Things to know before going to Rome

I first went to Rome in 1992 and my love for the city has grown since then. I wrote my first book about this city in college. And hardly another year has passed since then. When I’m not going to my favorite square (Navona), enjoying my favorite gelato (cioccolato e limone con panna), or staring at my favorite art (Raphael’s Stanze…among many others).

Rome may seem majestic to a first time visitor. But enjoying the Eternal City and its many differences is easier than many people think. Here are some important things I should know for anyone lucky enough to head to the wonderful and wonderful Roma.

with little planning and patience You can avoid the crowds in Rome © Lorenzo Montanari / 500px

Plan a trip to Rome – be an architect on your own day.

Rome is crowded and some attractions, such as the Vatican Museums, are overwhelming and crowded with other visitors. Many tourists were stunned as they walked nearly 7km (4.5 miles) down the aisle when they finally reached the Sistine Chapel. They gazed up at Michelangelo’s wonderful ceiling and muttered, “Oh yes, more art.”

but with a little planning You can avoid the most crowded times at the Vatican Museums. Visit Tuesday and Thursday Wednesday mornings are good too. and afternoon is better than morning Monday is a particularly bad day. because other museums Closed in Rome (Use the day to explore the city’s streets, squares, alleys and parks.)

Throughout Rome, weekends are often packed with attractions. As tourists are joined by the Romans enjoying the holiday attractions.

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buy tickets in advance

You’ve mastered the subway and finally what you see. Just to discover the guide in front of you in the neat and gradual ticketing line to buy tickets for 40, or you find a few hundred people already queuing for tickets. While you wait in the hot sun for your turn You will feel that the important moments of your day is about to pass

However, you can easily avoid the ticket queue. by purchasing in advance online The Vatican Museums are the perfect example of a place where you can feel the joy as you walk through the waiting crowds and the wind blowing. For all the major attractions in Rome, you should always check the website to sell tickets in advance. especially due to COVID-19 Related restrictions And keep in mind that some must-see attractions, such as the Museo e Galleria Borghese, or special tours like the Secret Castle Tour at Castel Sant’Angelo, require you to purchase tickets in advance. due to limited admission to avoid congestion

Place a deck of cards: Make your first visit memorable.

And always let the extra time go for walks, cafés, and people-watching. It was one of the true highlights of Roman life.

View of the busy Spanish Steps, with the Church of Santissima Trinita dei Monti and Egyptian obelisk in the background.
The Spanish Steps might be famous. But it shouldn’t be overlooked © Apostolos Giontzis/Getty Images

know that you should skip

Have self-awareness to know your limits in the church. Yes, some people may cry out of manners. But if you stand in the world famous House of God and you don’t remember where you are because it looks very similar to the previous ten stories. better to choose Pair them from a long list and focus on them. Plus, you’ll have something saved for your next trip.

And a warning about two attractions:

Spanish Steps – A beautiful stone staircase with a great view, yes, but a reason to get out of your way is not. Tourist traps, food and fast food take over the neighborhood. Give it a miss (and if you go, don’t sit down! see below)

Bocca della Verità – An ancient stone carving of a lion’s head with a mouth that is touched by millions of paws. Every country seems to have one of these (hello, Blarney Stone!) to magical legends. In this case, the lion will bite your hand if you lie.

Front view of young man enjoying delicious spaghetti in Italy  which he wears casual clothes
A few insider tips will make your Roman dining experience even more enjoyable © SolStock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dining etiquette in Rome

book a table in advance

Some of Rome’s most vaunted restaurants fill the reservation list weeks in advance. So pay to reserve a table before you arrive. But even if you are playing casually, you should always reserve a table in advance. Even if you don’t book until a few hours before your meal. (Assuming there are still tables available.) Reservations are one of the intangibles that are practically necessary. This is because Roman restaurants honor their arrival with a clear reservation rather than walking in. Even if there are many empty tables

Divide the bread like the Romans

Most restaurants are open from noon to 3 PM and 7:30 PM to 11 PM, usually closed one day a week. (usually Sunday or Monday) in August Most restaurants will be closed for at least a week. although some periods are closed for the whole month

  • dress to eat out What to wear? see below
  • Bite the hanging spaghetti – please don’t make a mess.
  • Pasta is eaten with a fork (no spoon).
  • It’s common to eat pizza with your hands when you’re going out – in restaurants, people tend to use knives and forks.
  • Like your Italian grandmother, fare la scarpetta (make little shoes) with your bread to wipe the dishes clean.

Try to keep up: Know when and how to dress to impress.

Roman style is famous all over the world. And there’s no better way to escape tourist boredom than by dressing up in panache. Especially when going out to famous restaurants and clubs. Be sharp and smart is your motto in this regard. And don’t underestimate what you can do with eye-catching, travel-friendly black accents, like a really special scarf. This is true for all genders.

Also, keep in mind that each day and when you’re out in the neighborhood. There hasn’t been a time when you’ve wanted to wear a sweater. clown shorts Hiking socks and more unless it’s your signature look and it’s removable!

Don’t break the law for tourists.

Garbage collection remains an eternal challenge for Rome. But there are efforts in other areas. To try and organize something, in 2019 several laws were passed to reign in the midst of an over-visited crowd. Those who break these rules risk a fine of up to 400 euros ($450) or a temporary ban on entry to areas where they committed crimes. Among the limitations:

  • Do not sit on the Spanish Steps
  • Do not wade through the fountain in the city.
  • No “busy” dining out near historical monuments.
  • Do not walk naked
  • Do not drag trolleys or wheeled luggage up or down historic stairs.
  • When drinking from a public fountain called nasoni, do not put your lips on the spout – drink from the hand that covers the glass.
Group of happy friends drinking coffee and cappuccino at outdoor bar in Italy.
Keeping a few Italian traditions will give you a wonderful time meeting the locals in Rome © DisobeyArt / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Be polite and follow local ceremonies.

Italy is quite a formal society and good social interactions are observed. Greet people in bars, shops, trattoria, etc. with buongiorno (good morning), buon pomeriggio (good afternoon) or buonasera (good evening).

Say mi scusi (sorry) to draw attention or ask for help. Always use permesso (permission) to refer someone in a crowded area and cover up at church. (That means shoulders and legs for a start.)

Health and safety in Rome

Rome has no inherent health hazards. Aside from the bloating caused by eating too much (and gelato), here are a few tips to keep you feeling awesome.

Stay hydrated. Hot weather in summer. especially in open spaces such as forums, carry a water bottle, drink plenty and fill in many public drinking fountains

Ancient rocks, long stairs, and time spent wandering are just some of the things that will tire you out. Wear shoes with excellent support and cushioning.

Maintain your intelligence about yourself.

Rome is generally a safe city. But petty theft is a real risk. Use common sense and be careful with your valuables. Pickpockets and thieves are used in tourist areas such as the Colosseum, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia and St Peter’s Square.

Stay alert when around the busy Termini train station and on crowded public transport – bus 64 the Vatican is famous. Keep your wallet, phone and valuables out of reach – a bulging purse in your back pocket? no way!

In case of theft or loss Report the incident to the police within 24 hours and always ask for testimony. emergency number for police (Carabinieri) is 112. Don’t forget to put your bag on an empty chair. In a roadside cafe or put it in a hidden place.

Watch out for gangs of kids or other people demanding attention. If you are targeted Avoid and/or shout ‘Va via!’ (‘Go away!’).

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