Having never visited Italy before we had no idea what to pack for our trip. Which ultimately lead us to do the one thing we recommend not to do, overpack. We took a suitcase each! and only ended up wearing around 30% of the items we brought.
The rest was thrown around our room as we desperately looked for the actual item we wanted. We created this packing list to ensure you learn from the mistakes we made. It’s in more detail below, but if you want a quick overview, this is what you want to wear in Venice;
- A couple of t-shirts
- A couple of pairs of shorts & skirts
- A pair of long pants (for colder evenings)
- Two or three dresses & jumpsuits
- One jumper (essential if you’re visiting in winter)
- One rain jacket (just in case)
- One pair of trainers / walking boots
- One pair of sandals
The exact items you want to bring to wear during your trip to Venice is going to depend on the Italian landmarks and attractions you plan to visit as well as the time of year you’re visiting. This is why we’ve split this guide into two parts; what to wear in summer and what to wear in winter.
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What To Wear In Venice In Summer
Summer in Venice can mean temperatures reach as high as 28°. The heat bearing down on your head and shoulders can be unbearable, mixed with walking on cobblestones and long days exploring it can be a lot.
Wearing sensible clothing and comfortable footwear can mean you can enjoy the days without having to suffer and you can get all the island hopping done you like.
We spent 2 full days exploring and our feet were absolutely ruined. We were walking in our comfiest shoes, both wearing trainers and still ended up feeling the pain.
Venice has a lot of cobbled streets that are so cute but not great for impractical footwear. I honestly would rule out heels unless you know you are wearing them for a short period of time, maybe for just the evening.
I always say trainers especially sports trainers are the best. I wouldn’t travel anywhere without my trainers because without them my feet would be ruined.
Trainers give you good stability around your ankle which gives your leg good support while walking around. They are also made to last and be worn well, sports trainers are also made to be lightweight, making it easier for your muscles and can often help support the leg in ways you probably never thought of.
Don’t forget to wear socks, these will add a level of comfort to your foot and also help stop any shoes rubbing the back of your ankle!
You can often find brands such as Merrell and Salomon great brands for trainers and walking shoes. These brands live for making comfortable and practical footwear so it is no surprise that they have a wide range of footwear perfect for wandering the streets of Venice.
You want to be wearing sandals that are hard-working, give your foot a good base and fit well. Sandals such as Birkenstocks, Merrel or any type of hiking/ walking sandal are a good choice.
These are all built to walk on rough terrains and support the foot in the best way. This is something I would honestly look into before deciding what to wear in Venice.
Many women come to Europe and wear bright summer dresses which look beautiful don’t get me wrong but they can also be highly impractical. Still, pack the dresses because in the evening when you head out for dinner they will be perfect. But when you head out to see the sights think of comfortable and easy to wear.
Lightweight blouses, tops, and shirts are a great item to pair with a skirt or pair of shorts on a hot Venetian summer day. Look at fabrics that are thin and will dry easily if they get wet, or just help keep you cool.
Basic t-shirts are good to wear as they are loose, comfy and stretchy. Try to go for t-shirts with cotton bases as they will be nicer on the skin in the heat.
Top Tip: If you plan to wear a vest top in the daytime remember to put on plenty of sun cream on your shoulders to stop getting burnt.
Lightweight sports t-shirts for men are great for the hot weather, as they are really thin and they dry really quick. They are made to withstand hot weather, sweat and be able to cope with been worn in extreme cases.
If you aren’t much of a sports t-shirt kind of guy look into wearing a thin cotton t-shirt/shirt. The cotton will be breathable and easy to wear.
Shirts are also a great way to wear something loose and smart, you still want to look good in your holiday pictures. Linen based shirts are great as they don’t need intense ironing, they are breathable and look smart.
You could even look at teaming up a loose cotton jersey vest with a light short sleeve shirt to give you coverage from the sun.
Shorts & Skirts
I always wear shorts when we are travelling in warm countries. They are easier to wear as they have pockets for my phone. I usually wear a denim pair but on my recent trip, I found my new pair to be incredibly uncomfortable and wished to be wearing my short jersey shorts.
Think about wearing soft stretchy fabrics to give your body plenty of space to move, and expand to fit in all the amazing pizza and gelato! This was something I was really pleased I had planned when deciding what to wear in Venice as it made the long days easier.
Shorts that are made for running and sports can be a great fit too as they are often very thin material, breathable and comfortable. Alternatively, walking and hiking brands such as Under Armour, Columbia and Patagonia have a number of different styles and materials to suit everyone.
Top Tip: Though we had no trouble with pickpockets there is the chance they are around.
If you plan to keep your phone in your pocket, I would advise having zip-up pockets are very hard to get to pockets.
Skirts can be really fun to wear as they are cute, easy to wear and free. Providing the length is from the knee downwards it can also provide your legs with a great shade system while walking around all day. This can help you stay cool in the heat and last longer in the day.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to wear clothes with pockets, better yet zip pockets. This will make life easier getting your phone in and out for directions and also keep your valuables safe!
Cotton-based fabrics are going to be the best for wearing in long days in the heat. Linen is also a great fabric to wear in heat as it is quite cooling.
Look for linen shorts, cotton-based or khaki style shorts as these will be hard-wearing, smart and easy to wear in the heat.
Dresses & Jumpsuits
Dressed and jumpsuits are easy to pack and can make for lovely daytime or eveningwear. Personally, I wore a dress one of our days and regretted it every minute. It was impractical and was constantly giving me grief.
If you plan to wear a dress make sure it is comfortable, well covering and can handle climbing on and off of boats. There is no worse feeling than thinking your dress is going to reveal your underwear while trying to get off a boat.
I have one particular playsuit that I have actually owned for 4 or 5 years now and honestly, it comes on most of my trips. It is nice on, easy to wear and so comfortable…unless I need an emergency wee.
Top Tip: If you are looking to create a lovely picture for Instagram or just because you are looking to send some beautiful pictures back home don’t forget to wear colour.
The houses in Venice are all subtle colours of reds, oranges and yellows, pick colours that compliment these colours and you will get some great shots for everyone to wow at.
This piece of clothing is soft denim which just hangs really nice but is hard-wearing enough that I can wear it all day with no problems. Or my Craghoppers dress which is both really practical and cute looking which is my new favourite holiday outfit.
You can save your nicer dresses for evenings out where you will do less exploring and be comfortable. Jumpsuits however can be much more practical as they are often made of light stretch material, much easier to wear and so comfortable like a giant baby grow!
What To Wear In Venice In Winter
While winter in Venice isn’t the top of everyone’s list it is a great way to explore the beautiful city with a little more peace and quiet. Winter in Venice can be like the UK, foggy, cold and a little wet this is why you need to come prepared.
Very much like many European countries, Venice can get cold, wet and a little miserable. But I don’t see why that should stop you from visiting the island of wonders. you just have to be prepared and ready for all weathers and a great way to do that is to wear layers.
Top Tip: Ditch the umbrella and stick to a raincoat, while they are good for keeping you dry they are going to be more of a nuisance around people, small alleys and generally impractical.
Honestly, I would pack a pair of boots or waterproof shoes, especially for the really rainy days. I would try and stay away from shoes that have no grip on the bottom such as UGG style boots as once the cobbles get wet you will slide everywhere.
Shoes that are made and built for walking and hiking are great as they are supportive, have great grips for rain and snow and generally work out better at keeping your feet warm and dry.
Leather and pleather fashion boots are great too as they are waterproof and can often be cheaper than a pair of walking boots. They make for a great alternative if you already have a comfortable pair at home, saving you more money to spend while in Venice.
Personally, I would stick with wellingtons, boots with good grips on the bottom and wedges.
Depending on the style of trainer I would stick with something that is hardwearing and waterproof. You can get walking shoes from brands like Merrell that make a long-lasting shoe that is also showerproof.
T-shirts & Shirts
Wearing long sleeve t-shirts or thin jumpers can be a great way to create a base layer for your outfit in winter Venice. This will help you stay warm but not create too much bulk around your body while walking around the city.
You also want to be warm and comfortable so if you don’t find any nice ones you like, try out thermals. They can be hidden under a jacket or t-shirt layer but still, do the job.
Long sleeve t-shirts are a great way to create a base layer. Very much the same for women, it is a good idea to have a base layer. If you prefer short sleeves they will also be great to use to build upon. Thin stretchy t-shirts can be found in most shops in the ‘basics’ area during the back end of summer throughout winter. These are great to build layers on and can look smart too for evening wear.
Trousers & Jeans
I would really only advise jeans in Autumn when the weather is due to be drier. Wearing jeans in rainy weather can cause a number of issues and most importantly the fabric is too thick and takes forever to dry, even more so in wet weather.
Joggers can be a great option if they are generally thinner/streamline material. If you have really thick joggers these won’t be great to wear as though they may be warm they are hard to dry when they get wet.
The best option would be woolly tights, leggings or khaki style trousers with thermals underneath for the really extreme cold days. Leggings can be worn with jumper dresses, with t-shirts and used as a layer option. They also can be quicker to dry, close to the skin makes them a thermal layer and they can look smart for evening wear.
It is harder for men to have a pair of trousers they can wear in the cold and wet weather. Jeans would be a suitable choice for Autumn as there is less chance of rain and they are warm to wear. If you feel you may be a little cold in just khakis you can add thermals underneath to add a warm layer.
Also, don’t be afraid to wear trousers you like with a base layer such as thermal trousers.
Coats & Jackets
One of the most important layers is your coat. This can be a showerproof thick jacket or a thin raincoat. We always travel with a thin raincoat as we find it really useful when we are building up layers.
Having one thick coat can be great as you are super warm but it can be too much when walking around a city sightseeing. Think about what you would normally wear in colder months including rain, this will make it easier for you to plan and pack your suitcase.
Buy Here: Ladies Regatta Microfleece Gilet
Buy Here: Columbia Women’s Waterproof Jacket
Buy Here: Ladies Jack Wolfskin Quilted Down Coat
One of the most important layers is your coat. This can be a showerproof thick jacket or a thin raincoat. We always travel with a thin raincoat as we find it really useful when we are building up layers. Hoodies are also a great way of adding a warm layer before adding a raincoat over the top.
Having one thick coat can be great as you are super warm but it can be too much when walking around a city sightseeing.
Think about what you would normally wear in colder months including rain, this will make it easier for you to plan and pack your suitcase.
For both men and women, some good items to remember for winter is a woolly hat to help keep your head warm and dry. This can be any shape or form depending on what you prefer. Scarves can also be a great way to keep warm without having to wear another layer on your body. Also great if you don’t like wearing hats they can keep your ears and neck warm.
Gloves are also going to be important, again go for a pair you already own and like wearing just in case the weather drops or you are spending a lot of time with your hands out in the cold taking pictures.
That is everything on our what to wear in Venice. If you have been before and had any specific item of clothing that you loved wearing let us know. Also if you know of any good footwear brands, accessories and coat brands worth sharing let us know in the comments.
If this is your first trip to Italy consider checking out some of these Italian travel tips which are designed to help you see more on a budget, visit undiscovered locations and maximise your visit as a whole.