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Eat, Pray, Love Italy Accommodation Tips

Lisa Byrne

Elizabeth Gilbert's popular book Eat, Pray, Love has been a catalyst for many women to head off, solo, to Rome, ready to jump start their lives much the same way Frances Mayes book Under the Tuscan Sun triggered a wave of travel to Tuscany. The new movie, starring Julia Roberts, will no doubt inspire even more woman to head to Italy in search of food, adventure and love, both eager and nervous to set a new direction for their lives. We work with many women clients who are traveling alone to Italy and have a variety of properties in both Rome and Florence well suited to the solo traveler. Some come to learn Italian, take cooking, painting or art history classes, or just want to immerse themselves in Italian culture.

I personally relish sitting at a restaurant or cafe by myself enjoying a sublime meal or gelato while people watching. Every time I'm in Florence inspecting properties I have a favorite little restaurant tucked away on a small street behind the Mercato Centrale that I go to alone. I order the same meal every time and I just sit there enjoying myself, eating at leisurely pace, not having to make conversation and savoring every delicious bite. Another favorite activity is wandering Rome's Borghese Gardens or Florence's Boboli Gardens alone, taking in the views.

We know what it is like to travel alone in Italy, below are a few helpful tips for planning a solo journey to Italy and for finding a vacation rental property that will meet your needs.

Anna Apartment Bed

Trip Planning Tips

  • As the SlowTrav philosophy goes, stay in one place for an extended period of time so that you have a comfortable home base to come back to. You'll start to feel more like a local, rather then having to constantly get the lay of the land. This will be less expensive then a week here and a week there and allows you more time for exploring and less time moving and getting settled.
  • When evaluating apartments for safety, thinking about location, position in the building (not ground floor), street, neighborhood.
  • Sign up for some classes, tours, excursions in advance. Having some structure in your schedule is often a good way to get your stay started, it helps get you on the local time zone and can ward off the blues and culture shock if you arrive with nothing planned and think, "what next?"
  • When staying for an extended period, invite friends or family members to come for short stays on-and-off so that you don't get lonely. You can show them "your neighborhood" and special finds since you'll be familiar with your surroundings.
  • Ask about the cost of utilities. Heat and air conditioning can be pricey so factor that into the cost of your stay.
  • When thinking about when to come, take into account the weather. Italian winters can be cold and damp. While you can likely negotiate a better rental rate, be prepared for short days, and long dark cold nights. On the other hand, you'll benefit from less crowded cities, short lines and happy locals who are relishing a bit of down time from the tourist season. Don't even think about staying in a remote country property in the winter. You'll be too cold and isolated. Spring, fall and summers alone in the countryside can be quite enchanting but you'll need a car so add that to your budget.
  • We understand that the process of planning a long sojourn on your own can be nerve-wracking. Don't try to tackle everything at once, it will be too overwhelming. Get the big planning pieces in place first, then the fun stuff. First determine your dates, then line up flights and accommodations. Once those are in place you can organize activities and personal business.

Cassetta Terrace

Lisa Byrne is the founder of Italy Perfect, a vacation rental agency.

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