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Sep 11, 2011 07:41 AM

An attire question for Rome - please don't laugh too hard!

The good: My wonderful, charming, handsome and sweet boyfriend (we are in our 40s) is taking me to Rome for a long weekend on Tuesday. I feel very very lucky.

The problem: It is going to be HOT.

He likes to wear shorts. Not "gym" shorts, but grown-up man shorts and teva sandals. I want to be able to eat lunches some where decent, but there is no way I am going to convince him not to wear shorts. Other than that he comes off as well "polished". He refuses to wear sneakers in Europe, "too American", but will wear shorts. I give up!

The question: How far can I push it with our restaurant choices given his attire?
He will wear pants to dinner but lunch it will be shorts every day.

I have lived in Italy. When I travel to Europe I am always "dressed" and often mistaken for a local in any city I am in be it Paris, Florence, Rome, etc. In hot weather I will be wearing a dress or a skirt during the day and cute flats. The last time I was in Munich three different people assumed I was Italian and started speaking to me in Italian first.

I have this vision of walking by some fabulous restaurant and not feeling dressed enough to go in. We have 4 dinners and 3 lunches.
Some of the places on my list are listed below. Any that I absolutely can not go into for lunch if he is wearing shorts? Any other suggestions?
La Gensola
L'Asino d'Oro - lunch only
Checchino dal 1887 - dinner only

I'm not eating Pizza except al taglio. (I discovered Da Michele in Naples over 25 years ago and it ruined me for life)

Checchino dal 1887
Via di Monte Testaccio, 30, Rome 00153, IT

Via del Portico d'Ottavia 21A/22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

Piazza Dè Ricci, 144, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

La Gensola
Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

L'Asino d'Oro
Via del Boschetto 73, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

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  1. I don't think I'd try Tuna with a shorts-wearing man. Roscioli and Piperno might be sniffy. The rest should be fine with it, at least at lunch.

    11 Replies
    1. re: zerlina

      He is really a terrific guy but this issue is non-negotiable for him.
      I don't care about it from a fashion perspective but when it interferes with my eating it is a whole other story!

      1. re: gowest

        Since you posted this on the board, you are somewhat concern. All of the places on your list will allow your short wearing husband a table, including Tuna. If you are worry about what type of service you will receive, that is the chance you have to take. It is not always about fashion statement or how it interferes with ones eating, it is how much respect one gives to a particular restaurant and fellow diners. If a couple walks into Tuna, one wearing Prada and the other wearing shorts and teva, it will invariable cause a bit of a ripple, maybe even with the wait staff. Personally, I would never go into Tuna or Checchino wearing shorts and teva, but from my couple of experiences with Checchino, you will be treated no differently than anyone else.

        1. re: PBSF

          I know, that is the problem.

          I'm trying to weigh my eating experience vs. keeping him happy.

          I would NEVER walk around any European city in shorts. Ever. I am not even remotely a fashionista either. It just isn't "done".

          I have family in the restaurant business and completely understand the showing respect to both other diners and the establishment aspect of it.

          Maybe I will just try to look extra fabulous, and joke with the waiters in Italian about it.

          1. re: gowest

            I agree he sounds like a terrific guy. With character!

            Bologna. where I presently am in a heat wave, is filled with Italian men wearing shorts, along with nice polo shirts and loafers without socks. And I am not talking about students. I'm talking men 35 and over. Some of them can be seen eating in quite nice restaurants that have extensive sidewalk terraces. So wearing shorts in a European city is "done." I see the same in Genova, Milano and Torino.

            Once you get to Roma, you may have trouble picking out your friend in a crowd.

            1. re: barberinibee

              Well my boyfriend will be pleased to hear it!
              He is very handsome in my eyes, but I still think Italian men in shorts vs. American men in shorts is a whole different ball game.
              Don't even get me started on the loafer vs. teva shoes :)

              1. re: gowest

                Bolognesi men are not necessarily slender.

                Also, tevas are extremely popular for both men and women. In fact, walking around Bologna today, I realized that I've worn mine this hot summer to the point I've broken through one sole.

              2. re: barberinibee

                I've seen this a lot in many European locations (even by some local Italian friends). So it can be done. :-)

                1. re: chefathome

                  Great so we will eat where I want and try not to be worried that we are breaking dress code.

                  I always travelled with my grandmother who was very correct/old school in terms of dress. It is something that has just stuck with me all these years later.

                  Old habits are hard to break.

        2. re: zerlina

          P.S. You might see a scruffy-looking older man wearing shorts at Roscioli. He's a famous Italian food critic, lives practically next door, eats there often - and is notoriously a bad dresser. They're obviously not going to be sniffy with him.

          1. re: zerlina

            I agree with zerlina's first comment, you may feel really uncomfortable only at Tuna.
            Other restaurants you mentioned will welcome a short wearing man at lunch time, especially if the weather will continue to be so hot as today.

            Ps. Love Da Michele pizza in Naples! Last time the queue was so long that I preferred to order a take away eating it in front of the pizzeria. It was ready in few minutes! 

            Da Michele
            Via Cesare Sersale, 1, Naples, Campania 80139, IT

            1. re: tavoleromane

              I found Da Michele when I was traveling with a friend. I was 18 and we were starving even though it was technically too early for dinner.

              It was November, there was a mix of "guys" and a couple of ladies in fur coats and I thought how could we go wrong. No line, no Americans but this was in the days before the internet!

              I will never forget 10 years later when it showed up on the front page of the dining/or travel section of the NYtimes.

              Made me laugh.
              It is delicious.
              Not enough time on this trip to go back.

              Da Michele
              Via Cesare Sersale, 1, Naples, Campania 80139, IT

        3. I feel your pain! But if your concern is about lunch, you can relax. Checchino publishes on its web site a request for no shorts, but if you're going for dinner, and have a promise of long pants for evening, you're fine. (And they are unlikely to turn anyone away for their wardrobe.) Likewise at Piperno, I would wear long pants in the evening. No place else is very fancy and most of the places on your list get a LOT of tourists and won't bat an eyelash. Also, Rome is just not very formal.

          Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

          1. As long as it's lunch time (and he's not pairing a loud Hawaian shirt with those oh-so-elegant man shorts) then you should be fine.
            Have a great time!