Bravo Italia - terrified solo traveller


#1

Hey! I’m Jasmine from Australia.
Considering doing the bravo Italia tour, however I cant seem to find anyone around here to do it with me! I know heaps of people travel solo, but i’m so scared! Mainly the huge airports are what freaks me out. Id be flying from sydney to dubai, then to rome.
Anyone having the same issues? haha… thanks!!!


#2

Hi Jasmine,

This is a massive post, but I remember how terrifying it is to navigate your way though a foreign airport, straight off a plane and I hope this could help.

I did this tour last year and it is awesome. The train from the airport to rome is really easy. It depends on what time you are arriving though. If you are arriving in the evening, I would catch a taxi to the hotel because you would have to catch 2 trains and walk 5min to the bravo italia starting hotel.

Taxi
If you catch a taxi, make sure you get in one of the official taxis. I got caught out a Rome airport by this guy who put me in a private car which ended up costing me 75 Euro. If you take a taxi, it will be white and have a “SPQR Comune di Roma” sticker. Do not get into a cab that doesn’t have this sticker. A ride from FCO airport to the city centre is a fixed rate of 40 euro, but if you are staying at Hotel Villa Torlonia, this might be outside the city walls. I would email the hotel and ask if they can suggest a shuttle service or give you an approximate taxi fare, so you know how much you have to pay.

Train
If you arrive in the day, the train is pretty easy. After you come out of customs, follow the signs to the train station, which is down the escalators. Buy a ticket on the next Leonardo Express train. Its 11 euros, leaves every half an hour and you have to validate your ticket by stamping it in the green boxes on the platform. Take the train to Termini station. Follow the signs to the metro (is a big red M). If you are staying at Hotel Villa Torlonia, you would take the Blue ‘B’ line towards Rebibbia or Conca d’Oro. Get on any train going in this direction and get off at Policlinico. (Think take the Ribena to the Police Station). The hotel is about 2 blocks away from the train station, the hardest part is working out which way to walk. You are looking for the big glass building.

Dubai airport
Dubai airport is very big. If you are flying emirates or qantas, you shouldn’t have to change terminals but you will have to go through security again, so don’t have full water bottles. Once you get through security, if you don’t want to shop go straight to your gate. Dubai airport has awesome massive waiting areas for each gate with bathrooms and everything. They open up pretty much straight away and that way you don’t have to worry about not finding your gate.

Tips for your Bravo Italia tour.
You are going to have an awesome time. It was one of my favourite tours. Here are some tips;

Sorrento
There is a great restaurant on the walk from the hotel to Sorento called La Tavola Di Lucullo. They have a beautiful garden out the back, the best limoncello and pizza. We went there for lunch after the Capri visit, and one of the waiters came out and sang.

Florence

  • If you want to see the statue of David, you will need to book online. Check with your tour leader about how long after the walking tour to book it
  • If you want to climb the Duomo, the lines are massive. I bought the combo ticket and did the the Bapistry, Bell tower and interior. About 30min or so before closing, I checked the dome line and it was 15 people and they were only letting people with combo tickets in. You might get lucky be able to hear mass as you climb down.

Cinque Terre

  • Venazza - There is a beautiful restaurant called Al Castello, which is right beneath the castle. I highly recommend if you want a nice meal. Excellent basil lasagna, local red wine and dessert wine.
  • Riomaggiore - There is a brilliant cocktail bar that is behind the train station up the stairs. We’re talking Reggae music, hammocks and views over the Med. It’s called Bar e Vini a Piè de Mà.

Venice

  • There is a great pizza place a couple of blocks from St Mark’s Square. Go underneath the big clock, take the first right and its about 3 ‘blocks’ down on the left. It’s called Rossopomodoro and had great pizza.

If you haven’t been to Italy, beware of the free pour. They are very liberal with their alcohol, especially for Australians.


#3

i dont understand why huge airports freak you out. i mean, mostly airports are just airports. you better be more “careful” when you are in the “not-so-safe” areas if you know what I mean, avoid them at all cost if you are traveling alone. Go googling to find out more about them


#4

Hi Jamine,
My name is Aimee, I am from the Gold Coast, Australia. I have just booked the Bravo Italia tour starting on July 29th 2016. I am also travelling alone and for sure understand where you are coming from… As this is my first solo trip I am nervous however have been told by friends that navigating around isn’t to bad over there and once you get from the airport into Rome to meet your group, Top Deck leads you around. I have decided to jump on this tour before I do the remainder of my trip alone to get a little comfortable with the country.

Hope you have a great trip!!

Aimee


#5

Thanks for the suggestions! I booked the Bravo tour for June. Question about Rome Day 1, does it include going inside the Colosseum or do I need to book that on my own?


#6

No, Bravo Italia doesn’t include the Coliseum. They have private tour of the Vatican in the morning that I highly recommend if you haven’t been there before. After the tour, you can climb the town for awesome views over St Peter’s Square and Rome.

Definitely prebook your Coliseum ticket. The queues can be massive, especially in summer. If you want a guided tour that will take you into the Hypogeum (underground levels) I highly recommend the tours by The Roman Guy.

I would double check with Topdeck what time your Vatican tour would finish.

https://theromanguy.com/tours/Rome/colosseum-dungeons-tour-with-roman-forum-palantine-hill

If you want a nice lunch/dinner near the Coliseum, there is a nice pizza place about a 5 min walk away. It’s called La Base, massive pizzas, decent prices and free wifi. It’s on Via Cavour. Walk up the stairs to the right of the Metro, take the down road and take the first left.


#7

Just chiming in to say definitely do Bravo Italia! It was my first tour three years ago and was so much fun that it got me hooked on traveling for life! I’ve done 4 other Topdeck’s and a few other trips since and all were great, but Italy is still my favorite! I also second Satie’s recommendation of La Tavola Di Lucullo in Sorrento, especially if Peppe is working.


#8

Thanks so much for all your info! so informative! :grinning:

I would love to go around September as I’ve heard that’s the best time.
I think I might be cutting it too fine financially tho so I might need to do a bit more saving :sweat:

Im going to print all your tips, thankyou so so much!
Jasmine :kissing_heart:


#9

Have a fabulous time Aimee!!
I’m so jealous :smiley:


#10

@jasminej September is a really good time. I was there in June and it was getting way to hot and crowded. September would be great with milder temperatures and less crowds.

I found the Bravo Italia to be one of the more affordable topdeck tours as there are a lot of included activities, transportation and dinners. If you try not to shop too much (who would want to go to H&M when you are in Venice anyway) you could get away a fairly cheap trip (barring flights).

I tend to estimate;
Breakfast: €10x number of days,
Lunch: €15x number of days;
Dinner: €20-25x number of days;
Coffee: €5x number of days; (I’m a coffee addict :slight_smile: )
Attractions: €20-30x number of days; (depends how much you like museum; most museums cost 20 for entry)
Other: €20x number of days; (shopping, transport, drinking etc)

You could probably get away with €1000 for a shoestring trip or €1500 for a bit more fun.


#11

Thanks @satie89 ! You’re super helpful.

Do you know exactly where this tour picks up from? A hotel or something?

Thanks :slight_smile:


#12

Your trip notes on My Topdeck should tell you the hotel and meeting time. I was at Hotel Villa Torlonia. if you get there early, the hotel will let you store your bag. I arrived in the early morning, dropped off my bag and went back into Rome to have lunch and tour the capitoline museums.

A really lovely souvenir in Venice is a pair of leather gloves from a shop called Fannys. Part of the fun is trying to find it because Venice has no street maps

http://www.fannygloves.it


#13

Thanks for all the suggestions! Cant wait to begin Bravo Italia!