When visiting the Vatican, it’s important to remember to show respect. Even if you are not Catholic, and even if you are not Christian, you are in a holy place and it’s important to follow the few amount of rules they have in the Vatican dress code. The Vatican’s dress code means women and men both need to cover their knees, either with a long dress or pants, as well as covering their arms.
The main thing to remember about visiting The Vatican, or any church or holy building in general, is to be respectful of their rules. It can get hot in Rome in the summer, so be prepared to plan ahead — or you may be denied entry to The Vatican. Here are our top tips for The Vatican dress code.
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Can you Wear Leggings to the Vatican?
There is mixed opinion on whether leggings or tights count as pants according to the dress code for Vatican City. I have heard first-hand of many people have been turned away for wearing leggings to The Vatican, so you probably don’t want to take the chance — although there is no official rule that it is not accepted. When I went, I wore tight black pants (made of legging material) under a dress and I didn’t even get a second look. It may depend on who is letting you in, but it will be a hassle if you are wearing the wrong thing, so plan accordingly.
Learn more about Visiting The Vatican: Everything you need to know — including skip-the-line tickets, the Vatican Museums, and how to climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica
During the winter, wearing your normal clothing should be fine. Although I was always taught to wear a dress to a church, the dress code at the Vatican locations seems to be slightly more laid back — in certain ways. So if you are a female, feel free to wear pants. And if you are male, make sure you wear pants and you should be fine.
Rome, Italy can get incredibly hot during the summer, so if you are planning to wear a shorter dress or shorts, throwing some pants in your bag will be necessary if you want to be let into any of the Vatican buildings.
Can You Wear Hats to the Vatican?
When visiting The Vatican, you will also be visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the most famous churches in the world. As a male, remember to take off any hat while visiting churches, not just at the Vatican but at any church you visit.
Can You Wear Shorts to the Vatican?
Shorts are not allowed as a part of the Vatican dress code rules. Whether you are female or male, you will want to cover your legs.
If you show up with your legs revealed, you will either be turned away or asked to purchase a scarf or something similar from the gift shop to cover yourself.
Wearing shorts around Rome in general makes you stand out as a tourist, so it may be best not to pack them. But if you want to wear them around the city of Rome, make sure you do not wear them on the day you will be visiting Vatican City. The Vatican dress code is pretty clear on not allowing shorts, or revealed legs at all.
What to Wear to The Vatican
It can be a little scary to stand in a long line if you are not sure if they are even going to let you in. So our tip is just to wear what they ask in the rules for the Vatican. It is not that difficult and can alleviate some hassles at one of the most amazing and beautiful places you will ever visit.
Do not reveal your legs and dress modest during your visit, and you will be fine when you are visiting Vatican City.