I personally don't enjoy traveling on my own. I know, according to the unwritten laws of travelers, that would make me a fake traveler in the mind of some. Well, I prefer traveling with friends or family, having someone to rely on if something happens and having someone to share laughs with on long train rides or to ask what they're having while looking at a restaurant menu. Memories are always better when shared in my opinion. But, I don't always have someone to travel with and I know that if I keep waiting for someone to accompany me on my travels then I will be stuck at home forever. Italy was my first solo trip and has not been the last, but it was a destination that I found pretty easy to visit by myself. It was safe and there were plenty of other solo travelers and groups I could join.
stay in hostels
Hostels are one of the best places for solo travelers because they are filled with other solo travelers looking for company, but people will also leave you alone if you would rather stay by yourself. They have activities and tours, often for free, that you can join up and where you can meet other travelers. The kitchen is always a good place to exchange stories and learn what other travelers have been up to so you can get some inspiration on what to do next or join people who are heading the same direction as you for the next few days.
go on organised activities like a cooking class or a tour
Italy has a lot of activities on offer. From Vespa tours to guided tours of its best museums or classes on how to make pizza or pasta, there are definitely activities for everyone and I guarantee there will be other solo travelers on these tours. I personally went on a guided tour to Sienna and San Gimignano where I met two other women that I had so much fun spending the day with. Same with the pizza and gelato making class that ended up leading to a full evening of sharing stories with a group of other travelers. You can read all about the class here. The activities were definitely a lot of fun, but sharing them with like-minded people was even better.
bring a book/journal/newspaper to the restaurant
I don't know why that is, but Italians find it weird that a woman would be by herself at the restaurant and, it's not malicious, but they are not quiet about it. At the beginning of my trip, almost everytime I would go to the restaurant I would get asked if my boyfriend had just dumped me, or if my boyfriend would be joining me later and if we had a fight. When I answered that I was visiting Italy by myself they would act really confused and often answer that a pretty thing like me should have a boyfriend... They probably meant well and just thought that I was Eat, Pray, Loving my way through Italy and depressed, but I was fine and just trying to enjoy my pizza, thank you very much! So I started bringing a book to the restaurant and it really helped. Not only was it less lonely than eating by myself, but the Italians seemed satisfied that I was doing fine on my own if I had a book with me. So trust me, if you are trying to eat in peace by yourself, bring a novel, bring a journal, bring a newspaper, but bring something to read.
find friends on solo-traveler facebook groups
I had no idea these existed, but a guy in my dorm told me there were Facebook groups where you could meet up with other solo travelers who were looking for company while visiting new cities and they work great. I was able to meet up with another girl who invited me on a free guided tour of Rome and we ended up spending the rest of the day together exploring the city. I do recommend being safe about it and planning activities in a group setting or meeting up in a public place, but it can be a great way to meet new people.
I wish you so much fun on your solo adventures in Italy! May you find great friends and eat lots of delicious food!
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