How to recognize a tourist

In my experience over many years of observation, one can reduce the indicators of whether someone is an American tourist by five tell-tale signs; baseball caps, tee-shirts, rain jackets, sneakers, backpacks.

Americans traveling abroad think that just because they’re away from home function has to replace fashion. There’s a lot to be said about being ready for anything, but looking fashionable does not have to come at the expense of achieving practical goals. Fitting into the scenery helps increase confidence and assertiveness even when language fluency is weak.


For Italians, shoes speak volumes. Here comfort is as much in the interest of the Italian as they are to the globe trotting tourist visitor. However, comfortable shoes do not have to be ugly. For urban walking, two pairs of shoes are sufficient. One of the pairs can be purchased in Italy. For active outdoors one pair of hiking/walking shoes will do, for a total of three-pairs.

Stay away from sneakers, which are good on the tennis courts. Women are advised to wear flats, loafers or anything that has a slight heal.  Heals are ideal for evening wear and make any attire more attractive.


These work well for both men and women. They have a dual function of keeping necks warm at night and are fashionable. These look good with a blazer, or jacket, coat for colder temps.


T-shirts are for young people, but that doesn’t mean that a fit parent shouldn’t wear a t-shirt. These look great under a blazer. Generally, an adult wears a button shirt. Even with shorts, if you dare. In cities, Italian men wear long pants. Linen is a good material.


American men typically wear very baggy pants that droop much lower than the ankle, all bunched up. It doesn’t have to be that way. Italian men wear tighter pants that flatters the body’s contours. It may not be the best place to put wallets and keys, which begs the question of which man bag suits your personality. No, you say? Just see how much sense it makes to put everything on one place.

Pants and dresses for women

American women typically wear only pants when traveling. It’s perfectly OK to also have skirts and dresses. Italian women prefer these latter things to pants. They pack well and are lightweight and comfortable. Stockings in summer is not recommended.

Stay away

from caution colors. Muted, natural fibers, accessorized with more fashionable handbags, scarves, sweaters, blazers etcetera go a long way to looking local. You will also get more use out of fewer things as interchangeable items work for more occasions.