What to Wear in Venice Italy: Packing Tips from a Local

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Welcome to Venice, the city of canals, romance, and timeless fashion.

If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting Italian city, you might be wondering, “What should I wear in Venice, Italy?” Although I am not a fashion plate, I am local to Venice and have experienced it in every season so I know how to dress.

While there is no dress code, Venice’s unique climate and culture require a thoughtful approach to your travel wardrobe. From the mild, unpredictable spring, the scorching summer, and the pleasant autumn, to chilly December, each season in Venice has its own charm and dressing requirements.

This comprehensive guide will answer that question, helping you pack the perfect suitcase for any season.

We’ll delve into the heart of Venetian fashion culture, provide season-specific packing lists, and share essential tips to ensure you blend in with the city’s stylish locals. Whether you’re navigating the narrow alleys, crossing countless bridges, or enjoying a gondola ride, our guide will ensure you do it in style.

So, let’s embark on this sartorial journey and discover what to wear in Venice, Italy.

Staying overnight in Venice? Here’s my ultimate 2 day itinerary!

Understanding Venice’s Fashion Culture

Venice, Italy, is not just one of the most beautiful cities in the world; it’s also one of the most fashionable. When visiting Venice, you’ll quickly notice that the locals have a distinct style that blends classic Italian elegance with practicality for navigating the city’s unique terrain.

Venetians tend to favor a smart casual attire that is both stylish and comfortable. This means you’ll see a lot of classic cut shirts, fitted dark pants, and comfortable shoes suitable for walking on cobblestone streets.

In Venice, it’s common to see people dress in neutral colors, with a preference for black and other dark hues. This is particularly true in the colder months, where a warm coat, such as a wool peacoat, and thick sweaters are staples.

It’s also worth noting that Venice has a specific dress code for visiting churches like St Mark’s Basilica. Shoulders and knees should be covered, so be sure to pack a scarf or shawl and wear long pants or a skirt that reaches the knee.

Finally, while Venetians do appreciate fashion, they also value practicality so there isn’t a strict dress code to adhere to. Given the city’s pedestrian-only streets and numerous bridges, comfortable shoes are a must. Opt for walking shoes or sandals that can handle the stone streets and keep your feet happy after a day of sightseeing.

Also, don’t worry about looking like a tourist. Everybody knows that if you are in Venice, you are certainly a tourist. Make sure to wear what is going to be comfortable over what is fashionable if you can’t achieve both at the same time. All you really need is to have one elegant outfit if you plan on a fancier restaurant once or twice while in Venice.


What Shoes to Wear in Venice

When you’re packing for Venice, picking the right shoes is super important.

This city’s streets are old and uneven, so you need shoes that are comfy and support your feet really well. But, you also want to look good so try to find something that is as stylish as it is comfortable.

In this part of the article, we’re going to talk about finding shoes that are both stylish and comfortable. We’ll look at different types that are good for walking on Venice’s old pavements, so you can enjoy your trip without sore feet.

Whether you’re after sneakers that look cool but are also comfy, sandals that let your feet breathe, or boots that are easy to walk in, we’ve got suggestions to help you make the best choice for your Venice adventure.

Here are a few types to look for:

  1. Walking Shoes with Good Support: Opt for walking shoes that provide ample arch support and cushioning. This will help absorb the impact on the uneven surfaces of cobblestone streets. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]
  2. Sneakers with Thick Soles: A pair of sneakers with thick, rubber soles can offer the cushioning and support needed to navigate cobblestone streets comfortably. They also provide good grip to prevent slipping. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]
  3. Closed-toe Sandals with Support: If you’re vacationing in the summer, a closed-toe sandal with a thick sole and good arch support can be a comfortable and breathable option. Ensure they have adjustable straps for a secure fit. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]
  4. Comfortable Flats with Arch Support: If you prefer a more stylish option, look for flats that come with added arch support and a cushioned sole. Some brands design flats specifically for walking and travel. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]
  5. Lightweight Boots: When the weather cools down in the fall or spring or for evening wear, a lightweight boot with a cushioned footbed and rubber sole can provide the necessary support and comfort for walking on cobblestones. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]
  6. Orthopedic Shoes: If you have existing foot problems, orthopedic shoes can be a good investment for travel. They are designed to provide maximum support and comfort for various conditions. [Example for Men] [Example for Women]

What to Wear in Venice: Seasonal Guide

Spring in Venice ( March, April, and May)

Spring in Venice, from March to May, is a time of changeable weather. The early spring can still be quite chilly, with temperatures gradually warming up as the season progresses. During this time, you’ll want to pack layers to accommodate the fluctuating temperatures.

Read my article on the best time to visit Venice!

Start with long sleeve shirts or solid color button-downs, and pair them with long pants or a wool pencil skirt. For cooler days or evenings, add a light jacket or a neutral color thick sweater underneath. Don’t forget a pair of comfy shoes for walking on the cobblestone streets. As the city starts to bloom, a floral dress paired with a light cardigan can be a great choice for sunny days.

If you plan to visit during Easter, make sure to pack something that is a little bit dressy for going to the churches or other religious events.

Venice packing list for Spring:

  1. Underwear and socks, including a few extra pairs for longer trips.
  2. Spring-appropriate walking shoes, such as sneakers or comfortable flats.
  3. Light and breathable long pants/jeans for versatility and comfort.
  4. Short and long sleeve tops in a mix of colors and patterns for layering options.
  5. A lightweight cardigan or sweater to provide warmth during cooler spring evenings.
  6. A mid-season jacket that is both stylish and water-resistant for unexpected showers.
  7. Nightwear for a comfortable sleep, including pajamas or a nightgown.
  8. Flip flops or comfortable sandals for the hotel or for strolling along the beach.

Summer in Venice (June, July, August)

Summer in Venice, from June to August, can be scorching hot and quite humid. Lightweight, breathable clothing is your best bet to stay comfortable. Linene is a great option for material since when a breeze kicks up off of the lagoon, the linen will allow it to flow through to your skin. Alo, think summer dresses, t-shirts, and shorts. However, remember to respect the dress codes when visiting churches – cover your shoulders and knees.

What’s the worst time to visit Venice? Ready my guide!

An off-the-shoulder blouse paired with a maxi dress can be a perfect outfit for a summer day. Walking sandals are a must for navigating the city’s stone streets. Don’t forget your sunglasses, a hat for sun protection, and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Venice packing list for Summer:

  1. Airy, lightweight summer dresses and skirts.
  2. Comfortable linen trousers for a relaxed look.
  3. T-shirts and stylish tops with delicate straps.
  4. A lightweight shawl to drape over your shoulders when visiting churches.
  5. Essential undergarments and socks.
  6. Nightwear for a comfortable sleep.
  7. A broad-brimmed hat to shield you from the sun.
  8. If you plan on hitting the beach, pack a bathing suit, a travel towel, and a stylish cover-up.
  9. Comfy walking shoes or sandals for exploring the city on foot.
  10. Crossbody bag for convenience and security.
  11. A money belt with a slim profile so it can be concealed under skimpy or thin clothing.

Autumn in Venice (September, October, and November)

Autumn in Venice, from September to November, is often pleasant with mild temperatures. However, it’s also the wettest season as you get late in the season, so a waterproof jacket and shoes are essential.

People dressed for the weather in November

Long pants and long sleeve shirts are good base layers, with a warm coat for cooler days. A wool pencil skirt paired with a thick sweater can be a stylish and warm choice. As the leaves start to change, the city takes on a new kind of beauty, making it a perfect time to explore.

Venice packing list for Autumn:

  1. Essential underwear and socks.
  2. Mid-season walking shoes, such as runners, for comfortable exploration.
  3. Long pants or jeans for versatility and coverage.
  4. Short and long sleeve tops that can be layered for changing weather conditions.
  5. A cardigan or sweater for extra warmth when needed.
  6. A mid-season jacket, preferably rainproof, to protect against light rain or wind.
  7. Nightwear for a comfortable sleep.
  8. Flip flops for use in the hotel.

Winter in Venice (December, January, and February)

Winter in Venice, from December, to January, and February, can be cold, with temperatures often dropping to near freezing. It’s essential to pack warm clothing like thick sweaters, a winter jacket, and warm pants like black wool leggings.

winter in venice

Don’t forget a warm coat, thick socks, and a wool beanie to keep your ears warm. While snow is rare, acqua alta is not, so waterproof boots can be a good idea. Despite the cold, winter can be a magical time to visit Venice, with fewer tourists and a peaceful atmosphere.

Venice packing list for Winter:

  1. Waterproof walking shoes or boots to keep your feet dry in the rain.
  2. Essential underwear and socks.
  3. Long-sleeve tops for added warmth.
  4. Jeans or long pants for cooler temperatures.
  5. Tights to layer under skirts or dresses for extra insulation.
  6. A woolen or winter skirt or dress for a cozy and stylish look.
  7. A woolen cardigan or sweater to stay warm.
  8. A warm winter jacket that is also waterproof to protect you from the elements.
  9. Don’t forget gloves, a scarf, and a hat to keep your extremities warm.
  10. Carry a travel umbrella to shield yourself from rain showers.
  11. Nightwear for a comfortable sleep.
  12. Thick socks or slippers for the hotel room. (Marble floors are cold!)

Venice Travel Packing List Essentials and Accessories

Regardless of the season, there are certain travel essentials and accessories you should always include in your Venice packing list. These items will help ensure your trip is comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable.

  1. Comfortable Walking Shoes: Venice is a city best explored on foot. A pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers is a must-have to navigate the city’s cobblestone streets and numerous bridges.
  2. Crossbody Bag: A crossbody bag with strong zippers is a practical choice for carrying your essentials while exploring the city. It’s hands-free and more secure against pickpockets.
  3. Travel Backpack: If you’re planning day trips outside of Venice or need to carry more items during your city exploration, a travel backpack is a good idea. Look for one with padded straps for comfort and multiple compartments for organization. If you’re in Venice for only one day you can check your luggage at the train station or airport and just use the small backpack to take with you.
  4. Mobile Phone and Charger: Your mobile phone is essential for navigation, taking photos, and staying connected. Don’t forget your charger, and consider bringing a portable power bank for on-the-go charging.
  5. Reusable Water Bottle: Venice can get hot, especially in the summer. Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle. There are numerous public fountains around the city where you can refill it.
  6. Travel First Aid Kit: It’s always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit on hand. Include items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  7. Passport, Wallet, and Other Essential Documents: Although Venice is safe, keep your passport, ID, credit cards, and cash secure in a travel wallet. It’s also a good idea to have digital and physical copies of important documents.
  8. Travel Adapter: Italy uses Type F and Type L plugs, so you may need a travel adapter to use your electronic devices.
  9. Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Protect your eyes and skin from the sun, especially during the summer months.
  10. Scarf or Shawl: A lightweight scarf or shawl is a versatile accessory. It can provide warmth on a cool evening, serve as a cover-up when visiting churches, or add a touch of style to your outfit.
  11. Umbrella or Raincoat: Venice’s weather can be unpredictable. An umbrella or lightweight raincoat can come in handy during sudden showers. My personal suggestion based on experience is to bring a thin poncho for the rain since navigating the narrow streets with an umbrella is a huge challenge since everybody else also has one.

Remember, these are just suggestions for a packing list. Feel free to adjust this list based on your personal needs and travel habits. In the next section, we’ll discuss some Venice packing don’ts to help you avoid common packing mistakes.

What Not to Wear in Venice

When packing for Venice, it’s not only important to know what to bring, but also what to leave behind. Here are some things to avoid when packing for your trip:

  1. Inappropriate Church Attire: Venice is home to many beautiful churches, and visiting them requires respectful attire. Avoid packing shorts, tank tops, or any clothing that reveals too much skin. Remember, shoulders and knees should be covered when visiting religious sites.
  2. Uncomfortable Shoes: Venice is a walkable city with cobblestone streets and numerous bridges. Avoid packing high heels or any shoes that aren’t made for walking. Instead, opt for comfortable walking shoes or sandals.
  3. Heavy Luggage: Venice’s pedestrian-only streets and bridges make heavy luggage a burden. Avoid overpacking and try to keep your luggage light and manageable.
  4. Flashy Jewelry: While Venice is relatively safe, it’s always wise to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. Leave your valuable or flashy jewelry at home.
  5. Non-Seasonal Clothing: Be sure to check the weather forecast before you pack. Avoid bringing heavy coats in the summer or light clothing in the winter.
  6. Impractical Bags: Large suitcases or bags with wheels can be difficult to maneuver on Venice’s cobblestone streets and bridges. Opt for a travel backpack or a bag you can easily carry.
  7. Flip Flops: While flip flops might seem like a good idea for the summer, they’re not practical for walking around the city and can be unsafe on wet or uneven surfaces.

Packing List for Visiting Venice with Kids

Kids in Venice

Traveling with kids to Venice can be a delightful experience, but it requires some thoughtful packing. Here’s what you should consider:

1. Comfortable Clothing: Depending on the season, pack comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing for your kids. Remember, Venice can be quite warm in the summer and chilly in the winter. Always pack an extra set of clothes for emergencies.

2. Footwear: Comfortable shoes are a must for all the walking you’ll be doing. Consider packing breathable shoes or sandals that are easy to put on and take off.

3. Snacks and Water Bottles: Kids can get hungry and thirsty quickly. Pack some healthy snacks and reusable water bottles to keep them hydrated and energized.

4. Entertainment: Traveling can be tiring for kids. Bring along their favorite toys, books, or games to keep them entertained during downtime.

stroller in venice

5. Travel Stroller/Baby Carrier: Venice is famous for its uneven streets, so a lightweight, collapsible stroller that can handle such terrain would be beneficial. As a father of two kids, I highly suggest a baby carrier over a stroller.

6. Baby Essentials: If you’re traveling with a baby, don’t forget to pack all the essentials like diapers, wipes, baby food, and a travel crib if necessary. Don’t overpack, however, as you can get just about every baby product you need at the local supermarket and pharmacies.

7. First Aid Kit: A small first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medication is always a good idea when traveling with kids.

Wrapping It Up

Visiting Venice is an unforgettable experience, and knowing what to pack can make your trip even more enjoyable. Whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, or with kids, this guide provides you with all the necessary information to pack appropriately for Venice’s unique environment and weather conditions.

Remember, the key is to pack light, be comfortable, and respect the local customs and dress codes. Happy travels!

Sal Presti

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