The Ultimate Packing List for Rome in the Fall
The Ultimate Stress-free Packing List for Fall in Rome will help you plan the perfect travel wardrobe to keep you looking stylish and feeling comfortable.
I’ve traveled to Rome in every season and the one thing I can always be sure of is that the weather will surprise me as much as the city does every time I visit. I can remember a trip in early January when a Sirocco wind came up from the Sahara after the rain and wind were gone came unseasonably warm temperatures. I sat outside at a cafe near Piazza Navona in just a short sleeve top and midi skirt, sipping my morning cappuccino. As I write this, yesterday’s high was in the mid 70’s and then last night Rome had a freak hailstorm and a thunderstorm that dropped lots of rain and giant hailstones and dropped the temperature by more than 10 degrees.
Fall is one of my favorite times to visit Rome and right now I’m packing for my next trip to Rome – I leave this Friday. So I thought I’d share my packing tips while they are fresh in my mind. The weather is beginning to cool down from summers sweltering heat – perfect sightseeing weather. The trick to successfully packing for Rome in the fall is to dress in layers, plan for rain and expect the unexpected. Morning temperatures could be in the low to mid 50’s with daytime high temperatures reaching into the mid 70’s.
Rome Packing List Philosophy
First things first – I’m not a packing minimalist, I’ll check 1 bag that will weigh in just under the 50 lb limit and I’ll carry a small tote with me on the plane. I don’t do laundry on the road – I’m too busy overdoing it with sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking to even think about laundry. Just reading tips about minimalist packing creates anxiety, and it doesn’t sound like fun. I don’t want to pack all my worldly belongings into a backpack or wear the same top 3 times during a week. I want to have a great time, feel great and look great. I’ve packed this way whether I was budget traveling, business traveling, or cruising.
Ultimate Packing List for Rome in the Fall
First, pick a color palette – I usually choose black, gray, cream and pops of color. When you choose your clothes, forget the advice to choose just basics, choose things that you love. Women in Rome dress a little nicer than we do most of the time, so if you have tops you love but that always feel a little too dressy this is the perfect excuse to pack them.
- 3 Pretty tank tops or spaghetti strap tops – these are going under a cardigan, sweater or poncho, so they can be your pops of color, or stick with your color palette
- 3 Cute short sleeve tops – again these are going to be your base layer so feel free to add color
- 3 Nice long sleeve tops – to be worn alone or layered
- 2 Dresses – 1 Black and 1 with a print or a solid color – these are for dinners so pick dresses you feel awesome in
- 1 Pair dark blue jeans – minimal distressing
- 1 Pair Black jeans or casual black pants
- 1 Pair Gray jeans or casual pants
- 2 Nice black or gray leggings – not sweatpants or yoga pants
- 4 Mid-weight cardigans or sweaters – I bring 1 black, 1 print or color, 1 ivory and 1 camel or gray
- 1 Leather Jacket
- 1 Lightweight Rain Jacket
- 1 Pair of socks per day
- 1 Pair of underwear per day
- 1 Pair of Yoga Pants for hiking trips or trips into the catacombs
- 1 or more scarves – this can help dress up outfits, keep you warm or cover up in churches. They weigh nothing, take up very little space and can be tied to make vest or kimonos. I usually pack 2 or 3, 1 basic color and 2 fun colors or prints.
- 2 Sweaters
- 2 Tanks to wear under sweaters.
- Hat or warm headband
- Gloves or mittens
Tips for Choosing the Right Shoes For Your Trips
- Choose shoes you love and will work with your travel color palette.
- Make sure you bring shoes that have already been broken.
- Plan a 3 or 4-mile walk on city streets and parks (walking the mall won’t tell you how your shoes will feel on uneven, cobblestone, city streets), even if you’ve owned your shoes for a while, you still need to do a trial run at home. I have a pair of shoes that I’ve worn several times and walked long distances in them, but when I did the 3-mile test I had blisters on the back of my heels by mile 2. I’m glad I did the test before I got to Rome.
- You also want to plan on walking up and down hills and inclines, to see how your shoes perform since Rome and Italy, in general, will have inclines and hills.
- 2 Pair of Walking Shoes – Choose a good, attractive pair of sneakers or other comfortable shoes, you’ll walk everywhere in Rome. I like to alternate shoes, it keeps my feet from getting sore and blistering. Some days I’ve walked over 7 miles just sightseeing, shopping, and eating.
- 1 Pair of Cute Flats or Wedges – Flats and wedges are perfect for dinner and drinks. The sidewalks and streets in Rome are uneven and old cobblestones and can be slick when it rains, trust me, leave your heels and home and bring a cute flat.
- 1 Pair Short Flat Boots – Flat boots are easy to walk in and they keep your feet warm.
- 1 Pair Tall Flat Boots – For colder days and dinners.
Stress-Free Tips For Staying Beautiful on the Road:
- Bring only the essentials. You’ll be too busy seeing amazing things to spend extra time on your make-up.
- I keep a stash of sample sizes from Ulta and Sephora + the gifts with purchase sizes.
- Before you leave for the trip try going 2 or 3 days between shampoos (especially if you have long hair). Use dry shampoo at the roots in between washes.
- Buy refillable travel bottles and fill them with your favorite products – you don’t have to limit yourself to the products that come in travel sizes.
- Leave the hair dryer at home – most hotels and condos you’ll rent will have them.
- If you have to bring a styling tool, bring your flat iron. Your flat iron is by far the most versatile styling tool. You can use it to smooth flyaway hair, create a straight style or create curls or waves + it packs small and can be tucked into an empty space.
- Shampoo and Conditioner – I bring mine from home – my hair is picky and I know how my shampoo and conditioner will affect my hair. If your hair isn’t picky you can pick-up shampoo and conditioner in Rome.
- Dry Shampoo
- Body Wash
- Face Wash Towelettes
- Toothbrush/Toothpaste – Put this in your carry on, you’ll want to brush your teeth before you get off your overnight flight – trust me.
- Hair Brush
- Flat Iron
- Hair Ties
- Tide Stick
- Body Lotion
- Body Powder
- Make-up – Foundation, concealer, lipstick, bronzer, eyeshadow palette, and mascara
Electronics & Other Handy Things:
- IPad or other Tablet – Load books, magazines, and movies before you leave home and you’ll have plenty of entertainment for any free time or long layovers. Leave the laptop at home unless you are on the road for longer than 2 weeks or you just can’t live without it.
- Smartphone – this replaces your camera (the new phones take great pictures), maps, and travel guidebooks, and in some cases tickets for tours and attractions. Make sure you add international roaming before leaving home. T-Mobile offers free unlimited text and data with their plan vs ATT that charges $10/day. I just switched to T-Mobile.
- Travel Power Strip – You need something that will convert your plugs into plugs that will fit into electric sockets in Rome + you’ll need to charge several items at a time and power outlets will be at a premium.
- Luggage Lock – Petty theft and pick-pocketing is a problem in Rome so always lock your luggage while using public transportation and even in your hotel room. Most hotels have an in-room safe, place all valuables in the safe.
- Umbrella – or just buy one from the street vendors that pop up every time it rains.
- Wine Opener – I love to pick-up wine, cheese, bread, and cured meats while strolling through Rome’s amazing neighborhoods. That way I can have a little appetizer before dinner since dinner in Rome is late. like 9:00 PM. I learned the hard way – a wine opener is necessary for opening a bottle of wine 🙂
Other Tips for Stress-Free Traveling in Rome
First, stop worrying about “fitting in” you are not going to be mistaken for an Italian. But you also don’t want to be “that” American tourist.
- Be nice. This should go without saying but, it can be harder than it sounds. Think about it, you arrive jet-lagged, you don’t understand the language, you’ve been warned about pickpockets – In other words, you are STRESSED. Take a deep breath, be nice and everyone in Rome will be so helpful and you’ll have a wonderful time.
- Be respectful. Back home, a church may be that place that you go with family for Christmas and Easter. Here in Rome, churches are history and works of art and are worth visiting even the smallest chapel. Just remember to be respectful. Cover your shoulders and knees. Speak in soft low tones, locals may be praying.
- Be Adventurous. Try something new. Visit an off the beaten path neighborhood. Ask locals for dining recommendations and other things to see and do, then actually take their advice. Take a cooking class. Eat in one of the small family-owned restaurants usually marked with beads or curtains and you’ll be fed like a family member. Full disclosure – I’m a picky eater but the food in Italy is so amazing and the people so accommodating I never have trouble finding something new to try.
- Relax and Have a Great Time – Don’t overthink packing and how to “fit” in. Just have a great time. Wear clothes you love, that make you feel great and are comfortable for long days of sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking.
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