What you should avoid in Rome (and in Italy)
Surely Italy is the "Bel Paese" (the beautiful country), however as it occurs in every country there are a few things that you should avoid, to spare being frustrated and to dodge problems.
(1) First of all, as it occurs in any country, don't be arrogant and rude, and don't make nationalistic comments. This applies to every hosting people, yet in particular Italians believe that the essence of international relations is being friendly, and they would be just horrified by such behaviour. They would surely fire back, whether ignoring you or being rude to you. Your holiday will become unpleasant and uneventful to say the least.
(2) Taking a ride with the "Carrozze romane" (Roman carriages). They would be naturally a fabulous romantic experience, as you would appreciate Rome with the perspective of past ages. However, most carriage riders are greedy, and they tend to believe that tourists are fat chickens to exploit. They appear as humble people, so you will think that they will not charge expensive fares. Yet, after the ride, they will ask you huge, incredible fares (and mind you, they are not poor at all, the profit possibly goes to finance building their holiday home). In other words - literally - they will take you for a ride.
One measure is obviously to agree *before* about the price of the ride, without giving them a penny after. If things turn out differently, threaten the driver that you will call a guard ("Chiamo una guardia"
pron. "Keeamoh ounah gouardiah") , or that you want a "ricevuta fiscale" (fiscal receipt) for the high fare, which they usually don't give, as they don't even pay taxes. These measures will make him have second thoughts about his wrongdoings, yet you never sure that they will work. You should be cautious at all stages, and best of all is not taking the ride, after all.
The "Carrozze", at St. Peter
(3) Taking a train in high season without a reservation.
You might end up travelling all the time possibly standing, without air conditioning, in a crowded corridor. Eurostar class trains, and also IC Intercities will not allow standing passengers, so you might not be able to travel at all. If your travel agent is not available to get reservations from your country, many travel agencies in every Italian town offer a train reservation service (generally presented outside as "Biglietteria FS" where FS stands for Ferrovie dello Stato, i.e. State Railways). It is even better reserving and purchasing your ticket in any box office of every regular Italian train station. Prices in travel agencies are the same as in the box offices of train stations. The consequence is that travel agencies make a very minimal profit, they just do it to offer a more complete service to their clients. So don't be demanding or don't think that they will have to pamper you: actually, try to make the procedure as smooth as possible.
(4) Don't rely on surface public transport on Sundays.
While subways are on time and work regularly (they are less crowded actually on holidays), buses slow down, and you might wait a long long time before the bus appears. At least try to wear a hat in summer! A possible exception is if you catch the bus in an area served by many lines, as there are more chances that one will pass.
(5) Going to a restaurant that you don't know well on Sunday and holidays.
It might be crowded, and you could wait a long time to be served. The food is generally not at its best. Naturally, you should also reserve your place, or you might end up standing a long time even before you sit! This will solve some problems, but not all.
(6) Don't use AOL as your e-mail provider to communicate by e-mail with Italians. It carelessly does not include previous dialogues automatically when you hit the "reply to" button, so every time you write to a service provider in Italy (or elsewhere) they have to make a tedious search among all the
messages received and sent every day to find yours.
AOL has other defects: it blocks normal and valid incoming e-mail capriciously. AOL is the perfect e-mail provider to experience all sort of misunderstandings, and to get stranded in your holidays abroad (e-mail incoming delivery failures can happen any time unpredictably, with arrival information, reply to some questions of yours etc.).
Back to Rome guide
Visit Rome | Rome panoramic views | Rome apartments and villas | Inquire | Rome travel guide | Rome map | Service | Resources
Roman Homes homepage