25 Things to Know Before Going to Rome

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It’s always good to prepare in advance for your next trip. That’s why we are bringing you our list of Things to know before going to Rome.
Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. For that reason, it is a good idea to prepare beforehand for your visit. Some cultural differences will be useful to know about in advance. So let’s start!

1. Don't accept gifts from strangers on the streets

It’s not unusual to have strangers coming up to you on the streets of Rome. However, if they offer you a rose or a little nick nack – do not take it. They are expecting you to pay for the little souvenir. While it may come off as a nice gesture, it’s their way of making money.

2. Keep an eye out for pickpockets

A lot of people will warn you about the pickpockets before going to Rome. And they are not wrong! You should always keep your wallet and purse safe and close to you. Rome is a big busy city, so it is not unusual for crimes like this to happen. That’s why you should make sure you are safe while sightseeing in Rome.

3. Only make a wish at Fontana di Trevi

The city of Rome is filled with beautiful fountains, and you will want to make a fish by throwing a coin in one of them. But Romans would tell you that the only wishing fountain in Rome is Fontana di Trevi. It’s locals general knowledge that the only wish that counts is the one made at Fontana di Trevi.

4. Mind the Dress code when visiting churches

You should take into consideration that you will be visiting many sacred institutions during your Rome vacation. All of the roman churches have a dress code you need to follow before entering the building. That means shorts and tank tops are not an option. Make sure you pack something to cover up before going to Rome. Having a scarf to throw on is very useful.

5. You can skip long lines at the Colosseum

You already know how much of a tourist city, Rome is. But that does not mean you will have to spend the majority of your time waiting in lines to visit the most famous monuments. The roman Colosseum offers the Colosseum skip-the-line ticket.

Colosseum opening hours working hours and waiting times

6.Take advantage of free sight

Visiting interesting historical places in Rome does not mean you should spend a lot of your budget on sight tickets. Rome offers a lot of open sights to visit. Some of them are Villa Farnesina, Galleria Spada, Santa Prassede, Santa Pudenziana, and Palazzo Barberini. Another essential thing to know before visiting Roe is that museums offer free entrances every first Sunday every month.

7. Get a public transport pass

Before going to Rome, purchase a public transport pass. Buying the transportation pass in advance will save you time and money. One thing you may not know about is that kids under ten years ride the metro in Rome for free.

8. Rome Airport is away from the city center

Rome’s airport is 30 km away from the city center. It is useful to organize your transportation from the airport to your accommodation in Rome in advance. 

9. Don't forget to bring a water bottle

Rome’s tap water is clean and drinkable. One crucial advice, when visiting Rome, is to always have a reusable water bottle on hand. Store-bought water can be quite expensive, so if you need to buy the water, we advise you to purchase big one-liter bottles in a convenience store. Little water bottles sold to tourists can coast up to 2 €.

10. You will pay for table service in restaurants

It’ s common in a lot of European cities that the table service in restaurants will be included on your dinner bill. The table service in Rome ranges from 10 to 20%. So don’t be surprised if the bill comes up a bit higher than the combined price of your meals.

Tipping is optional but appreciated

Speaking of restaurant culture in Rome – tipping your waiter is not obligatory. However, most locals will tell you that it is usual to round up your bill when paying for your meal. 

Italian Aperitivo

11. Choose your accommodation carefully

We suggest you do your accommodation research before going to Rome. Although staying outside of the historic city center may be cheaper at first glance, it’s essential to look at the bigger picture. That means taking into consideration how much you will be spending on transportation to your tours and sightseeing. It’s necessary to be aware that Rome is one of the most famous European destinations, and there can be a shortage of accommodation. For that reason, make sure to look up and book your accommodation well in advance.  

12. Public toilets are not free

It’s common to pay to use public restrooms in Europe, and Rome is no exception. To use a public toilet in Rome, you will have to pay 2€.

13. Avoid driving around Rome if possible

Rome has an excellent public transport system, so renting a car is not a necessity. We would advise you to avoid driving around Rome’s Streets if possible. It’s a big city, whose streets you don’t know all that well, so save yourself from that stress during your vacation.

14. Learn basic Italian will come in very handy

It’s good to learn at least basic greetings when visiting a new city. Learning a few Italian phrases before going to Rome will undoubtedly be useful. You can start with:

  • Buon Giorno = Good morning/Good afternoon
  • Buona sera = Good evening
  • Ciao = Hello/Goodbye
  • Arrivederci = Goodbye
  • Grazie = Thank you
  • Parla Inglese? = Do you speak English
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15. Save money by purchasing a Rome and Vatican Pass

Buying a Roma Pass in advance will come in handy. It will save you time and money when it comes to planning your sightseeing activities around Rome and the Vatican.

16. Coffee standing up at the bar

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you want to enjoy espresso the roman way, you should have it at the bar – standing up. This is what Italians call sul banco.

17. You will have dinner later than you're used to

If you walk in a restaurant at 6 pm and there is no one there, don’t be surprised. Dinner in Rome is served a bit later than you may be used to. Roman time for dinner is usually from 8:30 to 9 pm. This is something to keep in mind when making dinner reservations.

18. Have your accommodation details on hand

Keep your accommodation address and details on your phone. Not a lot of locals speak fluent English, so asking about directions or taking a taxi will be easier if you have needed information on hand.

19. People don't pick up after their dogs

Yup, you read it correctly. It’s not that common to pick after your pet, so be careful walking around the streets of Rome.

20. Some shops will be closed during siesta time

Small shops and boutiques in Rome usually work two shifts. They take a break between 1 and 4 pm. Which is known to be the siesta time, where you are supposed to rest after your lunch. So keep that in mind if you want to go shopping around Rome.

21. Have cash on you

Make sure you always have cash on you when in Rome. There are many little shops and souvenir stands you certainly would like to shop in. But they usually only accept cash. That’s why we advise you always to have some money in your wallet, but be sure not to take a large sum of money when sightseeing in Rome.

22. Don't miss out on Day Trips

If you are staying in Rome for a more extended time, make sure not to miss visiting surrounding areas. Before going to Rome, learn about towns and places around the Eternal City, and plan for a fun day trip.

23. Don't count on WiFi

One thing you must know before visiting Rome is that not every cafe or restaurant has WiFi. But in our opinion that is not such a bad thing. It will allow you to enjoy the view of Roman streets around you. Trust us, Instagram photos can wait.

24. Buy the ticket in advance for the major attractions

We highly suggest buying your tickets and booking your tours in advance. This way, you will know in advance how to get organized – plus, you may run into better prices.

25. Loosely set an itinerary before going to Rome

Having a loosely organized plan will come as a beneficial thing to do before going to Rome. By having an outline of your activities, you can make sure you have enough time for everything you want to see and do while visiting Rome.

St. Peter's Square

DO's and DON'Ts Of Visiting Rome

We made a short, handy guide of things you should or shouldn't do while visiting Rome.

DO

  • Have an antipasto
  • Walk the city at night
  • Take as many photos as possible
  • Try an Italian hot chocolate
  • Stay hydrated – make sure to bring a water bottle
  • Order house wine in a restaurant
  • Eat as much gelato as you can

DON'T

  • Be afraid to be a tourist in Rome
  • Wear shorts or tank tops when visiting churches
  • Forget to bring your sunglasses
  • Wear uncomfortable shoes
  • Dip your feet in fountains – it’s forbidden
  • Order a cappuccino afternoon
  • Litter on the city streets

More of Rome…

If you liked our post, and you found it useful, check out some of our other posts. After a long day of sight seeing you will for sure be hungry, so there is no harm in checking our Best Roman Foods Guide.

Are you going to visit Rome soon?

Check out our Colosseum Visiting Tips!

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