Roman Catholic Dress Code


Every site of worship in the world has its own set of laws, but one that is universal is that you must dress modestly if you wish to enter, regardless of your faith or belief, even if you are just a tourist taking pictures of famous artworks.

As a demonstration of respect, you should never wear revealing clothing in a place that many consider sacred. The Vatican is obviously no exception. You must dress modestly if you intend to access Vatican City, which contains St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel, as they are the emblem of Christianity as well as a vast collection of art and culture.

If you’re wondering what to wear to the Vatican and what goods to leave in your hotel, this post has you covered.

Is there a roman Catholic dress code?

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Prohibited items

Although the list of prohibited goods is lengthy, it all boils down to common sense: remember that you’ll be visiting the world’s most important cathedral, and you must dress appropriately.

So, no tank tops, short shorts, skirts above the knee, and especially no outfits that expose your shoulder or chest. It is also illegal to wear transparent clothing or socks, even if they theoretically cover your body, so don’t try to get around the rules by wearing a see-through t-shirt.

You should also think about your footwear. While there is no dress requirement, wearing flip-flops, slippers, or heels is strongly discouraged.

Appropriate Roman Catholic dress code

During the summer, it is evident that the dress code causes problems and discomfort. If you want to visit the Vatican City during the hot season, keep in mind that, despite the extreme heat, you will need to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

A dress or skirt below the knee in a light fabric, such as linen, would be ideal for women. Wear a t-shirt or a shirt that covers your chest and shoulders as well.

A long-sleeved shirt and suitable pants are preferred for men, but t-shirts and shorts (as long as they are below the knee) are acceptable. Caps and sunglasses are permitted, but must be removed once inside the cathedral.

Is there a Roman Catholic dress code for kids?

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The regulations are a little looser for toddlers and very young children because everyone understands that you can’t force a three-year-old to wear a sweater in August and have a calm day, but older children and teens must adhere to the same dress code as adults.

But don’t expect the restrictions to be fully relaxed for your children! It is entirely up to the guards whether or not to let you in. Be attentive, and dress the children modestly. A t-shirt and shorts that aren’t too short should suffice.

Is the Roman Catholic dress code enforced?

It is entirely up to the guards to allow tourists in. Until recently, some people were able to sneak in even if they were not dressed modestly (for example, if the skirt was just over the knee), but the standards are now much stricter.

Of course, someone still sneaks in and gets away with it, but you shouldn’t try your luck. Respect the regulations, or you may be sent back to your hotel to change!

What to Wear When Visiting the Vatican

Modesty and comfort are essential for a trouble-free visit to the Vatican. I have mentioned that you should avoid wearing revealing clothing, but I’d like to add that you should also wear comfortable clothing.

The Vatican, while magnificent, is a tiring place to visit. There’s a lot to see, but not a lot of places to sit. You’ll be walking several kilometers, and you don’t want to put your body through any more strain than necessary, right?

Wear garments that are soft and breathable, and layer them so that you can add or remove items as needed. Leave your ultra-skinny jeans and heels at home; the Vatican is a place where you should prioritize comfort over attractiveness.

Shoes are a vital component of your outfit. Because there will be a lot of walking, I recommend bringing your most comfortable walking shoes. Sandals are also OK, but only if you are certain they will not harm your feet. You don’t want to be irritated by cuts and blisters when in Rome. Avoid wearing flip-flops, slippers, and other uncomfortable shoes.

Tips to abide by the Vatican dress code in the summer

Whether you visit Rome in August or October, you should make a point of following the Vatican dress code. Here are some more helpful hints.

Dress comfortably (skirt or dress below the knee for ladies, pants for men). You’ll sweat less, and the heat will be more tolerable.

Carry an additional shirt with sleeves to wear over your tank top, or maybe a shawl. This is a frequent tactic while visiting the Vatican: because summers in Rome can be fairly hot, many travelers choose to dress as they wish—always keeping the Vatican dress code in mind—and bring an extra layer to wear once there. A shawl, rather than a shirt with sleeves or a sweater, is my preferred choice. It can be used to cover your shoulders (but make sure your knees are already covered!) or your legs if your skirt or pants are too short.


Is it permissible to wear jeans in the Vatican?

According to Vatican attire regulations, full-length jeans are permitted in the Vatican. Jeans that are ripped or destroyed, on the other hand, are not permitted. It is a feature of the Roman Catholic Church’s institution to avoid wearing clothing that reveals skin. As a result, it is prudent to pack your bags with caution when arranging a vacation to Vatican City.

Why is there a dress code at the Vatican?

Because the Vatican is a religious state, it has a clothing code. The Roman Catholic Church’s headquarters are located here. If a guest does not follow the guidelines, it is deemed disrespectful, and the security personnel have the authority to deny you admission to the city and the palace.

Can I visit the Vatican wearing a t-shirt?

Yes, you can wear t-shirts to the Vatican, as long as the graphic design does not express anything derogatory. The same is true for slogans or pictures that offend Catholic sentiment. It is advised that you should not create any discomfort in your surroundings when touring the area in order to have a pleasant experience.

Is it permissible to bring a backpack into the Vatican?

Large backpacks are not permitted under the Vatican City dress code. This is done to guarantee that each tourist and visitor has a pleasant experience while seeing the city and the palace. Small bags are permitted; however, large bags or rucksacks should be avoided.

What should I wear to the Vatican during my summer visit?

Summers in Vatican City can be quite hot, with a searing sun directly overhead. As a result, light-colored clothing composed of breathable fabrics is strongly encouraged. Keep water, drinks, and sunscreen on hand because you will need them frequently. To protect your skin from sunburn, invest in a scarf or light stole.


The Vatican is a self-governing city-state that acts as the Roman Catholic Church’s headquarters. Because the Vatican is a religious state, there are dress codes in place throughout the city.

As a religious institution, they urge modest clothes and skin covering, similar to how other religions have doctrines prescribing suitable apparel. If you do not respect the dress code and are dressed immodestly, the guards have the right to refuse you admission to the city and its attractions.

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