Tips and hints for Rome Italy

Mar 18th, 2008, 12:30 AM
  #1  
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Tips and hints for Rome Italy

So I've already posted by journal entries from my trip to Rome this past December and now moving on to give advice to people looking to travel to Rome.

1. If going in the colder months bring a cheap umbrella...I brought a very expensive Burberry umbrella and it started to sprinkle so i opened it up and the wind ripped it to shreds...the winds can get quite strong through those narrow streets!

2.Walking Rome is not hard at all. I have very bad knees and i'm a smoker but i found it quite easy. My apartment was based a couple blocks from Piazza Navona and after walking all of Rome I realized this was probably the best area to stay since it wasn't a far walk to any of the sites...and a very enjoyable walk.

3. Do not bother trying to tell the people trying to sell roses and other wares near the sites no. Just put your hand up and turn away...trust me..it may seem rude but you will save yourself alot of grief...it gets very annoying after a while.

4. There is a little cafe to the west of the center entrance to Piazza Navona called Anima Sapori. Very cheap food but its the best I have ever had! I suggest the salami and boiled egg pizza!

5. Hot chocolate is eaten with a spoon...seriously!

6. Must try the gelato!!!!

7. Beware if the waiter brings bread to your table or a cloth napkin at any cafe...there is a good chance you are getting charged for it! Anima Sapori did not charge for this.

8. Dont' overpack like i did. And don't bother with really colorful clothes...most of the people were wearing black on black.

9. Get receipts for everything!

10. If you buy a tour at the colosseum you get to skip the long lines.

11. if at all possible, visit in the winter months...its cold but the lines are sooooo short!

12. Give yourself a minimum of 3 hours to get back to the airport.

13. I strongly suggest if you have hired a driver to close your eyes while they are driving...it will scare the crap out of you.

14.SHOP AROUND! you would be shocked that at one store the item can be 40 Euro and the shop right next door will have it for 15 Euro.

15. Purchase an international plan...it was only about $6.00 U.S. for AT&T for your cell phone...calls are a lot cheaper...i made the mistake of not doing this...

16. Do your research before you go. get times and fees for all the attractions you want to see.

17. As much as everyone always says that you shouldn't even bother with the Coloseum...I say DO IT! It was amazing!

18. Make sure to take time to apprecate St. Peters Basilica. Bernini has so many wonderful works there.

19. If you decide you want to take the risk of taking pictures in the Sistine Chapel...be very careful not to let the guards see you. They actually had people dressed in normal clothing just like tourists! I inserted a memory card in to my camcorder and just pointed it at the ceiling like i was just holding it. That way I could take pictures without anyone knowing!

20. Dont cary a purse...just get a little money wallet to carry under your clothes...much easier and not bulky at all.

21. Don't buy anything in the Vatican Museum!!!! I can not stress this enough...everything is waaay over priced and the shops right outside in front of St. Peters Basilica sell the exact same things for a fraction of the price!

22. Wear nice clothes when going to the Vatican.

23. If you want ice in your drink you must ask for it.

24. Do not wait for the waiter to bring you your check...raise your hand up slightly when they look your way and they will get the idea. Romans will not rush you and will just let you sit there all day if you dont ask for the check.

25. If you start to get frustrated because someone "pretends" to not know English...dont let it get to you...people do it all the time here in our country. Learn some basic phrases before you go

26. Do not say ciao! Even though you may see this done on TV it is actually rude. It's very informal. unless an Italian says it to you....use the more formal version of goodbye.

27. Take the time to go to the little grocery stores...they are soooo cool!

28.The Murano jewelry sold by all the vendors is NOT real. It's pretty..dont get me wrong...but if you are wanting the real thing there is a nice Murano jewelry store near Campo De Fiori.

29. If you are going near Christmas time dont expect Christmas decorations....they are very few and far between.

30. If you are looking for a public restroom...good luck lol. I found one near the Spanish Steps. If you are facing the steps it is to your left on the far side. You actually have to go undergound to use it. Also, leave the lady a tip. they are very clean bathrooms.

31. There is a really neat bookstore underground near what i think was a mall. If you are walking from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain you will more than likely pass it...check it out. well worth the time.

32. TRAFFIC! Dont be scared! Just walk on out. If you sit there and wait for someone to stop you will be there all day...do as the Romans do!

33. Bring your deoderant...doog luck finding any in Rome!

34. If you rent an apartment and it says first floor...it will actually be the second floor. usually above a store or a cafe which will be very noisy at night. (i made this mistake also)

35. also, if you rent an apartment...bring some toilet paper or buy it on your first day...a lot of apartments will not furnish this for you for some reason.

36. On side streets all through out Rome there are small beautiful fountains built in to the buildings...take pictures of them...you'll be glad you did when you get home.

37. The Latin lover is very much alive..dont get offended. Just give a firm no and walk away and ignore anything else they say if it is bothering you.

38. I was told that i would have to register my passport on my own upon arriving in Rome but everytime i asked a cop where to go they told me not to worry about it. The cops are sooooo nice here....and most are quite handsome to boot....hehe you can use the passport as an excuse to try to talk to them

39. Make sure to bring back a bottle of lemonchello (SP?) its very yummy!

40. Be careful on the cobblestone streets...they can trip you up quite easily and they will hurt your feet soooo bad.

41...make sure your travel companion isn't a friggin moron...

42. St. Peters Basilica and the Pantheon are both CHURCHES!!!! DO NOT curse in them!!!! see number 41.

43. Try to arrange an audience with the Pope! Even if you arent Catholic you will be seeing a part of history. Bring along some rosary beads because the Pope will bless them. If you don't own any you can buy a cute set at most of the shops around St. Peters Basilica for around 9 Euro.

44. Dont use rentalsinrome.com!!!!!!!

45. The wiring in some of the old buildings can be quite scary so be cautious when plugging in expensive electronics like a laptop.

46.Its fun to meet up with other people off of the message boards that are going at the same time you are. try to arrange a meeting place and time before you leave on your trip. you might just make a lasting friendship.

47. make sure you have a good zoom on your camera.

more to come later! and excuse any of my spelling errors...i'm half asleep....
heartofthesouth is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 01:16 AM
  #2  
 
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A few factual corrections:

>>7. Beware if the waiter brings bread to your table or a cloth napkin at any cafe...there is a good chance you are getting charged for it!<<

This will happen in any trattoria or restaurant that is not a pizza joint - and even in many pizzerias.

It is *not* a ripoff; it is a customary charge throughout Italy called "coperto".

>>12. Give yourself a minimum of 3 hours to get back to the airport.<<

Depending on the time of day, the trip to Fiumicino airport will take from 20 to 45 minutes with a transfer service, barring accidents or other unforeseen blockages. Passengers to the US are advised to check in 3 hours before takeoff.

>>33. Bring your deoderant...doog luck finding any in Rome!<<

Deodorant is readily available in Rome and throughout Italy. You buy it at a pharmacy (farmacia) or an establishment selling perfume and cosmetics (profumeria).
Zerlina is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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<<<2.Walking Rome is not hard at all. I have very bad knees and i'm a smoker but i found it quite easy.>>>


<<<40.Be careful on the cobblestone streets...they can trip you up quite easily and they will hurt your feet soooo bad.>>>>

Was tip number 2 written on the first day of your trip and tip number 40. added a day later?
highflyer is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 05:26 AM
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Walking around Rome is very hard with bad knees as I do it almost everyweek. I also have at least one to two persons every flight home who have either broken or twisted their ankles so badly that they are bandaged up or on crutches-from the cobblestone streets.

Forget buying overseas phone packages-in Italy, especially Rome one can find a very inexpensive phone card called EUROPA at every tabac shop for 5 euros. You get anywhere from 200-300 minutes back to the states using it from any phone(even the hotel without extra charges).It is easy to buy and use and I would NEVER not buy one in Rome.

Christmas decorations-saw them all over the past few years especially the manger in St. Peter's square and in the Pantheon.

There are quite a few "real" Murano sellers in Rome-just look for the Murano seal on the piece to verify it was made there.

Learn to drink beverages the way Europeans do-without ice. Makes life so much easier!
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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"19. If you decide you want to take the risk of taking pictures in the Sistine Chapel...be very careful not to let the guards see you. They actually had people dressed in normal clothing just like tourists! I inserted a memory card in to my camcorder and just pointed it at the ceiling like i was just holding it. That way I could take pictures without anyone knowing!"

And just how do you justify not obeying the rules?
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Yeah - #19 bothered me too. I got so frustrated at the people who were taking photos....and some of them were doing it quite blatantly. Also got annoyed at all the people who felt it necessary to talk in "normal" voices rather than whispers.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:15 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to post your tips. I must admit I am having trouble with a few of them, including the one about taking pics in the Sistine Chapel (#41) that Thursday mentions above. I would certainly love to hear more about the Latin lovers (#37) and the moronic travel companion. (#41)

McDonald's has free public bathrooms. Or you can just use one in a bar after buying a drink. And, as noted above, deoderant is readily available.

I never heard of registering my passport upon arrival in Rome..(#38) Is that something one should do if not staying in a hotel? The admonition to beware of any place using cloth napkins or serving bread (#7) is also puzzling to me. As pointed out above, the bread and cover charge is standard.

I know you want to help but I did not want to let stand a couple of misconceptions..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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sorry, the Sistine Chapel tip was #19, not what I wrote above.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:24 AM
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"25. If you start to get frustrated because someone "pretends" to not know English...dont let it get to you...people do it all the time here in our country. Learn some basic phrases before you go"

How do you know when someone is pretending not to know English rather than not understanding well or whatever. Also, who does it all the time in our country (assuming you are referring to the USA based on your screen name)
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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Please give more info about #44.
Jean is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 07:56 AM
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I too would like more information about rental in rome. I used them twice last year and had no problems. In fact I was so pleased that I used them again to book this years October's trip. Was I lucky to have had such good experiences. Curious as to what your experience was. Thanks
tdk320n is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #12  
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ok...here goes the answers or comments back to people who left comments...

*What i was trying to say about walking Rome is this...your feet will hurt, there is no doubt about this...but its not as hard as everyone said it was going to be for me. (this is my opinion!)

*I didn't know that you could buy the deoderant in the Pharmacia...I'll make sure to remember that when I go next time if I happen to forget it..

*I never said that the bread and napkins are a ripoff...I said to beware...people need to know that this will be added to the bill.

*The comment about bending the rules...are you actually going to tell me that you have never bent the rules in your entire life? You have never went over the speed limit,crossed without a cross walk, claimed too many deductions on your taxes...come on people...don't get on to someone else for bending the rules if you ever have in your own life. It's not like I used a flash in the Sistine Chapel!

*as far as "the people pretending to not know English" when i walked in to the store i heard the woman speaking English to another customer but when I approached her after shopping to ask her a question and asked if she knew English she shook her head no. and yes...i am from America. and yes i have heard people here complain about when someone comes to the US without knowing basic English phrases...not saying this is the right thing..but people do it. It's just polite if you are visiting someone elses country to try to learn a couple of the basic phrases. (my opinion once again!) if you want to try to wing it...go for it.

*About the three hours to "get" to the airport...that was an error....it was supposed to be three hours before your flight leaves...thanks for the correction!

*back to the comment about the cobble stone streets and walking rome...when you fall on the cobble stones that is what causes a lot of your pain...walking rome is up to each individual..try it. you might like it (my opinion yet again)

*as far as purchasing an international plan vs a phone card...i chose the plan because my apartment did not have a phone nor one near by. (my personal choice but also it is something to take in to thought)

*as far as the Chistmas decorations...i honestly didn't see very many. yes each church usually has its own set up inside...but as far as actual Christmas lights that some people are used to as standard Christmas Decor...i only found 2 or 3 spots in Rome with these. if you do know of any good areas please let me know...i'm wanting to return this December.

*the rental agency actually was the one telling me i had to register my passport. yet the cops knew nothing about it...still not sure on this one.

*ahhh...the latin lover..the only time i had to get rude with someone was an old guy above the Spanish Steps. He was selling paintings and kept trying to get me and my best friend to join him in a threesome...a firm no and i walked away. as far as the other men....they were quite respectful...but...no matter where you go there is bound to be one bad apple.

*if you are wondering about why i chose not to use rentals in rome again...check out the 8 days in italy, demcember trip. that i posted. i have heard good things about them before but between the broken window, a heater with no fuel, a molding bathroom, and the driver ripping us off....i will not use them again. (my choice)

*and last but not least...thanks for the actual TIPS that were posted and corrections. And remember...everyone has their own opinion on each one of these subjects so dont be hateful or rude...we're all here with the same purpose...sharing our travels and learning new things...If i made a mistake on something or maybe didnt explain something well enough...dont send me an email calling me an idiot...i'm far from it. But I am Human and do make mistakes...Dont we all!
heartofthesouth is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 11:13 AM
  #13  
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I found a mistake....the rental agency i used was
www.rentalinrome.com

NOT
www.rentalsinrome.com

the mistake was the S after rental...

Sorry about that...two different companies!!!!
heartofthesouth is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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I gotta say: my experience with saying "Ciao" was totally different when I was there last year. When I first arrived in Rome all I ever did was use the formal. And everytime the Roman I was speaking with kind of chuckled and then said Ciao to me. So then I just dropped the formality and everyone I spoke with seemed happy to converse with me in the same fashion.
heeney is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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lol i wish it would have been that easy for me because i had a really hard time pronouncing the more formal version of goodbye lol...Ciao would have been soooo much better. But everyone used the more formal version while i was there until after around the second or third time i would come in to the shop or cafe.
heartofthesouth is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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What more formal version are you talking about?

vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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Arrivederci?
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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LOL yep...It was so darn cold i had a really hard time trying to form any words over one syllable But seriously...it was very cold comapred to was us Alabamians are used to!
heartofthesouth is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Thank you for all your tips. I spent my first time in Rome last July. Had a very different experience then you did....

interesting.

Regarding number 19 - no, I do not "always" follow the rules - those around me could definately attest to that..having said that - it bothered me GREATLY when people were taking pictures in the Chapel. I would like that to be around for my Granddaughter and her children to marvel at someday.

I would have to ask you -- when you look at a glass..is it half full or half empty?

Just checking...
dawnnoelm is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Also on another note...Me speaking in Italian with my thick southern accent...quite funny!
heartofthesouth is offline  

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