Packing, Part 1: What (Not) To Wear In Italy

There are three dictating factors in packing:  

  1. weather
  2. terrain
  3. local sensibilities

Weather, in the case of Rome and the Amalfi Coast in July, influences us the most. Mornings in Rome are hot, with an afternoon inferno and a chance of scattered spontaneous combustions. Seriously, soooo hot. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rome, and if July is when you can go just be prepared. Almost everything we bring is light weight/fast drying synthentics like Jake’s Eddie Bauer Travex Shorts or my Patagonia Morning Glory Dresses; we can be comfortable in the heat and wash them easily in the sink if we need to.   

Terrain doesn’ t matter so much when you travel in the States or if you go on a cruise, but many European cities aren’t as friendly to wheeled luggage. There are:  


Cobbled Street In Rome



Stairs in Atrani, Amalfi Coast


more stairs…  

Stairs in Amalfi, Amalfi Coast


narrow roads (meaning no cars to the front door)…  

Path Near Geneva, Switzerland


and occasional water transport.  

Canal in Annecy, France


Not to mention the lack of elevators in many small hotels. The solution for us is luggage we can carry rather than wheel: eBags Convertible Backpacks. They easily hold as much as a standard wheeled carry on but have backpack straps that tuck in for the flight and then pull out so you can carry your bag.  There are pockets everywhere as well as interior and exterior tie-downs that help keep the contents compressed and stationary. It’s certainly much harder to look stylish and attractive with this thing, but its much easier to carry up the 97 steps to our bed and breakfast in Atrani!  

The third consideration is the local sensibilities. There are some rules to follow in Italy; long pants and shirt sleeves in churches, for example, as well as some social rules. Romans don’t wear flip flops. Or cross trainers. Or shorts. That doesn’t mean tourists shouldn’t, but we try to blend in a little (I know, we’re super tall and super pale and super American, we don’t blend, I get it, it doesn’t mean I won’t try!!). I accept that I never look as put together as an Italian woman, mostly because I won’t wear heels on cobblestones, but I try not to pull out the white sneakers and fanny pack, opting for dresses and flat sandals while Jake wears collared shirts and shorts with Keens.  On the Amalfi Coast things are a  little different. Flip flops, shorts, swim wear are everywhere. Churches follow the same rules and most people will still dress for dinner, but in general, its more beach town than anything.  

Packing, Part 2 will address how to fit 13 days of clothes, plus electronics (see the Nook post), into two carry on bags and not look like a rumpled mess. Maybe. If they have an iron at your hotel. And air conditioning.


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