You’ve booked your flights, ironed out the itinerary details and now the trip you have been waiting for is almost here. But your suitcase lies empty in front of you and you are at a loss as to one big question: What do I need to pack for a luxury villa vacation in Italy? Don’t worry… we’ve got the advice you need to be sure you pack only what you need.
The first thing to understand is that Italians, as with most Europeans, take a great sense of pride in what they wear. Italian standards are more modest. Dressing more conservatively than you might in the states will also help avoid unwanted stares. Italians will regard you in higher esteem and appreciate your understanding of their culture.
Whereas ‘athleisure’ has topped the charts in clothing popularity in America, Italians dress with a sense of style as deeply rooted as their nonna’s focaccia recipe. That being said, you don’t need to wear a full suit while walking around Milan. Swap jeans and yoga pants for chinos and slacks, flip flops for nicer sandals and sweatshirts for a cardigan. When visiting churches and museums, arms and legs need to be covered even with the younger set.
The next thing to consider when packing for an Italian villa vacation is the time of year you’ll be travelling. Winter in Italy is mostly chilly and wet. Be sure to pack items that will keep you warm and dry. Instead of filling your suitcase with bulky items, bring clothing made from fabrics that will dry quickly and keep you warm. Layers are always a good idea. That said, the summer sun in Italy is strong and can be very hot.
Linen also reigns supreme in Italian fashion. In summer, linen is the best fabric for coolness and comfort. Linen dries quickly and allows the skin to breathe, allowing the air to circulate around the body. Should it wrinkle, all you need to do is hang up your garment by the shower before you wear it… letting the steam smooth it out.
Most villas will have a good hairdryer as well as adapters. They are usually found in bathroom and bedroom drawers. You can lighten your suitcase by leaving yours at home. If you can’t find them, ask your Concierge. When coming in from the pool be sure to put on something dry. Wet bathing suits are not appropriate inside the house.
For women, we always recommend traveling with a pashmina scarf (or cotton shawl). If the flight becomes chilly, the scarf goes from a trendy accessory to a makeshift blanket. Throw one in your bag if you’ll be out as the sun sets. The temperate can drop significantly after dark. For men, a cardigan or light-weight jacket will keep you prepared.
You’ll also be glad to have a lightweight scarf when visiting historical sites or when visiting a church. Shoulders must be covered up when inside any religious site; sleeveless shirts and tank tops are not welcome.
It’s important to find the balance between style and comfort. The best way to see Italy is on foot as you can spot the details that bring a destination to life. Whether you are visiting the crowded Vatican museum, navigating Positano’s steep descents or exploring along Lucca’s famed walls, you will be happy to have packed a pair of attractive walking shoes that are both comfortable and sturdy. We recommend leather or fabric materials. Solid sandals with plenty of sole to cushion your feet and legs from the hard surfaces will keep a spring in your step even at the end of the day. Flipflop sandals are only for the beach or pool. Should your itinerary include venturing up an alpine hill in the Dolomites or other hikes, we strongly encourage our guests to pack hiking boots. Finding a shoe that can double up as an elegant option for the evening is ideal but you will be glad to have the appropriate footwear for your daytime activities.
When traveling, crossbody purses are always our favorite. You’ll want to have your hands free to take photographs, inspect items of interest in markets, or hold a cone of gelato. We suggest a crossbody bag with a zipper so your items will be secure when walking through crowded markets or busy cities. If a crossbody isn’t your style, pick a secure backpack that stays closed but still keeps your hands free.
Dryers are a very Western appliance and you’ll find that many European homes don’t have one. Washing clothes and hanging them outdoors to dry is the norm as the sun dries clothing more quickly than an Italian dryer. For that reason, be sure to pack thin, fast drying fabrics.
We hope this advice helps you prepare for your trip, allows you to pack smartly and provides more room in your luggage for the new items you are sure to find on your trip. Andiamo…