Want to travel to Italy but nobody you know wants to go? Have specific dates for your Italian holiday but none of your friends can get away then?

Go anyway! As a single traveler in Italy for many years, here are my tips on companionship, safety, money matters, and quality of life for traveling solo in Italy.


1. Look for restaurants or hotels with communal tables. Relax, eat with whoever is there, smile and start a conversation. Sharing food and wine around the table opens people up and conversation flows easily. For example, I've stayed at a family-run B & B in Sorrento where I've happily chatted to people from all over the world around their dining tables.

2. Look for restaurants with tables close together so it's easy to strike up a conversation with fellow diners.

3. Offer to help other travelers to start a conversation. For example, while traveling by boat to the Sicilian island of Stromboli, which I know well, I gave some tips to an Australian woman. I ended up taking her on a walk along the mountainside and to a restaurant under the volcano. She got a guide and I got a fun, interesting companion.

4. Break up your time alone with half or full day guided tours that focus on something you're passionate about so you have fun with people with similar interests. For example, in Florence you'll find walking, food, garden and history tours.

5. Find tours that cater to single travelers. For example, families in the Chianti region and Sorrento offer cooking tours and accept solo travelers for any dates they request. Other tourists stay in their B & Bs so you have congenial company.

Safety For Solo Women

6. Use your common sense and intuition. No matter what time it is, if a street is deserted you may not want to walk there. In general, stick to streets where other people are walking. Strolling along the Arno River in Florence at 10:00 p.m. admiring the reflections along with lots of people is wonderful. Walking down a deserted little street in Palermo in mid-afternoon may not be wise.

7. Dress down in ordinary clothes and leave your jewelry at home, so you avoid becoming a lone and profitable target for theft.

8. Take a handbag with a shoulder strap you can put diagonally across your chest. Wear a money belt under your pants. Be alert to who is around you, especially in crowded places where pick pockets thrive.

9. Walk with a strong, confident bearing, so you don't look like a victim. All the above apply in any big city. In small country towns you can relax, since little happens there.

10. What about men chatting you up? Just like at home, stick to public places until you're comfortable with him. If you're not interested in him, politely say "no thanks" as many times as it takes. Over the years, I've found Italian men respect my boundaries. Sometimes I've met new friends and loves of my life.

Money Matters

11. Find tours that have no single supplement. Many tour companies in Italy match you up with a roommate. For example, on walking tours in Piedmont and Sicily, I shared rooms and found hikers are generally a nice, down to earth, fun bunch. Be open to making new friends by getting to know your roommate and avoid the supplement.

12. When looking for a room, if no single rooms are available, ask for a double room for single use. The price is higher than a single room, but you have more rooms to choose from.

Quality of Life

13. To give yourself the best eating experiences in Italy, go to restaurants on the early side (12:30 for lunch, 7:30 for dinner or 7:00 in big tourist cities) and get the best seat. For example, at these hours in Vernazza in Cinque Terre, nobody minds if I occupy a table for two with a front row view of the sea at a restaurant patio on the main piazza.

14. Accept help and reach out to other travelers. If someone offers to help you carry your suitcase up the stairs in a train station, say yes, thank them and give them a big smile. Look around for other travelers who may appreciate your help in small ways.

As a single traveler, if you extend your friendship to fellow travelers or local people, especially in places conducive to conversation, look for people with your interests on tours, take sensible safety precautions and pay attention to your quality of life, you'll have a fabulous time and some fun adventures in Italy.

Author's Bio: 

Margaret Cowan owns an Italian cooking tour company, Mama Margaret & Friends Cooking Adventures in Italy. She's been travelling to Italy since 1972, most of the time solo. She lived in Italy three years and continues her love affair with Italy in twice yearly trips.