Packing Checklist: Florence, Italy

Your paperwork is in order, your guidebooks have all been read, your suitcase is packed; you’re ready for Florence! Okay, rewind — chances are your suitcase is still empty, staring at you longingly from across the room. Packing for an entire semester in a city you’ve never been to can be a bit of a daunting task, but whatever you do, don’t put it off until the last minute.

After your initial packing session, you’ll want to go through each item and ask yourself “do I really need this?” If the answer is no, leave it behind. This will leave extra room in your suitcase for all of the clothing, souvenirs and mementos you’re sure to pick up over the course of the semester. The general study abroad rule is to go through your packed suitcase and “leave half behind.” While that may not be entirely realistic, do your best!

When packing for Florence be sure to keep in mind that Italy’s climate may be different from your own. Florentine winters are usually in the 30s and 40s, so the city rarely sees snow. In the summer months temperatures can hover around the low 90s.

Closet space is often limited in Italian homes so aim to pack around two weeks worth of clothing. This will give you plenty of options, and keep you from spending all of your free time at the Laundromat. Choose practical, casual and comfortable pieces. Solid neutral colors will allow you to maximize your wardrobe by mixing and matching.


  • Jeans
  • Casual tops
  • Sweaters
  • Bathing suit
  • Nice outfit for a special occasion
  • Sweat pants and sweatshirt (you’ll likely never explore the city in these, but you’ll be so glad you have them for around the house)
  • Comfortable walking shoes (those cobblestone streets can be a killer! Ladies – boots are a must, but leave those heels at home!)
  • Two weeks worth of socks and underwear
  • Coat or jacket (just make sure it’s appropriate for the season)

Everything Else

  • Sturdy, compact umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • Messenger bag for school / site-seeing and a duffle bag for weekend travel
  • Accessories (but leave the nice, expensive jewelry at home)
  • US to Italy power adapter and transformer for your electronics
  • Laptop and iPod / mp3 player
  • Camera
  • TSA compliant bottles for packing toiletries in your carry-on
  • Contact solution and extra contact lenses, if you wear them
  • Alarm clock or cell phone with alarm capabilities
  • Enough medication to last the duration of your stay (if applicable)
  • Copies of your passport, visa, and any other important documents

Beth Smedinghoff studied in Florence, Italy as an undergrad and now spends her days helping others make the most of their travels as a writer for

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