Obviously it depends on the season but considering that the temperature difference between morning and noon can vary between 10 and 15 degrees, you should dress in layers that can easily be taken off as the hours pass. When it rains, the floodgates open; it can last anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours but you’ll feel as if you’ve passed under Niagara Falls. If you get soaked from head to toe means it’s time to bring out the second pair of shoes you have in your suitcase. It isn’t necessary to bring an umbrella to Rome because with the first raindrops vendors appear on every street corner offering you all kinds of large ones, small foldable ones, different-coloured ones, all strictly ‘made in China’. They may not be high quality umbrellas but they certainly help during a downpour, especially since it’s practically impossible to find a taxi when it’s raining.
Certain places such as churches, Vatican museums or some elegant restaurants impose a dress code. Arms and knees must be covered, and this applies to both men and women; only small children are excluded. In Rome in summer, however, it’s hot, sometimes very hot, so the simplest solution for us women is to carry a light cotton shawl with which to cover ourselves as needed. For men, I recommend you pack a pair of long pants, knee-length shorts, a shirt and a short-sleeved polo shirt. Have you forgotten the dress code and can’t enter the Pantheon or the Vatican Museums (for which you spent a good amount of money on tickets and tours)? Fear not, we are in Rome: a solution is always found! And yes, it can happen to you too. You’ll also see muscular and tattooed males in tank tops and shorts, draped in shawls printed with the Colosseum and the Dome. Don’t laugh, they didn’t know and didn’t want to give up admiring the masterpieces of the Eternal City! The street vendors in the summer offer a wide assortment of shawls, sunglasses and hats, thereby solving the dilemmas of the uninformed tourist.
Keep in mind that it’s not really a problem if you’ve forgotten something, and you don’t necessarily have to resort to street vendors who offer items of questionable quality. In the center there are shops of all kinds on all streets, and for all budgets, open all day, including Sunday. Spending half a day shopping is fun and it’s a way to get to know the city better. There are great brands, historic shops, artisan shops, and high fashion tailors … To orient yourself and not get lost among the thousands of shops that there are in the 20 square kilometers of the center, it’s better to contact a personal shopper. If you are able to take advantage of this advice, then Eleonora Attolico, www.grandtourshopping.com, a fashion journalist with panache and great affinity, will introduce you to the trendiest shops and boutiques. It’s an experience not to be missed.