I Spent a Week in Italy Without Looking Like a Tourist —See What I Wore

On a late night at the beginning of August, I was thumbing through Instagram and landed on a 1990s Vogue editorial. In it, Claudia Schiffer is snapped by Arthur Elgort in a collection of photos that are shot throughout Rome, where the model is taking in the local sights, dining alfresco, and wearing some of the decade’s most iconic looks. It’s a series I’ve seen before and am all too familiar with; in fact, one of the images has been the screensaver on my computer for the past year.

Landing on that image during that 1 a.m. social media dive, though, was all I needed to book an impulsive ticket overseas to Italy. I hadn’t planned any major trips over the summer and took it as a sign to book a flight without overthinking things too much. After all, I’d had Italy on the brain since last spring and knew I had to follow my instincts. Fast-forward a week, and my dad decided to join me on the last-minute trip—and the experience of exploring Italy together is one I’ll never forget.

As a fashion editor, naturally, I thought first about which outfits I’d pack into my suitcase for the getaway. My personal approach is always to wear pieces from my everyday wardrobe, mixed with a few special items picked up with the destination in mind—a formula that always helps me avoid looking like a tourist when I arrive. Ahead, see all the outfits I wore during my eight days in Italy, as well as the incredible spots I visited during my time there.

Arriving in Rome

After I got off the plane, I slipped into a polka-dot dress from Reformation and hit most of the major tourist highlights, including spots like the iconic Trevi Fountain. I started out my trip solo, so I had a few days to take in all of the sights on my own.

The moment I saw this dress, I knew I needed to pack in for Italy.

One of my friends told me that Palazzo Dama is his favorite hotel in Rome, so I checked in there for a few nights after I landed—and he didn't steer me wrong. With everything from plush rooms to a beautiful pool to a location right next to some of the most beautiful streets in the city, it was an incredible place to spend my first couple nights.

Just minutes away from my hotel was Dal Bolognese, a restaurant in the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. The food is as amazing as the people-watching. I had heard that Bella Hadid dined there recently, and our waiter promptly pulled up a photo snapped of him with the model at the restaurant.

My dad joined me in Italy for a father-daughter leg of the trip, and we checked into an apartment from Onefinestay to get a taste of authentic city living. I’d been wanting to read the Italian-based Call Me By Your Name ever since I saw the movie last year, so I brought the book along with me to curl up with and read during my travels.

Did this book make anyone else want to book a trip to Italy?

Can you tell that this was my favorite room in our Onefinestay apartment? The bright white living room was filled with natural light and a perfect space to dig into my book or have a glass of wine at the end of the day—feeling much more like home than a hotel room.

We stumbled upon the great breakfast spot La Buvette, tucked away on a cobblestone side street. Come here for an excellent cappuccino.

I’ve been quick to jump on board with the leopard jean trend and thought Rome was the perfect spot to test them out.

I picked up these affordable sandals from Zara before I left and wore them with nearly every outfit on my trip.

A few days in Tuscany

One of the highlights of my travels was a side trip to Tuscany—a place I’d always dreamed of visiting—where we stayed at the beautiful Monteverdi hotel. Truly one of the most magical places I’ve ever visited, the entire property is situated on a hilltop in a medieval village overlooking the countryside.

It’st just so perfectly dreamy-looking, right?

My dad and I took a cooking class from the head chef at Monteverdi, and it was one of the most fun experiences of the trip. We learned the craft of authentic pasta from their master and included ingredients like fresh pepperoncini peppers and zucchini flowers picked from the garden in our dishes.

I’ve been very into smocked tops this summer and couldn’t resist packing this one for Italy.

Taking in the views poolside in beautiful Tuscany.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Monday Swimwear’s perfect one-piece swimsuits. I wore their leopard version earlier this summer.

Back to Rome

After Tuscany, we returned to Rome to see more of the city. Every corner is more beautiful than the next.

Italian-made shoes hailing from Venice, these were one of the first things I packed in my suitcase.

We stayed at Hotel de Ricci for the final leg of the trip. Each night, we stopped into the hotel’s Charade Bar for aperitivo—a traditional and sophisticated Roman version of happy hour.

Like I said, I’m very into smocked tops at the moment.

On the recommendation of an in-the-know friend, I asked the travel experts at Indagare for some insider spots I couldn’t miss while visiting Rome. They steered me in the right direction by letting me know to visit some of the city’s gems, like Giolitti—an old-school gelateria that has been around since 1900 and offers the best gelato in town.

On Via Giulia, one of my favorite streets in Rome. The quiet area is lined with some of the most elaborate private homes in the city.

This is easily one of my favorite colors for fall, so I couldn’t wait to slip into it this summer.

For some sightseeing, we stopped at the Musei Capitolini. I have a soft spot for art history, which I studied in college, so I always make sure to schedule some museum visits on vacation.

I love this casual take on a pencil skirt.

Another highlight of the trip? A visit to Vatican City. While we didn’t plan for it, we arrived just as the Pope was speaking.

We spent our last night in Rome in the charming Trastevere neighborhood, another area that my friends at Indagare urged me to visit. We had dinner at Taverna Trilussa—a restaurant that nearly a dozen friends and Instagram followers recommended to me—and it was easily one of the best meals of the trip. We sat on an outdoor patio and ordered fresh pasta that was served to our table straight from the pan.

One of my best purchases of the season. I wore this dress on repeat during my trip.