The holiday season is already here and we are preparing to leave for our vacation. What to bring with us? If you are planning a trip to Italy, I’m guessing you are going to visit the eternal city. While I would sure suggest leaving a little space for your shopping, there are also some essentials you can’t forget.
After living here for more some 20 years and having witnessed first-hand all seasons, I can definitely recommend what to pack for summer in Rome to enjoy your holiday and avoid surprises.
While some essentials are shared in every season, there are obviously items that you need to pack only in the warmest months and others that are definitely not needed.
Since the hottest season covers three months and temperatures can slightly differ from the beginning to the end, knowing what to pack for Rome in summer is a very important step when planning your holiday.
If it’s your first trip, check out our complete guide to the top Rome tourist attractions.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Rome too hot in summer? Rome summer weather overview
- 2 What to pack for summer in Rome – Essentials for the whole season
- 3 Rome packing list in summer – Toiletries for women, men, and babies
- 4 What to wear: clothes to pack for Rome in summer
- 5 What to wear in summer in the Vatican
- 6 Nightwear to pack for summer in Rome
- 7 Electronics to pack for Rome in summer
Is Rome too hot in summer? Rome summer weather overview
Summer starts on June 21st and ends on September 20th. Temperatures and weather conditions will be different between June and mid-July, for example. July and August are the hottest months and some days are also very humid. June is mostly late spring and summer starts towards the end so it will be clearly less hot than July and August. In September, you can find some quick, scattered showers, a few and mostly in the second half of the month.
These weather changes are mainly why it’s important to know what to pack for Rome in summer as your luggage content will be different depending on when you travel.
What to pack for summer in Rome – Essentials for the whole season
In summer, the weather in Rome can be pretty extreme, and when packing you really need to take this into account. We concocted a perfect Rome summer packing list so that you arrive prepared and also know what to expect.
- Travel documents. Of course, any season you are traveling to Rome, having all the documents in order is necessary. If you are a citizen of any other European Union country, your national ID will be enough to travel to Italy. If you are coming from an extra-EU nation, you will need a passport. Wherever you are coming from, make sure you check whether you need to apply for an Italian visa beforehand or if you can get one upon arrival at the airport.
- Backpack/crossbody bag. A bag is necessary when you are out sightseeing in Rome. Since backpacks are not allowed in some places such as the Colosseum, a crossbody bag is a more versatile option. Fanny packs are also a good option, provided that you are careful, especially when using Rome’s public transport, as they are easy to unhook.
- Wallet/card cases. A wallet or a pochette to keep your money and bank cards is necessary. Make sure you keep it safely inside your bag or backpack. Men should never place their wallets in the back pocket of their trousers as it’s the first place pickpockets check.
- Debit/credit card. You can use your bank card to pay anywhere from stores to restaurants, to hotels, and to coffee shops. You can even use it to take the metro in Rome because there is in place the tap&go system that works with contactless cards.
- Money. If you are living in the Euro Zone, you can carry some cash with you so that you don’t need to rush to find an ATM as soon as you arrive and you can also save on bank withdrawal fees. Also, to pay for some things such as a coffee for €1.10, chances are you don’t want to use your credit card. On the other hand, if your country has a different currency, I think withdrawing directly from a local ATM in Rome will have lower bank fees than exchanging the money at an exchange agency, be it in your home country or in Rome’s airport.
- Sunscreen with high SPF. Not surprising, right? Depending on your skin tone, you will need a lighter or stronger SPF, but you will likely need it from the beginning of the summer to the end of September because the sun will keep shining nice and bright. Obviously, in pharmacies, cosmetics and herbal shops, supermarkets, and convenience stores, you can find sunscreen, but what if your hotel is not close to any of these and you need sunscreen from the first day? It doesn’t harm to pack one already in your suitcase or even carry-on if the bottle is less than 100 ml. Click here to check prices and reviews
- Mosquito repellent. In summer, Rome has mosquitoes. In some areas more than in others, but this is a pretty common issue all over the city. This is why mosquito repellent is something handy to be included when deciding what to pack for Rome in summer. Most hotels will have their own system to chase mosquitoes away, be it air conditioning or protected windows, but you never know, you might need it at night, or if you go to the beach or the countryside.
- Refillable water bottle. In Rome, you can buy a bottle of water from just about every corner, but especially in tourist areas, they will be pretty expensive, sometimes paying between 1 and 3 euros for a small bottle. In summer you need to stay hydrated in order to keep going, and water is possibly the most essential element. Plus, all around the city, you will find the famous “nasoni” (literally, big noses), the small fountains with constantly running Rome’s tap water. So if you are still wondering what to pack for summer in Rome, a collapsible bottle that you can fill any time you want is essential.
- Italian dictionary/phrasebook. This is very handy whether you can speak a bit of Italian or none at all. The Italian language is easy to read and pronounce so you can just look a word up and locals will understand you. Check out my guides to the days of the week in Italian and, more importantly, the main gelato flavors in Italian!
Rome packing list in summer – Toiletries for women, men, and babies
- Moisturizer. Along with sunscreen, a moisturizer is needed in summer to give proper hydration to your face skin.
- Make-up remover. You won’t find one in the hotels’ free toiletries.
- Hand cream.
- Body oil or cream. Hydrating after showering will keep your skin less dry, very useful in summer.
- Deodorant. This is never included in the hotels’ complimentary toiletries. Of course, you can find plenty in Rome’s stores and pharmacies, but if you want to use it on your first day, too, I suggest packing it in your luggage to avoid having to rush out to look for deodorant.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Your hotel will provide that, but usually, toothbrushes are not the highest quality and toothpaste lasts once or twice.
- Hair styling cream. Never included in hotels’ complimentary toiletries.
- Shaving cream. You will probably find some shaving cream in your hotel’s toiletries kit but it will likely be a little and not in every hotel.
- After-shaving. If included in the free toiletries, it will probably be enough for one-time use.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.
- Razor for shaving.
- Diapers. You will find all types of diapers in Rome, but just in case you need them as soon as you arrive, it’s better to pack some from home.
- Diaper rash cream. A diaper rash cream is very useful, especially during the summer heat when the skin can become red quickly.
- Baby soap. For the bath or for diaper changing.
- Baby oil. After the bath, using some oil protects the baby’s skin from the sun and the harsh heat.
- Baby changing kit. A portable changing kit is fantastic to have and carry around. Unlike in winter, in summer, you can change your baby anywhere even in the open
What to wear: clothes to pack for Rome in summer
- Cotton t-shirts. Walking a lot you will also be sweating, so I suggest cotton t-shirts instead of polyester or other synthetic material as your skin will need to breathe. With a cotton t-shirt or any other natural fabric, you will last all day, while with clothes in polyester, even if wrinkle-free, I don’t think you will feel comfortable after all day walking under the Roman sun.
- Shorts. Summer weather in Rome is pretty hot, especially in the city center. So if you are wondering what to wear in Rome in July and August, I definitely recommend including some pairs of shorts in your Rome summer packing list. You can use them just about everywhere except on religious sites. For this, you will need to wear something longer, which takes us to our next point.
- Light long trousers or skirts. Even if it’s summer and you are used to short light clothes, I suggest you also pack at least one pair of long trousers for when you visit the Vatican or other Christian sites, Catacombs included. They require modest clothing, so a skirt or trousers below the knee and covered shoulders. If you don’t feel like wearing something long for the whole day and you can’t go back to your hotel to change, you can opt for a pareo to wrap your shorts in.
- Light dresses. A light dress is the best thing a woman can wear in Rome in summer. The style is really up to you, but loose dresses, preferably made of natural materials like cotton or linen, are perfect for when it’s hot and humid. When walking around the streets of Rome, dresses can be long or short, loose or tight, mid-sleeve or sleeveless. You just need to pay attention when you enter a church. If you are having dinner at a fancy restaurant, a dress is fine to wear, maybe a little fancier than the ones you use all day for sightseeing.
- Comfortable sandals or walking shoes. Whether you are wearing a dress or a pair of trousers, definitely pack comfortable shoes for Rome in summer. With the cobblestones of Rome’s Centro Storico and the long walks you will take, your feet deserve something comfortable to rest on. Since it’s summer, I suggest you pack open shoes like the everlasting Birkenstock, walking sandals for men, or comfortable travel shoes for women. If you prefer sneaker-like walking shoes, opt for those made of light material.
- A pair of fancier shoes. If you are going out for dinner or attending a party, you might want to wear a pair of fancier shoes. For women, decolleté or ballerinas are both great options. Men can opt for a pair of summer loafers.
- Jewelry. Both during the day and going out, women in Rome like to wear earrings, a necklace, bracelets, and rings.
- Light spring jacket. You might need a spring jacket sometime in the evening in September or even end of August if it’s a rainy day. It’s still summer but when fall approaches, the weather starts to be unpredictable and definitely less hot than in July and the beginning of August.
- Light shawl. Apart from covering your shoulders when you enter a church, a light shawl can be useful when it’s a fresh and humid evening. My light shawl saved me from back and shoulder pain quite a few times in late August and September.
Make sure you read my exhaustive guide to visiting Rome in August.
What to wear in summer in the Vatican
We know that the Vatican has a pretty strict dress code. While in winter it’s easier to follow, the summer heat doesn’t really help. Here are a few tips on what you can wear if you visit the Vatican in the summer months. Plus, this is something to keep in mind for all sacred places and trust me, Rome is packed with churches, both famous and lesser-known chapels.
- Long skirts for women. At least knee-length.
- Long trousers for both men and women. Loose or tight doesn’t really matter, as long as they are not shorts.
- T-shirts. As long as the shoulders are covered, you are good to go.
- A shawl. If you are wearing a sleeveless shirt, throwing a light shawl over your shoulders when inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, or other Vatican highlights is your best option.
- Summer hat. A hat is something you can find pretty easily in Rome, but if you want to arrive prepared and avoid spending unnecessary money, we suggest packing a hat from home. You will need it when waiting in line to enter famous landmarks (unless you book a skip-the-line admission) and also when wandering around the Rome’s archaeological sites such as the huge Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Baths of Caracalla. Or even if you visit the large ruins of Ostia Antica, a popular day trip from Rome. Definitely, something to wear in Rome in July and August.
- Anti-theft clothing. I’ve mentioned this also in the general guide to packing for Rome but it won’t harm to mention it again. Summer is a very busy season in Rome, so it’s totally pickpocket time. Be very careful with your belongings when on public transport, metro, buses, and trams, and also when close to train stations, especially Termini, the main one. We strongly recommend including anti-theft travel clothes and gear in your Rome packing list for summer. Some of the items we suggest are an anti-theft hidden money travel belt, a pickpocket-proof hoodie, and a scarf with hidden pockets.
- Sunglasses. I suggest you pack sunglasses if you travel to Rome in the summer. To look more Italian, you ask? That, too, but because with such strong sun, you will very likely need some protection for your eyes. This is an essential item to pack if you plan a trip to Rome.
- Swimwear. I know, Rome is not exactly a sea resort destination, and even if it has some nearby beaches like Ostia and Fregene, I’m definitely not their biggest fan. However, many luxury hotels in Rome have a swimming pool that you can use in summer, especially outdoors, so a swimsuit is something you will need. Also, many hotels, not necessarily five-star ones, but also boutique accommodations like Hotel Lunetta, have a spa with sauna, Jacuzzi, hammam, and other water treatments where you will need to wear a swimsuit.
Don’t miss our guide to the best beaches near Rome where your swimwear will come in very handy!
Nightwear to pack for summer in Rome
- Light summer pajama/nightgown. Your room will certainly feature air conditioning but it won’t be cold so you don’t really need heavy nightwear.
- Slippers. Most hotels, especially high-end ones, provide slippers, but in case they don’t or you prefer a more comfortable pair, I suggest packing your own.
- Flip-flops. An extra pair of flip-flops in case your hotel has a swimming pool.
Electronics to pack for Rome in summer
- Your smartphone + charger. Your smartphone will be necessary all throughout your trip on many occasions such as showing your flight and train tickets, hotel bookings, tour reservations, and also checking your emails, taking pictures, and snapping the mandatory selfies!
- Travel adaptor. In Italy, you can find three plug types: C, F, and L. Plug type C has two round pins, plug type F has two round pins with two earth clips on the side and plug type L is the plug type whit three round pins. Italy operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. You can either pack an adaptor for Italy only, or a universal one to carry wherever you go.
- Headphones. Headphones can be needed when on a tour in busy areas to use instead of the disposable ones your guide will hand out. You can also use them when talking on the phone or listening to music.
- Your camera. Pack your best camera for Rome in summer as photo opportunities will be endless. If you use a DSLR and still want to travel light, you can pack only two lenses, one versatile wide-angle and one 50mm for when it’s dark. If you don’t need high-resolution images, you can travel with a compact so also the lens problem won’t exist.
- SD cards. If you don’t travel equipped with a laptop and external memory, pack a few SD cards to store your pictures and you will unload them once you are back home.
- Power bank. If you use your smartphone also for pictures and videos, your battery is likely to run out quickly. Carrying a power bank in your bag will help you keep your phone always on.
SAVE IT FOR LATER?