Solo travel to Italy: tips & tricks from our solo traveler community
Ahhh, Italy. The land of la dolce vita, where the pasta is a little bit tastier and the views of the Colosseum are dreamier than you ever imagined. We know Italy is a bucket list destination for many people, including our solo travelers. That’s why we asked them to share their advice for where to go, what to eat, and how to spend your free time while traveling to Italy as a solo traveler on a guided tour.
Why Italy is perfect for solo travel
One of the most beautiful aspects of Italy is that it’s a destination for every type of solo explorer, no matter your travel style. Want to hike in the mountains? Head to the Dolomites. Does the foodie in you light up at the thought of treating you vacation like a weeklong feast? You have to take a Food & Wine Tour. Does the Venice, Florence, Rome trio make your travel-loving heart sing? You can hit all three in one trip!
If you know you want to take a solo trip to Italy, but are feeling a little nervous about how to travel solo in Italy, give your shoulders a shimmy and shake off those nerves. When you take a guided tour, you’ll have the safety of a group, the expertise of local guides, and the free time to explore at your leisure. Talk about the best of all the travel worlds!
One of our tips for touring Italy alone when you’re in a group is to look into trips where all of the other people on the trip are also solo travelers. We created our Solo Tours for this exact reason—plus you’ll enjoy the safety and support of the EF Global Network.
Advice for traveling to Italy alone
You might be going solo on our guided tours, but you’re never alone. You’re surrounded by a group of fellow adventurers and experts, like your Tour Director, who are there to help you at every turn. As you prepare for your trip, here are some packing essentials and insider info that will make your time on tour very fun.
- Bring a multi-purpose bag. “I’ve been on two EF Go Ahead Tours to Italy,” said solo traveler Erica. “My tip is to find a good crossbody bag that you can carry a water bottle in! Rome and Florence have public fountains you can fill your water bottle up in, which makes walking around the cities nice.” Having all your daily essentials in one place means there’s no need to make unnecessary trips back to your hotel in the middle of the day. That way, you’re able to be more spontaneous and join in on free time plans with other travelers at a moment’s notice.
- Cover up inside churches and religious sites. Make sure you bring a light scarf with you each day or you may run into a little snafu like solo traveler Monica. “There are no bare shoulders and legs at the Vatican, she said. “I had to buy a scarf from a vendor onsite.”
- Brush up on the local transportation (especially if you’re tacking on some extra days to your trip). “While Go Ahead does offer transportation, if you want to travel to another city in Italy on your own, taking the high-speed train is a great option,” said solo traveler Danielle. “The train system there is fantastic and very user friendly for tourists. I had no trouble buying a ticket and getting around on my own. Something I always do is look up videos on YouTube on how to do something. YouTube has step-by-step guides on how to use the trains in Italy, or any other country. I also learned how to take the metro in Paris and Tokyo by watching YouTube videos.”
Places to visit in Italy as a solo traveler
Italy is a charmer. That’s something that rings true whether you’re in the big city or a tiny Tuscan town. When it comes to the best places to travel solo in Italy, the classic cities or main hubs in popular regions like Sicily are the way to go. They still have all the charm, but offer much more variety in terms of free time activities and restaurant options. Plus, cities like Rome and Florence are more accustomed to welcoming American travelers.
While you shouldn’t expect everyone to speak English (you are visiting their home country after all!), the odds of finding a local who speaks some English and can give you directions or help you order food are much higher in these places. And when in doubt, tap into your Tour Director. They’ll be able to translate the local lingo and send you on your way. Here are the best Italian cities to visit as a solo traveler
- Florence. The walkability of the Renaissance City easily makes it one of the best Italian cities for solo travelers. That’s why it’s included on our Venice, Florence & Rome for Solo Travelers tour. “The beauty of Florence is you can walk everywhere,” said staffer Emily, who lived in Florence and went on plenty of solo adventures in the city. “Whether it’s gelateria hopping, planning a back-to-back visit to the Accademia and Uffizi Gallery, or heading outside the city center to explore the Oltrarno neighborhood, you’ll never need public transportation while in Florence.” Check out our Florence Travel Guide for more reasons to visit.
- Rome. It’s hard to beat Italy’s capital city. While Rome is bigger than Florence, one of our tips for traveling to Italy alone is to map out a little afternoon walking tour for yourself. To hit the iconic sites, start at Piazza Venezia and walk to both Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, before ending at the Trevi Fountain. To get more off the beaten path, we recommend heading toward the Tiber River for a self-guided walking tour in Rome’s Jewish Quarter. Can’t decide between Florence and Rome? Check out this guide to find out which Italian city is right for you—or plan a trip to visit both by taking our Venice, Florence & Rome for Solo Travelers trip!
- Syracuse. On our Solo Tour of Sicily, you’ll pay a visit to the city of Syracuse. You’ll find the oldest section of the city on the island of Ortygia—it’s the perfect place for a little solo exploration. Ceramic shops line the winding, old-timey streets and the ancient city walls loop around the island, offering unmatched views of the Mediterranean Sea. Good views and good souvenir shopping? Yes and yes. Read our Sicily Travel Guide for even more tips.
- Taormina. You’ll stop at this charming European vacation town on our Solo Tour of Sicily, too. Smaller than Syracuse, you’ll wind up hairpin turns to arrive at this hilltop town overlooking the Mediterranean. When it comes to the best places to visit in Italy if you’re a solo traveler, this is the town to go if you want to take it slow and take in the scenery. You can shop on Corso Umberto, visit Isola Bella, or take a dip in the sea. Here, we dive into the best ways to pass the time in Taormina.
Restaurant recommendations for solo travel to Italy
One of our favorite parts of eating in Italy is how a casual dinner has a way of turning into an hours-long affair complete with cacio e pepe, Chianti, and creamy gelato—or whatever foods make up your dream Italian dinner trifecta! Our community did not disappoint when it came to sharing their dining tips for traveling to Italy as a solo traveler.
- Trattoria Zà Zà in Florence. This recommendation from solo traveler Danielle combines two of our favorite things: local food and new friends. “Go to Trattoria Zà Zà for the Florentine steak, but maybe bring another solo traveler with you to help you eat it!” she said. Weighing in at around two pounds, a Florentine steak, or bistecca alla Fiorentina, is about four times larger than an average portion of steak in North America. That’s why this traditional Tuscan dinner is always shared between at least two people. Here are more Italian dishes that are worth the flight!
- Ambasciata d’Abruzzo in Rome. We love a restaurant that takes you outside the city center because it’s where you’ll find all the locals and arguably some of the tastiest food. Solo traveler Ann said Ambasciata d’Abruzzo is “the best restaurant in Rome!” Get even more restaurant recs in our Rome Travel Guide.
- Mercato Centrale in Florence. We know eating alone can feel a little daunting. That’s why eating at this market is one of the best things to do in Italy as a solo traveler. Its open-concept floor plan makes it the perfect place for travelers looking to enjoy their meal in a more lively environment. Head upstairs where vendors line the outside of the floor and beer-hall style tables fill the interior. It’s the perfect place to try some more adventurous foods—tripe, anyone?—but you can also order a full meal. Try the truffle pasta, you won’t regret it!
- Gelato… everywhere! As long as you go to a gelateria where the gelato isn’t displayed in giant, colorful mounds, you really can’t go wrong. Italians aren’t ones for serving oversized portions, and the bright colors mean the gelato is more processed. Look for shops storing the sweet treat in smaller metal tins, sometimes covered with lids. If the gelato is leveled off at the top of the tin, rather than piled as high as the sky, it means it’s fresher. Plus, the more natural-looking the color, the most authentic the ingredients are. Want some city-specific recs? We tapped Sabra, an expert Tour Director (and Italian!), for her best tips on where to get gelato in Florence.
Have you checked “Enjoy a meal at a restaurant alone” off your bucket list? Check out 7 more things to cross off your solo travel bucket list >
Things to do in Italy if you’re a solo traveler
Step into history, shop, eat, repeat. That’s the daily to-do list on any of our Italy tours. So it’s no surprise that our list of what to do in Italy as a solo traveler includes a little something from each of these areas.
- Visit the Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome. “My favorite free time activity was going to the ruins of Largo do Torre Argentina,” said solo traveler Erica. “It’s an important archaeological site because Julius Caesar was assassinated here.”
- Stroll through the San Lorenzo Leather Market in Florence. If there’s any place that you could spend hours and hours getting lost in the best way possible, it’s this outdoor market found around the corner from the centrally located Basilica di San Lorenzo. “Vendors selling leather goods, scarves, and ceramic souvenirs like wine stoppers line the streets surrounding Mercato Centrale,” said staffer Emily. “This is the place to pick up leather fashion goods for both men and women. If you don’t see something that catches your eye on display at an outdoor storefront, their brick-and-mortar locations house more goods conveniently located right behind their outdoor stand.”
- Take a day trip to the island of Ischia on the Amalfi Coast. “I went to Poseidon Thermal Gardens in Ischia and it was fabulous,” said solo traveler Karen. “I spent the entire day dipping myself into pool after glorious pool around the lush gardens of Poseidon. I had a fantastic meal seaside in Ischia and bought some amazing handmade crafts.”
- Add excursions to your tour. Not only do these added experiences bring you closer to culture, but you’ll get to take part in the moments alongside other travelers in your group and your expert Tour Director. You can never go wrong with a wine tasting or cooking class, whether you find yourself traveling to the Italian Riviera or Puglia. In Sicily, staffer Emily highly recommends the Traditions of Sicily: Villa Lunch & Noto Village excursion—here’s why. If you’re heading out on the Grand Tour of Italy, check out our list of can’t-miss excursions on this tour.
- Picnic in the park in Taormina. One of our tried-and-true tips for traveling to Italy as a solo traveler? Spend a day basking in the sun with a basket of Italian treats. Most every city will have a public park, but if you find yourself in Taormina, pick up gelato, a bottle of Nero d’Avola wine, and a panino, and picnic in the English Gardens. Get more tips on how to spend free time on tour as a solo traveler.
Looking to connect with a community of fellow solo travelers? Join our Solo Travel Facebook group!