Over the years I’ve written about how to dress when you are visiting southern Italy and I’ve shared-many times over-some of my favorite Italian words. Today’s post combines those topics and fellow expat in southern Italy blogger, Laura of Ciao Amalfi! offers Italy-bound travelers the 411 on staying warm in winter.

Italians are known around the world for their fashion sense and style, and this is no different when the weather turns cool. Autumn and winter are great months to travel in Italy, especially if you’re hitting the big cities and want to avoid the crowds. Since winter weather can be unpredictable in Italy, it’s best to pack layers. Here are five words that will come in handy while traveling (and shopping!) in Italy during the winter.

1. Sciarpa

If you’ve traveled to Italy before, then you already know about the love affair Italians have with scarves. While you’ll spot them wearing sciarpe throughout the year, when the weather starts getting cooler they become de rigueur. (Wait … that’s French!) Fortunately, finding a beautiful sciarpa in Italy is easy, which means you can fit right in with the locals with this easy fashion accessory. Stop by any market and you’ll find an array of choices, often without breaking the bank!

2. Giaccone

Just like in English, there are many words in Italian to describe coats. A giacca is lighter weight coat, more like what we would call a jacket in English, while a giaccone is a heavier winter coat. If you’re traveling to southern Italy where it can be rainy during the winter months, packing a giaccone impermeabile, or waterproof coat, is a good idea. You might also hear the word cappotto used for coat or overcoat, and giubbino or giubbotto used to describe jackets. I’ve heard them all used on the Amalfi Coast and there are probably even more Italian words out there to describe winter coats!

3. Guanti

If you’re traveling to Italy in the winter, be sure to pack a pair of guanti, which is the rather strange sounding word for gloves in Italian. And don’t do like me and leave one of the pair in the taxi like I did when visiting Rome (in January!) two years ago. I had cold hands the rest of the day! If you have a similar mishap or forget your gloves at home, just stop by one of the many beautiful shops selling handmade leather gloves in a rainbow of colors. They make a wonderful reminder of your winter trip to Italy.

4. Cappello

Even southern Italy can be cold and windy during the winter months, so don’t forget to pack your favorite winter cappello, or hat, to keep you warm while you’re out sightseeing. Even if you’re not accustomed to wearing hats back home, you might be tempted by the beautiful hats you’ll find in shops and markets throughout Italy.

5. Stivali

No Italian winter wardrobe is complete without boots. Whether we’re talking rain boots in the south, snow boots in the north or high fashion boots in Milan, you’ll find just about every Italian—especially women—own several pairs of stivali. As soon as the weather begins to change, the windows of shoe stores fill with beautiful designs in every possible style and color. With all the choices available, you’ll quickly see why the Italians wear such great boots.

Stay warm… and happy travels to Italy this autumn & winter!

Laura Thayer is an art historian and freelance writer living on the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Italy.
She writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and about life on the Amalfi Coast at Ciao Amalfi.

Traveling to southern Italy? Why not get coached on when and where to go by someone who lives there?

Photos: Antonio Trogu, Carlo Pecoraro and Amodiovalerio Verde, all via Flickr

5 Responses
  1. These five will be perfect for France this winter as well.
    I really enjoyed reading this and love those gloves! Gorgeous!

    Aren’t they? That pic makes me want to go out and buy more! The only thing I need less than of is scarves. I’m scarf and glove-happy down here.

  2. A great post for Italy or France .. we are feeling the cold here in the UK now, so scarves and gloves at the ready.. also went boot shopping, not found any yet , but there is time 🙂

    It isn’t boot-cold here in southern Italy just yet … I mean, not for us non-Italians, anyway! he he

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