Backpacking guide to Italy for solo travellers  

Italy is a wonderful place to travel alone, wandering amid the ruins and the ancient buildings, visiting churches, and traveling on the train from one city to the next, collecting thoughts as breathtaking scenery crosses before your eyes.

Italy as a solo destination:

The people are friendly and will try to speak English to you as well. It is difficult to feel alone, as there are always many people walking the streets, window shopping, or simply taking in life's precious moments at every hour of the night. Sometimes they can be quite dramatic as well, so a lonely traveler could consider it as free entertainment.  Italians believe that one should work to live rather than the contrary, so relaxation will come easy.

Accommodation for solo travelers:

Hotels can be found at economical cost in the some Northern cities such as Milan , and other Southern cities such as Pisa and Naples . Usually, those offering to pay cash can have a special discount. Hostels in places such as Rome and Venice are probably best for those who want to swap stories with other English speakers traveling throughout Europe or gain a buddy for the day.

Many are also well informed as to the tourist sites and have internet facilities. The most ideal is probably those located several streets back behind the central station, as the area is safe, many restaurants in these areas stay open late, and are accustomed to accommodating tourists in many languages. It is also a good position if one is planning to catch a late night train to their next stop and needs somewhere to keep their things during the last day.

Italy budget for solo travelers:

Hostels start at around 13 Euro if one doesn't mind staying on the outskirts of the city, but a clean, safe and friendly Hostel in the center can be found in the mid 20's. It is also possible to eat fixed menus of great Italian cuisine at around 10-15 Euro.

If it's just a quick bite you're after, try a fresh Italian Panini for the less than the price of a pre-packaged sandwich or two McDonald's cheese burgers. Happy hours start at 3-4€ and they aren't stingy with the liquor either! These "apertivo's" could take the place of dinner in the Northern region, as with your drink consumption also comes several pasta dishes and other Italian specialties served buffet style. The best are always located by determining where the Universities are.

Trips and activities for solos around Italia:

Italy may be the best place to travel alone, as a there are so many things to see you can plan it as you like!  If you ever get lonely, not to worry, Italians love to talk... and if they can't speak English they'll talk with their hands.

Here is a list of Italy ideas:

Best way to travel hitting the major cities is grouping Milan , Venice , then Florence , Rome and Naples as it is quite easy to catch direct trains to the next city in this order. Pisa is worth a couple hours stop over on the journey south to the next destination. If one is looking for the total Italian experience, Sicily is not to be missed. Always find the Duomo, which is the church in the center of the city, and most of the major attractions can be found easily from that point.

Milan : Duomo to Castello Sforzesco (there is plenty of shopping to do in this area as well) and over to Brera, Leonardo da Vinci's horse, Navigli (artistic canal area with an antique market the last Sunday of the month). I

Time recommended: 1 to 2 days

Venice : Best going to San Marco's square and walking around from there. Many great glass shops but check your prices as they can vary drastically for the same piece from store to store. Guggenheim Museum if you are an art lover. A gondola ride can be found at a lesser price from smaller "vias", and feel free to bargain on the price.

Time recommended: 1.5 -2 days (perhaps arriving at mid-day and staying the night, Venice is a wonderful place to wake up).

Florence :

The leather market in the center runs everyday, and is certainly a bargain not to be missed!

Rome :

•  The Spanish Steps

•  Trevi Fountain

•  Piazza Navona

(All of these can be seen during the day or even at night - It's a breathtaking walk through the city from each of the famous spots to the next, there are always people gathered in the squares, and many bars and restaurants can be found along the way)

•  The Sistine Chapel

•  The Vatican (la chiessa di San Pietro)

*These two should be seen together, as Vatican City is a bit far from Rome 's city center, and the Sistine Chapel could be difficult to find for some.

•  The Coliseum

If you have time... The mouth of truth (Bocca della verita- made famous in a Gregory Peck film)... 

Recommended Time: 5-7 days

Naples :

Probably best to stay in the center of the city and watch your belongings carefully, but the Napoleons are also known for their friendly nature. It is quite possible that if you find yourself lost, one may gladly escort you to your destination, even if they were headed in the opposite direction!

Many churches and old cobbled streets with varied shopping. Specialties include porcelain from Capo di Monte and Pizza.

Vesuvio and Pompeii (a preserved city from 500 BC)

Side trips from Naples : Amalfi Coast and Capri (there are trains and ferry boats available respectively)

Recommended time: 3-6 days

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