A Solo Traveler's Guide To Rome

View over the rooftops of Rome, Italy
View over the rooftops of Rome, Italy | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Livia Hengel
15 October 2016

Traveling solo is a great opportunity to do whatever you want, whenever you want — and with Rome’s vibrant energy and Italian hospitality, you’ll be sure to enjoy the experience even more. Whether you prefer to keep to yourself or crave some interaction, read on for the best solo activities in the Eternal City.

Book Your Accomodation

A surprisingly large city, Rome offers something for everyone. Each of its neighborhoods have a unique identity and character, meaning everyone from the high-end visitors to the budget travelers will find themselves at home in Rome. For a convivial atmosphere in the capital at competitive prices, check out our list of great budget accommodation and hostels where you’re sure to make friends with visitors and even some locals. If you prefer boutique B&Bs, the Trastevere neighborhood has a wide range of options for you to choose from (including a number with verdant gardens). And, if you’re keen to splurge on higher-end hotels that showcase the best of the city’s artistic side, take a look at these luxury art and culture picks.

Hotel Columbus, near the Vatican | © Gary I Dobner / Alamy Stock Photo

Kick Off Your Morning With Coffee

When in Rome, you must start your morning with a coffee and cornetto propped up at a bar. Everyone has their neighborhood favorite but you’re sure to enjoy the atmosphere at Roscioli Caffè, which has become the city’s newest darling thanks to its emphasis on quality and its reputable name (Roscioli also owns a beloved restaurant, deli and wine bar nearby). With its discrete entrance, it attracts a mix of locals and expats who are in the know and the atmosphere is constantly buzzing throughout the day. Another café with a great (albeit more casual) atmosphere is Bar Peru near Piazza Farnese. With its delightful old-school vibe, it attracts characters of all types and you can enjoy your coffee propped up on a high chair outside while you watch locals zip by on their vespas.

Croissant and coffee in Rome | © Ed Rooney / Alamy Stock Photo

Get Out On The Streets (And Into The Markets)

So much of daily life takes place outside on the streets of Rome, so one of the best ways to take in the city is by simply strolling through its winding cobblestoned alleys. The historic center is large so you won’t get lost, and you’re bound to bump into hidden treasures and photogenic vistas around every corner. You’ll also have a great time visiting the city’s lively markets where you surely won’t feel alone; Campo de’ Fiori has a boisterous outdoor fruit and vegetable market each morning in the piazza, while the Testaccio Market is a must-see for foodies with its emphasis on local products and Roman cuisine. The Testaccio Market is comprised of produce stalls as well as casual eateries so it’s a perfect spot for a solo lunch — don’t miss the city’s greatest panini at Mordi e Vai, an institution in the city known for its traditional fare.

Campo Dei Fiori street market | © Peter Eastland / Alamy Stock Photo

Enjoy Some Art

Museums and galleries are arguably a better experience solo when you can really take in the art around you uninterrupted and at your own pace. Rome has dozens of museums to choose from, so take your pick between ancient, modern or contemporary art or opt to see a rotating exhibition. A great option is a combination ticket to visit the four National Museums of Rome, which grants you admission to wonderful museums, including Palazzo Massimo near Termini Station, for only €7 (to be used over three days). If you prefer contemporary art, why not check out the Maxxi Museum designed by the late Zaha Hadid in northern Rome? To reach it, take the tram 2 from Piazza del Popolo to stop Apollodoro.

National Roman Museum, Palazzo Altemps | © Vito Arcomano / Alamy Stock Photo

Treat Yourself

What’s better than a little pampering when you have all the time in the world to yourself? One of the most relaxing oases in Rome is the AcquaMadre Hammam, which will make you feel like you’re part of the ancient Roman elite. Featuring a tepidarium, calidarium and frigidarium, each temperature-controlled room will help you detox, tone and clear your mind; add on a massage or treatment for ultimate luxury. If you’d rather unwind through some exercise, drop in for a yoga class at Zem Yoga Studio. This boutique yoga studio holds a number of classes each day, comprised of a mix of heated and non-heated Vinyasa and Hatha yoga classes, as well as sessions of Mindfulness and Yin yoga in the evenings. Zem has a vibrant studio where locals and expats meet and mingle, so you’re sure to enjoy the friendly atmosphere. Drop by on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. for a heated Vinyasa community class for a discounted rate of €12.

Wine And Dine Solo

Eating dinner alone can be one of the harder moments of a solo trip, but choosing the right eatery can make all the difference. Rome has welcomed a number of food ‘laboratories’ in recent years, featuring novel cuisine in an industrial setting with open-style kitchens, meaning you can prop yourself up on a barstool and observe the action while the chef prepares mouthwatering concoctions right in front of you. For gourmet sandwiches, burgers and pasta dishes, check out the vibrant Pianostrada bistrot which has just moved to a new location by Ponte Sisto. Don’t miss the pillowy soft focaccia as an appetizer to whet your appetite before you dig into your main meal. If you’re into experimental cuisine, check out Retrobottega, which adds a truly innovative touch to the Roman dining scene. Half self-service, you can uncork your own wine and pour yourself a glass (you’ll find it inside the drawer at your high table) before digging into Risotto with succulents and sichuan pepper or ravioli stuffed with chicken cacciatora served with a peanut sauce.

Traditional Italian pasta dish served in a restaurant | © Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy Stock Photo

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