Italy is a beautiful country and should be visited by everyone once in their life for so many reasons. It’s the country where the marvels of amazing Roman engineering have stood strong for centuries. It’s a country where food is the essence of life, and fine wine is a culture. It’s a country surrounded by majestic mountains overlooking heavenly beautiful beaches. These are enough reasons to visit Italy and therefore, it is getting more and more popular for travel enthusiasts around the world.
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19 Important Things To Consider For Solo Female Travellers In Italy
Due to the increasing number of visitors every year, Italy is overcrowded all year long, not just during the peak summer months. Therefore, you should be careful, especially if you are a female solo traveller in Italy. You should be most careful in the crowded areas of big Italian cities.
This article is focused on the things to consider for solo female travellers in Italy, specifically related to safety, and general helpful tips to avoid any surprises during your trip.
1. Ciao Bella Is A Friendly Word
“Ciao Bella” translated as “Hello Beautiful” is a friendly word and is often used to express an appreciation of appearance. Therefore, don’t get offended if someone calls you “Ciao Bella”. However, if someone repeatedly calls you Ciao Bella then considers it not friendly, it is flirting.
2. Cover Your Knees And Shoulders When Visiting Religious Sites
Mostly, it is not necessary to cover your shoulders and knees while visiting churches or cathedrals in Italy. However, some important monuments like St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City or Duomo in Milano have strict rules to cover your knees and shoulders while entering the church. Sleeveless tops, shorts, and miniskirts are not allowed to be worn if you are planning to see the inside of the churches. Remember to wear appropriate clothes to cover your shoulders and knees while visiting churches in Italy. A light shawl can be helpful if it’s hot out and you don’t want to wear restrictive clothing. You can buy these, or a “use and throw” cover in the shops and even in ticket offices in the vicinity of the churches.
3. Avoid Scams At Popular Destinations
Being a solo female traveller in Italy, It is better not to interact with strangers, especially at the popular destinations in the cities where people start a conversation and try to sell you things like bracelets (calling it a lucky bracelet), luxury products at cheap prices, offering to take photos, etc. Usually, these types of people are scammers and will probably interact with you to loot money. These are not the best things to buy in Italy.
4. Avoid Quiet Areas At Night In Big Cities
The big Italian cities like Rome, Naples, and Milan are on the bucket list of travellers in Italy. For the last five years, the country has seen an increase in petty crimes such as snatching phones, watches, purses, etc. Usually, such things happen in the more quiet areas of the city, and mostly during the darker hours. Therefore, it’s better to avoid being alone in the quiet streets of big cities, especially if you are a solo female traveller. One important thing to consider when you are booking your hotel is to pick a location near public transport such as bus, tram, and metro to avoid unnecessary late-night walks.
5. Beware of Pickpocketing In Metro Trains And Train Stations
Pickpocketing is becoming very common in Italian cities, specifically on metro trains during the rush hours. Therefore, always be extra careful when you travel on metro trains and at train stations. A common thing you will see is a group of women surrounding you to steal your valuables from your bag or pant pockets. So, always be careful when you are surrounded by a bunch of strange women. Or someone may snatch your purse or phone and run towards the exit while you are at the train station.
There are some simple thing you can do to keep pickpockets away. Do not flaunt valuables such as expensive jewelry or watches, keep money in the deep pockets of your bag or use a money belt, and use a closed purse or even an anti-theft purse.
6. Late Night Partying Is Safe
If you are a party person, late-night partying is very safe even for solo female travellers in Italy. However, always remember to do your research before visiting any nightclubs to avoid any scams. Typically, clubs don’t charge tourists higher fees to enter, but it happens on occasion. Any price of more than 25 Euros is a scam.
Also, take a taxi to return to your hotel late at night to avoid unnecessary walks on empty streets.
7. Don’t Eat Or Shop Near The Tourist Attractions Or Main Squares
When you are visiting tourist attractions such as the Colosseum, don’t choose to eat in the restaurants nearby. They don’t serve the best quality food and often charge a lot of money. Do your research for good restaurants off the beaten path in the city you are visiting to ensure authentic Italian flavours and much better prices.
The same goes for the shops. If you want to buy some souvenirs, it is always better to buy in the shops that are not close to the popular tourist attractions. Do some research of the most popular souvenirs to bring home.
8. Book Female Only Dorm If You Choose To Stay In Hostels
Hostels in Italy offer female-only dorm rooms, which adds to a comfortable stay for female travellers.
9. Don’t Hesitate To Contact The Emergency Number
Police in Italy are extremely friendly and helpful. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any trouble at all. The emergency response time is generally quick. 112 is the emergency number to use in Italy for all emergencies including medical and police.
10. Keep Your Luggage Light
If you are a solo female traveller in Italy, always try to keep your luggage as light as possible. Italy is best explored by trains and it’s quite hectic and more difficult to keep on changing trains with heavy luggage. In addition, if you are staying in a B&B room, then there are good chances of not having a functioning elevator, or no elevator at all, and you may end up carrying your luggage upstairs all by yourself.
If needed, you will also find lockers for baggage storage in main train stations. If not, then you will surely find a baggage storage office at the train station where you can leave your bags for a while at very affordable prices.
11. Carry Comfortable And Waterproof Shoes
You will walk a lot in Italy. The city centres, and even the smaller towns or villages require a lot of walking. The streets in Italian cities are mostly made of concrete or cobblestones, and asphalt in some cases. While exploring cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence, you may end up walking more than 20,000 steps in a day. Therefore, it is important to have comfortable walking shoes for exploring places in Italy. You can also carry your heels but use them only for some special occasions.
Visiting Venice? Take a break from all the walking and stop at one of these 4 best wine bars to go to when visiting Venice.
12. Summer Is Overcrowded
August is the most popular month among locals to go on vacations, mainly because schools and colleges are closed for summer vacations. But it’s also because loads of tourists swarm the country, flocking to popular places such as Rome, Venice, and others. Many foreign tourists prefer to visit Italy in the summer months due to the warmer weather. Therefore, the summer season, specifically the months of July and August, is overcrowded. Prices for hotels, trains, and flights skyrocket during this time. Therefore, it is always advisable to avoid visiting Italy during peak summer months.
Also, summer in Italy are getting warmer every year. The cities like Rome, Naples, and Palermo are even crossing the 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) mark which makes it exhausting to explore new places, or even just be outside. If you do decide to visit during high season, make sure you stay well hydrated and always carry your resuable water bottle with a filter with you.
If you are a solo female traveller wanting to visit Italy, you should consider planning your trip for the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October, when it is less crowded, cheaper, but the weather is still pleasant.
13. Explore The Countryside
There is more to Italy than just the big fancy cities. Therefore, make sure you explore the countryside in addition to the popular Italian cities like Rome, Milan, Florence, Venice, etc.
If you are in Milan, you may also go for a day trip from Milan to nearby tourist attractions or even you can consider visiting the most charming Italian towns to see another side of this beautiful country.
14. Strikes On Public Transport Are Common
Strikes on public transport are a common occurrence, but the good thing is, any strike will be announced in advance so that you can plan your activities accordingly. Stay up to date with the latest news of strikes in the region you are visiting especially by train.
15. Always prepare to be waterproofed
Rainfall is very common and there is no specific season or period for rain. Always be prepared for rain by having a raincoat, umbrella, waterproof shoes, and waterproof backpacks. Rainy days can severely affect your travel plans. Therefore, always check the weather forecast before travelling to Italy, and during your stay.
16. Book Hotels And Trains Far In Advance
Booking in advance is key for saving a considerable amount of money for any solo female traveller in Italy. Believe it or not, locals book up to seven or even eight months in advance. Good hotels and good deals are hard to get, but possible if you book early enough.
Also, the super fast trains (like Frecciarossa and Italo) offer a special ticket called “super economy”, which is available at a very good price and sells out fast. If you book last minute, you may end up paying more than ten times for a ticket for the super fast trains than you would if you booked way early.
As far as slow or regional trains are concerned, ticket prices are cheap and fixed, and you don’t have to book them in advance.
17. Don’t Worry About Eating Alone In Fancy Restaurants
Sometimes solo female travellers refrain from eating in fancy restaurants because they are uncomfortable being alone. But in Italy, people’s personal space is well respected, and no one is going to judge you for being by yourself. Some people prefer to eat alone in a restaurant to spend some quality time with themselves.
18. Pack Appropriately For Winter
Winter in Italy is colder, specifically the peak winter months of December to February when the temperatures go below freezing. The northern regions can get much colder, especially the alpine regions where the temperature can drop below -10 degrees Celsius (14 Fahrenheit). The southern regions (typically Sicily) are much warmer, with temperatures around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50-59 Fahrenheit) during the day. Therefore, pack according to the regions you are visiting and the weather you will encounter.
Italy is famous for its wonderful ski resorts. During the winter vacations, these ski resorts get very crowded. If skiing is on your radar, consider booking your hotels much more in advance to get a good place to stay at a comfortable price.
If you are visiting Italy during Christmas vacation, check out the best destinations to spend Christmas in Italy.
19. Public Transport Is The Best Way To Get Around
Being a solo female traveller, public transport in Italy is the best mode of transportation, especially trains that are fast and cheap. Hiring a private car is also safe and provides more flexibility. But it is more expensive, and considering the traffic, it is better to use trains for long journeys and hire cars if you are exploring the countryside like the villages of Tuscany.
Also, Italian cities have a good network of public transport with metro trains, trams, and buses. The one-day and multi-day passes for public transport are available at affordable prices in all Italian cities. In a typical Italian city, the metro and trams are the quickest modes of transport.