This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
Packing is never easy. But Autumn is just one of those weird seasons… especially if you’re planning to travel to Italy. The North can be colder than the South. September is pretty different from October: what a mess! Being a local and a traveler I know that the struggle is real, especially now that the baggage allowances are more and more strict. So many people feel intimidated by going to Italy even because of their luggage. What to pack for a trip to Italy? Milan is the Italian capital of fashion! What do people wear in autumn in Italy, anyway? I’m also a worrywart so please, let me help you to prepare your packing list for Italy in Autumn to get that “Italian look” and to be prepared to everything the weather might throw at you!
Autumn is one of the best seasons if you are planning to cross a few names off your list of Italian getaways. The huge crowds of tourists (as it happens most of the times in Florence) are mostly gone after the peak season, the weather is still mostly good and everything is (slightly?) less expensive.
Northern Italy travel can be pretty difficult from Southern Italy travel! I live in Naples and I can tell you without a doubt that you never know what to expect. Some years we don’t see a drop of rain until late October. Some others, summer ends with the end of September. Yet a couple of years ago in Sicily some people were nicely tanning on the beach in December!
North Italy vs South Italy
So it seems that preparing a list with our Italy outfits might not be so easy. Especially if you’re planning a multi-city trip. I must admit that there’s no general rule, as our climate gets weirder with every passing day.
We can definitely say that weather in Italy in September is never “cold”. Wherever you go. Expect temperatures averaging on 26°C in the Northern regions of Italy, and still 28-32°C in the South.
According to my sister who lives in Milan, people of Northern Italy usually don’t even mind the slight chill, because it’s a nice break from the super hot summer (here you can find a super useful guide to what to wear in Italy in summer).
Mosquitoes might still be a problem tho, so if you bring with you some bug spray it’ll be definitely handy. In case you’re planning to go out in the evening, just wear a long sleeved cotton shirt. I always pack a light jacket when I’m not sure, just in case!
September in Italy is still warm so, unless it’s a very unlucky year (I hope not!), you will really be able to explore the Amalfi Coast on a Vespa (among my favorite Amalfi Coast tours there’s also the chance to explore the coast on a vintage car), or jump in the turquoise waters of Capri. Remember that if you’re planning to visit Positano, you can buy amazing handmade sandals as souvenirs from your trip to Italy!
If you’re packing for Italy in September and you are visiting the South, absolutely make sure to bring a few t-shirts and maybe some tank tops. Sandals (these are gorgeous and super comfy) and flip flops are also mandatory! The Eternal City will also be quite warm, so bring some nice dresses if you’re planning to visit Rome for a few days!
Weather in Italy in October starts to get more chilly. The Northern Italy regions are going to be slightly colder, and it will rain more. Make sure you bring with you a pair of waterproof sneakers that you can use to explore also if it’s raining, or maybe, even better, a pair of ankle booties that you can also re-use for going out in the evening! Northern Italy travel in October requires a jacket!
The South in October is still warm, but not so much. Yet this year we’ve had over 30°C even in October and we’ve gotten some chill only in the beginning of November! Even if it rains, we get very bad thunderstorms that last ten minutes or so. Afterwards you might still get some sun!
In October I’ve seen tourists enjoying the view from the cannon terrace at Castel dell’Ovo in Naples while eating Italian Gelato: Italy is split in two when it comes to the weather!
Expect the weather in Italy in November to be even colder. In the North it starts raining a lot!
Fall is also a very interesting season for a vacation in Italy for the food lovers. It’s the period of the year where in Italy we start the new wine, or get the olives to make the new oil, and we have the best chestnuts. Why am I saying this? Because in Tuscany (it also happens in other Italian regions but Tuscany has so much to offer) during Fall you can plan a wine or olive tasting tour.
In the South you can go on tours to gather the chestnuts in beautiful woods in full foliage and maybe eat them in delicious cakes… see what I’m trying to point out here? The “Bel Paese” is less crowded, less warm, and you can experience off the beaten path tours that will show you a side of my Country that I swear it’s very interesting (and delicious: let’s not forget about the food!). It can also be a good destination for solo females, also in Winter.
Don’t despair yet! You won’t have to drag around a heavy suitcase for your trip to Italy. There is a way to save space in our luggage in every season and to dress up for every occasion. In italy we call it the “a cipolla” style, which means using layers like an onion. I’m becoming a master at mixing and matching different outfits, even if I’m not the perfect Instagram model: traveling light is a must for us!
So let me give you a few suggestions on what to pack for Italy, with cool suggestions that will make you look like a local!
Italian wardrobe ideas
Northern Italy regions – Stylish September outfit
So you might be wondering what you should add to your packing list for Italy. Let’s start with a very nice example of the kind of outfits you can see in every bigger city (especially in the North) in September.
While I’m not a big fan of heels when I’m walking around to explore, there are some places where you really can’t go wearing your ratty sneakers. The Steve Madden sandals you see in the picture are an open toe model, low mainteinance life (which means they won’t trouble you while you’re on the road) and look great both with dressy or casual outfits.
The plateaued sandals are less stressful for the feet and can be a great of options for those who aren’t good with stilettos. I also love this model so much because it has an easy side-zip fastening and the buckle detail (it’s amazing!). If you’re going to Italy on a warmer September, I own a pair of these sandals and I’m absolutely in love with them. They’re so comfortable, stylish, and can be combined with so many outfits!
The black co-ord is basically perfect for many occasions. You won’t have any problem in walking inside any church (you have your shoulders and legs covered), you’re perfect for a shopping session, and you can also re-use it for going out in the evening, wherever you decide to eat.
I love this co-ord from Asos because it is cheap and very elegant. It’s a slim fit jumper with a cute tie neck, and a pair of black trousers like the ones you see in the picture. There’s also a more expensive option, using these tailored trousers and this gorgeous blazer, but it’s really up to you and your budget!
Recently I’ve read of another traveler who was wondering if she could bring her designer bags with her in Milan. She didn’t know if they were too much: rest assured, they’re not!
With this outfit you can use a Ted Baker bag with bow detail and chain strap. Or, if you’re a bit like me (so basically… Mary Poppins is one badass girl), think about this Moschino tote. It’s classy, it fits a lot and it will be also useful on the flight, to stuff your tablet, earplugs, iPod, Kindle… did I mention that I can’t live without my tote?
If you like her sunglasses, I’ve found a cheap-but-cool pair here!
Southern Italy regions – Stylish September outfit
One of the best travel tips for Italy I can give you is… to pack light. Whenever you can, choose outfits that you can mix and match. But above all, after you’ve prepared your itinerary, sit down and actually write down your outfits! You can have them all prepared already, there’s no need to bring like 10 shirts knowing you’ll never wear all of them!
The weather in Italy in September is still going to be pretty warm, especially in the South. With this style you can eventually reuse the trousers already used for the previous outfit. Or even better, bring a pair of stretch jeans, or black leggings – you can even buy a pair of these super comfy compression leggings for this kind of trip!. You can wear them also when hiking on Mt. Vesuvius or just exploring the countryside!
Here I’ve found a super cheap and very sexy version of the crop top in the picture. There’s also a longer one, in case you don’t feel comfortable exposing your tummy. It can be used also for October in Italy, and that you will definitely wear a lot because it can be matched to many outfits. Check it out by clicking here. If you need something lighter and that you can use for the slightly chilly September evenings, this one is very much like the one in the picture.
That hat is definitely the perfectly stylish touch: I am in love with panama hats like this one from Amazon. No matter what you do… it’s always a good choice!
I even found a super-cheap pair of sunglasses to go with the outfit!
Italy in Autumn – bring a cute dress!
If you’re packing for Italy in September, you should never forget a nice dress. As I mentioned already, the weather will probably be still warm. And you’re visiting Italy, so you will have plenty of occasions to wear it: I’m not a fan of packing items just to show them off on Instagram!
This one for example is absolutely gorgeous and flatters every shape: some serious inspiration! It covers all the main points. V-neck – check. Crossover front – check. Split sides – check. I’m going to buy it too!
If you’re looking for the “Fall colors”, this one is bold and has a nice feel also for the nights out, to give you a vintage “Italian vibe“, that won’t make you stick out like a sore thumb.
I even found an off the shoulder version. For me it was love at first sight. But I actually couldn’t wear it without… ehm… having my lady bits all over the place. If you are a curvy lady, it might not be good for you as there isn’t much space for our breasts! On a side note, (speaking out of experience) bright colors look wonderful in pictures!
If you’re planning a night out at the theatre or at a very fancy winery (here you can find a handy guide to tipping in Italy with Italian sentences that you can use), maybe you should think of a more elegant style like this one by Asos. Its asymmetric hem and the naked shoulder make it the perfect choice!
Autumn boots – a must pack for October
Packing a good pair of Autumn boots is mandatory if you want to visit Italy in October or November. You will need them in the Northern regions, because it will rain, but also in the South for the occasional rainy afternoon.
Your boots will also come in handy for some hiking. Autumn is the foliage season: you can’t miss your chance to enjoy it in Italy!
They are a bit expensive but they will last you for years and they won’t hurt your feet. Of course they’re not hiking boots, but they will work just fine for your trip around Italy.
This is my favorite pair of fall boots ever, and it comes in several colors. You can combine it with so many outfits and it’s also waterproof, so in case of rain, your feet will stay dry!
I also own a pair of these ones with a ruber heel: I don’t only get to wear them in late autumn but also in Winter. They are perfect with denim and a long trench, but can be also worn under the less elegant dresses.
Always prefer the kind of stuff that has many uses: it’s the secret to packing light!
Italy travel tips – Jackets and coats
You will absolutely need to bring a jacket or a coat for your trip to Italy. Even if the weather seems to be sunny. Even if it’s a warm year. It might be better to pack a light one in stead than being cold when you leave it at home.
Italy can in fact be expensive and should you find yourself in trouble, you’d be forced to buy a new jacket, spending a lot of money that you could’ve saved for fun activities.
Always try to be prepared!
What kind of jacket you will need depends on when you’re going to Italy. The weather in September will be warmer, so chances are that you will be just fine wearing a blazer like this very cute stretchy one or this longer version which leaves your arms uncovered.
If you prefer a long trench, it is perfectly fine. I love this oversized one: it flatters every shape!
Weather in Italy in October, especially if you plan to visit by the end of the month, will start to get colder. Here in the South I still wear (faux) leather jackets for most of November. Or a nice wrap coat for the elegant nights out like this one by Calvin Klein.
In the North my sister has to wear a wool trench, like this very classy one with a vintage feel.
If you’re planning to visit Italy in November, you will need something padded and waterproof. Like this one with a hood (which means that you won’t have to bring an umbrella), or this longer one, which is very warm, soft and has that “big city” look that we all love!
What to wear in Italy in Autumn – in a nutshell
- Don’t over pack!
- Always try to mix and match
- The South is warmer during the day but it will be chilly in the evening
- Pack a light waterproof jacket or bring an umbrella
- Check online the restaurants you want to go to, so you won’t risk being overdressed
- If you are staying in Italy for longer than two weeks, use a laundromat in stead than overpacking
Coming to Italy? Don’t forget to bring your Lonely Planet with you!