10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer

Are you heading over to Italy this summer? I will be there with my 2017 Glam Italia Tours, and am already thinking about what I’m going to wear, what to pack and what to leave behind.

Figuring out what to pack is the key to a fantastic vacation. You want to look chic yet be comfortable, have clothes for very occasion you’re going to need, and not pack too much.

Some of the things you need to have for any trip to Italy include good walking shoes, a scarf to throw over your shoulders when going into churches, and some hem lengths that at least hit mid-thigh to knee area. Every year I take travelers to the Duomo in Siena, and every time we see tourists in short shorts or short skirts who have to put on paper skirts if they want to go inside! The sun gets fierce over there so you should pack a good hat too. I found a killer hat on Revolve.com but I didn’t buy it on time and now I can’t find it anywhere.

too much luggage in florence

One of my friends with too much luggage in Florence!

Here are 10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer (plus a bonus tip!)

10 Packing Tips For Travel To Italy This Summer

Don’t Overpack

I learned this the hard way, but when you are traveling in Italy do not overpack! Unless you have a porter trotting around with you everywhere you go, carrying your bags, getting them on and off the trains for you, driving you and your bags around in your own assigned vehicle, you will be miserable if you have overpacked! Cars in Italy are small and you will not have room for multiple bags unless you have a car to yourself. Even then you won’t be able to leave your car anywhere with all your bags visible because they won’t be there when you get back!

If you are staying in vacation rental apartments, and my trips always do, you will probably find yourself having to carry your heavy suitcase up multiple flights of stairs to get to your apartment. These buildings are centuries old, and many do not have elevators. Trying to maneuver heavy suitcases, or too many bags through the train stations and on and off trains is a nightmare, especially when you are getting on and off full trains and having to quickly get yourself up or down a staircase to your next platform! Been there, done that, never again!

Only Pack things That Can Be Worn Multiple Times.

I used to be the queen of wearing every single thing I brought with me,  but only wearing each thing once. It was incredibly stupid! Pack items that you can wear multiple times (or at least more than once), and that are interchangeable with other items in your suitcase.

Pack more Tops Than Bottoms.

It’s super easy to change things up and look like you have many outfits if you have more tops than bottoms. I’m always re-pinning other people’s travel packing stories on Pinterest, where they have 3 pairs of pants/skirts and 6 tops and make it look like 20 fresh outfits. I haven’t quite mastered it myself yet, but I’m working on it! Check out my Pinterest Travel Packing Board Here

Don’t Pack More Than 3 Pairs Of Shoes.

Seriously. Shoes take up so much space in your suitcase, and you really don’t need too many pairs with you.

I once had a traveler who brought 14 pairs of shoes with her. She ended up boxing most of them up and sending them home at huge expense.

Related Post: How To Use Trains In Italy

Bring good, comfortable walking shoes. I wear fun colored Supergas that look chic, but that I can walk in all day long. Pack sandals that you can walk in forever, and that won’t give you blisters or aching feet, and maybe one other pair for going out at night. Everywhere you go you will see super chic travelers wearing Birkenstock Gizehs. Technically they don’t look bad and you can literally walk in them all day and night. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would even own a pair of Birkenstocks I would have died laughing  and told you you were mad. However, one of my travelers back then pointed out to me that everyone was wearing them and that they are beyond comfortable, and I’m not quite sure how she did it but she talked me into getting a pair. I have never looked back! I have a black pair and a white pair, and this year I may buy some other color too. I order them on Zappos.com (A sude note about Birkenstocks: you need to wear them around to break them in before you travel)

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Don’t Pack Heels

Italy is all hills and cobblestones, and high heels just aren’t practical while you are there. In fact they become a liability. Not only are you likely to twist, sprain or break your ankle, but you are unlikely to be able to keep up with the rest of the group as they are heading out and about.

Related Post: 10 Things You Absolutely MUST Do In Rome

Don’t Pack Multiple Electronics

You don’t need a laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, and a smartphone. They take up valuable space and can get quite heavy. These days electronics can multi-function, so only bring what you need, and items that do more than one thing.

Don’t Pack “Just In Case” Items

Basically you won’t need them. If by chance you get invited to a ball while you are there, go buy a ball gown in Italy – it will be more chic and fashionable anyway! Anything that you may suddenly need you can always buy there.

Don’t Pack Extra Pairs Of Jeans

Jeans are amazingly heavy (I found that out the hard way) and you really don’t need multiple pairs with you. (also found out the hard way)

Pack one pair if you think you will need them, and leave the rest behind.

Don’t Pack At The Last Minute

This is where the mistakes happen. Plan out your outfit for each day, well ahead of time. I start with a rolling rack and put on it everything I think I might like to wear, and over the days or weeks prior to my trip I start pulling out the things that maybe won’t work, that I can get by without. Think about the climate you are traveling to and what you will be doing while you are there. Italy is all about walking and is full of hills, so make sure you are packing comfortable clothes and shoes to walk in.

Related Post: How To Order Coffee In Italy

Only Pack Things You Love

There is no point in packing clothes that you feel iffy about. Only bring things that you love, that look great on you, and that you will adore walking around in.

Leave Room In Your Suitcase For Shopping!

There is SO MUCH amazing stuff to buy in Italy, and you are going to want to bring some of it back home with you. From Italian leather handbags and jackets, to ceramics, to food, to wine, to clothes and shoes (this is afterall the world capital of fashion!), no matter who you are you are going to find all manner of amazing things that you want to bring home with you, so leave yourself plenty of space in your suitcase.

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Packing Tips For Summer In Italy

How To Pack For An International Trip

I always read about people who pack an entire month’s worth of travel into a carry-on bag, and although part of me is impressed with how clever that is the rest of me is horrified at the thought of wearing the same thing over and over!
When people tell me they pack one black dress and the next day wear it with a blue scarf and hey presto! a whole new outfit! I always just think “no, you are wearing the same now dirty black dress with a blue scarf. No difference.”

I actually do work relatively hard to have items that mix and match and create lots of different outfits, based on a neutral palette, but that also bores me silly. There is this part of me that thinks a trip overseas is a major deal, and therefore I want to wear clothes that I love and feel happy in. And for me that tends to be bright colors that don’t necessarily mix and match. So how I pack everything becomes a little more important because even though I wear everything I take with me,  by most people’s standards it’s too much.

Buy a really good suitcase. 

I am clearly not a backpack or duffle girl, although when I first started traveling I would happily have been.
A couple of years ago I changed suitcases and bought a 25 inch Samsonite suitcase.
When you are shopping for suitcases look at the construction over all else. The shops are full of super lightweight cases, but most will crush if a heavy bag lands on them, which means anything breakable you have inside, will break. My Samsonite is relatively lightweight, but super sturdy. Find a Samsonite like mine on sale  here and similar suitcases on sale at The Container Store here.

Don’t buy black.

When you are standing at the baggage carousel after 10 hours flying and you are exhausted, watch how many black suitcases go swirling by you. They all look the same, which makes it easy for another weary traveler to pick up yours and head out into the world with it.
I bought a red suitcase, last year one of my travelers brought an orange one. They were easy to spot, and there were very few circling by us in the same colors.

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Get 360 degree wheels.

Sooooo crucial! The difference in maneuverability is incredible, and the decrease in stress on your back is worth its weight in gold!
This is another reason to buy a quality case though, because you want wheels that stay on and don’t break when your suitcase is being thown around by baggage handlers.
I found plenty of cool looking, chic cases that had flimsy looking wheels or cheap plastic wheels. Samsonite stands by their product and repairs any breakages, so should I have one at least they will fix it. My red suitcase has done multiple trans-world trips and so far nothing has broken.

Size matters.

I really can’t do anything smaller than a 25 inch case, but I definitely won’t go any bigger. I have friends that travel with a 23 inch, but that is too small for me. Always keep in mind how you are going to get your bag on and off the baggage carousel, and how you are getting it to and from where you are going. The bigger the bag, the more you will fill it.

Don’t use a hard case carry on bag.

This may sound odd. For years I used a hard-sided rolling carry-on bag. It was genius in the airport, right up until I got my suitcase off the carousel, at which point it was hell. Especially traveling in Europe where you are getting on and off trains, maneuvering along cobble stoned streets, and climbing stairs to get to your apartment.
I now use a soft carry-on, and as soon as I have my suitcase at baggage claim I put the carry-on inside it, leaving me with just one suitcase and my handbag. Frankly it is one of my best travel hacks ever!

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Roll your clothing.

My mother is a world traveler, and is super chic. She told me years ago to roll my clothes when I pack them to stop creasing and to maximize space. It took me a while to get on board with it, but now I roll all my clothes.

Use packing cubes.

This is the best thing ever, especially if you need clothes for different occasions and climates. I use the Eagle Creek packing cubes, and I have them in a variety of sizes. I compartmentalize clothes for different parts of each trip, or breakdown clothes into categories and have one cube for lingerie and swimwear, another for T-shirts and tanks, another for skirts and sundresses – you get the picture. It makes travel so much easier. 
I also have a small cube that I use for all my chargers and electronic gadgetry. I always know where everything is, and I never have to rifle through a suitcase to find anything.
I always pack a cube with three days worth of outfits and necessities in case my suitcase doesn’t arrive with me. Again it keeps everything super organized.

I bought my Eagle Creek packing cubes at The Container Store.

FYI The Container Store has a travel sale on right now, which would have been perfect timing for me, except that I already have everything. Except for maybe one of these Tab Messenger Seat Back Organizers. They look pretty cool.


The Container Store

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What To Pack This Summer For Capri

Capri has to be one of the most glamorous places on earth.

Perched prettily in the Gulf of Naples with a view along the Amalfi Coast, (from Villa Jovis) Capri is all spectacular views, sapphire blue ocean and glamour for days.

From the top of the world at Villa Jovis, looking down at the water surrounding Capri

I always think about Jackie O in her heyday walking around Capri town buying sandals. In fact every time I go to Capri I buy sandals from the same store Jackie O did! (read about it here)


When you are packing for your trip to Capri there are some key elements to keep in mind.

Capri is luxe casual. It is the epitome of chic, but effortless chic. 
Cottons and linens wear beautifully on this sunny island, lightweight fabrics that move with you when you walk. 

Here is my list of what you should be packing to take to Capri this summer.

Ideal staple items to base your wardrobe on are a great pair of wide legged, flowy white linen pants like my favorite Cool Breeze Wide Leg Linen Pant  from Nic and Zoe. Pair them with a sapphire loose fitting tank.


A maxi sundress is a must on Capri. I love this Quintana maxi from Sky, available at Revolve.com


Abandon your black and your beige – they look out of place and dull on Capri. Channel some 60’s glam with some Pucci instead.


Leave your heels at home, trading them in for a chic flat sandal. I like to buy world famous Capri sandals at Shettino on via Roma just beyond the piazzetta in Capri town.

Dolce and Gbbana retro style bikini

Malibu Barbie swimwear looks crass in a place as fabulous as Capri. Opt instead for a vintage/retro style bikini or maillot. 

Dolce and Gabbana vintage style maillot

Protect your face with a wide brimmed hat like this one from Revolve Clothing. (I found Revolve via the fabulous @rachelzelic on Instagram)


Sunglasses are a must on an island, and glamorous, chic sunglasses are essential on Capri.
 Leave your traditional aviator styles at home, instead wear an oversized pair like the Dior Twisting 58mm glasses


or something uber-chic and new like Dior So Real sunglasses.

Makeup needs to be so minimal it borders on non-existent. A full face of makeup looks redundant on a sun drenched island, so stick to the basics. A gold tinted dry oil, like Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or 


keeps your skin hydrated and gives you a fabulous glow. Use a waterproof brow product so that you can swim and still have brows, and a blockbuster lash building waterproof mascara is a must. My favorite for years and years has been DiorShow Blackout Waterproof


If you want some extra bronzing use a gel bronzer so that your skin looks fresh.

Top off your Capri summer makeup with a bold pop of lip color like Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lip in Venezia


Don’t forget your hair. You can’t be blown out perfection on an island, even a super glam island – it just looks like you’re trying too hard. Instead embrace your curls or waves with Ouidad. Before you dive into that beautiful sapphire blue Mediterranean sea coat your hair with Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner


It will protect your color and keep your hair super soft. When you get out of the water, towel dry then spritz it with Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing and Refreshing Spray

If you are a curly girl it will help give you bouncy, shiny curls instead of post-ocean frizz. if you are a naturally smooth haired girl or a Brazilian Blow Out smooth haired girl your hair will be soft and glossy and shiny. I just got both of these in travel size, ready for summer in Capri.