Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Is covered shoulders/knees required for all churches in Italy?

Is covered shoulders/knees required for all churches in Italy?

Old Apr 11th, 2008, 10:20 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 84
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Is covered shoulders/knees required for all churches in Italy?

I know it's required for the big ones in Florence and Rome. What about for small churches in Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, etc? Should one plan always to wear long pants in Italy in the summer? Or are shorts allowed some places?
lammom is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 10:25 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,568
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are you asking which specific churches "allow" shorts? Some have gatekeepers, others wil not. If you are interested in going into churches, why not dress in a way that you know will let you enter any church, even if some would not bar someone wearing shorts.
kayd is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 10:41 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OP - No not all but many, esp magnet ones

god squads at entrances to enforce it
PalenQ is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whether or not there is active enforcement, I think the message is clear enough: In Italy, there is a view about what constitutes appropriate wear in a church. I suggest that the respectful visitor will be guided by that knowledge rather than by the presence of doorkeepers.
Padraig is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:18 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,510
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It is a source of great curiosity to me, a lapsed Protestant, that about 90% of NA brides of all denominations choose wedding dresses that would cause them to be barred from Italian churches.

A young office colleague showed me her wedding photos and before I could stop myself, I blurted out:

"A strapless dress in the house of God?"

I guess my conservative upbringing has put down deep roots.

She thought I was crazy, no doubt.

There's not much I like about the Papal institution but I commend them for this rule.

And by the way would NA male tourists PLEASE remove their baseball caps in church?? It's horribly coarse and offensive to the faithful.
tedgale is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:37 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 84
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it was in fact winter, spring, or fall, dressing appropriately and respectfully for the church would be in line with dressing appropriately for the weather. But when the temperature is in the high 80s, not so....especially if you're going to be doing something like hiking in between seeing the churches.
lammom is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:42 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've scrutinized those going into unmanned chruches - where Taliban like moral police scrutinize folks for modesty

and i see a lot of Italians, yes Italians in shorts go in them as well

It's Italians who are on vacation and often wear shorts
PalenQ is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:42 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've always worn either a skirt or knee length walking shorts and a top with sleeves in any of the churches in Italy. I saw people being asked to cover up at St Marks in Venice last all...the guys were wearing short shorts (like running shorts) and muscle shirts. I would have asked them to cover up to sit in a cafe! Respectful is the key for the sites in my opinion....
cmeyer54 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:49 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 84
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
cmeyer, just trying to get the exact "rules" and balance them best with comfort....and my current wardrobe When you say knee-length skirts and shorts...do they usually cover your knee or just go to the top of it?
lammom is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 11:58 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,561
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
walking shorts to the top of the knee worked in venice, florence and milan. i wore a skirt about the same length to St Peters with no problem.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:01 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 541
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The rules are you need your knees and shoulders covered. Yes, there are small churches in some towns where there is no one there to watch you so I guess, you could try to "sneak in". On the other hand you might be like us and not realize than an Abbey is the same as a church. So when we had driven to the top of Monte Cassino and went to enter the museum we were turned away to go back down the mountain, put on long pants/skirt.

If you are hiking then make that your activity for the day. When we took our kids to Europe we had days when we knew we would not see churches and so my son (and husband) wore shorts. At the beach you will find people in shorts. But in the cities - Rome, Venice, Florence - you are likely to want to go into the bigger churches. I would imagine that Pisa is the same, haven't been to Cinque Terre.

So on city days you wear a very lightweight summer skirt. I'd never suggest the zip off pants to a woman. My teen daughters skirts were right at the knees, not below. They wore tank tops and carried a light sweater in their purse to put on before they went into the church. It really wasn't a problem.
AtlTravelr is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:07 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 12,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've traveled all over Europe at all times of the year for 40 years and have never found it necessary to wear shorts. It's a matter of propriety to dress in a manner that is respectful for church.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:23 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sometimes, adjusting your wardrobe to your "personal comfort" is not a wise idea.
http://tinyurl.com/2ho3lv
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:39 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 72,957
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
sorry - but I personally think trying to "get away" w/ disrespectful clothing is pretty darn tacky. Even if no one is guarding the door - there will likely be folks worshipping inside. And you want to flounce in w/ shorts and a wife beater??

Cap sleeves never killed anyone. And a floaty skirt is much cooler than shorts.
janisj is online now  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:54 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 6,134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm continually amazed at the idea held by many that churches and cathedrals exist primarily for visiting tourists.They are places of worship. The fact that they are open to visitors is secondary at best.

I'm also bewildered with the pervasive opinion that shorts are the most comfortable apparel in hot weather. Ladies, a skirt is so much cooler...it's a matter of air flow
historytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 12:59 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with janis. I have seen parishoners chase tourist in flimsy clothing out of churches in Italy.

I can remember a very old woman in black comming down the aisle of a church in Florence with a broom to chase out an Italian tourist in a mini-skirt.

And she yelled, "PUTANA," after her.

Thingorjus

Proenza_Preschooler is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 02:12 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,510
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In Sri Lanka, there is a flourishing traffic in sarongs rented to men who appear at a Buddhist temple in shorts. You pay/ tip as you leave, return the sarong (and pick up your shoes).

I wonder why a similar service is not offered to women in Italy. Some enterprising local businesses could really clean up in Rome, Florence and Venice.
tedgale is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 02:26 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
<<In Sri Lanka, there is a flourishing traffic in sarongs rented to men who appear at a Buddhist temple in shorts. You pay/ tip as you leave, return the sarong (and pick up your shoes).

I wonder why a similar service is not offered to women in Italy. Some enterprising local businesses could really clean up in Rome, Florence and Venice.>>

in a church in florence my husband WAS offered a sarong to cover up his knees - the look on his face was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. [before you flame him/me for being disrespectfully dressed, his shorts were of the very decent variety, being virtually knee length, and be no means revealing of anything, but clearly not long enough.]

what bemuses me, though, is why any reasonable deity would be so offended by knees and shoulders. Given we are made in his/her image. or perhaps not.

regards, ann



annhig is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 02:58 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
annhig wrote: "what bemuses me, though, is why any reasonable deity would be so offended by knees and shoulders."

I don't think it is a matter of God being offended; it's a concern that those who should be worshipping God might be distracted by salacious thoughts.
Padraig is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2008, 03:51 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 674
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree, if you don't like the dress code stay out of the churches, I think tourist trying to sneak by with clothes that are not considered respectful by the church are tacky.

And shorts are no cooler then a skirt. And ,, it Italy men wear CAPRI length pants,, mancapris so to speak.

Its a choice thing, you can choose to wear what ever you want, and the church can choose not to let you in,, real simple folks.

And ps. when you are in a church show respect by shutting up, I was in St Chapelle last year and the tourists were so loud, laughing and chatting like they were at a friggin barbeque,, the staff repeatly "shusshed " them. Ugh, how embarrassing.
YOU ARE A GUEST,, you do not have the RIGHT to be allowed in, you have the PRIVILDGE,, hard concept for some people to grasp. Chruches are not public property.


PS As pointed out, this is not just a "Catholic" thing ,, as even in Buddest Temples certain things are expected. Respect the host folks, no matter what country or religion.
bozama is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -