My first taste of solo travelling: Rome

A few weeks ago I embarked on my first ever solo holiday. As I am single and my friends are all skint, I decided I’d go it alone. So in May, after a few clicks, I had chosen Rome as my destination of choice. I flew out on the 12th of June, the day after my birthday and there was no turning back!

Why Rome? 

I love Italy. I first fell in love with Italy as a little girl, when my dad used to drive us abroad and through the snowy roads through the Alps, where we once stopped off at this little cafe high up and encased in snow which was owned by an old lady. Dad was after a coffee (some things never change) and we had a snowball fight which ended with my 5-year old self hitting the dashboard of his shiny new Audi with a snowball – safe to say we were swiftly piled into the car after that.

We visited lots of places in Italy when we were younger… Venice, Lake Garda, Verona, Pisa, Florence and some more which I have forgotten the names of. I was in love with the food and how family orientated Italians are and the beauty of everything in Italy.

As I’ve gotten older, my love for it has never faded and my desire to explore more of it has grown, especially after my trip to Sorrento with my friend Alannah during which we visited Capri, Pompeii, and Naples.

For my first solo trip I wanted somewhere that was touristy but also had lots to do and lots of beautiful places, including somewhere I could sit in the sunshine with my book. Rome is somewhere I had yet to visit in Italy, but I had heard great things, so it seemed like the perfect place to explore.

Booking my trip

I booked the trip through an app called “Lucky Trip” so I was incredibly sceptical at first, as I had no idea if it would go smoothly, despite the great reviews.

With Lucky Trip, you set a price range (and dates if you want to be specific like me) and press the button. It then generates a location, with accommodation, which can range from a hostel to a nice hotel, and flights within your price range and you just keep clicking until you find a city that appeals to you.

It doesn’t include carry on luggage or transfers but I was able to get a super cheap shuttle bus to the city and I only took hand luggage as I went for four days.

I was really impressed with the app and I’ll definitely use it again for random weekends away to help me choose a new location!

I stayed in a hostel called the RomeHello and it was awesome. They have a bar/restaurant on site where you can do little cookery class on Thursdays, a kitchen, communal areas, and fun things to do like table tennis. The rooms were absolutely spotless and the staff were so friendly and helpful.

The trip

Whilst in Rome I mainly walked and ate delicious pizzas, pasta and gelato! You must visit one of the pizzerias that serve pizza simply and by the slice. They have slabs of pizza laid out, with different toppings and you just point to the pizza you want and indicate the size of the piece you want. The pizzaiolo will then cut it, weigh it and give you the price before continuing to heat it and fold it if it’s just one slice so that you can eat it on the go. It was my favourite way of enjoying pizza and the city at the same time!

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One thing I need to stress about Rome is to wear really comfy shoes because you will get achy feet. Girls, wear flats. The Italian women were walking round in heels, but they don’t walk around the city for 6 hours a day and their feet don’t swell from the sudden heat.

But what can I say… It was beautiful.

I booked tickets in advance to all of the touristy places such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Vatican.

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The Roman Forum was really interesting as it’s effectively where Rome started and you can walk up to the top of Palatine Hill and enjoy the views, so that was one of my favourite things to see. It’s definitely worth getting an audio guide for all of these locations as you get so much more information, but it’s a bit cheaper than a proper guided tour.

On Wednesday I visited the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and then meandered on to the Villa Borghese Gardens to sit in the sunshine, people watch and read my book. That was a lovely relaxed day, lots of walking still but at a relaxed pace.

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The only place I really had an issue with in terms of queues was the Vatican on the Thursday, so I’d advise getting there as soon as it opens. Other than that, I arrived at the Colosseum just after 12 and got in within 5 minutes, just be prepared to go through security at each tourist attraction.

On the Friday, before I was due to come home, I visited the place suggested to me on Lucky Trip, the Giardino degli Aranci (the Garden of Oranges). I heard it had breathtaking views over the city and it did not disappoint. When I approached the edge of the garden I was blown away by the landscape in front of me. It’s utterly tranquil, with just the birds and the quiet crunch of gravel under shoes.

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You could see St Peter’s Basilica, the parliament buildings and far beyond. I sat here for hours just daydreaming in the sunshine, before walking back through the public gardens and catching the metro back to the historic center.

My verdict

I loved it.

The food, the city, the people. As a lone female traveler, not once did I feel unsafe in Rome.  I was warned about pickpockets and potential muggings, but even on the metro and walking around sometimes narrow roads, I felt as I do walking around cities in the UK.

I’m definitely looking to embark on a new adventure now that I’ve conquered my first solo trip. It was liberating to be able to do what I want and do things at my own pace, especially as I’m quite an independent person anyway.

Rome has so many wonderful things to see, I was blown away by the architecture and the history. Around every corner there is a historic building or feature to look at and learn about.  Oh, and one of the best things about Rome, as with most of Italy, is that it is filled with amazing Italian food and drink – so if you’re a foodie you should definitely go! Make sure you visit “That’s Amore” near the Trevi Fountain for the most incredible carbonara.

I am majorly missing Rome and would really like to plan another getaway, so if you have any suggestions for a good place to visit on my own, please let me know by leaving a comment or on social media:

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7 thoughts on “My first taste of solo travelling: Rome

  1. Maryam says:

    Sounds really interesting. I love the idea of solo traveling and maybe when I’m much older I’d try it because I have little kids now and I have to take them everywhere 😆. Thanks for the detailed post about Rome, I’d love to go there someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tilly Haines says:

      It was a bit daunting when I first landed! But it was so so easy after I checked in and started exploring – such an incredible experience ☺️

      If you ever go to Rome go to ‘That’s Amore’ near the Trevi Fountain – best carbonara I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot! Haha).

      Like

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