The ultimate solo travel guide to Italy: Everything you need to know

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Italy and solo travel are a match made in heaven. From armoured gladiators to renaissance artists to genius gastronomers, Italian’s have paved the way for some bellissimo experiences, all easily accessible to solo travelers. In the capital alone, you can peek inside Rome’s Colosseum, marvel at Michaelangelo’s artwork in the Sistine Chapel, and feast on pasta prepped to perfection. Beyond it, you’ll find scenic lakes, impressive landmarks and glorious rural landscapes that all paint a picture of what Italy is really about: la dolce vita (sweet life).

So, where to start? In northern Italy, you’ll uncover the country’s sweet spot in the fashion capital Milan, canals galore in beautiful Venice and the recognizable red dome of the Duomo in Florence, the capital of Tuscany. In the centre, you’ll unearth an epic history in the capital Rome, from the Trevi Fountain to the Vatican to the Spanish Steps. In southern Italy, it’s virtually impossible for your taste buds not to be tickled by an authentic Neapolitan pizza – and a visit to Puglia’s cone-shaped trulli cottages is a must.

However, it’s not obligatory to only pay homage to remnants of the Roman Empire or Michelangelo’s masterpieces. Experiencing Italy has as much to do with people-watching in a piazza, gelato in hand, or lingering over lazy lunches of fresh pasta and local wine. If you’d rather share it with other like-minded travelers, explore the country on a group solo adventure with Flash Pack. Here’s everything you need to know about a group solo trip to Italy.

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Italy travel facts

Occupying a boot-shaped peninsula, Italy dips its toe into the Mediterranean, Tyrranian, Ionian and Adriatic seas. Within its own borders are two further countries: San Marino and the Vatican City, the world’s smallest independent state and home to the Pope and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church – you can walk around it in less than an hour. 

At over 2,500 years old, the capital Rome, built on seven hills on the country’s west, is awash with extraordinary history that includes great art, impressive architecture and world-class gastronomy. Milan in the north is the fashion capital, while Tuscany offers vineyards galore. Naples, home to Vesuvius, the only active volcano in Europe, is the authority on pizza, while pretty Puglia, down in the heel of the boot, is famed for its 14th century whitewashed trulli huts with beehive-shaped roofs. There’s also a whopping 58 Unesco World Heritage Sites, from the historic centres of Rome, Florence and Naples to Venice and the mighty Dolomites.

Is Italy good for solo travel?

With Roman history, crowd-pleasing cuisine and excellent transport networks, Italy is ideal for a solo travel adventure. English is widely spoken and there’s a bounty of accommodation and sightseeing to suit all budgets. However, you might find some of the more popular sights – especially in Rome, Florence and Venice – overwhelmingly crowded during the peak summer months, so it’s worth considering a group solo trip to Italy with Flash Pack. 

As well as securing advance tickets for travel and attractions, you’ll have the knowledge and expertize of your Pack Leader, giving you the enviable opportunity to peek beyond the usual tourist traps, with authentic experiences designed to fully immerse you in the local culture.

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Best places to visit in Italy

It’s hard to know whether to start in Rome and head north to Milan, or focus on the southern regions that bask in the Med. So, what should you do on a solo trip to Italy? On Flash Pack’s 7-day Northern Italy: From Milan to Rome trip, you’ll gradually work your way south from chi chi Milan, through foodie Bologna, to arty Florence, seductive Siena and finishing up in classical Rome. Along the way, you’ll, of course, encounter some off-the-radar experiences, including a sidecar Vespa ride and wine-tasting in a Tuscan castle.

On Flash Pack’s 7-day Southern Italy: Rome, Naples & Puglia trip, you’ll visit the ancient cities, as well as visit a gladiator school in Rome, take a street-food tour of Naples, picnic at a vineyard in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius and learn the secrets of Apulian cuisine.

Where to stay as a solo traveler in Italy

What are hotels like in Italy? Along with five-star hotspots, there’s a large emphasis on family-run establishments, too, such as small art deco hotels, rural farmhouses with a miniature trulli village on site and lavish Tuscan villas overlooking vineyards. And, while accommodation is plentiful, you’ll need to book ahead if you’re planning solo travel in Italy during peak season. 

On a group solo trip to Italy with Flash Pack, accommodation is arranged for you. Typically, you’ll share a room with a fellow Flashpacker, thereby swerving the single supplement. But if you want your own private space, that’s fine, too.

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How to get to Italy

The easiest way to reach Italy is by plane, with international flights to a slew of airports across the country. Rome and Milan each have two: Fiumicino and Ciampino for the capital, and Malpensa and Linate for the fashion hotspot. Most other major cities have airports receiving worldwide arrivals, too: Turin and Venice for the north, Florence and Pisa for the centre, and Naples and Bari for the south. If you’re traveling from Europe, trains offer a scenic and flexible alternative. It’s also possible to arrive by ferry, with sailings from Mediterranean ports in Spain, Croatia and Greece.

How to get around Italy

Italy has an extensive and reliable public transport network. High-speed trains run to all major cities, while slower regional services connect visitors with the smaller towns. Solo travelers on a budget also have the option of a sizable bus network. In summer, there are frequent ferries crossing on the lakes, such as Como, Garda and Maggiore, and you can easily reach the many islands, like Capri, Ischia and Elba, by hydrofoil or ferry. 

Traveling to Italy on a group solo adventure with Flash Pack takes the stress out of any logistics, with all domestic travel pre-booked and included in the price, meaning you can sit back and take in the scenery.

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Best time to visit Italy

Like much of Mediterranean Europe, Italy is busiest in summer with July and August seeing the highest temperatures and biggest crowds. Spring (April to June) and autumn (September and October) are ideal if you prefer milder temperatures and shorter queues. For city breaks to Venice, Florence and Rome, it’s worth considering winter climes, when the cities look spectacular under a flurry of snow and hotel rates are markedly cheaper. It’s worth noting that there are lots of festivals held annually throughout the country and shops and banks can close during these times, so do check before you travel.

Italy travel itineraries

Flash Pack’s two solo group tours to Italy specialise in taking you beyond the must-see sights and immersing you in the local culture, offering experiences that would be hard to organise alone. On Flash Pack’s 7-day Northern Italy: Milan to Rome trip, you’ll visit the Ferrari museum outside of Bologna, taste wine on a castle tour in Tuscany and see the sights of Rome from the unique vantage point of a vintage Vespa sidecar. On the 7-day Southern Italy: Rome, Naples and Puglia trip, you’ll harness your inner warrior at a gladiator school in the capital, sample delicious Neapolitan dishes on a food tour of Naples and test your skills in an Apulian cooking class in Puglia. What better way to experience solo travel in Italy…

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What to pack for solo travel in Italy

Take into account the time of year you’ll be visiting and any planned activities. Generally speaking, lightweight layers will help you keep cool in the Italian summer heat, while warmer layers will be needed for late autumn and winter. In the evenings, a warmer top is useful and a light jacket will make sure that you’re prepared for the occasional shower. You’ll need a comfortable pair of trainers for walking around the ancient cities and you’ll definitely want to pack swimwear for beaches and swish hotel pools.

Solo travel advice for Italy

If you love great food, amazing beaches, beautiful architecture and more, Italy offers excellent opportunities for solo travelers. Getting around is easy and most people speak some English, although learning a few words of Italian will go a long way. Rather than exhaust yourself ticking off every sight, make time to stop and enjoy an Aperol Spritz in the sunshine. 

Don’t feel like traveling completely alone on your solo trip to Italy? Joining a Flash Pack adventure gives you the chance to enjoy all the magical moments with a group of like-minded solo travelers. Sharing gourmet meals, delicious wines and exploring ancient landmarks is a sure fire way to create meaningful friendships.

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Is it safe to travel solo in Italy?

Thousands of visitors experience solo travel to Italy every year and most trips are trouble free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before traveling. Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Italy has a low crime rate and is safe for solo travel but bear in mind that crime can happen anywhere. Always keep a close eye on your belongings, particularly in busy areas like tourist sights or train stations where pickpockets might be present. Solo travelers might enjoy the safety and security of a Flash Pack group solo adventure. 

Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel in Italy with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.

A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveler or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.

Images by Flash Pack and Unsplash.

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