Fall has always been my favorite time of year. When you’re a student, fall means you get to start over. You can take new classes, embrace new opportunities, make new friends, and continue discovering your interests and passions after a relaxing summer break. But I’ll be honest: what I have always loved most about the Fall semester is the weather.
Although Rome’s climate is fairly mild, it definitely gets a glimpse of all four seasons throughout the year. Growing up around the world, I have lived in and visited many cold places, and although Rome is not among the coldest of these, it does get pretty chilly.
I learned fairly quickly when I arrived at John Cabot University that the way you dress can change the way your day will go!
Here are a few tips that might be helpful on how to dress in Rome in the Fall:
1. Invest in an umbrella.
This is probably the most important tip. One thing that stands out to me when I think of the seasons changing in Rome is that it rains a lot. Not necessarily more than other places, but still a significant amount. It is important to invest in a good, sturdy umbrella since you will be walking or taking public transport every single day; you won’t want to get caught in a sudden rain storm without one! There will be vendors that suddenly appear out of nowhere offering to sell you an umbrella as soon as it starts sprinkling, which is great if you are desperate. But you can avoid their increased prices (and shoddy quality) by making sure to bring your own umbrella if rain is in the forecast.
2. Boots are your best friend.
Once you spend any time at all in Italy, you will notice how many people wear boots on a daily basis. They are the perfect walking shoes since they are comfortable and stylish. Other shoes may quickly get worn down and ruined from walking on cobblestone streets all day, every day in Rome. Boots, however, will protect your feet, keep you from tripping on the uneven stones (as long as you avoid ones with stiletto heels!), and last much longer. Moreover, they will keep your feet warm and dry on rainy fall days. I highly recommend buying a nice pair of high-quality boots. You will get a lot of wear out of them throughout the season and the year.
3. Dress in layers.
Something that stood out to me when I lived in Rome is that even if the temperature was not very cold, it would feel cold because the cold would sometimes sink into your bones. All of the stone walls, cobblestones, and old buildings trap the cold, so if it is a rainy day in the fall or winter, it often feels much colder than it actually is. Because of this, I discovered the importance of dressing in layers. Scarves, blazers, and sweaters are all fashionable yet practical ways to dress for the fall in Rome. If you get too warm, you can shed a layer; if you get chilly, you can add one.
4. Adapt to an “outdoor” lifestyle.
One very important thing to keep in mind about the Roman lifestyle is the amount of time spent outside! Much of your daily life will be spent outdoors: walking to and from class, hanging out in courtyards and on terraces, drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe. The weather can get cold, but the Roman lifestyle does not change much during the winter. Back home, you might be used to just throwing on a jacket for a quick walk to your car and then spending the day inside campus buildings in a T-shirt. In Rome, however, you will most likely be spending more time outside than inside, so make sure to dress appropriately for the whole day.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria