Church dress

Last Updated: 12th Aug 2013

church dress

Europe is filled with amazing buildings, architecture and churches. If you want to visit the inside of European churches, particularly in Italy, you need to dress respectfully, wearing what is generally referred to as ‘church dress’.

What should you wear?

As a general rule, you should have your shoulders, mid-section and knees covered. This rule applies to both males and females.

For ladies this means that mid-riff tops are not allowed, nor are ‘strappy’ tops that do not cover your shoulders, however, wrapping a thin shawl or a sarong around your shoulders is considered sufficient.

Likewise, generally short shorts and skirts that do not cover your knees are not allowed but, again, a longer skirt, shorts or wrapping a sarong around your waist to cover your knees is acceptable.

Gentlemen should wear long pants or shorts that again cover their knees.

T-shirts, jeans and the like are perfectly acceptable, as are any other forms of clothing that simply cover your shoulders, mid-section and knees.


Rules regarding footwear do not apply and thongs, sandals and flip flops are perfectly fine, as are all other varieties of footwear. You should however wear some form of shoe.


Although you may find these entry requirements are not observed in some churches, the larger churches like St Marks in Venice, the Duomo of Florence and St Peters Basilica of the Vatican in Rome often strictly enforce this dress code, as does the Vatican Museums, home to the Sistine Chapel.



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