What to Wear in Rome in October? Packing & Style Guide for Italy this Fall

Wondering what to wear in Rome in October? Fall, specifically October, is one of the best times to visit the Eternal City. The hot humid days and high temperatures of the summer months have passed and the winter season hasn’t begun yet. Late September can still have a lot of warm days because summer is ending. As you get into early October and late October, the temperatures are much more comfortable, which is why October can be one of the best times to visit Rome. Of course, you really can’t go wrong with Rome no matter when you visit. You’ll have a wonderful time no matter what time of year you decide to go.

If you’re headed to Rome in October and want to blend in with the locals, keep reading. You will find out what essentials we recommend in your Italy packing list and how you can still pack light, even when the weather throws you curveballs. 

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Research the weather ahead of time 

As we know, once September, which is the last of the summer months has come and gone, the weather in Rome starts to change more significantly. In Rome during October, the average temperature is ousually around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. These mild temperatures will feel like a relief after the sweltering summer months but like many places in the autumn, the weather can be quite variable during fall months. 

You can check the weather in Rome by month here.

In any case, we suggest being prepared for all kinds of different weather scenarios so you don’t end up unprepared if it suddenly starts to rain while you’re out sightseeing. It’s a good idea to have some kind of versatile outwear for rainy days if you’re traveling to Rome in a fall month. You’ll most likely experience warmer weather when the sun is up, but you may need more than a light jacket depending on the weather forecast when you’re traveling. It doesn’t hurt to have an extra layer with you in the case that the weather does change or you get chilly while you’re touring the city. 

Dress for the season, not the weather

Even on warmer days, you’ll notice that Italian women dress for the season and not necessarily the weather. Once October hits, you’ll see a lot more leather jackets and scarves on people than you will in what is considered the summer months. Linen shirts will also be less common because those kinds of lightweight clothing are designed to keep you cool in the summer months.

You should always dress to your comfort level, but one key to fitting in among the locals in Rome is to follow these seasonal dress codes and make your wardrobe feel a little more “fall” in the pieces you choose. You’ll see a lot of Romans wearing scarves; this is an easy way to accessorize like a local and still leave a lot of room in your suitcase. 

What to Wear in Rome In October: Plan on wearing layers 

We mentioned that the weather is pretty mild and warm during the days in October, but that the temperatures can change drastically depending on the time of day. For this reason, it’s recommended that you wear layers when you’re heading out into the city. It may be cooler in the morning when you leave the hotel, but by the time you start walking around, you’re already feeling a little sweaty. This is when it comes in handy to wear layered clothing because you can simply take off a layer and tuck it in your bag. 

By the time the sun goes down, you’ll probably be feeling pretty cold again, so whatever you’ve taken off during the day can be put right back on in order to warm up and still enjoy strolling the cobblestone streets of Rome. Layering up keeps you from having to commit to being too cold or too hot for an entire day and ensures that your body temperature will be the least of your worries while vacationing. 

What to Wear in Rome In October: Keep fashion in mind 

Like many European countries, Romans pay a lot of attention to fashion, especially when it comes to streetwear. You don’t need to wear high heels and couture everywhere you go, but if you want to blend in with the locals, the outfits that you pack should keep fashion in mind. Fashion trends in Italy tend to follow the fashion trends in the rest of the world, so if you notice that a certain type of clothing is trending at home, there’s a good chance that it will be in Rome as well. 

Fall fashion in Rome, and in most other places, features a lot of layering, jeans, and boots. If you plan on layering up, you can throw a denim jacket over a more professional-looking top in order to dress it down a bit. When it comes to Italy, there’s no shortage of shoe stores, so if you’ve been on the search for a fashionable pair of leather boots, you might want to consider leaving some room in your suitcase and treating yourself to some fine Italian craftsmanship while you’re in Rome. 

Leave the Active Wear at Home 

This naturally follows our tip on keeping your wardrobe fashion-minded when traveling to Italy because sometimes what is considered to be cute and fashionable at home isn’t abroad. Activewear is having a moment in the United States, and although you can dress up leggings and athletic tank tops at home, we don’t recommend it in Italy. Activewear and other clothes that you’d wear to the gym in the US shouldn’t make it into your suitcase to Italy for everyday use. 

The weather is going to be cooler than the summer months when you travel to Rome in October, a simple, well-fitting pair of jeans is a safe bet that will look put together without being over the top. The no activewear rule goes for shoes as well. Obviously, you want to have comfortable shoes with you if you’re going to do a lot of walking, but Italians don’t wear gym shoes out of the house or gym either. Running shoes should be swapped out for more stylish street sneakers. 

Choose a neutral color scheme 

As the weather starts to change in Rome, you’ll notice that people will start to swap out their brightly colored summer clothing for darker colors. Dark colors and neutral, muted colors are much more popular choices among Italian women as you get into the fall season. If you’re traveling to Rome in October, one of our style tips is to stick with those darker colors for your travel capsule wardrobe

Learn how to build your travel capsule wardrobe for every trip you take

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog posts at She Packs Lite, you know that we like to stick with a single color palette when packing so different items are able to work in different combinations. No matter what the time of year, you can’t go wrong with a neutral color palette. It makes it much easier to mix and match different pieces in your travel capsule so you can pack less. 

Pack for the activities you’re planning 

If you’ve read any of our other guides on traveling to different European countries, you’ll be familiar with the rule about covering up to go to religious sites. If you’re traveling to Italy and to Rome in October, this won’t be as important, but it’s still worth noting that if you plan on visiting the Vatican City or any other churches while in Rome, you’ll have to have your shoulders covered. Dressing more modestly is something that comes with fall weather anyway, but if your trip to the Vatican City falls on a particularly warm day, it’s good to keep it in the back of your mind. 

Rome is a pretty walkable city, so as you are planning what to wear in Rome in October, bring good shoes. If you plan on seeing the city on foot, it’s imperative that you bring comfortable shoes. The cobblestone roads are hundreds of years old, so choosing the wrong shoes for days when you’re walking a lot can make a big difference. We’ll talk more about why shoes are so important, especially when you’re packing light. 

Make smart shoe choices 

One of the most important things in any packing list we write is always packing good shoes. According to our travel capsule model, you’re only allowed three pairs of shoes, so it’s important to make them count. Once the high season of the summer passes, you probably won’t have any need for flip-flops or sandals, which means that the shoes you bring will most likely be a little bigger and bulkier, so it’s even more important to choose shoes that work with multiple outfits. 

Just make sure that you can do a fair amount of walking in them and they match with different outfit combinations. A pair of stylish street sneakers are another must for Rome. You can either dress these up with a slip dress for dinner in the evenings or wear them with some shorts during the day. A pair of boots is also a good choice of fall footwear; they’ll match with a pair of jeans or a skirt and tights. 

Bring a good day bag 

Packing a good day bag is essential to any international travel. Fanny packs are the main choice for a lot of travelers, but they don’t fit much besides your credit cards and mobile phone. If you like to walk around with a water bottle, you’ll probably need something a little bigger; we recommend bringing a water bottle, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking in hot weather. Unlike restaurants in the United States, water isn’t provided for free, but there are a lot of free drinking fountains around the city where you can fill up your water bottle during the day if you run out.  

Check out our favorite Packable Backpacks for inspiration

Large travel backpacks can make you stand out as a tourist and may therefore make you more of a target for pickpockets, so we recommend bringing a nice compact bag with you during the day that holds all of your essentials but isn’t so bulky that you’ll be accidentally swinging it into people on public transport. 

Make your outwear count 

Traveling during the fall months can be a bit more challenging than the summer because of the outerwear and naturally bulky clothes that come along with the changing seasons. Even though packing light in the fall and winter can be a little harder, we still believe that you can do it, and we still believe that October can be the best time of year to travel to Rome, partially because you won’t have to deal with the extra cost associated with the spring and summer months. 

We mentioned a few times that the weather can be pretty variable during the fall months in Rome, so it’s important to be prepared for all of the possible weather conditions that you might encounter while you’re on vacation. Our travel capsule method only allows for one jacket in order to make sure you’re packing light, so it’s extra important that you make sure it’s a good jacket. Something waterproof always helps in case you get stuck in some rain. In October in Rome, you probably won’t need a super bulky winter jacket because the weather is still somewhat mild, so a light rain jacket that provides some degree of warmth can be a great option. 

Our 10 Favorite Stylish Raincoats with Hoods for Traveling Women can be found here

We should also mention that since you’ll only be bringing one jacket, it’s a good idea to make it a neutral color that matches all of your different outfit combinations so you don’t have to worry about what outfits you can wear it with and which ones you can’t. 

FAQ : What to Wear to Rome in October

Still have lingering questions about what you should pack for your next Roman holiday and how to blend in? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before heading out. 

What should I pack for Italy in October? 

October in Rome is not quite as hot and humid as the summer months. You won’t need many lightweight clothes, but it is still fairly warm so will need some. It’s a good idea to pack a combination of short sleeves and long sleeves so you’re prepared for the changing weather conditions. We also highly recommend packing a rain jacket because the fall weather in Rome can change very quickly. 

What should you not wear in Rome?

You’ll come across a lot of different churches in Rome, most notably, the Vatican. If you want to fully appreciate the architecture and history of them, you can’t be wearing shorts and tank tops. Religious sites will not allow you in if you’re not dressed modestly. So, if you have any churches on your itinerary, plan on dressing more conservatively that day or pack a scarf to throw over your shoulders. 

How do I not look like a tourist in Rome? 

An easy way to avoid looking like a tourist in Rome is to put style first. American tourists can be picked out of a crowd because of the baseball caps and gym sneakers that many tend to wear in a European city. Go for a chic, simple look if you want to dress like a local. 

Can I wear jeans to the Vatican? 

The one big no-no at the Vatican is shoulders uncovered or short shorts. When the weather is cooler in October, you’ll probably be wearing more modest clothes anyway due to the weather. The Vatican doesn’t have a strict dress code, it’s more geared towards showing respect to the religious sites. Jeans are okay to wear if you visit the Vatican or any of the other churches in Rome. 

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