ITALY SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! ITALY TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR ITALY SOLO TRAVEL
- ITALY: DID YOU KNOW?
- ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING
- ITALY TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- ITALY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
- CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
- HOW TO BOOK ITALY TRAVEL
- ITALY ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
- ITALY TRAVEL SAFETY
- ITALY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
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BENVENUTO IN ITALIA!
Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 27+ years of global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my guide to Italy solo travel, all from my traveling Italy solo, so you can book and realize your solo trip to Italy. What are you waiting for?
ITALY: DID YOU KNOW?
Italy – the 5th most populous European country, is home to 58 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including The Dolomites, the Medici Villas of Tuscany, and many historic city centers like Urbino, Siena, and Rome, Italy’s capital. Italy also surrounds Vatican City (the world’s smallest country), and hosts Europe’s only active volcanoes, the basis of many Shakespeare plays and Renaissance art and architecture, multiple wine regions, opera, Sicily, fashion, Milan, pizza (invented in Napoli), Lake Como, pasta, gelato (yum), limoncello, and unforgettable cities like Milan, Florence, Verona, and Venice. Italy is really called Repubblica Italiana (Italian Republic). Its nickname is “Bel Paese” meaning “beautiful country”, and it surely is.
Languages in Italy
The official language is Italian, but the younger generation learn to speak English, French or German in school.
Italian history goes way back. Its Western society is home to the Roman Empire and is steeped in the arts and architecture. Italians place high importance on the family and the extended family. Italians are predominantly Roman Catholic (90%), and there is a growing Muslim community.
Popular Activities in Italy
Outdoor activities range from hiking volcanoes; boating on Lake Como; lounging at Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, skiing in the Italian Alps; or wine tasting in multiple wine regions.
Home to endless basilicas, museums, high fashion stores, restaurants and bars, indoor activities are countless. Italy has world-class cities like Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan.
Best Wine Tasting Tours in Italy
ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING
Italy uses the Euro (€). Exchange rates are usually favorable for Europeans but could fluctuate in the other direction.
Tipping in Italy
Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules. That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated.
What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc. For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.
Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.
It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.
Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Italy vacation planning stage is to know the local and national holidays in Italy.
ITALY TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel Documents for Italy
From the U.S., you will need a valid passport with an expiration date greater than 6 months from your return date to the U.S. It is advised to always check the U.S. State Department in advance of traveling to Italy for pertinent, up-to-date Italy travel advisories and information. If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
At this time (January 2023), a travel visa is not required for U.S. citizens who travel in Italy 90 days or less and within a 180-day period. However, in November 2023 it is expected that the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETAIS) will go into effect that is designed to strengthen European borders and streamline entry. At that time, a printed ETAIS visa waiver (the “ETAIS”) will be required to enter the Schengen Area for tourist, business or transit purposes of 90 days or less. You will be able to apply online for the ETAIS visa waiver, which will also require a fee (amount unknown). Requirements for an ETAIS are available now. Watch for ETAIS updates if you are planning to solo travel to Italy in late 2023.
If you are not from the U.S., please check if your country is on the ETAIS list indicating whether you are required to obtain an ETAIS or a Schengen Visa.
Choose from Top Travel Document Holders
Vaccinations for Italy
There are normally no vaccinations required for Italy. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information for traveling to Italy. It is advised to always check for any Italy travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
ITALY TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Electronics for Italy
Want to use your 110V electronics while traveling around Italy? Italy’s voltage is 230V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If you do not already have electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) made for Italy’s voltage, you will need to bring a voltage converter to use your electronics. Below are top-rated power converters for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Converter That’s Right For You
Most smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and similar electronics don’t require a converter (double-check your device(s) before you leave home), but you will still need a plug adapter.
Traveling to Italy, Type C, F and L adapters will fit Italy’s electronic outlets. I recommend bringing at least one of each adapter type accepted. I do not recommend using those single adapters for 100+ countries. They have been known to break and/or cause a power short.
Be prepared before you visit Italy. Bring a solid, reliable, and grounded power adapter to safely charge your electronics in Italy. Below are top-rated U.S. (Type A and B) to Italy power adapter options, from the only brand I travel with, for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Italy Adapter That’s Right for You
Type C Adapters
Type E/F Adapters
Type L Adapters
If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Italy, check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.
Cyber Security While Traveling
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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
Use my solo travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, day trip ideas, and recommended things to do in these top Italian destinations, all from my travel in Italy, to plan your best Italy solo travel.
The more I travel in Italy, the more that gets added to this Italy Travel Guide. Keep checking back.
Rome with Vatican City
FREE Rome Itinerary Download
Download the 3 Days in Rome Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Rome
Best Day Trips from Rome
Siena with Montalcino
FREE Siena Itinerary Download
Download the 2 Days in Siena Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Siena
FREE Venice Itinerary Download
Download the 2 Days in Venice Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Venice
FREE Florence Itinerary Download
Download the 4 Day Florence Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Florence
Milan with Lake Como
FREE Milan Itinerary Download
Download the 2 Days in Milan Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Milan
Verona with Padua
FREE Verona Itinerary Download
Download the 2 Days in Verona Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
Best Things to Do in Verona
2 Week Itineraries with Italy
FREE 2 Week Itinerary Download
Download the Italy in 2 Weeks Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
FREE 2 Week Itinerary Download
Download the Italy & Austria Itinerary PDF WITH clickable links for your travel devices.
It has been many years since I was in the following Italian destinations. I hope to revisit these destinations in Italy. Until then, here are my recommended things to do in Italy (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).
Best Things to Do in Cinque Terre
Best Things to Do in Pisa
HOW TO BOOK ITALY TRAVEL
It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.
No travel Italy guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Italy things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Italy.
Cheap Flights to Italy
With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Italy, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Italy now.
Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Italy
Italy Places to Stay
Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Italy is finding the best place to stay in Italy for your solo travel in Italy. Develop your Italy travel itinerary now and find the best accommodations in Italy to knock one more item off your Italy travel planning list.
Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Italy
Getting Around Italy
Italy has Bolt, Uber, Carpoolworld, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).
There are also taxis, of course, and you can easily find a rental car if that better suits your Italy solo travel itinerary.
Find the Best Deals on Italy Rental Cars
Italy is also part of Europe’s incredible bus and train network, so getting around and booking transportation is easy.
Things to Do in Italy
Here are some more of the top things to do in Italy to book for traveling to Italy alone.
Best Italy Food Tours and Activities
ITALY ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
There are ways to reduce your eco and carbon footprint through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Italy. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.
Air Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Italy are public transportation, walking, or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. They are also apt to cost less than other ground transportation.
Explore Italy Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals
Try to avoid renting a car in Italy by using the amazingly convenient and inexpensive buses and/or trains.
When booking a rideshare in Italy, select the Bolt Green or Uber Green options instead of a traditional rideshare, or use Carpoolworld, to support the use of electric cars and carpooling for cleaner transportation in Italy.
Bolt and Lime also have electric scooters to rent in Italy for faster and cleaner commuting. Search Bolt and Lime for select city availability.
Look for accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Italy and other European Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Italy certifications.
Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find an establishments implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is through Booking.com in which you’ll need to find and review each establishment’s ‘Sustainable Initiatives’ within the booking process. Starting 2022, however, you’ll be able to filter searches for accommodations with the Travel Sustainable badge.
Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Italy
Eco-Friendly Things To Do
Italy has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.
Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Italy. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.
Top Eco Friendly Activities in Italy
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Italy’s environment.
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel. Read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.
ITALY TRAVEL SAFETY
Before You Go
Always consult your government’s Italy travel advisory for your Italy travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.
Buy Italy travel insurance and international medical insurance for traveling Italy alone to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.
Safety in Italy
The U.S. State Department has continually placed Italy on a Level 2 alert as “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy”. However, these “terrorist” activities could simply be demonstrations. I’ve never felt unsafe traveling in Italy.
Theft or pickpocketing, which could happen in most places to be honest, is typically the normal tourist concern, which could happen in most places to be honest.
Beyond that, there is nothing I can recall from Italy making it more of a “safety concern” than traveling in my own home country, so my standard tips for solo and female solo travelers in Italy are:
- always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
- always be “street wise”.
- always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
- be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
- research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
- if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.
ITALY BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Best Time to Visit Italy
Like other countries in Europe, Italy’s high, tourist season, and most expensive time, is the summer (June and July). Crowds are not as heavy in the spring (April and May) and Fall (September to October), and prices in these months are better than the summer season.
The least expensive time to go to Italy would be November to March. Keep in mind, however, if you are going to a ski or winter sport area – prices could be high and you may want to book in advance.
If you want good weather and prices, try booking well in advance for Spring or Autumn, or you can try in August when most Italians take vacation and crowds tend to drop.
Staying in hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Italy, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.
Many Italy hostels also offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Italy – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.
Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Italy if you’re on a budget.
Reserve Your Italy Hostel
Best Time to Book Travel
Ready to book your Italy solo travel? The sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.
Don’t miss out and find the best Italy flight deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money on your trip to Italy.
Do You Know What Italy Flights and Hotels Cost?
I love the Mediterranean climate and landscape of Italy. It’s no wonder – I loved living in California also. Italy’s people are as warm as their environment. Every Italian city I go to, I am welcomed by all I meet, and conversations unfold easily. The countryside and architecture feel like home. I’ve been offered to stay in Italians’ homes so they can show proudly show me their town or just cook for me. You lend an Italian an inch in their language, and they will go a mile to help you.
I’m also big into art and wine, so Italy really has it “all” for me. There never seems to be enough time to wander Italy – there is so much to see. If there is a European country I’d choose first to live in, Italy would be it. I could happily get lost in Italy.