A lot of people have been made to believe that Italians rarely wear shorts except when it is mid-summer or perhaps when they go for swimming. This line of thinking has also led them to believe that it is somewhat illegal or inappropriate to wear shorts in Italy.
Is this really true?
Can you wear shorts in Italy as a native or a foreigner? It’s time to put paid to this fallacy once and for all. Italians do wear shorts and it is perfectly normal to wear shorts in Italy both as a native of the country or, as a foreigner.
Italians have been known to wear shorts since the early 80s. Another misconception that needs to be cleared is the fact that you cannot wear shorts around the Vatican and even in Rome. This is so untrue as people can be seen in Rome and the Vatican wearing shorts and it is totally seen as normal.
Reasons why there are misconceptions about wearing shorts in Italy
How did the thought become so ingrained in people that it is somewhat inappropriate to wear shorts in Italy? From careful observations and in-depth studies, we found out a couple of reasons. Find them below:
The signage at the Cathedral
This is where a lot of people are getting it wrong. The signage does not in any way prohibit the wearing of shorts, it is only against the wearing of short, shorts.
The sign clearly shows that shorts that go way above your knees are inappropriate and only those that cover your knees would be accepted. How some people interpreted that to mean that shorts are not allowed is something we are yet to fathom.
The bulk of the men are in suits
It is a common sight to see the majority of Italian men in suits or slacks especially those in major cities like Naples or Rome. But, what some people fail to realize, is that these are working-class men. Suits and the likes form the appropriate dress code for their various work environments.
You cannot possibly conclude based on this that native Italians do not wear shorts. Try going to the supermarket or to eateries and you will be amazed at the number of men you will spot wearing shorts.
Can shorts be worn to bars in Italy?
It all depends on the location of the bar and the dress code put in place there. When you have to go dine at a restaurant, you need to dress in a smart casual way. Save the shorts for later and dress nicely and not necessarily flashy. Keep it cool and comfortable as you will be doing a lot of walking around as a tourist.
Can shorts be worn in Rome?
It is somewhat impossible to visit Italy without making a stop at Rome or visiting Vatican City.
If that is also a part of your to-do list, you should make efforts to know about the appropriate mode of dressing that is obtainable there.
The Vatican city attracts so many tourists as it is the headquarters of the universal Roman Catholic Church.
As expected, with it being a religious ground, you should apply a great level of decorum and modesty in your dressing.
Overly revealing clothes should not even be considered as that would be viewed as disrespectful.
Other clothing items that you also shouldn’t think about wearing to the Vatican City in Rome, are skirts that go way above your knees and same as shorts. This kind of outfit put too much indecent exposure on your thighs and that is definitely a display that is not welcome there.
Additionally, when going into the Vatican or any church in Italy for that matter, refrain from wearing tank tops or anything that leaves your shoulders bare.
This also goes for the men. Tank tops are a no-no as well as anything that exposes their arms or broad chest. It’s the Vatican, remember? and not some fitness competition.
The appropriate way to dress in Italy during summer
Summer is one period where you find people dressing for maximum comfort because of the hot temperature. At the same time, it is also a season where people show forth their fashion skills by wearing clothes that put their “summer body” on display.
One thing we must take note of is the fact that you have to try as much as possible to avoid the ‘tourist look’ and, look up ways to dress like the natives.
We bring you some hints and tips on how you can stay cool, and look fashionable yet comfortable during a summer visit to Italy.
What is summer like in Italy?
During summer in Italy, you will find varying degrees of hotness from one region to another and, there is a need to dress accordingly in any region you find yourself in so ensure you stay comfortable.
You will find the Southern regions of Italy unimaginably warm than the Northern areas. But, we have come to know that these weather talks are not cast in stone as weather forecasts are becoming more and more unreliable by the day. Therefore, this too, is subject to change hence, the need to come prepared.
You can come with a jacket or sweater that isn’t so thick. Keeping them handy would help you stay protected in case it gets too cold for you at night.
You can wear denim overall during the day and throw on a stylish jacket or sweater when it gets chilly at night.
Also, ensure that you do pack a very comfortable shoe for walking around as you will be doing lots of that. A hiking boot would also be in order if, you have hiking on your bucket list.
If you have to go to the Vatican wearing a sleeveless top because of the hot weather, you can simply purchase a shawl there and, wrap it around your shoulders before going in.
This way, you would not be going against any laws and at the same time, would be able to take them off as soon as you are out.
In conclusion, knowing how the weather can change at any time, it would be wise to pack different kinds of clothes to cater to any weather change so that nothing affects your style and comfort.
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Basic Italian Etiquette you should know
Italians are really smart people. They find it very easy to spot the tourists amongst them simply judging by how they are dressed and their general behavior. Find out simple basic etiquette rules that would make you blend in naturally.
Italians are very conscious of how they dress. This is partly why you would see them all formally dressed in restaurants as opposed to other people who can pretty much wear anything.
Dress right and put on some nice sandals or comfortable shoes for walking around. No flip-flops.
Have your knees and shoulders covered when visiting the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican or any other religious place of worship. Factor in modesty and decency when dressing for such trips.
Don’t try too hard
Resist the urge to say “Ciao” when you meet someone for the first time. You should know that Italians appreciate when you make an effort to speak their language so, try saying “Buon Giorno” (Good morning) or “Buona Serra” (Good afternoon/evening) instead.
Ciao is basically greeting people close to you.
Learn some Italian slang and phrases
Trust us, there is no better way to win the hearts of the natives than when they see you make an effort to speak like them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wear jeans shorts in Italy?
Most definitely. You can wear jeans shorts to walk around town or to restaurants in some tourist areas but, when the rules pretty much remain the same when it comes to church or the Vatican City.
Shorts must get to your knees and cover them, before you will be granted access.
Safety tips when in Italy
Take care of your belongings. Remove valuables from your pockets and put in a strapbag that can be locked securely.
Look carefully before crossing. Making eye contact with motorists before crossing is even more effective than just standing at crosswalks.
By now, you should know that it has all been a wrong notion most people have about wearing shorts in Italy.
Shorts are very much allowed in Italy and you will even find the Italians themselves wearing one while grocery shopping or, just walking around the streets.
However, when visiting the Vatican or any church or cathedral, you must ensure that you only wear shorts that cover your knees.
This is not just a piece of random information spread by just anyone. You will find it boldly written on the Vatican museum website that “Sleeveless tops or dresses, short shorts, miniskirts, hats or low cut dresses are all not allowed.”
The natives themselves obey this instruction and disregarding it would be viewed as downright disrespectful.
As they say; “when in Rome, do as the Romans.”Enjoy your stay and oh! do not return without trying out the coffee!