Packing Tips for a Semester in Florence

So you’re spending the summer studying abroad in Italy. Well I hope you have worked up an appetite because the gelato and pasta awaits you! But first thing’s first… the packing. UGH. I know I know, what a pain. You’ll be tempted to pack your entire wardrobe, but I can assure you that will NOT be necessary.

Pack what you want to bring, then cut it in half! Be sure to leave a little space in your luggage for a few souvenirs that you’ll want to bring home with you.

As a student that has spent five months living in Florence off of one suitcase there are definitely things I really wish I had packed and then there were things that I surely should not have brought with me. Here are 7 things to pack and 4 things to leave behind. I am in hopes that this may minimize some of that pre-departure anxiety and leave room for more excitement because there is a whole lot to look forward to.

Pack it:

  1. SUNSCREEN: I cannot stress this enough! The summer is hot, the sun is strong and the sunscreen is expensive. If you are like me then you might be thinking, “why pack the sunscreen when I can pack another pair of shoes and just buy the sunscreen there.” Sunscreen will cost you nearly double in Florence so you’re better off just tossing that bottle of sunscreen in your bag and calling it a day (because I know you have a half empty bottle just laying around the house somewhere). 
  2. PEANUT BUTTER: yum yum in my tum tum… to all you peanut butter lovers out there, stock up! It’s a disappointing realization when you get to Florence and 1. have to search high and low to find peanut butter and 2. when you finally find it and see that the price is twice as much and the size is half as large as back home. Pack a jar of peanut butter into your carry-on and you’ll be left with a few extra euro in your pocket and a satisfied belly.
  3. RAZORS: who likes shaving nicks and cuts? No one! If you’re planning on leaving your razor at home and getting yourself a nice, new Gillette Venus Comfortglide in Florence well go ahead and cancel those plans because it. is. not. happening. Good razors are nearly impossible to come by in this city so do yourself a favor and PACK A RAZOR!
  4. Gentlemen you can skip to 5, Ladies this ones for you – Tampons: there is just no getting around it, you know you’ll need it so just come prepared because tampons will cost you a fortune in Italy.
  5. PORTABLE CHARGER: Between the instagramming, photo-taking, whats-apping, and maps usage your phone is sure to need a mid-day recharge. You’ll thank yourself when you realize you have that spare charger hanging out in your backpack just waiting to be used.
  6. RAINCOAT: The streets of Florence are narrow and filled with people, on a rainy day you might find yourself dodging umbrellas that could possibly take an eye out. Walking around with an umbrella will slow you down and end up being more frustrating than anything. A raincoat is the way to go on a rainy day in Florence.
  7. MEDS: Allergies are the worst, am I right? There was nothing more frustrating during my time abroad than when I ran out of my Zyrtec and went through three different Italian medications just to discover that there was no getting rid of my sniffles and itchy eyes. Medication in Italy is quite different from the medications found in the US, it’s better to pack the medicine you most rely on ahead of time.

Leave it at home, it’ll still be there when you get back:

    1. HAIR DRYER/ CURLING IRON/ FLAT IRON: They’re heavy and you risk frying them. RIP to all the flat irons that I have fried on various occasions while in Europe. Hair tools are surprisingly fairly affordable and easy to come by in Florence, and you can split the cost amongst your roommates… plus you don’t risk starting a fire in your apartment. that would not be fine. 
    2. HEELS: If there is anything more difficult than walking the streets of Florence in heels, it is walking the streets of Florence on crutches. The cobble stone streets are not a friend to your heels, just go ahead and leave them at home.
    3. BEACH TOWEL: Towels take up a lot of valuable luggage space so it’s best they be left behind. Towels can make a good souvenir from a beach destination and won’t cost your more than 10 euro.

4. Bring only 2-5 t-shirts, I promise you won’t wear them as much as you do at home. People don’t wear too much casual wear here so unless you want to stand out keep the T-shirts for the apartment!


TIME TO GET PACKING! Your semester in Florence awaits you.


Florence Student Travels Packing


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