What to Pack For a Tuscany Holiday – A First-Time Visitor’s Super Guide
Visiting the prominent Italian region is an adventure worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. And, like everything Italian, finesse is a distinguishing feature, even when it comes to the clothing style.
In fact, it can be broken down into two different types of clothing – clothes for the country and pieces for the town. In the wine country and the countryside, for example, you will most likely see people dressed in functional and practical clothes. Makes sense, as most of them work outdoors for many hours on a daily basis. Nevertheless, you won’t be a single individual wearing sweatpants or distressed denim, even when tending to a vineyard. Indeed, they maintain an exemplary sense of style and ensure their clothes are always well coordinated.
In large cities, on the other hand, like Florence, Lucca, Siena, Bologna, and Pisa, you will definitely rub shoulders with people featuring a timeless, trendy clothing style. So, you can understand how much attention the locals pay to their clothing style!
That aside, though, if you are planning to visit Tuscany, you do not necessarily need to follow the unwritten dress code etiquette. However, the following tips will help you pack the right clothes, depending on when you are coming to the beautiful Italian land in the heart of the country.
Packing for a Spring Tuscany Holiday
The Tuscany spring is characterised by mild winds and frequent rainfalls. Given the vast area of the Tuscany region, it comes as no surprise that the temperatures often vary. Mostly, though, it can be as cold as 9oC (48oF) and climb to around 20oC (68oF), with the cities closer to the sea having the lowest temps. If you want to enjoy the warmer side of the Italian spring, do consider coming in mid-April. Sometimes, it may even feel quite summer-y!
That being said, feel free to pack your favourite maxi dress that can accompany you to your vineyards and town adventures. A few pairs of pants are also must-bring, which you can match with a boxy crop top or a thin wrap-around sweater and your fav blouse. Remember that Italians do not fancy denim shorts. So, if you want to mingle with the locals, you could opt for either super comfy palazzo pants or a nice silk pair or shorts.
As for those windier days, a thin scarf in neutral shades will help keep you warm, unless you are planning on spending lots of time outdoors or in the countryside. In this case, packing a jean jacket or a sweatshirt is probably a good idea.
When it comes to footwear, it is best to steer clear from light coloured shoes and heels. The latter will give you a hard time strolling the cobblestone streets of Tuscany, while the first will get destroyed by the elements and the dirt roads of the countryside.
Packing for a Summer Tuscany Holiday
The summers in Italy can be scorching hot, with temperatures averaging 35oC (95oF) in the month of July. In the evenings, it may go down to 27oC (81oF), but that’s how cool it will get, most of the time, at least. It should be noted that heat waves often hit the Mediterranean country, rising tempts to above 40oC (104oF). However, in June and after mid-August, it is significantly less hot and easier to get around.
Packing the right stuff for your Tuscany summer holidays can be challenging, especially if you want to be seen favourably in Italy, who prefer to wear dressier clothes. You see, Italian style somewhat frowns upon super small crop tops, shorts, flip-flops (except on the beach), and cut-off denim shorts. Instead, Italians prefer their style to be sophisticated at all times, even when hitting the beaches. Of course, you can sport your own style, without paying attention to what is going on around you.
Some good options for the summertime in Tuscany include any piece of clothing made of breathable and lightweight materials (i.e., linen, cotton, etc.). You will also need:
- A hat
- Several pairs of lightweight pants
- Mix and max separates
- Bright sundresses
- Durable sandals, and
- A comfy pair of shoes (preferably with secure straps around the ankles) for your sightseeing explorations.
Also, take into account that wearing sandals is a NO-NO for Italian men while you will rarely see one sporting shorts away from the beach or seaside establishments.
Packing for a Fall Tuscany Holiday
Photo: Villa Noci
The months between September and November are almost perfect in Tuscany. The weather is crisp, and temps can go way above 27oC (81oF) in early fall. The coldest in Tuscany during this time is no less than 7oC (45oF). This means that you will probably not need to pack extra heavy clothing or heavy-duty cold-weather accessories. However, it is wise to bring a coat, a faux leather motorcycle jacket, a denim jacket, or a cargo coat to keep you warm enough during your visits to ancient medieval villages and the beauties of the Tuscany countryside. Now, if you are a fan of wool jackets or trench coats, chances are you won’t find them too practical. These types of clothing are more prone to wrinkling and getting dirty.
Other things to pack include:
- Skinny jeans
- Tee shirts
- Button-down blouses
- Light sweaters
- Tank tops (you can layer them underneath your heavier tops)
- Motorcycle boots
- Sneakers (or any other pair of sturdy shoes to keep you on your feet while walking the crooked stone roads of medieval Tuscany towns).
Packing for a Winter Tuscany Holiday
This season requires good preparations when packing your bags to visit Tuscany. The weather can be quite cold, and you will most likely see snow in the mountain ranges. The landscape gets a magical, almost ethereal look, though you may need to be prepared for extreme lows (below zero). However, the temperatures in Tuscany from December to February range between 3oC (37oF) – 13oC (55oF), with the season staying (sometimes brutally) cold most of the time.
Among the things you will probably need to bring with you are:
- Thermal underwear
- Thick wool socks
- Thick wool trousers
- Water-resistant shoes
- Thick sweaters
- Gloves (mittens won’t do much to protect your hands from the cold)
- Flannel shirts (to pair with sweaters)
- Pleather leggings
- Felt-lined tights (to match with midi-length dresses, if you fancy them)
Tip: You won’t need to pack snow boots or heavy rain boots as it does not snow or rain often enough in Tuscany. However, we suggest tossing them in your luggage if you will be spending most of your visit to the countryside. Irrespective of the type of boots you pack, ensure they feature soles with good traction.
Important Attire Etiquette for your Tuscany Visits
This section highlights some rules for several occasions it would be good to know.
- Rules for seaside towns & beaches
In the summertime, the historical Italian cities are left to the tourists as locals migrate to the beautiful Tuscany beaches. If you would love to sunbathe under the warm Mediterranean sky and dive into the crystalline waters of the sea, remember that going topless is not an option. Although Italian women will be seen wearing skimpy bathing suits, you won’t see any of them going topless. In fact, some seaside towns will not allow you to walk around the city with your bathing suit. You will need to cover up when you leave the beach. Take the Viareggio seafront promenade, for example. Been spotted walking without a shirt (or something that covers you chest) there will get you fined! This applies to both men and women. So, ensure you bring beach clothes!
- Evening and day clothes
The Italians always love to dress up. It is their policy to look their best wherever they are (any time of the day or night). This includes makeup and hair. No wonder Italy has probably the largest number of hair salons in Europe! Italians also love silver, gold, and bold colours, and this includes both their accessories and clothes. They also distinguish their attire and have day clothes and night clothes. And, don’t be fooled by the “casual wear” expression many Italians tend to use. It is miles from what the rest of the world regards as casual.
So, it is best to stay away from anything sporty unless, of course, you are a teenager. Basically, the kind of clothes you would normally wear at the gym is a no here. The same applies to sports shoes that do not look like, well, shoes! When the sun sets, it is time to wear your most elegant clothes!
- Attire for visiting religious buildings and churches
If you are interested in the historical aspect of the country you are visiting, then do make sure you bring something to cover your knees and shoulders. Visiting churches and religious buildings requires you to dress appropriately. Considering the summer heat, a thin shawl is a great option to cover up before entering a chapel or monastery.