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10 – Things you should never do when in Rome

by Dr Prem Community Writer

When you’re in Rome, you have to conduct yourself in a way which is commendable. You can’t be expected to completely assimilate into the local culture. But you’d have an enjoyable and memorable trip if you know a few of the dos and don’ts. When in Rome, you should know a few things which would help avoid some social faux pas, or some common tourist traps in Rome. Here are some of the things you should never, ever do when you’re in Rome:

10 – Things you should not do when in Rome

1.    Don’t visit the Vatican and other churches in revealing attire

If you visit Rome in the summer, then it will be sweltering hot. You may be tempted to roam around the city in tank tops or other tops of the same nature. In the Vatican and other churches, exposed skin is frowned upon. Both men and women should avoid wearing shorts, minis, tank tops, and so on. Some churches sell ‘cover-ups’ but it’s best to comply with the local dress code as it shows that you respect the local culture. So when in Rome and especially within the Vatican, be modestly dressed.

2.    Don’t address strangers informally

Don’t be under the misconception that ‘Ciao’ is the accepted greeting in Italy. You may have seen it being used in tons of movies, but actually Italians prefer to use the more formal greetings of ‘Buon giorno’ or else ‘Buona sera’. So saying ‘Ciao’ is one of the things you must  never do in Italy. You will impress Italians and gain their friendship by greeting them formally at least in the beginning.

3.    Don’t chomp and walk around

Italians have great respect for food. They like lingering over their meals, enjoying it to the fullest. So when in Rome, you must do as the Italians do. Even though street food is slowly becoming popular, you should really pull up a stool, sit at the bar or find a bench to sit and eat. Italians never eat while walking, and so walking and eating is one of the things not

to do in Italy. Gelato of course, is excluded from this unwritten rule.

4.    Don’t ask for tap water in restaurants

When in Rome, best fill your bottle from the many drinking fountains, called the ‘fontanellespigot’. Some of these fountains are quite sculpturally beautiful. In restaurants, tap water is usually not served, but follow the example of most of the visitors and locals who buy the very reasonable priced drinking water bottles. Tap water in Rome is safe to drink, but its against the norm to ask for it.

5.    Don’t be afraid to make friends

Italians are an expressive people and you should not be shy to approach people and make friends. Italian like to make friends with people from all over the globe, so go ahead and talk to the locals. You can also express your happiness and unhappiness about food, and don’t wait to ask for clarification if the food is late. You should be polite, of course, but firm.

6.    Don’t walk around alone

Rome is comparatively safe but there are unsafe areas in the city. Find out which areas are safe for you and refrain from going there alone. Pickpockets roam the city of Rome looking for tourists who seem like easy targets. Be street savvy and confident and show that you know what you are doing and going, and you’ll be quite safe.

Tip: Do not ever put any of your valuables in the most accessible pockets of your backpack or purse. MP3 players and phones are the favorite items of pickpockets, so be careful with them.

7.    Don’t forget the binoculars

You may find it too touristy but carrying your binoculars will let you see the intricate carved details of the ceilings of the basilicas and churches.

8.    Don’t miss the Pope’s hearings

The Pope addresses the public in the Vatican every Wednesday. Try to get there as early as possible to get good seats. Seating is limited, so even if you have tickets, you should reach early.

9.    Don’t plan museum visits on Monday

Plan your itinerary in a way that you can visit other attractions on Monday, as public places such as museums are closed in Monday.

10.     Don’t miss the Trastevere sunset

The sunset in this part of the city is said to be spectacular, so make an effort to bask in the natural beauty.

If you read the history of Rome before visiting, you will enjoy your trip even more. Knowing the history will make it even more interesting and fascinating when you see it for real.

Splashing in fountains, selfies inside the Sistine and avoiding cappuccinos after 12 pm are other must’s you should remember. To enjoy your time in Rome buy 3, 7 or 30 day passes and enjoy  guided tours and go off the beaten track too, to have the time of your life.