house on Lake Maggiore in Italy, with blue water and mountains in the background

Northern Italy offers some of the most diverse experiences in Italy. From swimming in Cinque Terre and truffle hunting in Alba to relaxing in Lake Como and hiking the Dolomites. There’s way more than Venice in the north of Italy, so come prepared by adding these three essentials to your packing checklist. 

  • 1 pair of bad weather boots. Hiking shoes, rain boots, a pair of old sneakers that you do yard work in. Bring a pair of shoes that are comfortable yet sturdy for varied terrain. You want to be safe where you step without ruining your everyday footwear.
  • 1 jacket, preferably waterproof/water resistant. Regardless of the season, you’ll likely need a layer to keep you warm and dry when exploring Northern Italy. A large winter coat will suffice in the coldest months; a windbreaker will do the trick in late-spring, early summer, while a hoodie or insulated jacket is best for late-summer, early-autumn.
  • 1 hat, 1 scarf, 1 pair of gloves. The scarf and gloves may only be applicable between September and March, but you should consider adding headwear to your holiday check list no matter the season. High altitudes create an icy chill as winter looms while summer’s arrival brings strong sun exposure. A cap, beanie, or even a fashionable sun hat can help protect you from the weather variations as you hike in the hillsides. 

Discover this on: Country Roads of Northern Italy

You may also be interested in: From Carnivals to Candle Races: 12 Months of Cultural Celebrations in Italy

3: All Set for a City Break

The street to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, lined with other ancient buildings is shown against a blue sky

Rome. Pisa. Bologna. Foggia. You can plan an entire Italian itinerary with only city breaks and have the time of your life. That’s why having the right items on your city break packing list is so important. 

  • 3 sets of comfortable, flexible underwear. The wrong choice of underwear can make any trip deeply uncomfortable. Breathable, flexible undergarments that wick moisture and stretch with your body’s movements are essential.
  • 3 pairs of breathable, reliable socks. Just as underwear is important, socks are just as key for your comfort and convenience. Cheap socks equal blisters, and assuming you’re spending some of your city break exploring nearby ruins, you’ll want your feet at full strength.
  • 1 portable laundry kit. Unlike the beach where you’ll live in a swimsuit or the mountains where you’ll layer up for days, city breaks tend to stick the smells of the city to your outfits. Bringing a portable laundry kit comes in clutch. Purchase one or make your own easily with a travel sized bottle of detergent, a small scrub brush, and a soaking bag. All you’ll need is a sink and running water to freshen up your clothes. 

See for yourself on: Grand Italy & Sicily

You may also enjoy reading: 10 fascinating things you’ll learn on this 10 day Italy tour



Country Roads of Italy TOUR

4: Sun & Shore

White flowers lien this shot out over the Amalfi coastline in Italy, with a bright blue sea and sunshine

Presumably, your holiday check list for the beach should involve fewer pairs of clothes and less accessories. Still, there are a few items you’ll want on-hand when hanging out on the Amalfi Coast, Sicily or Puglia’s beaches. 

  • 1 bottle of high SPF sunscreen that’s eco-friendly. The importance of sunscreen cannot be overstated. Stay on the safeside with a high SPF lotion that is water resistant. Make sure it’s also free of harsh chemicals that can pollute the water or harm wildlife. Italy’s beaches are stunning; bring a sunscreen that keeps them spectacular.
  • 1 dry bag. If you find yourself at the beach, there’s a good chance you’ll also find yourself on a boat. Whether it’s a ferry or a felucca, a dry bag to preserve your valuables is a lifesaver. These small, collapsible bags are also great for traveling in the rain or snow.
  • 1 pair of slip-on shoes. Sandals and water shoes are more versatile, but don’t discredit the utility of a thin pair of flip flops. Having a pair of shoes you can slide on and off easily is much more convenient.

Discover this on: Italian Escapade

Bookmark for later: What’s so special about Sicilian cuisine? Everything, says Travel Director Mark 


5: On The Road

Winding road through Tuscan landscape at sunset

No matter what part of Italy holds your destination, you’ll spend time getting from A to B. Make the journey as smooth as possible by adding these items to your packing checklist. 

  • 1 on-the-move outfit. Perfect for planes, trains, buses, and more, pack one outfit that keeps you comfy and cozy while en route to your destination. Flexible fabrics help you recline with your seat while a thicker layer keeps you warm no matter if you’re flying above the Italian Alps or speeding through the Tuscan countryside.
  • 1 small bag for valuables. You can’t always keep your luggage within arm’s reach, but you’ll usually be permitted to have one small handbag with you no matter what form of transportation you use. A small clutch purse or drawstring backpack to store essentials like your travel documents, electronics and chargers, medications, and even a good book will make your in-transit hours much more convenient.  

You’ve got the perfect packing checklist, now put it to use.Why not join our 17-day Grand Italy & Sicily tour, transporting you from Venice and Lake Maggiore down through Rome, Capri, and all the way to Palermo?

About Nick Dauk
Nick is an American travel writer based in Orlando. From visiting a Mayan god in Guatemala to sand boarding in Egypt to sniffing out white truffles in Italy, Nick embraces unique cultural experiences wherever and whenever he can. When he’s not lugging his backpack between Bogota and Bucharest, he’s carrying his children through the zoos and museums of Central Florida.