I don’t know about you but one of the most stressful things about studying abroad was wondering what to pack for 4 months in 1-2 suitcases. Mark my words, it is not an easy task if you are a clothes lover like myself but I’ve got some tips and suggestion to make things a little easier for you!
I suggest bringing 1 large suitcase as well as a rolling carry-on and a larger purse of some sort (Longchamps are a great choice!) as well as packing a small over the shoulder bag inside a suitcase. Any more bags and you will not be able to carry them A) Through the airport and cobblestone streets and B) Up the stairs to your apartment which usually involves several flights.
If you are going to Florence in the Spring (or really any season, never hurts to be prepared!), I would suggest bringing a heavier rain coat. I brought a black North Face rain-resistant coat that is lined with a little fur. Although on the pricier side, it has been my saving grace while here. Umbrellas are always a good thing to bring but you can also buy them here if you seem to have run out of room in your suitcase. I brought Hunter boots along but have really only worn them a couple times. However I do suggest bringing some type of rain-resistant shoes!
My biggest mistake was bringing all winter clothes and seemingly forgetting that about 2.5-3 of my months here will be spring weather. Definitely make sure to pack warmer clothes as well as cute springy clothes and shoes!
Here is a list of the clothes I would suggest bringing for your semester abroad:
3 bras (black, nude, color of choice)
10 pairs of underwear
Multiple pairs of socks depending on how often you wear them
1 bathing suit
2 camisoles/tank tops
2 cardigans for an extra warmer layer (black and white)
3 long-sleeve shirts
3 short-sleeve shirts
2 “going out shirts” (you know what I mean)
1 nice jacket/blazer
2 pairs of yoga pants (it may get cold and comfy is always good)
2 workout outfits (if you get time to workout between meals :))
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of black jeans (black is the way to go over here)
3 short dresses (one fancy, 2 springy)
1 long/maxi dress
5 scarves (these come in handy to change up your outfits)
2 pairs of flip flops (one shower shoe, one nicer pair)
1 pair of sneakers
1 pair of boots
1 pair of wedges/heels
2 pairs of flats
It seems like a lot but I promise you won’t regret the options once you are over here! I’ve found that many Italians and fashionable Americans wear heeled ankle boots that go well with just about everything so it may be a good idea to invest in a pair that’s black or brown (or both!).
If you’re like me and tend to sway towards the fashionable side, you will want to fit in with the Italians who dress fabulously. Unlike Americans, these people do not dress in yoga pants, tshirts and sneakers on their way to class. Remember to bring comfy clothes as well as some nice clothes/signature pieces that make you feel like a million bucks! This will help you fit into the Italian culture better as well as boost your own confidence.
Here is a list of the supplies/necessities I suggest bringing:
Ziploc gallon bags (hard to find here but come in handy for lots of things)
Pens (if you are a freak like me and have a favorite brand)
Chargers for computer, etc and CONVERTER (very important)
Passport and folder with important documents
A couple photos from home
Planner for school work
Laundry basket of some kind (either a bag or the foldable ones)
Makeup with a couple back-ups when you run out of a favorite brand
Face wash products
Buy shampoo and such once you get to Florence. They sell them at the grocery stores and usually have common brands like Pantene and Garnier Fructis. Same goes for deodorant and body wash! Pack a small carry-on bag with toothpaste, toothbrush and face wash for the plane to freshen up during the 7 hour flight.
My apartment through the Lorenzo de’ Medici school provided great IKEA (there’s one very close by) towels and bedding so I did not need to bring that with me. Check with your school/program to see what they do to supply those items so you don’t worry about bringing extraneous stuff with you. They sell notebooks and folders here as well so bringing those is not necessary.
I would suggest getting a travel rewards credit card before going abroad. This is one of the things that I wished I had done. You will be traveling a lot by train and airplane so putting it on a rewards card that could ultimately earn you more trips, is a great thing to start doing while abroad!
Always remember there are TONS of stores in Florence so you will never end up naked/deprived if you forgot something!