Espresso for One: Tips for Enjoying Rome Solo

Rome is one of Italy’s most romantic cities, which can make it super awkward when you have to remind every Roman waiter that yes, the table is just for one. Thankfully, the city is such an exciting, welcoming destination that flying solo won’t be much of a challenge. In many ways, travelling alone can actually help you see, do, and explore more, since you can tailor your itinerary on the spot based on how you feel. Pull out your Italian phrasebook and get ready to see the Eternal City in all its splendour.

Roam Roma

The best thing about seeing Rome on your own? You won’t be arguing with anyone about directions! Rome is an enormous city that encourages side-street exploration—the good news is public transport is never far away. Invest in a Roma Pass, which includes free public transport for a set number of days, and it won’t cost you a fortune if you end up on the metro, bus, tram, and trolley all in a single afternoon. The pass also gives you free admission to multiple museums and archaeological sites throughout the city, if you feel like a bit of culture. The moral of the story? When in Rome alone, roam! Some of the best things you come across will be off-the-beaten-track.

What Do You Call an Italian With His Hands in His Pocket? Mute.

Maybe the joke above is a bit of an overstatement, but gestures can definitely be a big part of communicating in Italy. If you’re travelling solo, don’t make it harder on yourself by showing up without a word of Italian in your vocabulary. Knowing even the basics like thank you (grazie), please (per favore), and excuse me (mi scusi) can go a long way in streamlining communication. Extra points if you learn to recognise some of the most common Italian pick-up lines, such as “Qual’e il tuo segno zodiacale?” Or, as we know it, “What’s your sign?”

Espresso Yourself

The coffee culture is definitely alive and well in Rome. When the weather is nice, sidewalk cafes are brimming with people who grab a drink, soak up the sun, and admire the crowds heading to work or school each day. Fit in by heading to a cafe and ordering an espresso, or a doppio if you need a double shot, and standing at one of the tables. Most locals don’t bother to sit at a table if they’re just grabbing a quick drink to start the day. If you really want to fit in, skip the cappuccino after lunch, as Italians think drinking hot milk in the afternoon is bad for digestion. Or, say, “See you latte!” and get your coffee to go.

Have a Buona Notte

If you’re travelling as a single female in Italy be cautious late at night. Dining in the Piazza della Repubblica or the Piazza Navona won’t be a problem after dark, but there are some nightlife hotspots where you might run into iffy situations as a woman on her own. When you’re a solo female, grab a licensed taxi to get back to your hotel after a few too many glasses of vini della casa, or house wine. Another option is to join one of the organized wine or pub crawls, which might be a safer way to meet new friends in the Eternal City.

Whether you want to visit UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites like the Vatican and the Colosseum, or you just want to party in the Testaccio district until the early morning, you don’t need a partner in crime to have a great time. Avoid travelling with lots of cash, let someone know your travel itinerary, and get used to sharing a table with strangers. When in Rome, right?

What you’re favourite part about travelling solo?

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