This was my first solo trip. I had wanted to travel on my own for a long time but had never quite been brave enough to hit the book button!
Would you believe I had never been to Italy before, ever? Crazy I know. It was an obvious choice for me, the short flight coming from the UK, the food, the weather and importantly the sights, so many things I wanted to see could be ticked off on this trip. When I had decided on the location, I read lots of blogs and articles on travelling in Italy and a vague plan started to emerge. I would fly into Venice then go by train to Florence and then Rome, flying home from Rome.
I absolutely love holiday planning (and regularly lose hours and sometimes days researching), I wanted to plan a tour in each place, so I started reading hotel reviews, looking at day trips and working out how the trains work. I was SO excited and OK, honestly, still a little scared!
See below for the trip I planned.
- Fly into Venice (arrive midday)
- Shared water taxi from airport to Venice. I booked this with Bucintoro Viaggi via Expedia. It was such a wonderful decision and coming down the Grand Canal for the first time was just amazing. They dropped me off literally round the corner from my hotel, so it couldn’t have been easier.
- 3pm walking tour of Venice and gondola ride (booked via Viator)
- Stay night in Venice at Hotel Bellini
- Spend day in Venice (Things I wanted to see: St. Mark’s Basilica, St. Mark’s Square, Canale Grande, Ponte di Rialto, Doges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and take a gondola ride)
- Train Venice to Florence late afternoon (high-speed train takes just over 2 hours £30)
- Arrive Florence 7pm
- Stay night Florence at Firenze Number Nine
- Spend day in Florence (Things I wanted to see: Duomo, Giotto’s Campanile, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, Baptistery of St. John, Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangelo, Statue of David)
- Segway tour of Florence in the morning, I was slightly apprehensive having never been on a segway before, but it was so much fun!
- Train Florence to Rome late afternoon (train takes just over 1.5 hours £30)
- Arrive Rome 6.30pm
- Stay night in Rome at the Hive hotel
- Spend day in Rome (Things I wanted to see: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Arch of Constantine, Piazza Navona, The, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezia, Altar of the Fatherland, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican = next time!)
- Colosseum tour in morning (booked via Viator). I was so glad to have booked this tour in advance, especially when I saw the huge queues of people waiting to get in.
- Stay another night in Rome
- Bus to the Ciampino Airport (booked via Viator)
- Fly home
- This was my first solo trip so planning was crucial to me. I planned a trip in each city but also left myself plenty time to just wander round/hang out.
- I’m not great at map reading, so I literally google mapped EVERYTHING! And saved them so that when I was out and about I could get around. I only got lost once, when my phone died in Venice 10 minutes from my hotel (somehow managed to find my way back though, phew!).
- I planned all my transport to and from the airport and my trains between cities well in advance, as I had to travel on specific days this gave me peace of mind.
- As I was travelling quite a lot I took a small-ish backpack with my clothes and a cross-body bag to keep my purse and passport in. I have never travelled this light before and I was so proud of myself, I even took clothes I didn’t wear.
- I researched my hotel locations a lot, so that I knew they were reasonably close to the train station for arriving into the city and getting out. It worked perfectly and all my hotels were within walking distance.
What was my favourite destination?
Definitely Venice. Such a cool place and so different with no roads or cars. My hotel was right on the Grand Canal and it was love at first sight. Closely followed by Rome, which has so many WOW buildings. Florence was great, but just couldn’t compete with the other two in my own personal opinion.
Did I feel unsafe travelling alone?
No, not even a little. I loved it, it was so liberating. The only slightly odd thing is eating at a restaurant alone, but loads of people do it so why not. I sometimes just grabbed food on the go. Another tip I have seen is to take a book and read while you are eating, that way nobody will bother you 🙂
Did it feel rushed?
For some this trip will seem rushed, but as I didn’t have a lot of time available to me it was perfect. I made a list of the things I wanted to see and I walked a LOT. The only place I felt like I needed longer for was Rome and I hope to return some day.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely – Tomorrow, if I had any holidays left at work!! But for now I have my pictures and videos and most importantly the memories to cherish! I am planning a number of solo trips for 2020.
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