The Ultimate Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to Italy.

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

Read in 9 minutes

solo-female-travel-italy

So, you’re a solo female traveler heading to Italy.

Yay — congrats! Your eyes are on the right page.

Why do we sound so confident?

The founder of Italian Fix, plus much of our team — have been in your exact shoes.

Heading to Italy … all alone … and we all thrived.

In fact, we count our solo trips as some of the best moments of our lives.

(So much less drama and stretch marks than the birth of our babies.)

This beefy guide, The Ultimate Guide to Female Travel in Italy, is crowdsourced from 3 serious solo travelers who know Italy.

Here’s our street cred. (AKA — why listen to our advice.)

  • Meet Kiiri — She first traveled solo to Italy in 2004. She quit her job and planned to spend four months exploring the country from coast to coast. It was her first solo trip anywhere, and she bounced around for several weeks, a little lonely sometimes, a little disheartened even, until she finally started learning how to make a solo trip work. Four months turned into fourteen years when she discovered the Cinque Terre and decided to continue the adventure by moving there. Now she’s married to an Italian and has two small children, and wishes she could have armed her twenty-something self with the tips and tricks she’s absorbed over years of carving out a path for herself by herself in a foreign country.
  • Meet Monique — She first traveled solo to Italy in 2015. She was all kitted out with a 50-liter backpack ready to hike to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, when news broke (ugh, the morning of her flight!) that an earthquake had hit Kathmandu. Shaken and disappointed, but ultimately knowing she couldn’t let two weeks of vacation slip away, she exchanged her snow gear for spandex shorts and a bikini and went trekking throughout Greece, Turkey and finally the Cinque Terre, Italy. She now works and lives seasonally in the Cinque Terre, where her local chef hubby stole her heart (those Mediterranean-blue eyes sealed the deal).
  • Meet Bianca — She first traveled solo to Italy in 2003. She landed in Florence to study Italian for the summer, alone, having never been to Italy. She actually cried before leaving, which gives you an idea of how nerve-wracking it can be for a first-timer. She sucked the fear up anyways — and as love stories go, it was a good one. She ended up marrying her sweetie, and lived in Italy full-time for a few years (before importing her Italian husband back to an island in Canada). She founded Italian Fix to help travelers have incredible Italian memories, too.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to go full throttle and get hitched to Italian men. You can just bring home a nice bottle of Chianti. That’s cheaper. And so much easier on your parents who will miss you if you move so far away.

Marriage tips aside, here’s what you’ll need to know to manage solo female travel in Italy.

You can enjoy solo travel in Italy! A women drinking wine.

 1. Don’t let the stereotypes freak you out.

When we were about to embark on our own first solo trips to Italy, we were warned up and down about all the Italian men we would be harassed by day in and day out. Yes, Italian men tend to be more vocal with their compliments, but most of the time, that’s all it is. A compliment. No one ever followed us around, not taking no for an answer. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, ignore it — that’s usually all it takes for the interaction to end. If it doesn’t, and if you feel like it, have a conversation. In the vast majority of cases, they’re just being friendly and showing their appreciation.

GOOD TO KNOW: Be assertive. Although Europe is crowded and you’ll have less personal space, touching or grabbing is totally uncool in Italian culture. If someone puts their hands on you, be loud and tell them to back the eff off.

2. Ignore the temptation to over-research, over-think, and over-worry.

Is it something about having ovaries that makes so many of us chronic future-trippers and overthinkers? If you fall into this category, you can become seriously overwhelmed by all there is to do, see, be, have. But you should be more concerned with things that actually matter — like leaning on advice from people that have “been there done that” more than from people just writing one-off articles on the internet about “being there doing that.”

Say you have an abscessed tooth. Would you rather have it removed by someone who’s read and studied at length about how to extract a tooth, but only done it once? Or, would you get rather have that procedure done by someone who’s actually done it many times?

GOOD TO KNOW: If you’re an “over-researcher,” don’t follow a complicated itinerary. Focus your trip on two or three locations max (for a 10-14 night trip) and get into the groove of enjoying where you are, instead of planning where you’ll go next.

3. Know what cabs should cost.

If you’re going to be taking a cab from the airport to your hotel, email the hotel to ask how much you can expect to pay. Or ask at the ticket office at the train station if you’re taking a cab from there. A ride from the main train station in Florence to the airport, for example, costs a flat fee of 20 euro during the day (plus 1 euro per additional bag). Ask too where the parking area for cabs is. There is always an area where the legit taxis wait.

GOOD TO KNOW: Never go with someone who approaches you offering a ride — these are almost always unlicensed people trying to make a quick buck by gauging unsuspecting tourists.

4. Embrace eating alone.

This is a big one for a lot of people. There’s a preconceived idea that going to a restaurant all by yourself is somehow sad, depressing or awkward. But it’s all just a matter of perspective! Eating on your own is a great way to reconnect with yourself, to get some reading done or to plan out your next day, and especially to people watch. Throughout the rest of the day you’re usually heading from one place to another, taking photos, taking in the sights. Sitting in a packed restaurant by yourself gives you a moment to take in the people too (and not look like a weirdo doing it). It’s only as uncomfortable as you make it in your own head. So walk in looking forward to the experience, and embrace your newfound badassery. C’mon — how many people would kill to be in your exact same situation?

GOOD TO KNOW: Each region of Italy has their own food specialties. Ask your server what the special culinary “thing” is in that city or village. There will always be a “thing” and there will always be an opinion on what’s best.

Want more Italy foodie advice? Read about how to eat in Italy with our cheeky 10 commandments.

5. Pack right.

We embrace packing tight, light and right. You would think Italy, one of the most popular travel destinations on the planet, would be kinder to tourists when it comes to luggage. Yeah, nope. Gorgeous as the cobblestone streets and Renaissance walk-ups are, they are torture for anyone with a heavy suitcase. What’s more, it’s not unusual for things like elevators in places like train stations to be on the fritz, sometimes for months on end (or longer!). Count on being solely responsible for dragging your things around with you throughout your trip (including up and down flights of steps), and make that as easy on yourself as you can. You can buy stuff you forgot once you arrive.

GOOD TO KNOW: Deciding to travel Italy with carry-on luggage is the smartest thing you can do before you leave your house. Don’t underestimate what a pain in the ass overpacking will cost you, mentally and physically.

traveling Italy as a female solo travel gives you a chance to meet others like you6. Have a person.

Pick someone close to you, and have them be your person while you’re away. A simple text or email to this person is enough to feel like someone “has your back” and knows what’s up with you as you move from place to place.

While in Italy, email them to let them know every time you move to a new location. Send them the name of the place you’re staying at, the phone number there (or link to the website), and when you expect to arrive. When you get there, let them know. This way someone will have a record of your movements as you explore the country — a good safety precaution should anything happen.

GOOD TO KNOW: There are apps that do this automatically. Check out Life360.

7. Have money options.

You’ll be able to withdraw cash from ATMs while you’re there, but it’s a good idea to keep a stash of cash on you at all times in case a machine is broken or someone doesn’t accept cards. Keep portions of your stash in various places — put some in a money belt or in your purse, have some stuffed into a sock in your suitcase etc… And if you can, bring a couple of different bank cards and credit cards. You want to have options, just in case. Make sure too that you alert your bank to the fact that you’ll be overseas, so that your cards aren’t blocked for suspicious charges.

GOOD TO KNOW: We recommend having 50 euro on you when you land so you don’t have to go running around looking for a cash machine. Just buy them from your home bank before you leave.

Solo female travel in Sicily8. Trust your instincts.

If something makes your spidey senses tingle in a bad way, go with your gut. Don’t worry about seeming rude if something doesn’t feel right.

GOOD TO KNOW: Italy is generally a very safe place — as safe if not safer than any place in North America. For example, in small villages like the Cinque Terre, you can walk anywhere at night and not think for a second about weirdos. But be as smart as you would be at home, and use your common sense.

9. Learn some Italian.

First of all, why wouldn’t you? It’s fun! Google some useful phrases and make a point of trying them out. Second of all, Italians will often be delighted that you’re making an effort, and they’ll usually try and make it easy on you.

GOOD TO KNOW: The language app called Duolingo is too fun. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn!

10. Overcome your shyness.

Traveling on your own can be invigorating, but also sometimes lonely. How do you overcome this? By taking matters into your own hands. See another traveler sitting on their own? Introduce yourself! A group chatting at a table? Ask if you can join them! You’re unlikely to get turned down, and if you do, you’ll probably never see them again anyway. More likely is that you’ll be welcomed and appreciated for being the one to break the ice. The good news? The more you build up your nerve putting yourself out there, the easier it gets, until it’s second nature and no sweat at all.

GOOD TO KNOW: Solo female travel in Italy is a perfect excuse to go online to meet others IRL. Here’s what the in-the-know peeps are using now:

  • Join Facebook groups like Girls Love Travel or Girl Gone International to share information and to meet up, or use the Meet Up app for special interest groups (meeting up for paint and wine, hiking, climbing, ceramics, etc…) and ex-pat groups. You can search these groups for thousands of question-and-answer advice posts that girls have asked about every place and every aspect of travel. (Search things like “travel must haves” or “must do Rome.”)
  • Check out the Girls Love Travel Home-Sharing Network, using the Overnight platform. They have 112 cities listed and over 3500 listings.
  • Bungee Girl is a travel app made specifically for women. You can connect with other travelers here and arrange girls only couchsurfing-style arrangements and house swaps.

Solo female traveler in Puglia 11. Driving or Train-ing? Solo female travel in Italy mega tip.

That’s the number #1 thing you need to figure out before you plan a single day of your Italy itinerary. This is SUCH an important aspect of traveling to Italy, that we wrote an entire chapter about it inside Gigi Guides.

GOOD TO KNOW: You can look up all the train schedules on trenitalia.com, and all the driving times on Via Michelin or Google Maps.

12. Baby step the whole “on your own” thing.

Not ready to go it completely alone, but don’t want to wait around forever for your friends’ schedules to perfectly line up with yours? Take a first baby step by joining a tour, like the ones we offer. You’ll still be going alone, cultivating fearlessness, growing as a person, but you’ll have a built-in set of new girlfriends waiting for you on the other side. And someone (us!) taking care of all the boring details so that you can spend all your travel time simply soaking life up in the gorgeous Italian atmosphere — and your own newfound fierceness.

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Now, we would love to hear from you! Please add a comment to the blog, below.

Starting out with the whole solo female travel in Italy thing is  a big deal. Is there anything that has you confused or worried? We would love to hear from you.

P.S. If you’re looking for an Italy itinerary, developed exclusively for the solo traveler, let us know. We’re working on some and will have those babies being delivered soon. Email us if you’re traveling to Italy in the next 12 months solo — we want to hear from you.

 

*****

Thanks for checking out our blog!

Are you interested in travelling to Italy with us on a day trip?

It could be the perfect place to meet your new bestie while on your big solo adventure.

Check out our Day Tours HERE!

We’d love to see you in Italy!

*****

All images copyright Italian Fix, except Stefano Butturini (4th), Leela Cyd (10th), used under license. 

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Kema Biediger

I will never forget my time in Italy! I did the CT trip and then added Florence and Rome by myself, at the end. It was fabulous, all of it!

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Bianca @ Italian Fix

Hi Kema!

So nice to hear from you and thank you for being one of our amazing tour clients last summer! You did the right thing, traveling on our Cinque Terre tour, and then adding an extension to go visit Rome and Florence on your own. We love to suggest this exact thing. In our experience, when you strike out on your own after our tour, you’re armed with so much knowledge about Italian culture and life that you learned while traveling with us. It’s a great confidence boost to feel like you’re in the groove and an insider even when you’re on your own! I bet you were giving others tips! Hope you’re doing well, Kema! Again, so great to hear from you again. xx

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Bianca Gignac

Amazing. Kema! So great to have you <3

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Maddy Moore

I went on a massive tour of Europe in 2014, and Italy was by far my favorite stop. Florence especially stuck with me, until finally this year I decided to get back out there. My mom, my sister, and I are going on a girl’s trip for 12 day trip to Florence, Lake Como, and Cinque Terre in mid June. I cannot wait to embark on this new adventure, and the Italian Fix tips have been invaluable. While I do suffer from over-planning, I’ll do my best to listen to the wise words above and let myself go on this next trip.

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Bianca @ Italian Fix

Hey Maddy,
Congratulations on an exciting trip with your mom and sister! I couldn’t think of a better way to connect as a family. We have a great list for restaurants in Florence you should check out. I love that you’ve found our tips invaluable and I wish you an incredible trip.

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Amanda

Making the last minute decision to travel with Italianfix in 2015 is the best vacation I’ve ever had! My favorite part was that I learned so much and ended up visiting Italy again the next year and ran into another solo traveler on the beach in Forte dei Marmi who was on an Italianfix tour! It’s such a treat to go it alone but not really be alone. Can’t wait to go back soon!

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Bianca Gignac

How wild is that! 🙂

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Camille Rosales

Hi! I would like to inquire on your rates. Have an Italy trip on August. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you! 🙂

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Monique @ Italian Fix

Hi Camille!

Our registration for 2018 tours is closed but you can check our out digital city guides for Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice and Rome to benefit from all our best advice covering all your trip details!

https://shop.italianfix.com/collections/city-guides

Buon viaggio!

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Meena May

I’m travelling to Italy solo in September for 4 weeks.

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Bianca Gignac

Fabulous, Meena!

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Aleena

I would love to do a tour as i am 22 and wanting to travel solo for the first time but the dates don’t match up to my holidays! do you have anything that could help me plan my trip? I want to experience food and wine in Italy but would love to get some hiking in there
thanks
A

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Bianca Gignac

Hi Aleena, Just get your ticket and that will force you to figure it out! You can travel solo and use our guidebooks to help plan your trip. See more here: https://shop.italianfix.com/

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Bianca

Loved your writing style and made me go from *thinking about a trip* to looking up dates & flights! Thanks!

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Bianca Gignac

Um, amazing! And hey, we share the same name 🙂

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Jodi

I travelled alone to Brazil at age 20, and am going on my first solo trip since then at age 54.–my wife can’t join me. I am totally excited about this. I will probably leave Italy with a few new friends and of course, many memories.

Another great way to learn languages is with Pimsleur. I’ve learned Portuguese, French, and Italian this way. I get the CDs from my library. They have a more limited selection on the digital library apps. They are somewhat expensive to buy. I’ll be brushing up on my Italian before I go to Florence in October, 2019!

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sulayla fuller

im 65 is that seem to old to go solo

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Leeanne Geen

Oh stop 65.you can do as you please enjoy

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Bianca Gignac

There are many travelers in Europe going solo at 65 and better! It’s a mindset and we think you can do it! Read about some other people and get inspired. There are groups on Facebook for all kinds of travelers. xx

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Kathy Malone

I friend of mine has been bugging me since last January to join her for a trip to Italy in 2020, we’re both turning 60 (remember … 60 is the new 45). I hemmed and hawed at the idea to start, then two weeks ago I got the bug to go. I’ve been researching since then and yesterday I finally asked her about her interest in going and alas … her boy friend has offered to take her at his expense. Needless, it’s a better offer. So here I am, pining for Italy. The only other best friend that I would elect-to-travel-with refuses to do another trip to Europe without her husband. So, here I am, still pining for Italy.. I haven’t traveled alone for years, but I still think I’ve got the right stuff. I spent three months in Tokyo (in my thirties) all by myself (I was, at that time, a professional singer with a booking in a high rise hotel jazz club). I think I still have some chops. Anyway, I liked the idea of a Viking cruise, but they don;t welcome solo travelers, they book cabins based on double occupancy. The thing is, I don’t want to travel with 40+ other people of all ages and hygiene habits in a crowded bus watching the Italian scenery whisk by on the other side of the glass. I want a different and varied pace, several days in several spots, eating, cooking, drinking wine, marveling at ancient olive trees as I stroll along ancient pathways, with a comfy hotel room waiting for me close by. Some days lounging along the coast, on others enjoying the sights of some ruins or master art work or architecture. I’m interested in it all, but I don’ want to invest all my time in just one thing, one place or one activity. I’d love to taste Tuscany, see Rome and feel the Amalfi coast! Those are my three must-do destinations. Any suggestions on my approach to seeing Italy?

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Leeanne Geen

Travel with a stranger wanting the same thing .put it out there see what comes of it..

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louise

Hi Kathy, that sounds exactly what i want to plan. since “discovering” Italy 2 years ago I have been about 6 times alone (visiting same 2 places, flying to Rome or Naples and visiting Salerno or Abruzzo mountain region)) but now I want to hop around a few places using train and bus. Italy has excellent and cheap train system! One tip if you go alone and want to feel the Amalfi coast is to stay in Salerno. I loved it! In the historical centre there are lots of bnb’s and the town runs along the lovely boulevard where the ferry boats visit all the villages on the Amalfi, just like a bus service. The bus is also an experience! You can visit Naples from there too very easily. (Fabulous Archaeological Museum)That is what i did, preferring not to stay in a busy city as I would not be really going out in the evening alone. Not because it is unsafe, but the evenings are more dificult when solo! Salerno is better to be out alone at nights but even there I tend to retire early, netflix, plan etc! Also Paestum is half an hour from Salerno as is Pompei.
The Amalfi is possibly easier alone, you just get off the bus/boat and are free from all the group tours of people! So it really is as easy as that to travel solo but I also think it would be nice sometimes to travel with a companion
I love the idea of gentle hiking (On the Amalfi coast are some famous hikes: sentieri dei degli or Path of the Gods I still want to do) and would like to cycle in Provence and visit Florence (to buy a leather jacket!).
Keep in touch if you like, I also just came across this site and plan to check out the facebook groups they recommend.
By the way, I am 60 in August!

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Luca 88

I also spent a really good time there during my last journey and came back with a lot of pleasant memories. I would love to go there again if I get any chance.

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Alexandra K

I just got back from my first solo trip to Barcelona and now I’m hooked. I would LOVE an itinerary to work off of if you have one yet.

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Alexandra K

…. and I just found some of your trip options on another page lol. Never mind!

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