Italy and Solo Travels


Italy as a Solo Female Traveler: Is It Safe?

I love Italy. It's absolutely beautiful and it's culture is so rich. And don't get me started on the food and the history! I would go back to Italy on a heartbeat. I'll never say no to more Italy. But after multiple solo travels in the country, I'm hanging up the solo travel towel and vowing to only travel with others. Based off of my experiences, I am no longer comfortable traveling to Italy as a solo female traveler. 

So what's turned me off from solo travels in Italy? Aside from the fact that people are constantly trying to rob me, playing leap frog while crossing the street, and unwanted male attention, I am now avoiding Italy as a solo female traveler because I always get followed. I think that Italy is a safe country in groups and for solo male travelers, but as a woman I feel objectified and vulnerable. And Italy is always the place were I have a lot of close calls. Yes I've been followed in other countries, hell I've even been followed in the US, but it's the persistence of these men in Italy that has turned me off into venturing into the country alone. I'll go with other women, just one other and it will already be better, but for now I'm going to stay away.


It's not like my experiences have been awful, probably because I'm too paranoid to let anything get that bad. But the consistency of the harassment has been enough. In Florence a man tried to discreetly catch a feel, so I discreetly tripped on his foot (and I'm not skinny!) In Rome someone tried to grab my purse, which locks and is hard enough for me to open, so go ahead and try. In Milan I had money stolen, which was thankfully not much since I caught onto their scheme. And in Verona I got followed as a group of men were trying to heard me into a creepy alley. Luckily I was able to find a tour group and get lost in the masses, which included changing my hair style and put on a different jacket to avoid being recognized. I was kinda proud of my plan, it felt very 007-esque. Like I said, nothing major, but the last one was the straw that broke the camels back.

And I debate on this post, mostly because I don't want to worry my family. But then I thought that I should show some of the negatives of solo female travel. It's not all glamour. Unfortunately there's a lot of people in this world that objectify women and don't treat us as their equals. I'm not down on men, I just want to be given the same respect as them. You don't see me running after guys grabbing their butts and telling that that I find them good looking. So why do that think that I want it? Or why do I need a boyfriend? "I'm a strong independent woman and I don't need no man!" So yes I'll take necessary precautions and be on the lookout, but don't expect me to do it with a smile on my face. I hate these injustices in the world, but not just for women, but all: race, religion, gender, etc. I mean, are white, Christian males that identify as a "traditional" male still the majority?? Oops I just went all teacher there didn't I?

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Back on subject about me and Italy. Why am I targeted? Because I look like a tourist. No matter how hard you try, locals can pick you out. Whether the camera in your hand or the map your reading or your foreign fashion sense, people can figure out you're a tourist. And why me? Because I'm alone. Tourists are always huddled in groups or chatting away. Me, I'm alone. An easy target. I don't have anyone else I can run to for help. Usually I will just run into a gelateria and treat myself and wait for the stalkers to leave, but that plan doesn't always work. So I'm bringing in reinforcements. And this summer, I know that my cousin and I will be fine. We make a great team between our death glares, her not being afraid to scream bloody murder, and me not being afraid to hit them where it hurts. Not that we would have to, because we won't be alone.

Like I said, I love the country. And the people are so nice, well most at least. Most of the old ladies say "brava bella" every time I attempt to speak Italian. Most will stop and help me when I ask for directions (yes mom I do ask for directions). So no Italy will never be off my travel list, I just don't want to go alone for a while. 

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