By Ishita Sood
We continue our 5 Tips for Travel series with Indian Travel Blogger Ishita Sood. After years of following her passion and traveling Italy alone, today we are honored to feature her 5 Tip on making the most out of your Italian travel solo!
"Italy is full of wonderful people who go an extra step to help you, so it is important to respect their traditions and culture too."
Traveling alone in Italy has its fun and frustrating moments, which is why it is important to know small points that can help save time and make travel enjoyable. Italy is full of wonderful people who go an extra step to help you, so it is important to respect their traditions and culture too. I have five simple tips to travel solo in Italy. So sit back and relax while you read all these points that make Italy a preferred choice of destination and also help ease you out during your Italian travels:
1. Personal Safety is First
Nothing is more important than that, whether in Italy or anywhere else. I would recommend keeping an eye on your baggage at crowded places in the bigger towns which are prone to petty theft. Keep a copy of your passport in the hotel room just in case something happens. Again, this is not to scare you off, but just to caution you. Always exude confidence when in Italy by the way you walk or talk and try not to let small frustrations get to you. I have faced that countless times in my travels and I’d love to help anyone to know about travel in Italy.
2. Choose the Right Accommodation
Italy has plenty of stay options to choose from. If you are on a budget choose a hostel or an apartment at Airbnb. You can also stay in a convent or a monastery by choosing MonasteryStays.com. Here you have comfortable beds with private bathrooms at a reasonable price and most of them are in the centre of the town. For example, since Venice is expensive to stay, pick a monastery instead of a hotel and save money to get that gondola ride. Similarly, if you are visiting the Italian countryside, choose an agriturismo, which are refurbished old country homes renovated to give you a local experience.
3. Practice Some Italian Before You Go
It is really a blessing if you know some Italian words that could go a long way in your travels. Simple words such as “dove,” which means where, “salve,” which is a formal hello, or “grazie,” which means thank you, can put a smile on a stranger’s face. Don’t go saying "ciao" to anyone and everyone you meet, because that is an Informal way of greeting, such as for a friend. Basic food vocabulary or a small dictionary is an asset to those who travel to Italy.
4. Blend with the Crowd
One of the best ways to get a feel of the Italian culture is to live like they do. For a truly authentic experience make sure you visit the local eating places- the “Osteria” and the “Trattoria”. These are smaller versions of a restaurant with fresh produce and are usually family run. Additionally, in the evening the Italians go for an “aperitivo” at the bar. An aperitivo includes a drink with some light snacks and is the perfect time to mingle and make new friends. Don’t be shy in taking the first step. Whenever I am in Italy I usually have an aperitivo and observe the locals to catch a few Italian words for my Italian vocabulary. I also sometimes talk to the barista if the bar is not too crowded. Italians are so friendly and always make you feel comfortable.
5. Respect the Culture and Be Flexible
Respecting the culture of the country you are traveling is of prime importance. In Italy it is essential that you cover yourself when you visit a church. I usually carry a scarf with me all the time and wear half/full sleeves. Please avoid mini skirts and hot pants when you are in the church. Another important aspect of the culture is to dress well when in Italy. By that I don’t mean put on flashy makeup and accessories. But probably carry a nice cross body bag, wear comfortable shoes and a simple dress. Italians take their dressing very seriously and it is always more fun to be looked at in a nice way than be stared at. Italian region take pride in their products so don’t order a wrong food/wine in the wrong region. For instance, Chianti is in Tuscany and if I am in Lecce, Puglia, I’d ask for their local wine and not Chianti. Rome is famous for Cacio e pepe so eat that in Rome rather than in Sicily.
Ishita is an Indian blogger who is very passionate about Italy and feels deeply connected to its language, culture, food and history. She writes about her travels on her blog Italophilia (www.ishitasood.com) and visits Italy every year. She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @Italophilia and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.