Europe, Italy, Milan

Romancing Myself in Milano

June 24, 2011
The Beaty of Milano's Canals At Night

Traveling With Friends Vs Going At It Alone

I’ve been a ‘solo female traveler‘ for over four years, touring South America and Europe. I equally welcome being alone and hanging out with others. Even though I travel by myself, I’m rarely ever alone. I always seem to meet people with whom I tour, eat or party.

On my recent trip to Italy, for the very first time I traveled with a group of friends for four days, spending two of them in Milan and the other two in Lake Como. It was great but when it came time to part ways, I eagerly embraced having some alone time.

Date Nights With Myself

To that end, I booked a room at Hotel Ideale in Milan, saving the more social hostel experience for later in the trip when I arrived in Cinque Terre. I then treated myself to two rather romantic and indulgent experiences. While some women wait around for a man to take them out to special places, I wait for no one!

The Beauty of Milano's Canals At Night

The Beauty of Milano’s Canals At Night

Dinner at 13 Giugo.

At the recommendation of the Hedonist’s Guide to Milan (their guidebooks are my latest addiction), I went for dinner at 13 Giugno, a restaurant that serves up delicious Sicilian fare and their regional wines. Sitting in the candlelit atmosphere, being entertained by an extremely good looking Italian piano player singing love songs and eating delicious meal made for a truly memorable experience.

Sadly, I did not like my main dish that much – which was a pasta with sea urchin. I resolved to try and eat new things while in Italy and while the waiter told me the pasta was very special and ‘rare to the market’, I could not bring myself to like it. He kindly replaced it with something more to my liking without charging me extra.

At the end of the night, the waiter asked me ‘Why would such a beautiful woman choose to dine by herself?’ I smiled and explained that sometimes a night alone is just what you need. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Going to the Opera at Teatro Alla Scalla.

Lonely Planet’s guide to Italy recommends taking in a performance at this historic and beautiful opera house and well … it was worth every penny. It gave me the opportunity to wear a little black dress (LBD), don some high heels, put on some make-up and feel fancy for the night. I attended the premier of Attila, scoring a stool in a little box about 3 floors up.

The view from the side box was a little limited and four of us had to crowd our chairs together to watch the performance but all of that was forgotten as the opera began. I We were all soon caught up in the beautiful music and riveting story. It was sang in both Italian and English and translations were also displayed on two small LCD screens within the box.

An older retired British gentleman who lives in Paris also attended the performance alone and we had a great conversation about places we had both traveled, expat life and his love of the opera. Apparently Berlin is a fantastic place to take in the opera and it’s now on my ‘to-do’ list. He provided for great company during before the opera started and during the intermission.

If you are in Milano this summer, Attila is worth checking out and if tales of barbaric Huns aren’t your thing, Romeo and Juliet is playing. You can even take in tours of the opera house and get a glimpse of what opera house like is “behind the scenes.” See Teatro Alla Scalla’s website for more information.

Upon leaving the opera, I wandered around looking for a less touristy and pricey eating establishment further away from the duomo and opera house. After getting lost and not being able to find anything open, a kind man stopped and offered to take me back to the duomo. I was treated to a quick ride on the back of his motorcycle while wearing my LBD and stiletto heels! So fun.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time alone in Milan and am already looking forward to my next trip (Barcelona baby!) where I can do it all again.

Are you a solo traveler? Have you ever treated yourself to a romantic ‘date night’? Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Tania @ Passport2Design June 24, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Wow, what an inspiration, Cheryl! I am so happy to hear you are loving your time in Italy and indulging in wonderful experiences. 🙂

    *Tania @ Passport2Design.com

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 25, 2011 at 3:34 AM

      Thanks Tania! I’ve since been at a hostel and enjoying a more ‘social’ experience. It’s good to have a balance and wow, Italy (your motherland) continues to amaze me. 🙂

  • Reply Vince June 26, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Great write up Cheryl! It’s awesome that you’re able to travel alone, I’ve only done it briefly when I was in Thailand and I must say it’s pretty liberating doing whatever you like whenever you like 🙂 Hope you’re having fun!

  • Reply Cheryl Howard June 27, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    Hey Vince! I think being on the road alone is fun. Sometimes it’s good to take the break from others. I also ended up having a fabbb time at the hostel and made new friends. Both were really good experiences. 🙂

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