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What to Wear to Rome Churches

Omaha, Nebraska
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What to Wear to Rome Churches

I've heard that a lot of the religious places in Rome (Vatican, churches, museums, etc.) don't allow you to wear clothes that bear your shoulders or knees. Same goes for Venice.

Is this true? And if so, can you wear sleeveless tops that just cover your shoulders or does it have to be something with actual sleeves? And what about shorts that cover the tops of your knees?

Any advice will help as we are starting to pack for our honeymoon next week! Thank you.

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1. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

I know others will comment that this topic has been discussed over and over... but who cares? :-)

Some of the bigger churches (in all of Italy) do enforce the no knees and no shoulders dress code. For us, we observed this in Florence, Rome, Assisi, Venice, etc. But you can clearly hear people who tell stories of getting in wearing shorts. It's probably up to the person standing at the door when you walk in whether to admit you or not if you take the risk of not covering up. When we were at the Duomo in florence it was 90+ degrees and a woman specifically asked about her husband being allowed in with shorts and the man at the door told her normally no, but that day it was too hot and they let him in. We still wore pants out of respect.

Your shoulder actually includes part of your upper arm - to get all nerdy here for a moment. So wearing something sleeveless (even if it is more than just a strap) still exposes part of your shoulder. :-P

Have fun on your trip and if you want to be safe, then just don't risk it. Plus, it's respectful to cover up anyways. I'm not religious but we still did it out of respect and on days when it got really hot we'd just head back to the hotel and change afterwards.

Edited: 20 July 2011, 21:41
Santa Barbara...
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2. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

t-shirts and capris are OK.

tank tops, sleeveless shirts, shorts (even bermudas), and short skirts are NOT ok.

carry a light scarf/pashmina like this


that you can use to throw over your shoulders or wrap around your waist as a long skirt. worse come to worse, you buy one from the vendors outside st. peter's square.

I saw teenagers at the basilica with jackets wrapped around their waist to form a long skirt.

also, some churches ask you to turn off your ipod and pull out your earbuds (happened to me).

Edited: 20 July 2011, 22:30
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3. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

If you wear shorts or shirts without sleeves you run the risk of being turned away and denied entry into the churches. St. Peter's specifically says Men and boys should be in pants. They **may** let you in with shorts but they may also turn you away. To be guaranteed entry men should wear pants and a shirt with short sleeves and women should wear a longer skirt, pants or capris and a shirt with short sleeves.


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4. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

Yesterday at St. Peter's lots of young women being turned away for having bare shoulders and/or short skirts. One poor girl was trying to use a scarf to cover up but she really needed two, one around her waist and one around her shoulders. I think you may need more than a capped sleeve on your shirt.

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5. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

I was behind a woman who was refused entry to St Marks in Venice. She had a sleeveless top with a low cut neck. She thought it was her decolletage. I said "Put your cardigan on" which she had with her on top of her bag, and Hey presto, entrance granted.

In some places they sell you those very light paper clothes like they sometimes use in x-ray places. They look ridiculous. And shawls and pashminas slip off shoulders.

Pack a light wrap or blouse and wear a lightweight skirt on the day, over your shorts if you like. You can take them off afterwards and stuff them in your bag, but I promise that a longer, loose skirt is cooler even than shorts.

6. Re: What to Wear to Rome Churches

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