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Experts Share Tips About Italy With Journeywoman

Evelyn Hannon

When I need travel advice I go to the experts I meet online. For this travel tip article I consulted with females (and one delightful guy) on Twitter who have an Italian connection. It was a treat to get to know these professionals and to find out about their personal favorite places to stay, restaurants to try, shops to spend euros in and much, much more. This article is all about the best of the best (but not necessarily the most expensive) from a local's point of view. Enjoy, everybody!

P.S. We've provided links so you can also connect with each expert separately and see what their sites have to offer. Enjoy the journey!

P.P.S. All prices were correct at time of writing. There may have been changes since. Please re-check to make sure you have the most up to date information.

Solo in Italy...

I'm a freelance writer and European travel consultant specializing in France and Italy. I often travel to Italy solo and would like to offer these tips to other JourneyWomen thinking of doing the same. You'll love it.

Women need to pay particular attention to their attire when visiting churches in Italy in the warmer months. Out of respect, most churches won't allow you to enter if shoulders, upper arms or thighs are showing. So in the warmer weather, nix the shorts (which aren't worn by Italian women anyway) and opt for a skirt that at least grazes the knee. Carry a scarf with you at all times to wrap around bare shoulders if you happen to be wearing a tank top.

When traveling solo, some women find the thought of dining alone in a restaurant downright intimidating. For those women, I'd recommend seeking out an Italian wine bar, or Enoteca. They offer local delicious food - ranging from light snacks to full meals, a large assortment of Italian wines by the glass and a much more relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Many have a bar where you can sit alone and blend in. If you visit during aperitif hour you might be lucky enough to score free food with the purchase of your beverage.

One of my favorite budget hotel gems in Florence is the Hotel Abaco. It's in a prime location, halfway between the train station and the Duomo and is run by the friendly, accommodating and advice-giving, Bruno. He will do a load of laundry for you, recommend places to eat and make reservations for you too. Housed on the 2nd floor of an old palazzo (no elevator), each room is named after a Renaissance artist and is decorated with antique pieces in the Barocco style. Exposed beams, high ceilings, parquet floors, rich jewel-toned fabrics and lots of gilt gold lend a luxurious charm to the otherwise basic space. Rooms from 70€-90€ per night.

Robin Locker's passion for travel, European culture and lifestyle is featured in her blog, My Mélange, which includes travel tips, travel essays, photos, restaurant and hotel recommendations, recipes and ideas on how to live La Dolce Vita from abroad. You can also follow her @MyMelange on Twitter.


Shopping in Rome...

Rome is a Mecca for any kind of made in Italy shopping. As a personal shopper I'd like to recommend the charming Monti district, where Julius Caesar grew up. It has an excellent choice of boutiques, gourmet stores, home furnishings and cozy enoteche you won't find anywhere else. The streets to check are Via del Boschetto, Via dei Serpenti, Via Leonina and Via Panisperna.

You'll love browsing at Spazio Artigiano, a treasure trove of hand-crafted items, including a great selection of Sicilian ceramics (vicolo dei Serpenti 13).

Le Gallinelleis a small boutique that sells an intriguing mix of new and vintage clothing and accessories (via del Boschetto 76, Monti). This is well worth a stop.

At the corner shop, 244 Via Panisperna (that’s the name as well as the address), look for eclectic styling in shoes along with made-to-measure clothing.

End your pleasant shopping day in Rome tasting delicious cassata, cannolo, granita, or gelato at the Sicilian gelateria Ciuri Ciuri located at via Leonina 18/19/20. That's what Italian women do.

Stefania Troiani is a Travel Consultant & Personal Shopper in Rome. Website: Twitter:


Eating, drinking, playing in Rome...

I am an expat career and personal branding coach living in Rome who helps fellow expats use their personal brand to build a career that fits who they are and their international lifestyle. I am happy to offer a few tips to travelers to what I believe to be the most beautiful city in the world!

There are many accommodation options for visitors to Rome. For those who want something inspiring and central, I usually recommend the Hotel Raphael. Near Piazza Navona and decorated with art throughout, it has a roof-top terrace with gorgeous views of Rome. However for the ethical traveler on a budget, I recommend The Beehive Hotel & Café. It’s a stylish, contemporary, ecologically minded budget hotel run by absolutely lovely people who will make sure you are taken care of during your stay.

As you must spend some time in a café if you are in Rome, I usually recommend Antico Caffe Greco, Rome’s oldest café for those who want that classic Roman café ambiance and don't mind other tourists. However for the more artsy bunch, I recommend Salotto 42, full of high-backed velvet chairs and books on art and design. I love Salotto 42’s cozy-chic and the fact I can get a smoothie while looking out at a 1st century temple.

To experience Rome from a local’s perspective, I recommend contacting Italian aficionados, Alan and Diane Epstein. Long time resident and entertaining speaker, Alan is the author of the bestselling book, As The Romans Do. Armed with a PhD in history and a passion for storytelling, Alan gives fascinating walking tours that make the grandeur of Rome come alive. Diane is a well-known photographer and creative cook whose photo explorations and culinary adventures offer a view of the city through an artist’s eye and a taste of its local flavors. Her photographic journeys will lead you through the city’s markets, piazzas, ancient monuments and the daily life of Rome. They’re lovely people who will make Rome feel like home.

Megan Fitzgerald's website is at She also shares tips for how to build a successful career or business abroad at Her twitter address is:

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