There are many reasons why Italy is a great destination for women travelling alone.
Safety is always a concern for single travellers – and especially so for women. Wandering the streets of Italy is pretty safe, even at night. Given that Italians don’t eat dinner until around 8:00 pm or after, there are usually plenty of people around until late, meaning that even the bigger cities are safe. Of course, basic common sense needs to be applied – just like at home. So, watch for pickpockets, don’t walk down dark empty alleyways alone late at night, don’t accept rides from strangers, be careful of who you let handle your luggage at the train stations and so on.
Visiting the land of such incredible food, the thought of dining alone might seem a bit daunting at first but there is no need to eat takeaway in your hotel room and avoid some of the best Italian gastronomical experiences.
One way to transform dining alone into a memorable and enjoyable experience whilst tasting a range of traditional foods is by going to one of the local coffee shops that offer an “aperitivo”. This is basically a selection of traditional cured meats, cheeses, pasta and rice dishes and the like to be enjoyed over a pre-dinner glass of wine or cocktail. Yet for solo travellers, the aperitivo is a great way to have a light meal at a good price, preferably in a picturesque piazza. As the atmosphere is livelier than a restaurant, it’s the perfect way to have an early dinner with a side of people watching. Aperitivo time is normally from around 7:00 pm, meaning you have time to wander the streets afterwards to see the city by night as well.
Yet, even dining alone in restaurants throughout Italy is surprisingly awesome. The wait staff are generally entertaining and you never know – you might just strike up a conversation with diners at an adjacent table. No matter if you’re travelling alone or with a group, look for short menus that don’t try to offer everything from pizza to pasta, steak and seafood. Although there are some exceptions, small, family-run places are usually your best bet for an authentic meal.
As to dressing, whilst wearing short-shorts or crop-tops might be okay in certain places around the world, Italians tend to cover up a bit more. Indeed, dress codes even apply for certain locations, such as entry into churches where knees and shoulders must be covered (for men and women). Hence, when packing for a trip to Italy, think capri pants and t-shirts paired with comfy shoes able to withstand the cobblestones for days, to then jazz up the look by night with a pair of elegant boots or wedges and a nice scarf or other accessories for the evenings.
Carrying an over-body bag is best. Backpacks are not only easier for pickpockets, they are not allowed in most museums and some monuments. A mid-size leather purse that goes from day to night is the way to go. Florence is also famous for its handcrafted leather items so you might even find the perfect bag here!
When it comes to things to do, many tour companies offer women-focused or single-traveller-friendly activities, meaning that setting out on your own doesn’t mean you will actually spend a lot of time by yourself in Italy.
Travelling around Italy is way easier (and often cheaper and quicker!) by public transport thanks to the high-speed train networks and cross-country bus/coach options. Most of the cities and quaint hilltop towns are closed to traffic anyway so there is no need to hire a car to get around. It’s much more relaxing to sit back and relax, taking in the breath-taking views passing by or perhaps starting up a conversation with fellow travellers or locals onboard.
If you’re a single woman thinking of visiting Italy alone, it’s good to allow yourself a little ‘getting lost’ time in each destination balanced out by having a list of things to do so and see to give your trip structure and purpose.
Booking an activity like our all-inclusive 7-day Cooking Course or a week-long tour means you can have a great introduction to Italy and its food and wine offerings at the beginning of your stay as you become accustomed to the Bel Paese.
Indeed, we often have solo travellers on our tours and in our hands-on cooking classes. Given the small sizes of the groups, our guests get to know each other and make friends throughout the class, as they learn to recreate the delicious traditional dishes of Tuscany.
Italy is famous for its gastronomy, so food and wine tours are the perfect way to savour these most sumptuous aspects of Italian culture. Joining our cheese and wine tasting tour in Tuscany, for example, also means seeing unique sites, meeting locals and fellow travellers, whilst also coming into contact with traditions kept alive throughout the generations.
In our opinion, one small-group tour is worth the weight of a dozen big-bus activities so do check the maximum group sizes for a more intimate and authentic Italian experience.
Then there are the plethora of museums and churches to see, not to mention the great shopping, which are often much more enjoyable activities when undertaken alone so you don’t have to worry about the interests of anyone but yourself!
If you are looking for the perfect destination for a solo trip or have always wanted to visit Italy, late spring to late autumn are likely the best times to book what is sure to be the trip of your lifetime!