What to Wear on a Flight to Italy

Coming to Italy? In between planning things to do in Rome, and where to eat truffles in Tuscany, you also have to think about what to pack.

Italians are known for always presenting la bella figura, and flights are no exception. This is not a country where you will see passengers board in anything resembling pajamas. Plus, if you are coming from outside of the Schengen visa zone, you will be faced with a passport check — and do you really want to speak to a uniformed officer while wearing sweats?

So how should you dress for the plane so that you are comfortable but still manage fit right in when you land in Rome?

Here’s what to wear on a flight to Italy:

Layers are key: As with any flights, layers are particularly important on long flights. It’s impossible to tell if the AC will be stalled while you sit on the runway, so start with a simple cotton shirt, and be sure to bring a more stylish cardigan or sweater to layer on top. The sweater can play double duty once you get to Italy as part of the wardrobe you wear while out and about.

No sweat pants: Sorry, but they sweatpants are not going to fly when it comes to Italian style. You should still be comfy, but why not go with simple (and stretchy) black pants to get you through the flight. Minimal effort but a major upgrade.

Blanket scarf: Scarves are an essential part of the Italian wardrobe, and flights are no exception. Grab a large blanket scarf for the ultimate comfort once the lights go off and you are trying to catch some sleep. It will protect you from any chills but can be worn day-to-day as well.

Slip on boots: If you are trying to keep your luggage to a minimum, it often pays to wear your boots on the flight. They instantly make a casual outfit look more polished, but can also easily be slipped off at security checks. Go for low boots so you don’t feel constricted, and feel free to kick them off once you are settled in your seat. If you just can’t do it, or you are traveling in summer, then stick to cool understated shoes like these Adidas trainers.

Essential extras:

I always travel with noise canceling headphones. They take up space, but they also make it so easy to zone out even when surrounded by hundreds of other uncomfortable people.

If you are flying overnight, I also highly recommend a silk sleep mask. The mask will block out the light and create the illusion of privacy. And the silk? It won’t leave any marks on your skin, so you can whip it off and head straight off the plane without actually looking like you passed out in cramped quarters.

Do you have any other tips on what to wear on a flight to Italy? Anything you forgot last time or would recommend for next time?

Or are you looking for more trip prep? Here’s what to expect your first time in Italy and a guide to when to visit Rome.

This post contains some affiliate links for products that I use and recommend.

8 thoughts on “What to Wear on a Flight to Italy

  1. Terra @ terragoes.com says:

    Comfort is definitely key, but I agree, sweat pants are not the thing to wear on a flight to Italy. I got a blanket scarf specifically for Italy, and it was a perfect choice. It was cozy and I carried it everywhere, just in case I need a quick cover-up.

  2. Dana says:

    I’m actually traveling to Rome next month so your post came in handy 🙂 I think sweatpants should be out to any destination! 🙂 But comfy leggings could definitely be an option. This will be my first trip to Rome, so I’m really looking forward to it.

  3. Lisa Barr says:

    Choose your shoes carefully. I once travelled to Rome with two pairs of ballet flats, which I thought would be perfect for walking around the city. The soles, though, were far too thin for cobblestoned streets, and there is nothing worse than hobbling around with aching feet. I ended up buying a pair of Merrell’s with sturdier soles, which I wore for the rest of the trip. Now I travel with a pair of black Bandolinos with a thicker, rubber sole. They look stylish and are amazingly comfortable.

    • Natalie says:

      Good point! I live in flats but I prefer the ones from Geox, which have great support and serious soles for those Roman cobblestones

  4. Rena McCully says:

    Compression socks. I always thought compression socks would be for the “older” traveler, but on a 2017 trip, my feet and ankles swelled somewhat. I traveled to Italy last month with a friend, in her 30’s I will add, who swears by compression socks, and insisted that I try them. I did, and I love them. Not just for the no swelling and safety component, but my legs seemed less fatigued after the long Seattle to Frankfurt flight. I bought a pair made of bamboo, not super tight compression, and in a cute but subtle design. They will now be a staple in my travel ensemble.

  5. Michelle Russell says:

    Well well well – what timely advice! I don’t ever fly in sweatpants, but I had chosen it for my upcoming overnight flight to Italy, simply so I could have the best chance of sleeping. After reading this, it looks like I’ll be switching to a comfy dress and leggings with a scarf and cardigan! I’ll bring a sleep mask to help me in that department. Thanks for the advice!

  6. SJ says:

    I agree with what you are saying about sweatpants, but would a more tailored travel jogger be okay made out of a more polished looking fabric, sleek but still has a “cuff”?

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