Italy is probably my favorite place that I've ever been.
Granted, I haven't been to a ton of different countries, but so far, Italy takes the cake.
If you're planning a trip to Northern Italy, I'm incredibly excited for you! (And, also a little jealous...Got any room in your suitcase?!?)
I also hope that you're going to Venice. It's amazing and has completely stolen my heart, but more on that in another post.
When it finally came time for me to pack for my trip, I had no idea what to bring.
I stood in front of a completely empty bag with no clue what I would actually need.
I looked up the weather, which was unhelpful. It made me feel even more like I needed to bring EVERYTHING.
So, to help you pack efficiently and effectively, I've put together a super sweet packing list for you.
Below is a comprehensive list of everything you'll need (for every season). It's a detailed list that includes tips and everything I used while in Italy.
If you want the shortened version, you can skip to the bottom.
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Things to Consider When Packing
On my last international trip (to Ireland), I had an incredibly difficult time keeping my suitcase organized.
Do you know the struggle?
I had to dig through everything when trying to find a specific article of clothing. This made things messy, and it became even harder for me to find what I was looking for.
For my trip to Italy, I vowed that I would not do the same thing again.
So, I finally broke down and bought packing cubes.
I honestly kind of thought that they were just a fad and that they don't actually help.
Turns out, I was wrong.
I was blown away by how organized my bag was.
Plus, I swear I fit way more clothes into the same amount of space. I even had extra room.
Not only did the packing cubes help me keep my bag organized and save space, but they helped me keep all of my stuff together in the hotel rooms.
I would definitely recommend investing in some packing cubes.
They're not expensive, and they save you from a huge headache!
These are the ones I used, and they worked really well.
Honestly, I don't have anything bad to say about them, which is weird for me because I'm pretty particular.
These packing cubes by Bagail were the best value I could find. There are cheaper sets of packing cubes, but you only get four pieces and one of them is a shoe bag. (By the way, a plastic bag is perfect for shoes...)
You'll Have to Lug it Around
If you plan on using public transportation to get around Italy, which I highly recommend as it's very affordable, you're going to have to carry your suitcase with you on your way to and from your hotel.
That means taking it on the metro, train, and through any cobblestone streets.
So, make sure you don't make it too heavy!
This is something that I'm used to in the US, so I may have packed a little more than was necessary since I didn't think about it.
I'm so used to just throwing my suitcase into a car...
Now, I know, though. And, so do you!
7 Day Northern Italy Packing List for Women
This packing list includes clothes, shoes, toiletries, and miscellaneous items that you won't want to leave at home.
The list is broken down into the categories listed above.
While it seems like picking out outfits should be easy (I mean, you do it everyday), I found it to be particularly difficult for this trip.
In the past, I've chosen poor outfits for travel.
This time, I wanted cute outfits that I could mix and match if the need arose.
Below, I have included all of my tips and tricks for putting together cute outfits with very little effort.
Here's a quick list of what you'll need. For more info, notes about weather, and examples, just keep reading!
Now that you have a general idea of what you'll need, let's dive a bit deeper.
I'll give you suggestions and examples of what I packed.
Of course, it's important you pack what you like, but I hope my suggestions help you get clear on what you should aim for.
If you want clothes you can mix and match, I highly recommend packing neutral colors!
Most of the colors I packed were white, off-white, black, and beige. These were perfect because they went with my leggings and jeans.
If you don't have a lot of basics, I recommend going to Target.
I brought of few of my favorite basic scoop neck tees from A New Day, which you can find at Target.
But, you can also find some great deals at H&M. I'd say that my A New Day shirts are higher quality, though.
For cold weather, I would highly recommend taking sweaters and long sleeve tees instead of short-sleeve t-shirts.
Thermal layers are also a good idea, if it's going to be pretty cold.
2 Pairs of Jeans
Jeans are perfect for Italy, especially in the fall, spring, and winter.
Jeans are flexible and go with just about everything. Just make sure that the wash and style you choose matches the shoes and shirts you picked!
These are the jeans I took (just in a slightly lighter wash). Apparently, they don't have the exact wash I own anymore.
If you have a shirt that you don't think will look nice with the jeans (or leggings), pick a different shirt. Likewise, if you have a pair of jeans that you can only put with one shirt, don't take it. Pick a different pair.
If you're visiting in the summer, you might want to pack a few skirts instead. You can also pack shorts if you want, but I understand that shorts aren't really something Italians wear.
I went in the spring, and it was unseasonably cold, so I didn't see a single pair of shorts but for obvious reasons.
2 Tank Tops
These are cool for the summer months and go perfectly with skirts or jeans.
Plus, they you can easily use them as a bottom layer in case of cool nights in the spring and fall.
Target is a great place to grab some neutral tank tops.
Just make sure that you carry around a cardigan if you plan on going to any churches.
Plus, if you're visiting in the spring you can also use a cardigan to make it a bit warmer, which is especially great if the temperature is going to vary significantly from day to night.
If you're traveling in the winter (and maybe even the fall), you can leave the tank tops in your drawer and reach for thermal layers or long sleeve tees instead.
The point is to have something you can layer here!
Ah, cardigans. I love them.
They keep me all cozy.
Plus, they go perfectly with dresses, tank tops, t-shirts, jeans, and leggings. They're pretty versatile to say the least.
You will need to cover your shoulders when entering most churches in Italy, so definitely carry one around if you're exposing your shoulders.
Can you guess where my favorite cardigans are from?
If you guessed Target, you're correct. 😂
My entire wardrobe might be from Target...
I love slouchy cardigans with a v-neck.
They look good with almost everything!
If it's cold, you'll love cardigans because you can use them to layer.
They're also perfect for nighttime or even daytime chills in the spring and fall.
Dresses and Rompers are fantastic for traveling because they're complete outfits.
They're super simple and comfy. Plus, they take up almost no room in your suitcase! What's not to love?
Definitely check the weather before you pack dresses, though.
If the weather is warm, you're golden!
If it looks like it'll be a little chilly, you can pack a pair of leggings or, better yet, fleece lined leggings, if you get cold easily.
1 Pair of Leggings
If you're like me and love leggings, you might want to pack two pairs!
I wore one on the plane (Nike leggings), and I packed a pair (A New Day leggings from Target--are you even surprised?).
Now, I didn't see a lot of Italians wearing leggings. This doesn't mean they don't, but if you want to fit in, I'd recommend wearing jeans.
Still, leggings are so comfy and great for traveling!
I wore mine on planes and trains, and they were perfect!
If it's going to be cold, it might be a wise choice to bring fleece lined leggings.
You can wear them with dresses, skirts, or a tunic top.
On the other hand, if it's warm, you might want to pack some active wear leggings. I love these because I don't feel bad about sweating in them. Plus, they protect my legs from intense sun.
9 Pairs of Undies
Let's talk about underwear.
Not exactly a glamorous topic of conversation, but a necessary one.
Always pack more undies than you think you'll need.
For example, if you're going on a 7 day trip (which is what this is a packing list for), you will want to pack 9 pairs of undies.
I don't want to get graphic or anything, but sometimes things happen, and you want a couple of backup pairs.
Of course, you can always buy more undies, but there's nothing like being in a foreign country trying to find a place that sells affordable underwear.
While there were lots of lingerie shops in Venice, I didn't see a single Target or Walmart type store. So, finding cheap panties would have been difficult had the need arose.
So, long story short, just bring extra.
4 Pairs of Socks
If you're going to wear socks every single day, you can bring a few more pairs.
However, if you plan on also wearing sandals or flats, you shouldn't need any more than four.
And, let's be real, you will likely be able to rewear a pair or two if needed.
Is that gross?
Maybe a little, but sometimes it's necessary.
If the thought of rewearing a pair of socks eeks you out, you can also wash them in the sink, or just pack more.
If it's going to be cold, definitely pack wool socks instead of traditional socks.
You'll want to keep your toes warm!
Bras are important to most women (although, I'm convinced that we all secretly hate them), so you'll need to bring two.
Before you just pack your favorites, make sure that they will go nicely underneath the clothes you picked.
Make sure they won't show through, and, if you're bringing a deep cut dress, make sure at least one of them doesn't show.
If you plan on doing any hiking while in Italy, and, let's be honest, there's plenty of opportunity, you'll definitely want to take some outfits that are specifically geared toward hiking.
What you bring should depend on how many hikes you plan on taking.
Definitely bring a sports bra, leggings, and a sweat wicking top!
I can't tell you exactly what kind of shoes you'll need to bring, but I can definitely tell you what I brought.
Feel free to adjust these as needed.
Here's a quick list for your convenience. If you want more info on why I picked these shoes and some examples of my favorites, I'll share those immediately after.
If the forecast calls for rain, don't let it keep you from enjoying yourself.
This is where water-proof boots come in.
I literally love my water-proof boots. They come with me on every trip.
They're comfy, and my feet don't get wet and cold! Plus, they're never decommissioned due to being soaked.
I wish I could find the exact pair of boots I bought!
But, sadly, I can't find them. 😕
So, instead, I found these affordable alternatives.
They're definitely not hiking boots, but they'll keep the water off your feet!
If there's no rain in the forecast and it won't be cold, you can leave the water-proof boots at home.
You can exchange them for your favorite pair of sandals.
If it's going to be cold but it probably won't rain, pack water-proof boots anyway. You might as well. Then, you won't be wishing you had them at any point.
I brought a pair of rose gold sneakers with me. I thought they were a fun addition to very neutral outfits.
Plus, I knew I wouldn't want to wear boots all day every day.
I made sure to bring comfy shoes because I knew I'd be doing a lot of walking! You will too, so make sure you love the sneakers you pack!
I wish I could find the exact pair of sneakers I wore because they're so cute! But I bought them from a store that went out of business... Anyone remember Payless?
Anyway, here's a similar pair (just a little more pink than rose gold).
Plus, these are by Sketchers but are actually super affordable. (Target literally rocks my socks off.)
I brought wedge heels with me so that I could wear them with a nice dress and go to a nice dinner.
These definitely aren't mandatory, but if you enjoy wearing heels when you get dressed up, you might want to pack them.
Definitely don't bring stilettos... It's still hard enough walking around in wedges. In fact, I totally fell down once. 😂 So, watch your step.
These are the exact wedges I wore. They're so simple but cute!
If it's going to be cold, bring closed toe wedges so that you can wear tights or leggings with them.
Flats are a great alternative to wedges.
They're dressy enough to wear to a nice dinner but they're also casual enough to wear walking around.
Plus, they're closed toe and perfect for all seasons!
I wish I had a great pair of flats to recommend for you. But, the ones I own give me horrible blisters... Needless to say, I didn't pack them. Flats would have been nice to have though.
Do you have a favorite pair of flats? Let me know in the comments, so maybe I can find a new pair!
Toiletries are important but as difficult or expensive to replace as entire outfits.
So, if you're running out of room in your bag, only worry about packing the toiletries you'll have a difficult time replacing.
For example, if you have a particular after-shower hair care product that de-frizzes your hair like no other, pack it! But, if you'll be fine with any ol' shampoo and conditioner, don't pack it.
Here's a quick list of what you'll want to pack:
These are pretty basic, so I'm not going to take the time to go over everyone of these.
If you're packing in a carry-on only, make sure you take travel size liquids that fit into a 1-quart bag!
To save some money, you can buy refillable travel size bottles.
You also can't pack razors in your carry-on, so you'll have to buy one when you land.
Okay, maybe that headline is tiny bit dramatic.
But, these are seriously my favorite products to travel with. I don't leave without them!
Dry shampoo is a must for me when I travel.
When you take a red-eye flight, you can't shower when you arrive at your destination because your room is most likely not ready yet. So, having a way to freshen up after traveling is a must for me.
But, I hate that dusty look my hair gets with traditional (white powder) dry shampoos.
I recently discovered Batiste Dry Shampoo Divine Dark, and I'm in love with it. It doesn't look so obvious that I'm using dry shampoo.
Packing a carry-on only? Here's the travel sized version!
Since I'm a total weirdo, I have to use a separate brush for dry shampoo. I find that the powder never leaves my brush.
I love using the Wet Brush for brushing the dry shampoo through my hair.
Running out of room? Here's the mini version.
Having smooth legs is a must for me, especially when I'm traveling during the summer.
I used to just pack my regular razor, but they kept getting ruined...
So, now I travel with this compact razor that comes with a travel case!
I hope that my favorite toiletries help make your trip even better!
While you might be feeling like you couldn't possibly need to pack anything else, there are a few miscellaneous item that you definitely won't want to leave behind!
Here's a quick list:
We're not going to go into detail on every single one of these, but we'll talk about some of the more obscure or difficult to find items on this list.
If you've been reading up on Italy, you know that the most touristy parts have a lot of pick-pockets.
Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't still visit, you just need to take some precautions.
I traveled in Milan and Venice with this Travelon Anti-Theft Purse, and it was perfect!
I literally cannot praise this bag enough.
It's a small cross-body that still has room for your phone, passport, money, cards, and a phrase book.
This bag gave me confidence when walking around the extremely crowded Duomo in Milan. Don't get me wrong, I was still being aware of my surroundings, but this bag made me feel much more secure.
Plus, it's incredibly affordable unlike some of the other anti-theft purses.
Power Adapter/Plug Converter
You will need a power adapter and plug converter for your trip.
While many power blocks that come with smart phones, will automatically convert the power, you'll still need the correct plug.
I bought it because it can be used in many different countries. I have successfully used it in Ireland and Northern Italy.
The biggest issue with it is that it doesn't have a spot for you to plug in a plug with a ground. So, I wasn't able to charge my computer with it.
I also had difficult getting my hair straightener to work properly with it, but that could be user error.
I like that the power adapter is built in so that I don't have to worry about checking weather or not a specific item will automatically convert the power.
If you're confident that you don't need something to adjust the power because all of your devices have power blocks that will do that for you, you can get this one instead.
It's still by Insignia, but it's cheaper and has a spot for a ground.
Italian Phrase Book
It was a really great thing that someone gifted us an Italian Phrase Book because we really needed it!
It came in handy in a number of different situations where we were trying to communicate.
It was well organized and easy to use.
I would highly recommend you get it. Even if you're traveling to a super touristy city (like Venice), where you're confident everyone will speak English.
Because at least starting the conversation in Italian is polite. You can always ask if they speak English. But, it's way more polite to ask instead of just assuming.
I know that probably felt like information overload.
I was throwing lists and tips and suggestions at you nearly simultaneously.
But, you kept up with me, and you've made it to the end!
To help you retain all of that information, I'm going to break it down into super easy to follow lists.
There will be two lists. One for cool/cold weather and one for warm weather.
Warm Weather Packing List
Cool/Cold Weather Packing List
I hope that this packing list for Northern Italy helped put things in focus for you.
You should now know exactly what you need for an epic trip.
If you skipped to the bottom, make sure you scroll back up to get some personal recommendations on items you might not already have, such as an Italian Phrase Book.
Thanks for reading!
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