Rome – The Eternal City… and my favorite city in the world. My first trip to Rome swept me off of my feet. The second time? It did just the same. After revisiting my dear Rome many, many times, I’ve realized that there are some crucial tips new visitors to Rome should know before they experience the city for themselves. Here are nine of my essential things travelers should know before going to Rome.
It’s Is Incredibly Walkable
Public transportation in Rome’s center city is laughable, if you ask me. (Now, that being said, it’s the perfect home based for day trips around Italy!) And why would you ever want to miss any detail of this incredible place? Pack a comfortable pair of shoes, because Rome is incredibly walkable!
Walking through the neighborhoods of Rome is the best part of visiting the city. You’ll see unexpected ancient ruins, bustling piazzas and unassumingly beautiful churches along any path you take.
Always Book Ahead
Trips to the Colosseum or Vatican Museum can be booked ahead of time. And let me tell you, you’ll regret not doing the work upfront once you see the long, never-ending line of tourists waiting before these sights even open! Save yourself the headache (and some cash too!) and always book ahead. It’s one of the simples things travelers should know before going to Rome, if you ask me!
Wine May Be Cheaper Than Water In Restaurants, But It’s Free On The Streets!
Need I say more? Table wine is almost, if not always, cheaper that water in most Roman restaurants.
BUT – here’s a trick that most traveler’s should know! Those cute, strange little water fountains on the street? They pour clean, delicious and cold drinking water!
Block the end of the spout with your palm. Your delicious and free drinking water will pour effortlessly into a drinking fountain. Just watch a local do it if you’re feeling unsure! It’s also totally worth it to bring an empty, packable water bottle with you to refill whenever you get parched.
Plan For Late Dinners
Dinners start late in beautiful Roma. A typical Roman dinner begins around 8:30-9:00 pm. And they’re long and slow. Waiters don’t rush their guests into finishing their meals, like they do in America. In fact, you may find it difficult to flag them down to get your check!
The point is… enjoy every minute of the company in front of you over your meal. Talk, laugh, savor! “La bella vita” isn’t about rushing.
A Few Essential Italian Terms Will Always Work In Your Favor
Knowing a few key Italian terms will get you far in Rome! Knowing how to ask for a table for two in Italian will almost always get you in good graces with the host or hostess. That also goes for “please” and “thank you,” “excuse me” and “delicious.”
Be Aware Of Scams
There are some classic scams in Rome to look out for. Just being aware of what to watch out for could save you quite the headache!
One, never accept a rose, bracelet or any other item from a kind, helpful stranger. Two, if you’re in a major tourist spot – be aware of your bag always. Never let it out of your sight or out of your grasp. And never keep valuables in your pockets! Three, never sign a petition on the street or give your personal details. And four, always check your bill to see if it’s the right amount.
All things said and done – these are typical scams found throughout Europe. It’s not that Rome is a dangerous place. But it pays to be aware of what to look out for!
Research Your Restaurants Ahead Of Time
Whatever you do – don’t randomly pick a restaurant to go to during your time! There are so many amazing, life changing meals to be had in Rome. You don’t want to waste a single one on a tourist trap.
Believe me, you’re going to leave a major tourist sight and get hungry. Never trust the pictures of an unknown cafe or restaurant.
Do your research before you head out for the day, or ask a local for their recommendation. Simply put, always plan your meals into your itinerary!
Cash Is King
Rome runs mostly on cash. You’ll be surprised how many restaurants and stores do not offer card services! So, carry cash.
As I mentioned though, carry around an amount of cash that can get you through one day of traveling and exploring. Any more than that isn’t worth losing should you be pickpocketed.
Know Its History Ahead Of Time
Rome’s history will floor you if you take even a couple hours to read about it a month before you go. Your trip will mean a thousand times more to you if you know just the basics of Rome’s ancient lore, it’s rise, fall, political situation, cultural customs, culinary delights and famous art and architecture.
Going in clueless is just so wasteful! Feed your mind before you depart to Rome, because knowing just how aged and history-rich it is will fuel your explorations to new heights.