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Alone and cannot speak italian

Gothenburg, Sweden
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Alone and cannot speak italian


I've always wanted to visit Italy, especially northern parts of the country and of course Rome. I want to see art and buildings, and the beautiful landscape in north.

But, I can't speak italian and I have never been in the country before. Is it possible for me to visit anyway? Will I have trouble finding my way and communicating with people? I speak english, but that didn't help much in France and I don't think I could have managed alone (I travelled there with family).

Do you guys think it's possible for a young girl to travel to Rome by herself?

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1. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

I found most people spoke English in the large cities, but not so much in the smaller towns. You should be fine, although it would be more fun with a travel partner if you could find one! Just have some street smarts

Latina, Italy
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2. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

It is not so much the language problem. In the north of Italy and in Rome English is widely understood.

It depends on you and whether you can look after yourself. Would this be backpacking and hostels, or good hotels? Or even convents? What about eating out on your own? Would you have any problems with that? An unaccompanied young girl is bound to draw attention. As long as you can cope with that......

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

Why not learn some Italian before you go? It's a beautiful language, and any Italian that you can speak will be appreciated by the locals. No one will expect you to be fluent.

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4. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

Before my first trip, I bought an Italian language CD that I listened to while driving. It made my commute much more fun and I was suprised at how much I learned. I was also suprised at how many Italians in Rome spoke English, but they appreciated my efforts to speak their language.

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

In Rome, most Italians (especially ones in the service industry) can speak anything from decent to good English. In smaller towns that are frequented by tourists, you will likely still find enough English spoken overall to get by.

You might run into non-English speaking folks at mom-and-pop shops. A few smiles, sign language, etc usually are enough.

My only other advice is watch your belongings. Petty theft occurs often enough that you should make sure your valuables are stored properly while traveling. Read through a few other threads in the forum to understand what you need to do to protect yourself.

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6. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

If you are comfortable traveling alone than I don't think the language should be a problem by itself, at least in Rome (I've never been to anywhere in Italy north of Rome, so can't say what it would be like there). I was not alone but was the person "in charge" of the trip, so to speak, when I went with my mother and daughter. None of us spoke Italian. I thought listening to the language CDs helped get me used to the sound of the language, but all I could remember well enough to speak was hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and do you speak English, which was sufficient.

Sometimes our conversations were somewhat amusing, like when the train station staff person told me the train was "loco" and we had to wait for the next one, but I knew what he was trying to say.

That said, I think as many (if not more) people in Paris spoke English as in Rome, so if you think you would have had trouble by yourself in Paris (you didn't say where you were in France), you might be uncomfortable in Rome. I found that in France outside of Paris there were fewer people who spoke English.

7. Re: Alone and cannot speak italian

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