Few studies have dealt with the issue of people living alone in pretransitional rural populations. Alone by choice or circumstances, usually poor and sometimes stigmatised, solitaries often had a hard life. This article analyses the characteristics and life-histories of people living alone in two rural villages in nineteenth-century Italy with the aim of understanding whether and how solitaries managed to find a way out from solitude. The results show that solitaries got married, joined another household, and especially emigrated more than the rest of the population, which is a strong indication of their willingness to break out of solitariness. The individuation of the demographic profile associated with such specific behaviours, namely being male, young, and widowed, allowed us also to draw some hypotheses on the role of availability and quality of social connections on the chances to escape from a solitary condition, as well as on the characteristics of migratory flows of solitaries from the countryside to the cities.