Italy, the land of delectable cuisine, breathtaking art, and rich history, is a dream destination for many travelers. While touring famous landmarks is a must, experiencing Italy as a local opens a world of wonders and the opportunity to have a life-changing experience. Solo travel in Italy can be a transformative journey that allows you to immerse yourself in this charming country’s culture, history, and everyday life.
But, if you’re traveling italy solo, there can often be hesitations that come with booking the ticket and jumping on a plane to another country– safety concerns, loneliness, and language barriers are all valid concerns for a first-time traveler.
Having solo backpacked around Europe for six months and taken numerous solo tours, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to make navigating Italy independently a little easier. You don’t have to wait until you have someone to go with you to experience living La Dolce Vita – in fact, exploring Italy solo may be better than you could have ever expected (psst… and you don’t have to go it alone!).
There’s a wealth of information online on how best to do Italian solo travel, but let this serve as your comprehensive guide from a local expat and seasoned solo female traveler!
Is it Safe?
The big question – is it safe to travel solo in Italy? In general, I’ve found that Italy is generally a safe destination for solo travel in several major cities, but undoubtedly so in the larger towns, like Ascoli Piceno, which are off-the-beaten paths and don’t attract hordes of tourists. “Rarely do I ever feel unsafe, even out in the town square at night,” our client, Belinda from Australia, told us after wandering solo during free evenings in Ascoli Piceno.
Many Italians are warm and willing to help others when needed. Of course, taking precautions and listening to your intuition is crucial, even in the safest places, and Italy is no exception.
Stay aware of your surroundings and ensure that any transportation is official and licensed. It can also be a good idea to memorize and have access to local emergency numbers, as well as your country’s embassy or consulate contact details, just in case.
Pro-Tip: The local emergency numbers will usually be available at your hotel.
It’s also essential to keep a list of any medications or allergies in the case of medical emergencies.
These basic precautions can help you enjoy your trip without worrying about the unlikely case that something goes wrong.
While Italy has a relatively low violent crime rate, pickpocketing can be more common in the more populated cities and areas where tourists congregate at sites like the Trevi fountain in Rome and Rialto Bridge in Venice. Keep your belongings close to you, don’t carry your phone or wallet in a back pocket, and stay aware of your surroundings to avoid making yourself a target for pickpockets.
Especially if you’re traveling as a woman, safety can feel like a huge barrier to doing the things you love and want to participate in. While it’s natural to have worries, staying alert and taking basic precautions should circumvent most potential issues. Nowadays, with everyone having a smartphone, it is easy to stay in touch with your family and loved ones back home, so it is highly recommended to get a phone plan that covers you while you’re traveling Italy.
Pro-tip: Don’t want to cough up the cash for expensive roaming fees? Head into an Italian telecommunications provider like Wind or Tim and get an Italian SIM with an Italian number that will cover you throughout your Italian trip.
What Should I Pack?
Packing can feel like a huge limitation for many solo travelers – but I can tell you, after packing for a 6-month backpacking trip across Europe, it isn’t impossible! You don’t want to overpack and make it difficult to haul your bag on and off trains, but you also don’t want to be left without an essential item like prescription medicine. That’s why it is highly recommended to make a packing list before you go, and if you don’t already have one, you can get one for every season by clicking here!
Pro-tip: Did you forget something? Remember, Italy isn’t a third-world country, and you’ll be able to get many of the similar or equivalent brands of toiletries. You’ll want to look out for shops like Aqua e Sapone, Douglas, or Sephora, which carry most of the popular cosmetic brands found in North America. And who knows you might even find a new favorite!
For solo travelers specifically, comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must. Italy is made for exploring on foot – especially if you want to soak up the local vibes during your trip. Invest in comfortable, durable shoes to roam the charming streets and cobblestone alleys you dream about. Personal favorites for the summer are Birkenstocks or cute white sneakers with support that go with everything from shorts to floral summer dresses. Traveling in the cooler months, white sneakers still work, but you’ll also want to bring some waterproof shoes and an umbrella so a little rain doesn’t put a dent in your Italy trip.
Dressing like a local can help you blend in with the crowd. Italians often dress well and are usually quite put together, so we recommend leaving your LuluLemons for the gym and packing classic, versatile pieces like long dresses, skirts, scarves, and cardigans. Want to know all the do’s and don’ts of Italy? Read it HERE!
Regarding electronic devices, don’t forget that Italy typically uses Type C and Type F plugs. We recommend purchasing an adapter and a converter for your time in Italy to avoid appliance issues and frying your favorite curling iron.
While some Italians speak English, knowing a few basic phrases is essential to navigating Italy. If this concerns you, a universal translator is a great place to start, but no promises on how correct the translate will be especially for idiomatic expressions and items on the menu, Better yet, forget worrying about the lingo and join us on tour to take the guesswork out of your next solo trip to Italy and gain insight into the local culture.
What Are the Best Cities for Italian Solo Travel?
While cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence have a lot to offer in terms of bucket-list tourist attractions, there are definitely better options for solo travelers, when it comes to feeling safe and having the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture without constantly looking over your shoulder or feeling like you’re a potential target for harassment or pick-pockets.
Opting for lesser-traveled areas, such as Le Marche, Abruzzo, hidden gems of the Prosecco hills, or the up-and-coming city of Ascoli, can help you to experience Italian hospitality in a more relaxed way. These charming cities, where everybody seems to know everyone, can help you beat the crowds and avoid many safety incidents that are more likely to occur in the bigger crowded cities where there’s a constant eb and flow of tourists coming and going daily.
How Do I Meet Other People?
Traveling solo doesn’t mean you must be alone the entire trip! Italy has many opportunities to connect with fellow travelers and locals alike that don’t involve a hot, sweaty tour bus where your tour guide never gets to know your name or sleeping in shared dorm rooms at a hostel.
Solo travel with groups can feel constricting, resulting in you feeling limited by structured tours – instead you want to be Italian for a week, but that is practically impossible without having someone to translate the Italian experience for you. According to Forbes, “Traveling like a local is not straightforward. This type of experience requires someone on the inside who can guide you – and that’s where The Italian On Tour® steps in.”
Touring with fifty other guests can make your once-in-a-lifetime experience feel like a high-school field trip!
According to numerous past guests, The Italian On Tour®’s small group Italy trips with like-minded travelers are hands-down the best happy medium for you to solo travel with a group. You don’t have to share a bathroom or be herded onto a sweaty tour bus, but you can still connect with other travelers like yourself and create everlasting friendships. With the added bonus that you’ll also have a local guide at your fingertips who will have your back in even the worst-case scenario.
The Italian On Tour®’s small group Italy tours help you unite with your tribe, filling your trip with memories that will last a lifetime and building new friendships. Solo traveler Carol Sienko told us that by the second day of the tour, everyone felt like “family.”
While I was lucky enough to have family in Europe and local connections during my solo traveling days, not everyone has that comfort and safety net in their back-pocket. Not only do our small group italy tours give you a sense of security before you even step off the plane – we’re your local hosts! We’ve got your back just like family would, all while you also get access to many experiences that are available to you traveling solo, with curated experiences exclusive to our tours and only possible in a small group tour setting.
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