ITALY Travel Guides
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Ready to plan your next solo trip to Italy? You’re in the right place with my Italy Travel Guides for solo female travelers!
I got my first taste of Italy when I was a mere 20 years old and moved to Rome for my study abroad semester at John Cabot University. I’ll be the first to admit it’s cliche as hell, but that semester changed my life. For the first time, I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to hike to new viewpoints, learn about new cultures and taste unfamiliar foods. Long story short, Italy made me fall in love with the world in a way I never had before.
Big surprise, but four months in Rome were not enough! After I finished my degree in 2018, I moved back to Italy – this time to Florence – for a year and a half. During the two years I spent in Italy, I was able to explore so much of this drop-dead-gorgeous country. I watched the sun set from Florence’s Piazzale Michelangelo, drank expensive Italian wine overlooking Lake Como and hiked the Path of the Gods down the Amalfi Coast. I ate more Italian food than I should have (WAY more) and fell head over heels with the Italian way of life.
Pretty much since I left, I’ve been trying to find a way to move to Italy long-term. Unfortunately, Italian procedure takes forever and I’m not foreseeing access to their digital nomad visa anytime soon. For now, I’ll wait it out in Portugal (I know – woe is me) and make do with visiting Italy as often as I can.
I’ll be back in Italy soon enough, so keep your eyes peeled for more Italy travel guides and tips for Italy’s best destinations coming your way.
Happy Travels! xx Madison
Tuscany Travel Guides
Rome Travel Guides
Other Italy Travel Guides
Things to Know Before Visiting Italy
- Ordering a “caffè” in Italian is the same as ordering an espresso. If you’re trying to order an American coffee, order a “caffè Americano” – although you might get judged. I definitely suggest ordering plenty of cappuccinos (or “cappuccini” in Italian) during your Italy trip. Just make sure to only order them before or during breakfast, unless you want to be seriously judged. Italians take coffee choices very seriously.
- Don’t order pineapple on pizza, chicken on pizza or pasta, shrimp scampi (scampi is a type of crustacean, not a way of cooking pasta) or any Americanized Italian dish that doesn’t actually exist – like fettuccine Alfredo, chicken parmesan or spaghetti with meatballs. Italians take their food as seriously as their coffee.
- In Italian, if something ends in an ‘i” it means it’s plural (most of the time). For example, never order a “panini” unless you’re asking for multiple sandwiches.
- If you want to look like you belong, dress well. Italians don’t wear quite as much black as the French, but it’s always the safe choice if you don’t know what to pack. Athleisure and shorts in general (unless they’re uber-fashionable) are not worn in Italy and will have you sticking out as an obvious tourist. And dear God leave your crocs at home.
- Always have cash on you for small purchases. Most shops and public transit options will either be extremely annoyed if you try to use a card for purchases under €5 or they’ll refuse altogether.
- Using “ciao” as a greeting is quite casual in Italy – it’s the way someone would greet a friend. To be more formal for shopkeepers, tour guides, restaurant-owners, etc., use “buongiorno” in the morning or “buonasera” in the afternoon.
- In Italy, each meal is an experience. Taking your coffee or food to-go, as common as it is in America, is met with disdain in Italy. They operate with the mentality that, if you don’t have time to truly enjoy something, it’s best to skip it altogether.
- Don’t rent a scooter unless you actually know how to safely drive one. I offer you the same advice for visiting Southeast Asia. If you’re going to do it anyway, do yourself a favor and buy trip insurance.*
- Although Italy is a relatively safe country, pickpockets are common – especially in large tourist areas. I advise you to be more cautious with your cash and belongings than you would back home. Never carry around more cash than you need, leave your passport in the hotel (carry around a copy instead) and don’t be overly flashy with jewelry or electronics. I never used backpacks in Italy (unless I was traveling or hiking – and then I used a backpack lock) or purses that didn’t have a crossbody strap and a zipper. You might consider investing in an anti-theft bag before your trip.
- Men in Italy are extremely forward if they find a woman attractive. There’s nothing to be done about it, but it’s nice to have a warning before you arrive.
- Italy does not have open-container laws, meaning you can drink alcohol on the street. However, keep in mind that the only times Italians really do this is if they’re outside a bar or hanging out in a piazza. No judgement though – I definitely got my fill of drinking on the street during my study abroad semester. (Weed is illegal for recreational use in Italy for anyone wondering).
- Girls – don’t pack a suitcase full of stilettos. I promise you, you won’t wear any of them. Those cobblestones are a death trap AND they’ll ruin your heels in the process. Better to bring trendy sneakers and chunky heels.
- Italy is super solo traveler friendly! There are hostels everywhere and it’s a great country to meet fellow solo travelers and backpackers to travel around with.
**I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Italy Travel FAQs:
A: Generally, shoulder season is the best time to visit Italy since the prices are lower but the weather will still be pleasant and activities will still be available. However, if you’re visiting some of Italy’s smaller towns that are not huge tourist destinations, you could get away with visiting in the summer.
Personally, I would never visit Italy in June, July or August unless I was living there. The weather is unbearably hot and many accommodations won’t have air conditioning. The summer crowds are insanity (especially if you’re visiting cliffside towns like Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast) and the prices skyrocket for flights, hotels, food and excursions.
A: If you’re visiting only Northern or Southern Italy, the best way to explore is by train. Europe is very well connected and you can easily take trains to all of the best destinations in Italy. However, if you plan to split up your trip into Northern and Southern Italy (ex: you want to visit both Lake Como and Sicily) then you’ll need to book domestic flights around Italy.
Once you’ve arrived in the city, the best way to get around is generally by public transportation – trams, buses and the metro. Italy does have tons of taxis, but they frequently go on strike and aren’t particularly cheap. Most cities in Italy do not have Uber (only Rome and Milan).
A: That’s a tough question to answer. If you’re traveling on a budget, you could probably plan a weeklong trip to Italy for €700-1,000 (excluding international flights). Keep in mind – that’s on an extreme budget. There will be no bougie rooftop drinks, via del Corso shopping sprees or first-class train tickets on that itinerary.
If you want to visit Italy for a week on a mid-level, more comfortable budget – you’ll probably spend more around the €2,000-3,000 range. However, your trip to Italy will cost what you make it cost. A dorm bed in a hostel costs around €30-50/night, meals at normal restaurants cost on average €20/person and trains are very affordable. If you want to drop €600/night on the Brunelleschi Hotel in Florence – that’s your call.
A: January and February are generally the cheapest months to fly to Italy since they are considered the country’s low-season.
A: If you’re flying from North America or further, don’t spend less than 7-10 days in Italy. It’s an expensive flight, a long travel day and you’ll have some jet lag to get over – so visiting for less time than that doesn’t make sense.
If you’re traveling from Europe, you can easily spend a long weekend in Italy! But, no matter where you’re coming from, do yourself a favor and don’t try to fit too much into your trip. Spending half your time on transportation will leave you exhausted, and you won’t fully appreciate the magical things you’re seeing.
A: That depends what time of year you are planning your visit to Italy. If you’re going in the summer, I would book flights and hotels 5-6 months ahead of time. If you’re visiting in winter (off-season), you could book one month before, and, if you’re visiting in the shoulder season, I would plan my trip out 2-3 months in advance.
A: Yes, but only in Rome and Milan. Uber is not widely embraced in Italy, so you’ll still see taxi stands all over the city (although don’t be shocked if the taxi drivers go on strike). Many Italian cities have a local app for taxis, so be sure to check the app store at the beginning of your trip.
A: The drinking age in Italy is 18 years old, but it’s rarely enforced. Unless you look like a literal child, you’ll probably never be ID’d (and even if you do you might be fine). However, I always travel with an ID card no matter where I am in the world. Ruining a night out because the bar won’t let you in is a huge bummer!
A: No, visiting Italy is not overrated. Because Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is has some people questioning…is Italy worth it? Just because something is popular, does not mean it’s not worth your money or your time. To get the most out of your Italian vacation, I suggest avoiding the high season (the summer months) and searching for unique activities off-the-beaten-path. If you only participate in the most popular and touristy activities in the country during a time of year when they’re very expensive and full of crowds, you might start to think Italy is overrated.
A: Italy is a very safe country for solo female travelers. In fact, Italy is where I fell in love with solo travel! For most, pickpockets are the biggest threat in Italy.
However, just because a country is safe does not mean that bad things can’t happen. Always follow a set of safety protocols when traveling, especially when traveling alone as a woman. Never leave your drink unattended or advertise the fact that you’re traveling alone, and always keep your friends/family informed of your plans. If you exercise the proper precautions, you’ll be perfectly safe during your trip to Italy.
A: Are you looking to hit the slopes, shop for Italian leather or visit some of the world’s most famous art museums? If yes, then head to Northern Italy! If you’re looking for sand, sun and fresh seafood, head to Southern Italy. Or – extend your vacation and visit both ends of this incredible country.