I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Rosalinde, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Rosalinde is from Australia, and submitted the following report about her trip to Italy. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Italian, English
Costs at Destination: Reasonable (local transportation, dining, tours, events, and attractions)
Reasons to Visit Italy
I have just finished a life-changing, nine-month solo trip around Italy. It was, without a doubt, the best thing I have ever done in my life. Prior to this trip, my only other solo travel had been an eight-day visit to Rome last year. That was a bit different than sub-letting my apartment and packing up my life to go overseas for nine months, all alone! This trip taught me so much about life and about myself.
As a solo destination, Italy is just magic: friendly people, wonderful (and cheap) food, and a transit system that makes getting around without a car an absolute breeze. From north to south, mainland to islands, I saw and did so many amazing things and not once did I feel overwhelmed or afraid.
Rome, Venice, Capri, Sardinia, Puglia, Lake Como – the list could go on but these are all destinations that welcome solo travelers with open arms! In every place, I met new and wonderful people who were very interested in my adventure. But most of all, I reveled in my own company, and the thrill of exploring this beautiful country that was so willing to share its treasures with me.
My highlight reel is long, but for the purposes of this post I will try to choose the best of the best:
- sharing a gondola ride in Venice with strangers. By the end we were friends, united by such a fabulous experience.
- conquering a self-guided bike tour through the beautiful island of Sardinia.
- exploring every inch of Capri, perhaps the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.
- hiking between towns on the Cinque Terre and stopping for the most amazing pesto I’ve ever tasted.
- attending a language school in Florence
- learning to make pizza in Sorrento and pasta in Salerno
- literally walking in the footsteps of history down the Appian Way (Rome) and the temples of Paestum.
I could go on but one thing is obvious: I absolutely threw myself into this beautiful country and did not let my solo status stop me from doing a single thing! Staying predominantly in Airbnb accommodation helped keep my costs affordable and enabled me to do laundry and sometimes cook for myself. However, food in Italy is cheap and wonderful and I would often sit happily outside on a balmy evening, with a pizza or bruschetta and (of course) an Aperol Spritz, watch the world go by, and wonder at my good fortune. Often, these were the times where I would strike up a conversation with the people beside me and before the evening was over, new friends would be made.
Traveling between destinations on the rail network is a breeze, and booking tickets in advance (if you can) will save you money. I speak basic Italian but many people speak English so communication was never an issue. If your budget allows, doing some guided tours is really wonderful as a solo traveler. I did many things by myself but enjoying a food or walking tour, or perhaps a history tour through a grand palazzo or the Vatican Museums is a brilliant way to see important sites and meet some like-minded people along the way. A 4WD beach tour in Cagliari, Sardinia was not only fantastic, but introduced me to some fellow travelers who have now become lifelong friends.
I am not a particularly adventurous or “gung-ho” type of person, yet traveling solo in Italy just seemed so easy. It is really a country that welcomes you with open arms and I truly believe that my experiences were made all the richer for my being a solo traveler. Buon Viaggio!
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)