what to wear in rome in september

What to Wear in Rome in September: How to Dress Like a Local (2022)

If you’re planning a trip to the Eternal City, and wondering what to wear in Rome in September? Read on! Autumn in Rome is not quite as hot and humid as the summer months, and you likely won’t experience many cold days as you do in the winter months. However, as is the case with many fall climates, the weather can be unpredictable at times and change very quickly. It’s important to be prepared for any kind of weather when you’re creating your next Italy packing list. 

If you’re headed to Rome in September and want to blend in with the locals, keep reading to find out what essentials you need. And, how you can still pack light, even when the weather throws you curveballs. 

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Research the weather ahead of time 

The beginning of September is still considered to be a summer month in many cities in Italy, but as the month goes on, the weather will change pretty significantly and get colder as you reach October. The high season in Rome is usually May through September. So, if you choose to visit Rome in September, it will still be busy, but you’ll be towards the end of the high season. 

You can check the weather in Rome by month here.

In early to mid-September, the average temperature in Rome will still be about 80 degrees Fahrenheit; not quite as hot and sticky as July and August, but still pleasant enough to be comfortable walking around during the day. Walking the city is the best way to see it, so if you’re on the fence about when to visit Rome, September can be a great option. 

You’ll also most likely start to see an increase in rain starting midway through September, so you should be prepared to bring at least one rain jacket with you when you’re packing. The weather in Rome can go from being lovely and sunny to rainy all of the sudden, and it’s no fun to get caught in the rain without proper attire, so a light jacket or rain jacket is a must. 

In early September, keep it light 

Even though September usually makes you think of autumn, the beginning of the month will still be fairly hot, so it’s a good idea to pack lightweight, breathable clothes that won’t make you sweatier than you need to be when you’re touring the city. There’s no official dress code in Italy, but you’ll notice that not many locals are wearing short skirts and booty shorts. Like other European countries, Romans tend to dress more conservatively, and in places like Rome and Southern Italy where summers are hot and humid, it’s even more important to pack lightweight clothes. 

That said, we still recommend packing some light outerwear like a denim jacket because you really never know when the weather will change and you’ll be wishing you had something to keep you a little warmer. 

What to Wear in Rome in September: Keep fashion in mind 

Like many European countries, Romans pay a lot of attention to fashion, even in their 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. 

If you’re doubtful about what the dress code is somewhere or what you should wear on a night out in Rome, go for a dressier option. Romans take a lot of pride in their appearance, so you won’t see them wearing baggy or ill-fitting casual clothes very often. Opting for a slimmer cut is a super easy way to make your outfits look more put together without having to expend a lot of effort. 

Leave the activewear 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. 

If the weather is going to be cooler when you’re traveling to Rome in September, 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. 

Opt for neutral tones when the weather changes 

Just like at home, women in Rome tend to wear more colorful clothing in the summer months. However, as the weather starts to change, you’ll notice that the color palettes change to more neutral, muted colors. The time of year and time in September that you visit Rome will dictate the color palette you choose 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 traveled to Europe before, you may already know that you need to cover up in order to enter churches and other religious sites. In Rome, it’s even more important, being the capital of Catholicism in the world. If you plan on visiting the Vatican City or the Sistine Chapel, which you should, you’ll need to have your knees and shoulders covered. The Vatican Museums and chapels are breathtaking and definitely worth seeing, you shouldn’t miss out on them because you happen to be wearing a tank top that day. 

If you’re planning any walking tours while in Rome, it’s imperative that you bring good 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. 

In early September, it will still be pretty warm, so if you’re planning an extended trip and heading to the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre, plan on packing some beach clothes. You won’t see Italians wearing flip-flops on the street, but it’s okay to wear them while you’re at the seaside. Just keep in mind that in beach towns, you often can’t go walking around wearing your swimsuit after you leave the beach. Roman Catholics will expect you to cover up when shopping or dining. 

What to Wear in Rome in September: Make Smart Shoe Choices

We mentioned that the cobblestone roads in Rome will be a killer if you don’t choose the right shoes. With our travel capsule packing method, you’re only allowed three pairs of shoes, so it’s important to make them count. You might be hoping to get a cute photo in front of the Trevi Fountain in your new heels, but you probably won’t want to wear them for more than a few minutes. 

That’s why the important thing to remember is that your three different pairs of shoes should work for multiple different outfits. September will still be on the warmer side, so if you want to pack a pair of comfortable sandals, go for it! 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. 

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.  

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. 

Pack at least one jacket 

We get it, at the end of the summer, the last thing you’re thinking about is packing a warm jacket for a destination in the Mediterranean. September is towards the tail end of the summer in Rome, so you probably won’t need anything heavy like a leather jacket, but it’s still a good idea to have at least one piece of outerwear in your travel capsule. 

Check out our favorite Packable Backpacks for inspiration

Having an extra layer with you can come in handy, even if you just have to throw it on when you go into a church. When the weather changes quickly, you should be prepared so you don’t have to spend the money to buy a jacket in an expensive shop on the tourist trail. We also recommend choosing a jacket or sweater that matches with all of the rest of your clothing, that way you don’t have to worry about what you can wear it with. 

FAQ: What to Wear in Rome in September

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 you not wear in Rome? 

You’ll come across a lot of different churches in Rome, most notably, the Vatican, and 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. 

What can you not wear in Italy in September? 

This goes for the entire year, but you should not pack any athletic leggings, shorts, or sweatpants for your trip to Rome. Anything that is too casual will make you stand out. However, you can still keep it comfortable with some lightweight cotton or linen clothes or dresses. 

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