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Without a doubt, Italy is one of my favorite destinations in Europe. Is loving Italy a total travel cliche? After all, it feels like everyone wants to visit Italy. Perhaps loving Italy isn’t very original, but I’ve never been the sort of person to scoff at popular places, haha. I’ll happily roam the beaten path.
It’s so obvious that Italy is beloved for a reason. Each region is unique, so it’s easy to visit Italy again and again, and still enjoy completely fresh experiences. Lake Como is very different from Rome, which is very different from Milan, which is very different from Parma, and so on and so forth.
And don’t even get me started on Italy’s incredible food scene. Even though I’m scared to fly, I would hop on the next eight hour flight to Italy just for the cuisine. I cannot say enough good things about it. The food is also vastly different depending on the region. Sampling cicchetti in Venice was a dream as a solo traveler, but so was learning about a family-owned Parmigiano Reggiano factory near Parma.
And art lovers? You couldn’t ask for a better vacation.
I love art museums alone. I can take my time and admire each and every piece that catches my eye, while at the same time, adhere to my own schedule. I’m the boss.
Gosh, I love Italy. So. So. So. Much.
I’ve been to Italy multiple times. I’ve explored this awesome country with friends and family, as well as alone, so I can speak from experience. As a travel blogger, I’m frequently asked about how to travel solo in Italy, and whether or not it’s safe for women to do so.
Ultimately, I wrote this guide to reassure you about solo travel to Italy and to give actionable tips for how to protect yourself if you decide to go alone without signing up and paying for a multi-day guided tour.
Depending on where you go, Italy’s a very easy trip, and it’s not too much of a challenge planning the itinerary and transportation yourself. I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds.
Is Italy Safe to Travel Alone?
Asking “is Italy safe to travel alone?” is a very broad question and depending on who you’ll ask, you’ll receive a million answers. I’m just one person who’s speaking from a white, American, able-bodied perspective. I encourage you to continue to do your own research as you plan your travels through Italy.
With that said, truthfully, I feel traveling alone is not too much different than exploring your hometown. Especially if you take all the proper precautions in advance.
First I want to share my own experiences (and mine alone) traveling alone in Italy, before diving into more specific tips to help you plan your next adventure to one of Europe’s prettiest countries.
My Experience Traveling in Italy
I loved traveling solo to Italy. To be honest, I never had a single moment where I truly felt unsafe and afraid.
In particular, in big cities, I felt very safe and welcome as a solo traveler, especially because plenty of people were doing the exact same thing as me. Since Italy is such a popular place, you’ll have a ton of solo travelers who are also visiting the most iconic sites in the city, so you never truly “stand out” as a target.
Furthermore, I stayed at small hotels and hostels on my solo trip in Italy, so I felt like I was part of a community instead of someone drifting from city to city alone.
For instance, I’ve had wonderful experiences traveling alone to Milan and traveling alone to Venice. While romantic cities, I never felt weird for traveling alone in a sea of smiling couples (haha, especially in Venice) and saw tons of fantastic art, did interesting walking tours, and ate lots of mouth-watering gelato and pasta.
Sure, occasionally I felt lonely or unsure of how to plan a specific day, but like I said, I’ve never, ever felt unsafe as a solo traveler in Italy.
The Verdict: It Depends
At the end of the day, Italy can be a very safe solo travel destination by taking common sense precautions.
So don’t psyche yourself out by thinking it’s too dangerous to go to Italy alone.
Of course, how safe your solo trip to Italy is depends on you. While, of course, random acts of violence and illness happen anywhere in the world, you can still do a lot on your end to mitigate danger.
As always, research the individual cities and towns that you want to visit, as well as neighborhoods. Crime varies widely. Be smart and you’ll be fine!
Solo Travel Safety Tips for Italy
These solo travel safety tips for Italy will inspire you to go with confidence. I kept this tips broad and flexible, so they can be applied to any type of itinerary in Italy.
Like I said, different cities and regions have different crime rates, so additional research is necessary on your end. In other words, yes, you have homework after reading this post, haha.
I hope these tips get the wheels turning in your head, though, and inspire you to book your ticket soon. Or, at the very least, I hope this post inspires you to not ask the question “is Italy safe to travel alone?”
Be Aware of Cultural Differences
Italy is very popular with tourists from all over the world. At the same time, though, it can be quite culturally different from where you live, so act accordingly.
For example, although New Jersey (where I’m from) has a large Italian-American population, visiting Italy itself is much, much, much different than the US.
A major tip is to always dress modestly upon entering cathedrals and churches. I visited Italy in June, and while it was warm, I still had to bring a shawl to go inside Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice and the Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, because otherwise, my shoulders would’ve been exposed.
I’m not even exaggerating. I saw so many tourists turned away for not adhering to the dress code — men included, so don’t think you’re off the hook.
In general, Italians are a bit more formal in their fashion than Americans. I’m not saying that you need to sightsee in a ball gown, but be aware of your clothing and dress up a littttttle bit. Look classy.
As a solo traveler, you already stand out a little bit. Don’t draw even more attention to yourself by breaking cultural norms and expectations.
Do Your Research & Read Reviews
I cannot emphasize enough the important of doing your own research when planning a solo trip to Italy.
Don’t use Chat GPT to plan your trip, or even just rely on my blog as the gospel truth. Take your time and read plenty of articles, as well as skim through a high-quality guidebook to Italy. Plan in advance.
Even more important, don’t ignore reviews. I know, I know. Sometimes you’ll come across funny reviews from people who expected five star hotels when they chose to stay in hostels, but if you see the same issues (cleanliness, safety, location, etc) mentioned again and again in reviews, take note of them.
Be thorough and read with a critical eye, and you will have a wonderful adventure.
Ignore Aggressive Men
As a solo female traveler, you’ve probably already read about the, uh, attention you’ll receive from Italian men. In my own experience, the attention was more pronounced when I was younger, but whenever I go to Italy, I always have one or two compliments thrown at me on the street. Most of the time, it’s harmless. I keep walking and move on with my life.
I’ve never had someone get exceptionally aggressive, although I’m sure it happens.
Remember that you’re under no obligation to be nice to people who refuse to leave you alone. Duck into a nearby shop or restaurant if you ever feel uncomfortable, and don’t apologize or feel guilty for turning someone down. No one, especially not a stranger, is entitled to your time or energy.
Learn a Bit of Italian
Learning a phrases of the local language shows respect for the country and its people. In Italy, a lot of locals in bigger cities will speak English, especially if they’re younger, but at the same time, it’s always useful (and a good safety tip) to learn some Italian ahead of your trip.
Understanding a few words will make it much easier to read restaurants, without needed Google translate, as well as follow directions and have brief conversations with retail and service workers.
And honestly, I think speaking another language is an accomplishment. Sure, I’ll probably mess up the pronunciation and grammar, but I still can’t help but smile when someone understands my very, very, very poor Italian!
Limit Your Drinking to a Reasonable Amount
I don’t mean to sound like a buzzkill. Italy is well-known for its exquisite wines, as well as spritzes and digestifs, and when wine is cheaper than soda, it’s easy to opt for alcohol at all your meals.
Excessive drinking as a solo traveler, though, isn’t the smartest idea. I like having a clear head when navigating a new city. Even more so at night.
Ultimately, intoxication makes it easier for unsavory people to take advantage of the situation, and while it is absolutely in NO WAY a drunk victim’s fault if someone harms them, it’s still better to limit drinking while traveling Italy alone.
I try and limit myself to two drinks. That way, I’m able to enjoy Italy’s wine and still have control of my senses. Plus no hangovers are a huge bonus.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Random violent crime is low in Italy. Unless you purposely seek out rough areas, you’ll be okay exploring the tourist trail without encountering too many problems.
However, emergencies still happen. If COVID taught us anything, it’s that “better safe than sorry” should always be a solo traveler’s motto in the event of illness or delays. You will want to purchase travel insurance ahead of time to account for all possibilities.
I use World Nomads Travel Insurance for my trips. They are affordable and provide good comprehensive coverage. You can also opt for adventure coverage if you want something more substantial for your trip.
Respect the Italian Sun and Heat
Italy’s sun is no joke. The relentless scorching rays are especially not a joke in the middle of summer. And even more especially not a joke in dense cities, such as Rome, where you don’t even have the relief of a sea breeze.
Respect the heat.
So, if you’re traveling in summer (no judgement; as a teacher, I can only travel for long periods in summer), then stay hydrated and spend the hottest times of the day relaxing indoors. Afternoon naps are a wonderful idea.
Furthermore, read reviews to ensure your accommodation has air conditioning that properly works. Italy is humid, so sleeping would be miserable without air conditioning. You want to be comfortable.
Share Your Itinerary
Always share your itinerary with friends and family. It’s absolutely a smart safety move and not in the least bit paranoid. I even email a copy of my itinerary (and all my documents) to myself so I always have access to them.
I’m firmly an adult, and I still share my plans with family and friends when I travel to Italy and other countries. I send flight information, hotel bookings, and so much more.
If your plans change, let someone at home know. It makes a big difference as a solo traveler.
Walk with Confidence
Confidence is key.
Personally, I always pretend to know exactly where I’m going even if I’m lost. Walking with confidence is so important, because it does deter anyone looking to steal or cause other harm. Of course, I would never, ever victim-blame and say that someone who was attacked “didn’t show enough confidence” to fend off their attacker.
If you’re lost, go inside a shop or a cafe, and sit down to read Google maps or a physical map to get your bearings again.
Watch Your Belongings
Last but not least, Italy is very popular with tourists from all over the world (duh), and as a result, you’ll encounter pickpockets looking to take what they can find. You don’t have to make it easy for them.
I’m not saying to be paranoid, but keep an extra close eye on your belongings, particularly near crowded tourist attractions and on the metro. For additional piece of mind, you may want to invest in a Pacsafe crossbody bag that has additional anti-theft protection.
Again, make sure to purchase travel insurance for even more protection overseas. However, if you want reimbursement for theft, you’ll have to file a police report, which might be time-consuming.
Take good care of your belongings overseas. You have to rely on yourself.
So is Italy safe to travel alone? I would say “yes” as long as you follow common sense precautions. Italy can be just as safe as your home country. Just plan and be smart. Have a great time in Italy.