My trip to Italy was my first time traveling completely alone. Like everything else in life, it had its ups and downs! I did an intense sightseeing tour of some of Italy’s most famous cities and landmarks. I spent a day and a half in Venice, Florence, Rome, and a day in Pompeii.
The canals and ancient buildings and the history of Venice was just as interesting as it’s made out to be!
The Gondola rides are set at a uniform price of eighty euros for half an hour, so I wasn’t able to experience that cultural aspect on student budget.
Despite cold, wet weather, Florence had a lot to offer.
From the recommendation of my intercambio, I checked out the free walking tours offered and decided to challenge myself by taking them in Spanish. I was very pleased when I was able to understand almost everything that was said which is hopefully a testament to my improving Spanish language comprehension.
Rome was by far my favorite city to explore, partially because that was the city I was most excited to visit!
The city had great weather. My first stop I had to see was the Colosseum. I am pretty apprehensive about being scammed or conned into bad deals, but I paid thirty euros to join a group tour which I am thankful was worth every euro. A licensed guide told us all about the history of Rome, the origins of the Colosseum, the influential emperors that used it, and so much more. However, the most valuable benefit was getting to skip the more than two hour long line that had already formed. It was one of those wonder moments in life to walk into a more than two-thousand year old structure, see where the emperor would sit and imagine how the gladiator fights played out.
Included in the same price of thirty euros was a guided tour of Palatine Hill very close to the Colosseum. Palatine Hill is considered the oldest and most central of the seven hills that Rome was founded upon. There is a lot to see including the ancient Roman Forum along with several other historical monuments. I would definitely recommend paying the thirty euros to skip the line at two of Rome’s most famous historical sites and learn the history of the them.
The exploring was far from over for the day, and I decided to sign up with the same tour group to go visit the Vatican City. The tour included going through the Vatican museums and galleries which were full of beautiful works of art, but the highlight of the tour was without a doubt the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling and wall are even more breathtaking than what the pictures show.
Pompeii was a city I’ve wanted to see since I learned about it in middle school eight-plus years ago.
It was a very surreal experience to stand in the streets of the two thousand year old city that I had always wanted to see, and then actually standing there. Traveling alone was another interesting first for me. Being the planner I am, it caused me some stress trying to plan a four city in five days trip with flights, travel in between the cities, and finding good sleeping quarters while all while making sure they were in a strategic location.
I am grateful that I put so much time into planning before I left, because I am confident it helped make the experience much smoother.
Staying in a hostel with other people was beneficial in forcing me to interact with other people from around the world, even though I was not a fan of the variable hours of everyone there. Before I came to Spain, I never would have considered traveling alone, but being exposed to the culture of Europe in general combined with pushing outside my comfort zone gave me confidence to push past my comfort zone once again and travel alone. Pushing outside my comfort zone has resulted in some of the best experiences of my life.
While this trip has given me increased independence, confidence, and the opportunity to see amazing monuments, it has also taught me more about myself in that I don’t enjoy traveling alone very much. However, I have no regrets, and I’m thankful for the experience of traveling alone.