I started my first morning in Rome on a sunny walk through the Trastevere neighborhood; its charming, narrow streets took me and my camera from one beautiful exterior to another.
Like many of my previous solo trips, I let food, history and curiosity lead the way. My desire for the perfect Italian meal took me to lunch at Salumeria Roscioli; to local markets for fresh produce and sweets; and even on a day trip to Opera 02 — a winery in the Emilia-Romagna region — for Lambrusco and tortellini en brodo.
Food in Italy is on another level, but so is its history. Rome is a pick-your-own-adventure open-air museum — every turn a lesson on art, architecture and ancient civilization. A 20-minute walk from the Colosseum will take you to the Trevi Fountain, and a short subway ride puts you in Vatican City. And being alone allows you to discover everything on your own schedule.
But Rome is more than just its frequented sites. Many locals offer off-the-beaten-path tours, great for solo travelers looking to connect with people. I booked a tour that took me right outside the city center to the town of Castel Gandolfo, where I spent the morning kayaking and swimming in Lake Albano.
I continued my trip both on my own and with the new friends I made, conversing over cacio e pepe and bottles of wine. Creating memories with the company of others is always special, but traveling solo can show you that your own company is more special than you think.
A photo of a statue was misidentified as the Roman Forum. It is Trajan's Forum and Market. The caption has been corrected.