Solo Travel Rome.
Doesn’t sound amazing or like the most awesome solo travel destination ever? Am I right?
I mean Let’s Be Real:
Rome is right up there with Paris as one of the most romantic cities in Europe (I swear though, solo travel Paris is fun).
I Mean Come On:
We’ve all seen Roman Holiday and the romance that is practically oozing out of this iconic city.
If you haven’t seen Roman Holiday then watch it because it is such a good movie.
But if You Have:
Then I’m sure like me, you travel to Rome and have visions of Gregory Peck look-a-likes dancing through your head.
You dream of this tall, dark, handsome, and romantic stranger who whisks you away (willingly) on his Vespa as he hands you the best gelato of your life.
Did I mention That:
In this fantasy, you get to eat whatever you want and not gain a pound.
The moment you blink, reality sets in and you have no idea how to travel Rome solo and not become insanely lonely (even if you’re just spending an active weekend in Rome).
Instead of a romantic Vespa ride:
You’re emotionally eating a gallon of gelato and sobbing while watching the Notebook in your hotel room, which by the way is littered with empty candy wrappers as far as the eye can see.
Not solo travel Italy at it’s finest huh?
If this is not what you want from solo travel in Europe, then read onwards.
Find out exactly how to enjoy your solo travels in Rome (I may even throw in some food travel Italy tips because when I eat, it’s always emotional. LoL. Kidding…Sort of).
15 Rome Travels Tips, for the Rome Solo Traveller
1. Get a Lock for Your Backpack
First Rule of Fight Club:
We don’t talk about… Oh, wait, no that’s not right. In solo travel club, we talk about the rules of the solo travel club.
So Numero Uno:
Get a lock for your backpack.
Why (besides the obvious which is to protect your stuff)?
Well, when you travel alone you don’t have a wingman, or woman, who’s got your back both literally and figuratively.
if someone tries to slip their hand into your backpack and steal your stuff, you’ll have no idea because no one else is there to help you keep an eye on your belongings.
Carrying anything other than a backpack is not an option since backpacks are the most useful bags ever.
So Moral of the Story:
Put a lock on your backpack so that you know your bag is safe.
You don’t; have to keep looking over your shoulder, anxiously worrying that someone is going to steal all of your belongings.
***Don’t freak out because I do this for EVERY country I visit. I had no problems with pickpockets in Rome but I think it’s always better to be extra cautious, especially if you’re traveling alone.
***Don’t carry all your valuables on you at any given time. This way, if your bag gets stolen, you’ll still have cash and credit cards that you can use to procure money for mildly important things like food and shelter.
2. Stay Away from Cabs in Rome
For solo travelers:
Cabs are like the devil since you have no one to split the cost of the cab with.
Take the metro in Rome. It’s pretty cheap and relatively easy to use.
Because of all the badass, architectural goodness in Rome, eventually, you’ll probably have to bite the bullet and take a cab.
You become a social butterfly and make friends of course! Just chat with people and see if you can share a cab with anyone.
Not only will you save money in Rome, but it’s also a great way to meet people if you’re not an anti-social hermit like me.
***Also try to stay outside of the city center since the farther you are from central Rome, the cheaper the hotel rooms will be. An especially important tip for solo travelers who have no one to split the cost of a hotel room with during your solo travel Europe experience.
3. Group Tours are Your Friend
When you’re alone, and life is making you lonely, You can always go:
On a Group Tour!
Yes, my dear friends, a group tour is the perfect solution to any solo traveler’s feelings of loneliness.
And We’ve All Been There:
You’re out, walking around, minding your own business, and then boom, all of sudden you see some couple getting jiggy with it on a park bench and…
Just what you needed to feel super good about yourself when you’re traveling alone (I need two pizza pies, stat!).
But Never Fear:
A group tour is always there to make that icky, solo travel lonely feeling go away.
At the very least, make you grateful that you’re alone since the couples/travel companions on your tour are super dysfunctional and constantly screaming at each another.
There really is a silver lining when solo travel depression sets in.
4. Hit Up the Colosseum in Rome like Whoa
Yup, not surprisingly, this place is on the top of everyone’s ultimate Rome bucket list, and for good reason.
Not only is this place amazingly beautiful, but:
Can you think of anything less romantic than visiting a structure where thousands of people were murdered for pure entertainment?
If that’s Romantic to You:
Then I have the name of a good therapist that you should call, like now.
And Trust Me:
The gladiators that fought here were not Russel Crowe. They wore these bananas outfits and fought with crazy stuff like a trident, a net, and a small dagger.
No, I am Not Making This Up.
Look it up and you’ll see that the Retiarius fought with a net and had only an arm protector that was topped with a metal shoulder protector.
So a Very Unromantic Experience That You Should Totally Check Out:
But you probably already knew that since the Colosseum of Rome is one of the best attractions in Rome (aka the proverbial badass of Roman architecture).
You should purchase tickets in advance, bring cash for an audioguide, come early (like right when it opens at 8:30 am to avoid the crowds), and start at the bottom and work your way to the top since the audioguide starts at the top and works it’s way to the bottom.
My Fave Way to Avoid Crowds.
And yes, the Colosseum is always crowded.
5. Skip the Romantic Rome Dinner for a Party One
So this one depends on how comfortable you are eating alone as a solo traveler.
Because I’ve Been There:
You’re in a restaurant. A woman eating alone while awkwardly staring at your glass of water, willing it to speak so that you don’t have to deal with all the couples around you practically making out at their tables.
You betcha, but dining alone can be a challenging reality of solo travel as a woman (or man really).
I’ve gotten used to it:
But if eating alone at a restaurant makes you feel uncomfortable then there are a ton of ways to feel less awkward about it.
Like Coffee Shops are a Must.
You basically stand at the counter and drink your espresso while eating a pastry. Pretty simple, unassuming, and socially acceptable to be standing there, eating breakfast alone.
Or the Grocery Store!
Even if you just grab a yogurt or a sandwich, sometimes it’s nice to sit in your room, eat your food in your jammies, and binge-watch your latest Netflix obsession (Know any good Netflix shows? I’m in the market).
Or Try Small Local Restaurants:
Whether it’s a pizzeria, a sandwich shop, or a local cafe, these places are generally cheaper, serve better food, and are must less ostentatious, making you feel more at ease about eating alone.
6. Visit the Roman Catacombs
A glorified chamber of death where Romans buried decomposing corpses that were carriers of the plague, now that’s super romantic.
Okay, Clearly I jest.
But this labyrinth of subterranean burial chambers is actually one of the more unusual Rome attractions that is really interesting and kind of weird at the same time.
Not only do these chambers contain some of the oldest mosaics in Rome, but the catacombs offer a unique look into the burial rituals and social norms of Ancient Roman society.
*** Unlike pagans, Christians did not believe in burning the bodies of their dead. Therefore, to bury their dead intact, Christians built catacombs outside the city where there was more land that was much cheaper
But with Over 60 catacombs in Rome, Which One Should You Visit?
Naturally, I haven’t visited all of them.
The one I visited was the most popular of the all the catacombs, the Catacombs of San Sebastiano (Via Appia Antica, 136).
For this Catacombs Site:
I highly recommend a guide. They provide you with a wealth of information that makes the catacombs come to life.
Without a guide:
I would have felt ripped off since I would have been wandering around, looking at a bunch of empty tunnels, with no clue about their historical significance.
Yes, My Friends:
Knowledge is appreciation.
7. Dine at the Romeow Bistrot Vegan Cat Cafe
Do You Have That Reoccurring Dream?
You know, the one where you die alone and no one finds you so your body gets eaten by a herd of cats since you’re a certified crazy cat lady?
Oh, right, That Might Just Be Me. Awkward…
Anyway, how can you feel awkward eating alone when there are a bunch of pretty kitties there to comfort you in your time of need?
I feel like cats always make people feel less alone since they’re just fun and furry.
A Truly Unique Thing to do in Rome.
Sure, it’s a bit overpriced and hard to get to, but cat cafes are all the rage now darling. So grab a selfie stick and off you go.
It’s fun and you should go and say hi to the kitties for me.
Don’t worry, cats will always be there for you.
8. Check Out the Capuchin Crypts
The Capuchin Crypt is one of the most unique places that I have ever visited.
Well, this site contains several tiny chapels, beneath the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, that are made of the bodies of over 3,700 former Capuchin monks.
One of the craziest artistic displays that I have ever seen. But really neat and totally worth a visit.
Now You May be Thinking:
Geez, that’s a bit morbid. And I thought so too when I first saw the display. But actually, these chapels were designed to be inspirational by reminding people to make the most out of the limited time that they have on Earth.
***PS No photos. They’ll get pretty annoyed if you start clicking away. But strangely, there are all these photos up on the internet. Clearly, their warnings aren’t working.
9. Rome Ghost Tours
So it may appear that I have a rather unhealthy obsession with the Macabre:
But I swear, I just find history really interesting.
I don’t even like zombies all that much… vampires are more my thing.
But I Digress:
I love when historical oddities creep me out so that’s why I had to take a ghost tour during my trip to Rome.
There’s nothing less romantic than the thought of being possessed by a rogue poltergeist. I mean, the Exorcist is a great movie but it doesn’t inspire me to, “get it on”.
I went on a tour with Dark Rome Tours and it was one of the many fun things to do In Rome at night.
Plus, You’ll Love the Price.
Tickets cost a mere thirty dollars and the tour was a solid hour and a half long.
A Great Deal if You Ask Me.
So while it wasn’t the best ghost tour I’ve ever been on, it was still fun to wander through the picturesque streets of Rome and hear a ghoulish tale or two about things that go bump in the night
***This tour starts at S. Andrea Della Valle Church, which is difficult to find. Therefore, give yourself plenty of time to get lost, I mean to get there. Tour operators also suggest that you arrive at the church fifteen minutes prior to the start of your tour (tours start at either 8:00 pm or 9:15 pm every day). Actually, that last part is a command and not really a suggestion.
10. Pamper Yourself
One of the many great things to do on your own in Rome.
There’s a reason why people get massages, binge-watch Netflix, and eat gallons of ice cream after they break up with their significant other.
You need to treat yourself when you’re feeling alone!
So why not pretend that your an ancient Roman aristocrat and give yourself the royal treatment since, well, where else do you have to be?
That’s why you must visit AcquaMadre Hammam.
After taking a shower, you’ll enter the hammam and be treated to a warm water bath, atop a warm marble bench, with black olive soap; an experience that will open up your pores and relax your body and mind.
***Between massages, facials, body/face masks and various herbal treatments, there is an assortment of services that will satisfy any weary, solo traveler.
***The hammam for women is open between 11 am and 9:00 pm from Wednesday through Friday, with the last entrance at 7:00 pm. General admission is €60.00 and €10.00 for a basic spa kit
11. Visit the Piazzas and Local Markets of Rome
In Rome, Much of Daily Life is Lived Outside:
Therefore, if you find yourself feeling a bit lonely, just head straight to the city’s many vibrant markets and piazzas; areas that are packed with locals and tourists alike.
A great place to start exploring Rome on your own.
Just feel the beat of the city while wandering through a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and architecturally exquisite plazas.
Rome’s historic center is so large that even if you do get lost, you’ll probably find some hidden gems along the way, as well as some enchanting villas that give this city its intoxicating charm.
Once You’ve Developed a Bit of an Appetite:
Walk over to either the vivacious, Campo de’ Fiori fruit and vegetable market or to the Testaccio Market for delicious local products and Roman cuisine (It has a ton of casual lunch stalls that are perfect for eating alone in Rome).
But Whatever You Do:
Don’t miss the paninis at Mordi e Vai. They are almost as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel and some of the best food in Rome.
Trust me, your stomach will thank you.
12. Check out the Art Scene (aka the Vatican Museum which is one of the top museums in Rome)
I hate going to art museums with people.
Someone moves through the museum at a faster pace and as a result, you can never fully immerse yourself in the amazing art that is all around you.
You’re captivated by the art in the gallery and don’t really want to make small talk with someone, especially if they hate something you love, and vice versa.
Yup, Museums, and Galleries are SO much better alone.
And Rome and Vatican City definitely has enough of both.
Whether you enjoy ancient, modern, or contemporary art, you can always find something you love at one of the four national museums of Rome (like Palazzo Massimo, or Maxxi Museum for contemporary art).
***Rome offers visitors the option of buying a combination ticket that can be used, over three days, to explore all of Rome’s national museums. So if you’re a museum monger like me then this ticket might be a good option for you.
Oh and the Vatican Duh.
Book your tickets ahead of time and go as early as possible since the Vatican museum gets insanely crowded (there are also early access tours that allow you to enter before anyone else, at 7:30 am).
13. Go to Church
Nah, I’m not a born-again Christian.
Some of the best churches in Rome are just, like everything else, insanely beautiful and definitely worth a visit, or two, or ten.
Like the epic, Basilica of San Clemente, which is probably one of the best churches in Europe.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful and most interesting churches I have ever seen.
Well, this church has major, Indiana Jones level architectural appeal. See, the 12th-century Basilica is built on top of a 4th-century church, which was built on top of a 1st-century pagan temple.
Super cool right?
As my tour guide said, it’s kind of like a history lasagna where you can see architecture and religion instantaneously evolve right before your eyes.
Make Sure You Get a Guide:
Without mine, I nave could have fully appreciated what I was looking at.
Churches are even better alone. I mean, you’re kind of obligated to keep your voice down so that worshippers can pray in peace.
No one wants you screaming, “Yo Andrian, check out this mad cool alter,” in their ear. Get the Rocky reference?
Swiftly moving onward to lamer jokes.
***My picks for some of the top churches in Rome that you should add to your Italy solo travel itinerary include San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Pantheon, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere (amazing sculpture work), Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and more.
I Need a Gelatto and a Piece of Pizza Because We Out of Here!
No, I swear:
I actually know how to speak English. But we’ve reached the end of this solo travel Italy guide and now my brain has turned to complete mush.
I Mean I Have No Idea What To Say.
Do some food travel Italy style so that you can eat your face off!
Yeah, That Was Pretty Obvious.
Don’t get mad, get glad!
Oh wait, that’s a commercial.
Let’s call it a day before I get smited by Shakespeare for less than stellar pros.