Ah, to travel in bella Italia. The country with the most musical-sounding language, the best operas, gorgeous fashion, delicious food, and sports cars. What’s not to like? Well, read on.
VISA: Italy is both an EU country and is part of the Schengen travel area. For further information on Schengen travel refer to the Europa website.
LANGUAGE: Italian of course! If you have fluency in Spanish and, to a certain extent, French then Italian will be significantly easier for you to understand and learn as all three stem from Latin. English fluency isn’t all that common in Italy so be prepared to do some homework prior to your visit.
A to B: For long distances Italy’s train network is excellent. Further information check out Trenitalia’s website. Italy’s metro is equally good. Rome’s main railway station, Termini, is one of Europe’s biggest and busiest so be prepared for a lot of walking! As for driving, everyday is Formula 1 day in Italy. The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs advises to “exercise caution as traffic can be faster-paced than in Ireland and driving customs are different“. Insurance excesses on rental cars are large for a good reason. I found driving in Sardinia to be reasonably do-able and pleasant but other travellers’ accounts of driving elsewhere in Italy sound like an endurance test.
SAFETY & SECURITY
I have always travelled solo in Italy and have never felt any major threat but, then again, I have always taken the usual precautions. Culturally, like my own country, Italy struggles to understand the concept of solo female travel and so be prepared for questions a plenty as to why you’re there without a significant other. Whilst in many other countries locals see a solo traveller as an opportunity to share their stories, in Italy (and my own country) this is not the case. On the other hand, Italy is one of the most popular countries in the world for romantic travel and honeymoons!