Church attire in Rome?

Apr 18th, 2007, 09:25 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 446
We visited Rome one mid-September, sunny and hot, with our then 15-year-old daughter. Teenage daughters love to challenge and are sent to make us stronger She had bought a t-shirt at the markets the previous day, proudly printed with a replica of The David in all his (minor?) glory. Of course, she insisted THAT was the t-shirt she would wear for our St. Peter's Cathedral visit, even tho' we explained the dress-code requirements. We compromised by ensuring she had a long-sleeved thin cotton overshirt in her daybag. (DH wore jeans, a collared short-sleeved shirt, and I wore cotton slacks, a tank top and a long-sleeved silk overshirt.)

And sure enough, as we finally shuffled up the last steps to the magnificent entrance, our darling daughter was politely taken aside by the guard. With a quick, almost triumphant glance in our direction, she listened. Then the look changed to one of slight disappointment - the reason she was pulled aside was not the David graphics, it was because the t-shirt sleeves did not cover enough of her upper arms.

She quickly donned the long-sleeved shirt, and had the graciousness to join The Pair Ants in a rolicking muffled chuckle.

We still dine out on that story.

When in Rome, etc ...
FurryTiles is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 09:48 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Sammygrll I think, is going through what I do, too, when the trip is getting really close- suddenly you realize you are truly going and start to worry about the details!! I remember reading various threads and warnings prior to my Italy trip about women being turned away from the Vatican due to lack of headcoverings and, as she was trying to find out here, just what is "too short" for knees or skirts, etc. from people who have actually been, now that the time has come to start packing.
By "guards" I meant just that. They were! These were not nuns and priests. At various cathedrals (some, not many)all over Italy there were uniformed security-type men or women at the entrance checking for bare knees or whatever. If you passed inspection, you went on in and if you didn't, you were sent to the line to get a paper shawl thingee. I personally never had a problem, with my big and trusty shawl, dozens of times, since clearly I was making my best effort to conform to church custom even if not wearing my best frock.
It wasn't a question of trying to sneak past or be disrespectful to those worshipping inside. Also, I always leave a contribution in the collection boxes, and that would be on top of any requested entrance fee- so although I might be entering for the art rather than to pray, my money helps maintain the church for those who do.
At least for me, when I leave the hotel in the early morning I don't return until late at night. The big overshirt or shawl concept would free Sammygrll and (SandyApples) up to wear what they're comfortable in for a long day of sightseeing, with the flexibility of being able to go into any church they want. That's the kind of suggestions they were seeking- I think.
This isn't about what slobs Americans can be in churches in the US. Goodness.
sglass is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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Of course the security people in the churches have another job to do, as well - protecting the art and architecture. Sadly, professional theft is a reality - as well as amateur touching and the odd case of political or mental insanity.

Now, Sammygrll was frank and up front about her motives. What some of us have reacted to is the undeniable fact that many, many people - many of those American, but surely not all - are pretty indifferent about the issue and will always be dismayed that any rules exist at all.

It's worth remembering that some people go to these churches for a moment of reflection, deep prayer or reverence. The point of the dress codes is not to punish anyone, or to single them out for ridicule, but to maintain some semblance of respect in a world speedily headed in the other direction.

In the name of comfort we now are squeezed into the intimate confines of airplanes with passengers dressed for the gym - or for bed. Museum, restaurant, the city bus - every place is a symphony of tank tops and armpits. Deny this if we like, it is part of the condition of bad manners and worse behavior that is taking a toll on our collective safety and sanity.

People who go to great lengths putting together the right - and appropriate - look for a football game or a night clubbing become indignant when it's suggested that there is a "right" way to dress for other activities - like work, perhaps!

Better quit this now - not my favorite topic, but definitely a continuing aggaravation.
tomassocroccante is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
As odd as we Americans can look abroad, it is the Japanese tourists in churches whom I find really, really offensive. If I were visiting a Zen monastery in Japan, I would inform myself about the customs, dress, and behavioral expectations involved and at least try to act accordingly.

None of their tour guides appear to provide this information because I have been disturbed in churches by groups who chatter, giggle, take flash photos where they are banned, eat, leave hats on, and so forth. The only groups that are comparably appalling are school groups; French students may be the worst or there may only be more of them. I was very impressed by the English student on fall holidays to Venice last November. Most were polite and well behaved, whether in groups or not, and not a thong showing in the lot!

End of diatribe.
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 203
now I'm confused... have the offended posters been to Europe for sightseeing, or penitence? A typical scenario for us is chancing upon a small parish in a backwater neighborhood of the town were staying at, or visiting, and "touring" the church as kindly and quietly as possible. You duck in off the street, suddenly doing a mental check - oops! sunglasses... darn, hat! We love the unexpected discovery, but it's not as though set out to attend services there. Having said that, I am very cogniscent of going anywhere near the pews or pulpit, or being distracting to the congregation in any way, while a mass is being held. Who has to be schooled about that? I can think of one group... growing by legions with their new-found wealth and travel curiosity... who also happen to be nearly devoid of concern or respect for organized Western religion, and possibly Eastern faiths as well. They devour European museums, churches, and other tourist attractions in packs - zealous, but somewhat desperate in their touring methods. I hope for the sensitive posters' sakes they don't take an interest in 20th Century mid-western protestant edifices, and start swarming churches here. ;-)
ronin is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 404
You can see some of the proper attire signs at:

dsgmi is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Posts: 5,473
A mantilla would be a good touch.
GeorgeW is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Love the web-site.

shame about the spelling!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
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