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MarleneK May 13th, 2007 12:02 PM

Dress code for Italian churches
I obviously know that bare arms and shorts are unacceptable, but can women wear crop pants below the knee and gain entrance (or do we have to stick to long pants and skirts)?

carolinabelle May 13th, 2007 12:40 PM

If knees are covered, you should be fine. I always carried a light wrap to use just in case (or if I was wearing sleeveless) - some even hand them out at the door.

MyriamC May 13th, 2007 01:36 PM

Cover knees and shoulders, that's it.

annhig May 13th, 2007 01:44 PM

hi, Marlene,

these rules also apply to men, as my DH found out last year in Florence - despite the very respectable length of his shorts, he was required to don a sarong in one church [no problems in most so you never know].

The kids and I really enjoyed the look on his face as he wrapped the garment around himself.

Frankly I think that the rules are fairly arbitrary - no -one could possibly have found his shorts offensive. so it's better to be safe than sorry or be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting for ones spouse.

regards, ann

nona1 May 13th, 2007 09:49 PM

Annhig, showing your knees isn't offensive in the sense of 'oh my god, some naked knees, I think I'm going to faint' but it is offensive in the sense of not dressing respectfully in a place of worship. Would your husband attend a church service at home in shorts? The fact that tourists are not going to a service isn't the point.

quokka May 14th, 2007 01:06 AM

The point is that religious locals obviously feel offended by the look of bare knees, otherwise they wouldn't mind. It's not ours to judge. Visitors should respect that.

nona1 May 14th, 2007 05:17 AM

It's not that they are offended by bare knees, but bare knees in church.

Most places of worship have a dress code.

kayd May 14th, 2007 05:56 AM

Best to cover midriffs too. Bare bellies were not in fashion when some of those signs were painted, but a vigilant doorkeeper may want to turn away visitors showing flesh between shouders and knees, too.

Girlspytravel May 14th, 2007 06:04 AM

Marlene-when I went to the Duomo in Milan last August, (and I've posted this already) they were really checking the clothing before letting people in. I had on long linen blend pants, and a very short sleeved shirt, so I was fine-but to be on the safe side, I would do long pants (or cropped pants to the ankle, or a skirt.

ShelliDawn May 14th, 2007 07:01 AM

Would your husband attend a church service at home in shorts?

Let me state first that I would respect the customs of the country/church I'm visiting and dress according to their standards in church without fuss.

However, yes, in my church you are welcome to wear shorts and show your knees (or skirts for that matter). Bare arms/shoulders for the ladies would also not cause the smallest amount of concern.

HKP May 14th, 2007 07:05 AM

IMHO these garment-police are motivated less by reverence and more by self-importance, so assume that there will be some who will get after you if you give them the slightest excuse, and cover up accordingly.

annhig May 14th, 2007 07:54 AM

Hi, Y'all

the point is, these shorts were SO respectable, you couldn't see his knees unless you REALLY looked!

All it did was give him an excuse to go and sit in the nearest bar while we looked in the churches!


regards, ann

worldtalker May 14th, 2007 09:10 AM

be aware that some churches won't allow you in with a sleeveless top. I was turned away from the VAtican last summer. If you buy or carry a lightweight scarf that should cover you up

jkdraper May 14th, 2007 09:22 AM

I believe the rules are somewhat arbitrary based upon the feelings of the person at the door. We went into a church in Florence and watched the two women ahead of us who both had on tops with spaghetti straps (appropriate for Italy right?) The younger teenage girl was turned away and the middle aged woman was allowed to go in and their tops were almost identical.

I would play it safe and simply bring a marvelous Italian scarf with you to throw over your shoulders if you don't have definite sleeves on your top and wear longer pants or a longer skirt on days you know you will be visiting churches. It is simple respect and you don't know what the person at the door is going to key in on. Much like the security at the airport these days.

nytraveler May 14th, 2007 09:32 AM

The churches in Italy - clergy and parisioners - have the right to determine what is respectable attire in their churches. And - if you want to enter the churches you need to folow it.

If your church at home encourages wearing swimsuits - or handling snakes - that's your option. But you can;t inflict your standards on others and their churches.

ShelliDawn May 14th, 2007 11:14 AM

nytraveller: Was your post in response to mine? If so, please note that I said I would respect the dress code of others without fuss.

However, the question was asked as to whether or not shorts would be considered appropriate attire in one's home church, and yes, in mine it would be. I would never have thought to ensure that my knees and shoulders were covered in a church as it's not an issue at home. I've tucked away this piece of information as good advice as to what to do/not to do on future trips.

I don't believe there was anything in my post that could have been construed as wanting to inflict my church's customs on another. Not sure where the bit about swimsuits and snakes came from.

PalenQ May 14th, 2007 11:37 AM

Jesus would probably be turned away by the Papal goons at the doorway.

Girlspytravel May 14th, 2007 11:55 AM

As the billboards say in the South-What would Jesus do?

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