Cambio di stagione, or change of seasons, is an important event that happens two times a year for Italians.
Why two times a year and not four? Because this cambio I’m referring to is the one related to wardrobe.
As summer ends and fall begins, Italians open their wardrobes (armadi) and take out their winter clothes while putting away everything from the summer and spring. The interesting thing is, this has little to do with actual temperatures and a lot to do with calendar dates.
I’ve seen some pretty hot October days in Florence, but never mind, if it’s officially autunno (fall), you’re expected to dress accordingly. The whole process is then repeated again for the spring leading up to the summer.
So, in honor (or dread depending on how you look at it) of the end of summer, here are some words and cultural insights into the seasonal and wardrobe changes in Italy.
— L’autunno – Fall
— L’inverno – Winter
— La primavera – Spring
— L’estate – Summer
— Il cambio di stagione – Change of seasons (also used as change of wardrobe between seasons, example: Devo fare il cambio stagione! – I have to change my wardrobe!)
— La giacca – Jacket
— I pantaloni – Pants
— I collant – Tights
— La maglione / golf – Sweater / Jumper (yep, they say “golf” for a sweater!)
— La sciarpa – Scarf
— Le pantofole – Slippers
Beyond these keywords, there are also some cultural insights worth knowing about changing seasons:
— Calendars rule, ambient temperature drools. Excuse my grade school rhyme, but this is very important in Italy. You can easily be fooled by uncharacteristically warm days in autumn or spring, but don’t break out the warm weather clothes. Italians will continue wearing winter coats until they’re officially in the “summer” season (i.e. May / June).
— Sickness is often tied to air and air entering your body in some way. I wrote an article about this already, but be warned that scarves and other bodily coverings are necessary during this confusing time of “cambio” lest you be attacked by wayward air and rendered ill. Solution: scarves. All the time. The minute summer ends, keep your neck covered!
— Open toed shoes go away the minute the calendar says “fall.” Even if it’s hot, Italians retire their open toed sandals when autunno hits. If you’re real serious though, summer shoes are retired promptly at the end of August holidays.
Have any of you experienced this in Italy? Wishing you all a great “cambio!”