One of the best things about visiting Italy is the religious sites but what is the dress code for churches in Italy? In this post we answer all your burning questions regarding the dress code for visiting churches in Italy from the things that aren’t allowed to be worn to what the best outfits are for visiting churches in Italy.
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FAQS About Your Dress Code for Churches in Italy Questions Answered
While this guide covers the dress code for churches in Italy i.e. in all the regions, where it is appropriate we will also take a more in depth look at some of the larger cities and more famous churches to make sure you are adherent to the dress code for Italian churches no matter which part of Italy you travel to.
Is there a dress code for churches in Italy?
Yes there is a dress code for visiting all churches in Italy no matter what region you are traveling to. The dress code at Italian churches tends require a modest attire which includes:
- keeping your shoulders covered at all times inside the church
- keeping your knees covered.
This dress code applies to both men and women.
What do women wear in churches in Italy?
Women in churches in Italy dress conservatively as appropriate for the modest dress code churches enforce.
If you are wondering what to wear as a woman in a church we would recommend
- A top that covers shoulders – our favourite type of shirt is a loose fitting blouse in a breathable fabric.
- Trousers / Pants – these are a safe bet as it will ensure your knees are kept covered
- Maxi dress or maxi dress with no slit to ensure no accidental revealing of the knee.
This attire will also help you not look like a tourist in Italy.
For more information on how to dress in Rome for different season check out our monthly guides:
What do men wear in churches in Italy?
Men must not forget that the dress code for Italian churches applies as much for men as it does women. Therefore men must not wear shorts that reveal the knee or tops that show the shoulder.
We therefore recommend men wear the following when visiting a church in Italy
- Pants or Trousers
- Polo Shirt or t shirt with no offensive graphic or text
- Short or Long sleeved shirt.
While as a tourist in an Italian church you can be quite casual so long as you adhere to the dress code. However you will find Italians to be stylish and therefore shirts and chinos will not be out of place.
Do you need to cover your head in Italian churches?
Traditionally you had to cover your head in Italian churches and for special occasions you may see some older Italian ladies still wearing a head covering in an Italian church, however this is not a requirement. In fact unless you are meeting the Pope you don’t even have to wear a head covering in the Vatican.
It is in fact required in many Italian churches for men to remove their headwear before entering.
Can you wear jeans in churches in Italy?
Yes you can absolutely wear jeans in churches in Italy however I would advise against it especially if you are visiting Italy in the summer. Italy can be too hot for jeans in you are visiting the summer months however if you are in the north and are visiting in Winter you may be able to wear jeans (check out our monthly Italian guides for more information).
However it is worth noting that ripped jeans may not be acceptable in Italian churches due to the fact that they could reveal your thigh or knee. If the rips do reveal these body parts then you will be breaking the Italian church dress code. We therefore recommend not wearing ripped jeans on any days that you plan to visit a religious site wherever you are in Italy.
Can you wear sandals to churches in Italy?
While there are lots of tules related to clothing in Italian churches there are no rules surrounding footwear. Therefore you can wear any sandal you wish to an Italian church.
Saying this we recommend picking something that has arch support and is comfortable for lots of walking. We also would addnany sandal with a heel to the what not to wear in Italy list.
Is there a dress code for churches in Rome?
The dress code for churches in Rome is the same as the rest of Italy. In that modest attire is required at all times in the religious buildings.
Obviously the Vatican dress code is strictly enforced and I have seen people turned away for not being dressed appropriately.
Other famous churches in Rome will also have this dress code. This also includes the Pantheon.
Is there a dress code for Sistine Chapel?
Yes there is a dress code for the Sistine Chapel. As the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican buildings the dress code is the same here as for the basilica and the museums. Therefore you can’t wear shorts in the Sistine Chapel, for instance whether you are a man or woman like in any other part of the Vatican.
Can I wear shorts in churches in Rome?
Shorts if they do not cover your knee are against Italian church dress codes and therefore should not be worn.
If you wish to wear a pair of shorts to visit a church in Rome then please make sure they are the longer variety
Is there a dress code for the Pantheon?
For some reason many people don’t realise that the Pantheon is actually a working Catholic Church. As such it does have a dress code.
The dress code is the same for the Pantheon as the Vatican and other Roman churches however I will say that I don’t believe it is as strictly enforced here. However please do try and dress modestly and respect the culture.
What do you wear to church in Venice?
The churches in Venice have the same dress code as those in the rest of Italy and Rome. Therefore in the churches in Venice you can not have your knees or shoulders uncovered.
Is there a dress code for St Marks Basilica?
Perhaps the most famous of all the churches in Venice is St Marks Basilica. And as with other churches in Italy it has a dress code. The St Marks Basilica dress code stipulates that no shorts or mini skirts or items that show your knees are permitted and no tops that show arms are allowed either.
We recommend wearing a long sleeve blouse and long skirt or pants are the most appropriate for visiting the St Marks Basilica. It is also worth noting that the Basilica has a very strict policy regarding bags which includes bumbags which means they must be deposited before entry.
What to wear to Churches in Florence?
The same dress code applies in Florence churches as any other in Italy.
Il Duomo Dress Code
The Duomo is the most famous church in Florence. It enforces its dress code of not bearing shoulders or knees strictly. Although around the Duomo you will find many vendors selling scarves and pashminas which can be used to add extra coverings. However you don’t want to have to rely on this so it is better to dress appropriately before heading out. For a complete guide on the Duomo Dress code check out this post.