Female in Italy

Old Mar 12th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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Female in Italy

I'm a 22 year old female going to Italy this summer (unfortunately during July). Here's the thing: I want to experience Italy as it really is, not as a generic tour book says to. I'm really interested in cooking and cultural exploration as well as scenic walks and maybe even some cycling. I cannot** afford the pre-set tours but don't know how to do it on my own. Any suggestions on hostels? places I have to go? stuff I must do? I'd appreciate any help!!

Thanks,

Courtney
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Old Mar 12th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Italy is not hard to self-plan and do on your own. I would suggest finding a couple guidebooks to get you started.

How you plan a trip on your own is fairly simple. You just need to pick a couple places you want to see, buy a plane ticket, find a hostel (or convent or pensione) in each place, and travel around on the train or bus.
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Courtney, I've traveled solo to Italy several times (and have another trip in the works for fall!)and I think it's a great choice for a woman traveling alone.

One option you might consider is renting a vacation apartment for several days or a week or two. I've done that in Rome, where you can find lovely studio apartments for not too much money. It's amazing how much more authentic that feels -- shopping for groceries, preparing some of your own meals (which also saves money,) finding your local bar. A great feature of Italy is that loyalty is rewarded, and if you find a neighbourhood cafe/bar (they're generally one in the same) and pop in there every day for a morning coffee or an afternoon glass of wine, you'll become known and welcomed really quickly.

Another possibility, although a bit trickier to arrange, is to stay at an agriturismo. I know of several in the gorgeous Umbrian province, where the owners either operate as a rural B+B, or rent small apartments. Either way, you really interact with the local owners, who obviously know their areas very well, and that also gives you more of a real feel for the area where you're staying. I know of one near Assisi that offers one-day cooking classes (which are great!) and some offer hiking, horseback riding.

The only drawback with a rural place is that you need to work out transportation to get around the area, see the local towns (in Umbria, they're brimming with wonderful art)But it can be done.

It takes a bit of effort to get off the conventional Rome-Florence-Venice pathway that everyone takes. But it's not too difficult to do, with a bit of research.

Best of luck!
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Old Mar 27th, 2008, 01:35 AM
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Courtney, try to google around some smaller university towns and see if you can find lodging in university related infrastructure. Try googling around for instance perugia - university - housing - holiday rental,...
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Old Apr 11th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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I was also going to recommend a university town. Look at Bologna, famous for its food. Nearby by train are Parma, home of true parmesan cheese. And Modena, where the true balsamic vinegar comes from. You could go on tours there.

Florence has a university and perhaps you could sign up for an art or language class and get to know some other students. Google summer classes - Florence or something like that.

Padua (Padova) has a university, too. these three towns are also flat, so bike-riding is easier. Perugia is a hill town.
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Old Apr 13th, 2008, 01:03 AM
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To experience Italy as it really is, I suggest one of the smaller university cities: Perugia, Padova or Urbino. They are a lot more intimate cities without hordes of tourists during summer time. Padova is close to Venice, but also a gem. Perugia has a verx nice hill town atmosphere with a good bus system for visiting Umbria. Urbino is a also a very beatiful hill town. Have a look at the following article. http://media.www.dailytargum.com/med...o-978619.shtml
Lot's of luck in planning your trip!
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 07:32 PM
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My daughter lived and studied in Siena and loved it, also took cooking classes there. She had no problems traveling alone--just learned some choice Italian experessions when men made passes and realized that it was mostly just a game. She also has a red belt in karate and that proved helpful in one situation in Rome, but mostly traveling alone was no problem.

You might check into lonelyplanet.com and goggle "international student travel" for information on student hostels.
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