Dress Code in Italian Churches

Sep 4th, 2007, 11:42 AM
  #1  
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Dress Code in Italian Churches

I realize that women have to cover their shoulders in the churches in Rome (the Vatican etc.) but what about other churches throughout Italy, especially in the smaller towns? Do your knees have to be covered or can you wear capris or skirts above the knee? I have packed several sleeveless tops and was wondering. What about the men? Can they wear shorts? (I know, I know, not too many people wear shorts in Italy).
cipparone is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 11:52 AM
  #2  
J62
 
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This is my observations for the month of July throughout Rome and north.

Bare shoulders need to be covered. This especially held true with halter tops or spaghetti straps. 2-3" fabric on the shoulders often passed ok. Either way, just be sure you have a shawl or light shirt handy to don if requested.

Regarding shorts. Both men and women with knees visible were permitted. The only people I saw turned away were those baring more thigh than was covered (women), basically those wearing short shorts. 'Regular' near knee length shorts, capris, or skirts were all deemed ok.

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Sep 4th, 2007, 01:49 PM
  #3  
ira
 
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Hi C,

Both men and women should be covered from shoulder to knee.

Men take their hats off.


ira is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 02:33 PM
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Only some of the largest and most famous churches have guards or stewards on duty at the door enforcing dress code - St Peter's, St Mark's Venice, and Florence Cathedral come to mind, and there are no doubt others. At most other churches, such checks are unknown, though the expectations are that people dress decently as befits a place of worship, and often there are multilingual notices to that effect. You can just walk into such churches wearing skimpy clothes, but your action is likely to offend or upset worshippers and others who work there, and people have experienced stares and recriminations from such people.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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Adults (by size not age - so from 12 or so up) need to be covered from shoulder to knees (and that means no bar midriffs or very low cut necklines).

At major churches others can be turned away - or have to wear an embarrassing sort of shawl they lend you.

At other churches there is no official notice - but local parishioners may be very unhappy about your disrespectful behavior - and may well let you know about it.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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There is no difference between what is appropriate in St. Peter's in Rome and any other church in Italy. All Catholics believe in the same God. The fact that there might not be an official on duty to control behaviour does not alter that. How one dresses in a church is a matter of decorum and respect for the purpose of the building as a place of worship and prayer.

I think it is a pity that people even need to ask.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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I would assume cipparone is not trying to offend anyone, this is a very good question- especially for someone who has not been to churches in italy. I think it would be safe to say the question is probably more in-line with is it ok to wear shorts (not short/shorts) since the style now for womens shorts are those that come right above the knee. Good luck cipparone~ I leave in 2 days for italy and am dealing with the packing as we speak...i to am looking at my capris for this trip.
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Sep 4th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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I have seen mentioned in some guides that women should cover their heads in churches in Italy. I haven't found that mentioned on this board. Should I bring something for my head just in case, or is this a custom that has changed in recent years?

(Sorry to piggyback on your post Cipparone, but at least it's on topic.)
azresptech is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 06:09 PM
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Hi - headcoverings are not necessary.
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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My husband and son in long shorts were turned away from St. Peters, they are just more strict. Daughter was turned
away in Venice for an above the knee skirt. FYI
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Sep 4th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Thanks cls2paris

The only hat I own is a floppy canvas thing I wear when gardening to keep from passing out in the Arizona sun. I think I'd get more stares from that, than from knee length shorts. Glad I don't need to go hat shopping.
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Sep 5th, 2007, 05:04 AM
  #12  
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Thanks to all...just so that you know, I absolutely do not plan do dress like a sleeze to go into any churches. I have many long "respectful' skirts and dresses but most are sleeveless, not halter or thin strapped and I was simply asking the question. Sorry if I offended you (Padraig). I am a 50 year old Catholic girl and would never think of dressing disrespectfully in a church....don't forget, as one is planning a day for hiking and sightseeing, one may come across a church and not necessarily be dressed for Sunday mass!
cipparone is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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cipparone, you didn't offend me, so no apology is required. I'm sorry if my post gave an impression other than that I intended.

The point I wanted to make is that the expectations about attire have a basis, and that basis does not change from church to church.
Padraig is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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<<don't forget, as one is planning a day for hiking and sightseeing, one may come across a church and not necessarily be dressed for Sunday mass!>>

You don't need to be dressed for Sunday mass, just pack one lightweight, short sleeved blouse that you can put on over your sleeveless tops. It could easily go into a backpack or a medium sized purse. Or a lightweight shawl, as many women do.

Luisah is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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I am a 52 year old Catholic girl and as far as I could tell when I was in Italy, the best way to dress was the way we dressed for church in the mid-60's, minus the headcovering.
beaupeep is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:34 AM
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Keep a wrap or shawl in your daypack to cover your shoulders if you are wearing a sleeveless top. The Italian cities are filled with churches and it would be a shame to miss out popping in one.
BigBlueMarble is offline  
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