What can I wear in Italy in the summer?

Updated: Aug 17

I have always held that there is no such thing as age appropriate dressing. I believe that if it fits your personality and lifestyle, you should be able to wear what you like. But I do hold with dressing appropriately - and there is a difference!

The Italian authorities have really started to crack down on what people are wearing in the towns and around the churches and monuments. They and the locals are taking exception to people wandering around in skimpy bikinis, bare chested men, short shorts and short tops. I can really understand why. In my opinion it is really important to show respect for the places you are visiting, the people you meet and the country you are in.

We have all become very lax in the way we dress these days, especially now we spend so much of our time at home. I remember my mother never wore trousers. My grandmother never wore pearls after 6pm. People always wore hats to church. We always dressed up for a trip to the theatre, the opera, out for dinner, even for drinks with friends. It was a mark of respect for the outing, and for the people who had organised the event or created the meal! It really saddens me to go the opera or the ballet and see people in walking boots and jeans. If you are going to see such beautiful art and listen to that astounding music, surely it warrants a nice outfit?

The same can be said about the wonderful cities in Italy. Why walk around the glamorous, beautiful and buzzing city of Milan in a pair of cycling trousers and a hoody? Why go into the Vatican City in a pair of shorts and flip-flops? Yes, it is hot in the summer and yes, comfort is key, but there are so many other options to cover both those problems.

Surely the fact that a lot of these places are religious and most of them have stood for hundreds of years, means that they are owed some sort of respect in how we turn up at them.

Also when walking through the streets of the towns, it might be a holiday destination, but bikinis and skimpy outfits, not to mention bare chests (on the men I hope!) should stay on the beaches.

The mayor of Sorrento, Mayor Massimo Coppola, said that the sight of skimpy swimsuits was causing “discomfort and unease” among local residents and some visitors.

He said walking around in swimwear was “contrary to decorum” and that such behaviour was impacting quality of life in the town, “with consequences for its image and for tourism”.

Well, good on him, I say! He is not the first Mayor to enforce such rules. Lipari, the largest of Sicily’s Aeolian islands, introduced a similar rule back in 2013, Tropea, one of Calabria’s most popular seaside resorts, followed suit in July 2019 and Venice has had a long history of enforcing this sort of rule.

My husband was always taught as a child that you should put on a top to eat at the table or go out of the garden. Where has all that respect gone? Isn’t it time we got it back? You can still be comfortable and cool, but wouldn’t it be nice to respect ourselves enough to enable us to respect others and our surroundings?

Why not read https://www.italyinsideandout.com/post/the-coolest-place-in-italy-to-beat-the-heatwave

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