We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First Time Solo Trip to Italy - Tips and Suggestions Needed

Iowa
Level Contributor
42 posts
1 review
Save Topic
First Time Solo Trip to Italy - Tips and Suggestions Needed

Okay this is the post you have all been waiting for. :) Thanks to this forum, speaking to friends and consulting guidebooks I have decided to go Italy this summer solo. I will actually be in Rome for a week with 3 friends and when they return home my plan is to travel to Cinque Terre for 2 nights, Florence for 5 nights then Venice for 4 nights before flying home from Venice.

This will be my first trip to Europe and my first trip solo so any tips/suggestions/advice/cheerleading you can give me would be much appreciated. I am super excited about this trip and a little nervous.

My biggest concern is transportation. I live in a small Midwestern city where public transportation is pretty much nonexistent. I will not be renting a car in Italy but relying slowing on their superior public transportation system.

I've been trying to keep up with the Italy forums and have posted a couple of questions there but thought I would get also get some tips on solo travel from people who have done it before.

Thanks again for giving me the courage to embark on this adventure. Hopefully, this will be the start of many more.

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
2,510 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: First Time Solo Trip to Italy - Tips and Suggestions Needed

Hi Nyki, I've been to Italy 3 times in the last few years, always solo, never with a car. Here's what I've learned.

Book rooms as far in advance as possible. There are a limited number of single rooms available. The beds are usually narrower than a standard twin. Some have a "French bed" - wider than a twin, but narrower than a double. If a narrow bed is a problem, ask.

3 times in Florence, always stayed at the Archi Rossi Hostel (last time was 3 months ago). You can get a very reasonable rate on a single room. If you want a wider bed, take an annex room and ask for the larger bed, chances are you will get it. Book directly through their website. Oh, yes, they have coin-op washers and dryers (free soap) so it's a good place to do your laundry, mid-trip. People of all ages, though mostly 20-somethings, stay at hostels, and it's a great place to meet others and hook-up for an hour, a day, or longer. This hostel has 2 free morning tours (about 2.5-3 hours) on alternate days with excellent professional guides. Unless you want to 'wallow" in Renaissance art and architecture (nothing wrong with that I've done it), 5 days in Florence is a long time. I'd split the time between Siena (2 days, at least 1 night) and Florence. In Siena you will get a better sense of the small Italian town, especially in the evening and early morning.

Rick Steves's books give very good practical advice. You may find copies in your local library or used book stores. Even one that's several years old will suffice. RS also has free audio podcasts with short (about 45 minute) tours of places in Florence, Rome and Venice.

Transportation in Italy is easy. Use the trains from city to city. In Florence, there are no stairs - the station is at street level - and the city center is both compact and almost level. Walking can be difficult in the side streets, especially with luggage, because of cobblestones, potholes, uneven paving and narrow sidewalks. That's one reason I like the Archi Rossi - a 5-minute walk from the station. In Venice, you either walk or ride the Vaporetto (water bus). Some people only ride it once or twice, but most use it often. A single ride is really expensive, a pass is a bargain. One of the best things to do in Venice is get a seat at the very front (or 2nd best at the very back) of the vaporetto and ride from one end of the Grand Canal to the other, once in daylight, once after dark.

Light-weight clothes, no jeans. They are heavy and too hot for Italian summers. Flowing skirts that cover the knees are cool and comfy and appropriate for churches - duck into every one you pass, each is a museum!

I only take "modest" tops - nothing low-cut or sleeveless. I know a lot of women rely on scarves to cover up for churches, but you need at least one hand to keep them in place, sometimes awkward, always difficult for taking photos.

Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
2,510 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: First Time Solo Trip to Italy - Tips and Suggestions Needed

Forgot the most important thing. Talk to people next to you. Occasionally you might get rebuffed, but most of the time, you will end up in interesting conversation - and sometimes a lunch or dinner companion. You already have 2 things in common with other tourists - a love of travel and a love of Italy. I used to look for other people who appeared to be alone too, but over the years I've found that couples are often more eager to chat than single travelers - maybe being with the same person 24/7 . . . .

13. Re: First Time Solo Trip to Italy - Tips and Suggestions Needed

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 June 2013, 06:18