Travel Question of the Month – JULY 2014
“I’ve been doing some reading about Italy and there is mention of a dress code for entering some of the churches in Rome. What I read was that women must be wearing long pants or a skirt below their knees and have their shoulders covered. Is there a dress code for any of the places we will be visiting (on our tour in September)?” – Joe from Florida
Many churches, especially south of the Alps, require modest dress for men and women. Often you’ll find a “guard” at the door reminding visitors to remove their hats, take no photos, and arrive dressed properly. Bare shoulders and knees usually result in the visitor being turned away at the door. Keep in mind that all over Europe these grand churches were not built as a tourist sight, but as a place for worship.
Some of the major church sights in Italy provide disposable garments which are given to tourists who show up in short shorts, tank tops, and other immodest attire. It is kind of entertaining to watch partially clad tourists don tacky capes and britches to enter these churches. I’ve also seen many people turned away completely at the doors of St. Mark’s in Venice and St. Peter’s in Rome because they do not meet the dress code.
The bottom line here is to dress for the occasion. Europeans, in general, dress up more than Americans. You’ll not find a man wearing shorts unless they are at the seaside or a woman wearing warm-ups or short shorts unless at a workout. So, when traveling in Europe, no matter the season or destination, plan to dress for the locale and the tour plan of the day. Save your shorts and tank tops for the seaside, pool, or mountain hiking.