Today I would like to tell you about something you should not do when in Rome.
Rome is not only the capital of Italy, but it is also a leaving testimony to the greatness of its past. In just one city you can find the ruins of the ancient Roman Empire, like the world-renowned Colosseum or the Imperial Forum and the Pantheon; traces of the Renaissance thanks to Rafael and Michelangelo’s works; the baroque period with artists like Caravaggio, Bernini and Borromini - just think about Navona Square with the famous “Fountain of the Four Rivers” from Bernini’s inspiration!-; last but not least the Christian Rome including, of course, the Vatican with the most known church in the world, St.Peter’s Basilica.
But Rome is not just a city of monuments. It is a dynamic city that gives to its tourists a wide variety of cultural events like permanent or travelling exhibitions and theatrical works.
Talking about Rome highlights there are so many things you should visit. Like every stereotype about Italy, tourists could think that when in Italy they are free to do whatever they would like to, but there are some problems you could totally avoid with a little foresight.
1. Queuing to visit Monuments
If you are willing to visit the best monuments in Rome, my advice is to book tickets, or better a guided tour, to enter them. What I am saying is that it is not comfortable being outside the monuments and wait for your turn, not just for the boredom you could feel while queuing but first of all you would waste your time. Just pre-purchase skip the line tickets and maximize your time in the city, above all if you are spending just a little time in the city itself. Not to mention crowds and the heat of the Italian summer: you would run the risk of getting nervous and make your holidays a bad experience you would prefer to forget!
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2. Throw coins in every fountain
According to the tradition, if you want to come back to Rome you have to throw a coin in the only fountain that could make your dream come true: the Trevi Fountain. Of course it is just a superstition, but it is something that characterises just this special fountain and not every other. So if you feel like you want to throw coins in every fountain just stop and breath: are you in front of Trevi Fountain? In case you are not, spare your desire –and your coins!- for the right fountain, the official one.
3. Not respect dress code
Every church, being a holy place, has a dress code, that is to say that shoulders and knees must be covered, even during dog days. Otherwise you will not be able to enter religious places and would waste your time going back home to get changed. At least put a shawl in your bag or little backpack, just to be sure your entrance won’t be rejected!
Furthermore my advice is to avoid high heels too, not because of the entrance to churches, but because it is not comfortable to walk down the cobblestone streets with high heels. Obviously it is your decision: suffering or happy-go-lucky?
4. Stay away from tourist menu
Be careful when you see some places where it seems you can have lunch or dinner with very inexpensive prices. They leave out the price of beverages, the waiting service and extras you will be aware of right at the moment you ask for the bill. I know it would be a great experience eating while staring the most famous monuments, but your common sense will probably suggest you find a place where to eat something traditional from the roman cook maybe just around the corner of the monument. The fascinating walk through highlights is just postponed!
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5. Don’t bathe in fountains
Whether you are walking around Rome during the hottest summer period or you just want to experience this strange thing, just don’t do it! It is not a pretty sight and it is something that will assure you get a fine. Maybe you are living your “Dolce Vita” but you are not Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni won’t join you in the water for sure! Count to ten and change your mind. You can drink some fresh water from the innumerable public fountains supplying free drinkable water all around the city, the so-called nasoni (literally large noses), little fountains that got this name from their characteristic design. In this way people won’t point at you like a rude tourist or a bumpkin.
In this regard, the presence of these nasoni will prevent you from buying bottles of water from kiosks which sell water at a higher price: they are just a tourist trap. You can bring a bottle with you and fill it with the free water falling out from nasoni.
These are just 5 things I wanted to point out just to help you have the best experience in Rome. Of course your good sense will guide you through the city, after all the respect for the hosting culture is something everybody should have in every corner of the globe. So I think that the principle idea can be just to follow the rules, our rules, your rules, the rules that allow every civilization to live in a respectable way.
Probably some of you would add other norms to be respected, that is not what I’ll do.
Oh, I forgot to say… please try to be original when taking pictures. The Mouth of Truth is just an ancient manhole cover, I don’t think you want to put your hand in it!