Follow our tips to feel safe in Italy
Italy is probably not the number one country for people travelling solo – accommodation and food are not as cheap as in South-east Asia, the number of hostels is limited and so on – but there are plenty of opportunities and things to do and see.
You’ll surely not get bored.
If you travel alone in Italy you have to be self-reliant and well prepared but not to feel unsafe: you can behave just the same you do at home. You only need a few information to know in advance in order to enjoy a pleasant travel.
What to carry with you
If you are about to travel lo Italy as a solo traveler there’s some important things you have not to forget: a map, cash, a guidebook and a phrase book (unluckily in Italy not everyone speaks English). English is commonly spoken in touristy places and cities and by a lot of young people, but if you find yourself out of a touristy destination it will be difficult to find a middle-aged person speaking English.
If you get lost or you need help go into a shop or a restaurant to ask for directions. Otherwise stop people along the street. Italians are warm people and never leave somebody in trouble, especially foreigners. Maybe they don’t speak perfect English, but they will try to let you understand what they are saying usign gestures (Italians are famous for that).
Hotels for solo travelers
You will easily find a hostel in big cities in Italy, but out of town hostels are generally not so popular. In hotels you may find a single room but only rarely half the price of a double; single rooms generally cost about two thirds of the price and often are stuck in tight corners of the building and not so comfy. If you are offered a double room at a reduced rate, always accept as you will get much more than a single room.
Remember that there are different kind of accomodations, like B&Bs, affittacamere and agriturismi. Those in little towns have sometimes cheaper prices than the hotels.
Using public transport
If you have time try to arrange your bus or train ticket in advance so that you can arrive at the station on time and skip lines. Before getting on a train always remember to validate your ticket (otherwise you will get a fine) at the validation machines (you will find many of them in the station, usually also one on each platform). Validation is not necessary only if you have an electronic ticket (in the next days we will talk about how to buy a train ticket and how railway transport works in Italy).
Taxis are not cheap In Italy. Usually, from the airports to the city centre there are fixed rates: make sure you are not on an unauthorized taxis because it will charge you more. If you prefer taking a shuttle bus or train, just check the airport’s official website to know prices and times.
You will find the underground only in the main cities, like Milan, Rome and Naples.
Eating out on your own
When travelling alone it can be nerve-wracking to sit in a bar alone but in Italy it can be the right situation: bars are the ideal place for people-watching so you might get unnoticed and you can stay as much time as you want. What’s more you won’t be discriminated because you’re sitting alone at restaurant table or in bar. On the contrary, waiters can be more charming and protective if you are a woman dining alone.
Street food is the best choice to spend less money. You will find pizza to go or other kind of delicious food everywhere. You will be surprised by the cheaper price, especially in southern Italy where street food is like an habit.
There’s no particular rule to pay attention to regarding safety. Walk with your head up, when using cash machines avoid withdrawing cash when it’s dark and only a few people are around, pay attention at your bag when you are on a crowded bus or metro, avoid walking alone in dark places, avoid sleeping in empty train compartments. In other words, when travelling solo in Italy employ the same precautions for your own safety that you would employ in your own country.
Have a nice trip to Italy!