Experts will tell you that as a first-time solo woman traveler you should start your adventure in a country that has English as the primary language. While it is easy to understand why this is the case, there are countries where this rule does not necessarily apply. Italy is one of those countries. Rome is wonderful for the first-time solo woman traveler because:
- The travel infrastructure – Rome has been a huge hotspot for tourists for hundreds of years. It is really easy to find tours, restaurants and hotels. The train network is really good and there are always buses to take you everywhere. There are even many bike tours in Rome to enjoy. Also, English is widely spoken in Rome. In the really popular destinations, you can easily find someone to talk to.
- Many tourists – If you visit the top attractions, you are completely safe since there are numerous tourists there at any point of the day. Italians are also used to having tourists around so they understand your needs.
- Familiarity – Rome offers an accessible and familiar culture. You are most likely already familiar with the food, the architecture and the art.
Is Rome Safe For The Solo Woman Traveler?
Most of the solo women traveler that consider Rome are afraid that they are not going to be safe. Their friends and family members might tell them that the entire country is not safe. In reality, everyone that tells you Rome is not safe is completely wrong.
Family members and friends generally want what is good for you and want to protect you. However, unless they actually went to Rome, they should not be seen as a good source of information about travel safety.
The biggest risk you will face is theft. You can easily protect this when you leave your important belongings where you stay and you use common sense as you travel from one landmark to the next. Ask ahead to see if there is a safe where you will stay. If not, bring a portable one with you. When you are particularly worried about petty theft, just buy clothes that have hidden pockets. Also, if you have a camera, be sure that the bag is sturdy and locks.
The only other major risk that you will have to think about as a solo woman traveler is intoxication. You do not want to get drunk as this lowers inhibitions while making you susceptible to assault or theft. It could be difficult in Rome since the wine is so good but you can always limit yourself to just one or two glasses. Just remember that the “vino della casa” (homemade wine) has more alcohol than what you are used to.
Are Italian Men Safe?
This is where you should be warned. Italian men will sometimes be aggressive to women. You can be faced with this aggressiveness in various forms, like flirtatious overtures or incessant compliments. Catcalling can be seen all throughout the city and there are cases in which they might grab you.
The very best thing that can be done when faced with this is ignoring them. Never react to a “Ciao Bella”. If your arm is grabbed, just shake it off. Then keep walking. The Italian men are actually used to having local women completely ignore them. In the vast majority of the time, this behavior is not going to escalate if you do not react.
When behavior continues, all you need to do is to go inside a restaurant or a shop. Just ask for help. The locals know exactly how to defuse such behavior.
Women that are really young will usually have to deal with such Italian men but you can avoid even more cases if you wear clothes that are not too revealing. Remember that Italian women do not wear skimpy bottoms and skimpy tops at the same time. They will rarely wear short skirts. Longer skirts keep you out of a lot of trouble.
Basically, it is always a very good idea to blend in. You do this by dressing like the Italian women, which are almost always groomed and well dressed. You should not wear shorts, athletic wear and torn jeans. Opt for sandals, boots or flats and you should be ok.