Italy solo travel is one of the most unique travel experiences you can have. Traveling solo requires a different mindset and preparation list than being with companions, and doing so in Italy gives the whole experience a special flavor.
Before visiting Italy, I didn’t know most the things on this list of tips (even with all my preparation). And, if you don’t read until the end, you probably will have to learn them the hard way like me.
Table of Contents
- 23 Solo Travel Tips for Italy
- Look into Airbnbs and Hotels vs Hostels
- Visit Museums on the First Sunday of Every Month
- Know the Common Scams, But Don’t Be Too Paranoid
- Cover Up at Italian Religious Sites
- Get Pizza Away From Major Tourist Hotspots
- Use Public Transportation & Validate Train Tickets
- Leave Room in Your Bag to Purchase Clothes and Souvenirs
- Join a Guided Tour or Cooking Class to Meet People
- Consider Travel Insurance
- Embrace Your Camera’s Self-Timer Feature
- Learn a Few Key Italian Phrases
- Consider the Season You’re Visiting Italy
- Different Italian Destinations Require Different Travel Skills
- Learn to Embrace and Appreciate Dining Alone
- Live the Aperitivo Life
- Spread Out Your Cash and Cards
- Take Day Trips
- Take a Food Tour When You Arrive in a New Area
- Stay Outside The City Center For More Affordable Accommodations
- Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself
- Bring Very Comfortable Shoes
- Keep a Journal And Write in it Diligently
- Watch Out For Wayward Scooters Buzzing By
- FAQs about Italy Solo Travel
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23 Solo Travel Tips for Italy
Look into Airbnbs and Hotels vs Hostels
When you travel solo, you’ll probably try to save money on accommodations by staying at hostels. While it’s true that hostels are usually an affordable place to crash on a solo trip, this isn’t always the case in Italy.
When I traveled to Italy this summer, I was surprised to find that the hostels could be just as expensive, if not more, than the hotels and Airbnbs around the area.
Prices at hostels dip a bit during the low season, but it’s still comparable to the price of more private accommodations. That’s why I’d recommend avoiding hostel stays when you solo travel in Italy.
If you’re worried about not meeting other travelers without hostels, no worries – I’ve got tips for that below, too.
Visit Museums on the First Sunday of Every Month
Many Italian cities, such as Rome, Milan, and Naples, implement free museum Sundays; during which state-run museums are free to visit on the first Sunday of every month.
Thanks to some innate force of serendipity, I happened to arrive in Florence, Italy on the first Sunday of the month. My Airbnb host let me know that this timing meant I was lucky enough to get into any museum in the city for free.
I rushed my way to the Uffizi and Accademia Gallery, expecting to wait in line for hours. However, it took less than 10 minutes to make my way into each museum and I wasn’t completely drowning in crowds, either.
Know the Common Scams, But Don’t Be Too Paranoid
Being knowledgeable about common scams before a solo trip to Italy is super smart. One of the most common scams in Italy is stores trying to overcharge you – something that happened to me in a Naples convenience store when the merchant tried to give me back 50 cents in change after I paid €5 for a small water bottle.
There are also scams where people sell knock-off designer items and fake tickets to big attractions. It is important to be aware of these types of sketchy situations, especially in tourist-heavy locations like the Trevi Fountain.
With that being said, don’t let it bog down your whole adventure with worry. Italy is very welcoming and safe.
Cover Up at Italian Religious Sites
After I made my way up to the roof of the Duomo in Milan, I was excited to enter the actual church, which is one of the most famous things to do in Milan.
Before I could walk through, I was promptly stopped. The personnel told me I had to cover up my shoulders before going any further because I was in a sleeveless dress.
I learned that covering up is a common rule at most big churches in Italy. They do sell coverings at certain parts of the cathedral if you’re really desperate, but it’s better to just bring along a light jacket.
👉 Read Next: Milan Itinerary Planner
Get Pizza Away From Major Tourist Hotspots
One of the great things about solo travel in Italy is that eating all the delicious food is a very budget-friendly activity. In New York, I was accustomed to the standard $25 pizzas. In Italy, I was getting a perfectly crafted cheesy pie from a famous 150-year-old pizzeria in Naples for €6.
This same sentiment goes for a lot of the best foods and drinks in Italy. Gelato, coffee, pasta, and even seafood can be really affordable if you know where to look. A good rule of thumb is to go searching for food a bit outside the main tourist zones when you solo travel in Italy.
Use Public Transportation & Validate Train Tickets
Using Italy’s fantastic public transportation system is the best way for solo travelers to get around the country.
In fact, I traveled from the northern regions of Italy all the way to the south while relying on the country’s amazing train system. Every big city and even most smaller towns have a central train station.
The trains are efficient, punctual, and fully equipped with bathrooms. Most of the Italian trains connecting major cities even have snack cars on board for coffee and sandwiches. Best of all, the trains in Italy are bullet-speed fast. Just remember to validate your ticket at the station before you hop on the train.
Leave Room in Your Bag to Purchase Clothes and Souvenirs
Italy is the type of place where you’ll want to go shopping, even if you don’t plan on it initially. Leaving a little extra wiggle room in your bag is very helpful when you travel solo. What if you decide you want to pick up a new dress, a sculpture, or even a handmade chessboard on a solo trip to Italy?
Trust me, I wish I left a couple of my outfits behind and given myself the excuse to buy some one-of-a-kind pieces.
Join a Guided Tour or Cooking Class to Meet People
When you travel Italy solo, it can feel a little lonely when you see all the honeymooners, families, and groups of best friends having a blast together. It’s a normal feeling when you travel solo. Luckily, there is an easy way to combat the solo travel blues in Italy – just join one of the plentiful tours or cooking classes around the country.
When I was in Naples, I signed up for a pizza-making class and it ended up being multi-beneficial. I learned the secrets to the Italian specialty, made a very lopsided pizza, and met a bunch of friendly people.
This is the authentic pizza-making class I took and highly recommend. It came with appetizers and drinks, plus the pizzas turned out delicious if I do say so myself.
Consider Travel Insurance
You simply never know what is going to happen when you’re traveling alone, even in a relatively safe country like Italy. For all the adventure seekers out there like me, there is an even higher chance that you could run into problems as a solo traveler. That’s why travel insurance is such a crucial part of my solo travel planning process.
I personally use World Nomads for my travel insurance.
Embrace Your Camera’s Self-Timer Feature
One of the smaller, but equally as crucial, things to worry about on a solo trip is taking photos of yourself. Sure, you can make the walk of shame up to a stranger and ask them to snap a pic. However, these almost never come out as good as you’d like. It’s better to get acquainted with the self-timer feature as a solo traveler.
Personally, I hate taking photos of myself as a solo female traveler. So, I always look for an opportunity to snap a few shots away from all the crowded attractions. As I did in the photo above that I took with a self-timer on my phone during a day trip to Lake Como.
Learn a Few Key Italian Phrases
Now I’m not saying that you need to fully learn to speak Italian before a trip to the country. However, it can be incredibly useful to have a few common Italian phrases under your belt. Knowing some Italian is really helpful if you’re visiting areas where English is less prevalent, like Naples and further south.
I found that Buongiorno/Buon pomeriggio/Buonasera (good morning/good afternoon/good evening) came in handy as the most regular greetings. For safety purposes, “aiutatemi” (help me) and “mi sono perso” (I am lost) should be kept in your back pocket as well.
It also never hurts to know “dov’è il bagno” (where is the bathroom?) in a pinch.
Consider the Season You’re Visiting Italy
You may imagine solo travel in Italy as filled with eternal sunny days, but that won’t be the case if you visit the wrong region during the wrong season.
Usually, the summer in Italy lasts from June all the way through September, with the heat and sunshine peaking around July. The summer of 2023 has been a notoriously rainy one in Italy, even during the tail-end of the shoulder season.
My weather forecast was slated to be daily thunderstorms, but thankfully I only got a couple of rainy afternoons. However, imagine how drenched you’d be in the heart of the wet season. This is the type of thing that could literally make or break a solo travel excursion to Italy.
For more, see my full guide to when to visit Italy.
Different Italian Destinations Require Different Travel Skills
Before you book your trip to Italy, consider the area you’ll be traveling to. Some destinations in Italy are easy for solo travel, such as the city center of Florence or a resort hotel right on the beach in Sorrento. It doesn’t take much effort to have a good time in these places and culture shock is minimal.
However, there are also harder-to-travel destinations in Italy such as Naples and further down south. Now that’s not to say these places should be avoided, only that they’re more hectic and require a more refined skill set. I’d recommend these destinations for more experienced solo travelers.
Learn to Embrace and Appreciate Dining Alone
Everyone thinks they can handle solo travel until they think of having to eat alone in restaurants. Before I started traveling alone, I totally resonated with this worry. However, after spending so many years and so many meals dining by myself, it has become one of my favorite parts of solo travel.
A solo trip to Italy means iconic food, so there is never a better time to embrace dining alone. I also found it was easier to get tables at busy places on a whim as a solo traveler in Italy. A practical benefit!
Live the Aperitivo Life
The Aperitivo is a pre-meal drink special that happens across the whole country between 6 pm and 9 pm. Aperitivo is a way of life in Italy and, whether it’s your first solo trip to Italy or your 20th, you should partake.
I like to think of Aperitivo as a reverse happy hour. Instead of getting cheap cocktails, you pay for one semi-pricey drink and you’re given a complimentary bounty of snacks to munch on. The offerings can include anything and usually change depending on the region you’re in.
Not only are Aperitivos a fun Italian tradition, but they can also be economical for solo travelers on a budget in Europe.
Spread Out Your Cash and Cards
When you keep all your cards and cash in one wallet and carry it everywhere, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable situation. Imagine losing all your money at once, that is stressful beyond belief.
When I was in Italy with the Topo Designs global travel bag, I used the corner of the sock compartment (pictured above) to store some extra cash and a credit card. Then, I would go out with my main travel card on hand, but also keep cash stored somewhere on my person just in case my bag goes missing.
Take Day Trips
When I was traveling Italy, some of my very favorite experiences were day trips. I went to Pompeii, Lake Como, along the Amalfi Coast, and more. It’s the perfect way to break up long stretches in big cities.
Thanks to Italy’s public transportation system and the hefty list of tour offerings, it’s effortless to pack a solo Italy trip with exciting day excursions. Visit the TrenItalia website or download the app to find all the nearby train routes and buy tickets on your phone. Some stations even have a discount for purchasing online.
Other day trips require ferries or buses, which are equally as easy to buy by Googling the local provider.
👉 Read Next: Milan vs Florence
Take a Food Tour When You Arrive in a New Area
Most people think they know what constitutes Italian food, but they’re only scratching the surface. There is a whole world of unknown Italian cuisine gems in every city you visit. That’s why food tours are so valuable in a place like Italy.
Every city and even small towns provide an epic range of food tours, from indulgent to affordable. Just check out this Rome street food tour with a local. It gives you insights into the popular city’s most incredible bites for a reasonable price. Alternatively, there are options like this tastings of Naples private food tour available for travelers who want to avoid group activities.
Stay Outside The City Center For More Affordable Accommodations
There was one activity I desperately wanted to do in Italy: The Path of the Gods hike along the Amalfi Coast. While I quickly discovered that it was unfathomably expensive to book accommodations in towns like Sorrento or Positano in the middle of the summer, I couldn’t give up on the idea of the hike.
Instead, I opted for staying in the town right next to Sorrento (20 minutes walking) called Sant’ Agnello. It was the perfect compromise. Not only was it about half the price, but I actually enjoyed the quieter, less touristy nearby town even more than the popular one.
Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself
When most people imagine traveling alone, they think about scheduling every activity down to the second. In my humble opinion, this leads to exhaustion and you never really sink into the place you’re visiting. I found that my time spent wandering aimlessly led me to some of the coolest experiences in the country.
Bring Very Comfortable Shoes
Italy’s cities are extremely walkable, which is amazing for people traveling alone. However, it also means you should pack some very comfortable shoes. I was walking a minimum of ten miles a day from the second I touched down in Milan and almost immediately got blisters.
Even if you don’t plan on walking that much, you absolutely will. By the end of the trip, I totally regretted not investing in a better pair of walking shoes. Learn from my mistakes and break out the good sneakers for Italy.
Keep a Journal And Write in it Diligently
This is one of those solo travel tips that I’d argue can be applied to any destination, but especially somewhere as astounding as Italy. When you’re in the moment of travel, everything feels so fresh that it’s like you could never forget it. However, you can and you will.
Keeping a daily (or sometimes tri-daily for me) journal helps you catalog those major and minor memories in a place you can always revisit. My journals are the most prized possessions from my travels. There’s nothing quite like reading about your past self experiencing the trip of a lifetime.
Watch Out For Wayward Scooters Buzzing By
Scooters were something I prepared myself for when visiting Asia, but I didn’t realize they’d be such a big daily occurrence in Italy, too! The scooter culture in Italy is big and they’re always rushing around the streets.
It’s important to be mindful of the scooters as a solo traveler in Italy. In busier parts of southern Italy, pedestrians keep an ear out for honks coming around corners from motorbikes indicating that they’re about to zoom through. You really don’t want to end up in an accident when you’re alone in Italy, so pay attention when you’re wandering around.
FAQs about Italy Solo Travel
Is Italy good for solo travelers?
Italy is a good destination for solo travelers. Italy isn’t always highlighted as a top solo travel destination, but the country is very welcoming and fun for solo travelers. There are lots of different things to do, excellent food, and top-notch hospitality. While crimes can happen and some locations are more dangerous than others, Italy is generally regarded as a very safe destination for traveling alone.
How can a woman travel alone in Italy?
Solo female travel is totally possible and safe in Italy as long as you prepare accordingly. When you’re a woman traveling alone to Italy, you should purchase travel insurance, research the safest neighborhoods of every city you plan on visiting, and keep a loved one updated throughout your trip.
What is the best city in Italy for singles?
Florence, Rome, and Venice are the best cities for singles in Italy. These popular Italian hotspots are filled with other travelers and locals to meet. Plus, there are lots of interesting attractions, amazing restaurants, and it’s very easy to get around on foot or using public transportation.
How expensive is a solo trip to Italy?
A solo trip to Italy will cost around $160 per day or around $1,100 per week not including airfare. These prices can be lower or higher depending on the season, the type of accommodations, and the chosen experiences or tours. During the low season, budget-conscious travelers can spend as little as $60-$75 a day in some parts of Italy.
You’ve made your way through my top 23 tips for Italy solo travel. Is there a tidbit of advice that surprised you? If you don’t think Italy is the solo travel destination for you, consider one of these other 20 solo travel destinations. Safe travels!
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