Every year millions of tourists come to Rome to behold its artistic and architectonical beauty, recognized all over the world. It depends on where you come from, but Rome might result sometimes big or even too big, since it’s a metropolis, and people might get confused when visiting it for the first time. For this reason, I decided to share with you some notions which I consider useful for a good, first approach with the Eternal City:
 
 
 
  • Don’t buy anything from street vendors: they don’t have a license, and you could get into troubles by getting a fine. With few exceptions (any kind of tickets, stamps, cigarettes/cigars), for most of the things you buy in Italy (from your hotel check to your restaurant bill), you need to get a receipt (“scontrino”);
 
  • Remember that a good part of the museums of Rome are free every first Sunday of the month, including the Colosseum !! You find a complete list in the “links” section. Vatican Museums, instead, are free every last Sunday of every month;
 
  • Don’t lean or stand close to important monuments or fountains when having your gelato or panino, you could get a fine for that;
 
  • Pay attention to the people (wrongly) dressed as gladiators or Roman centurions: if you take pictures of them, they’re gonna ask you money for it. If you decide to take a picture with them, negotiate the price first;
 
  • Remember that for most of the churches, and especially for St. Peter’s Basilica, there’s a dress code to respect: knees and shoulders covered and hats off;
 
  • Remember that legal taxis in Rome are white and with a “TAXI” sign on the car, and that they HAVE to use the meter for each ride. No negotiating prices as long as it’s not a ride to or from the airports (Ciampino and Fiumicino): in this case, if the ride is to or from the historical city center of Rome (within the city walls), it has a fix price;
 
  • Try and avoid restaurants in the tourist areas and restaurants calling you inside. No one says you cannot enjoy a nice romantic dinner by the Pantheon or by Piazza Navona: just know it will be a bit more expensive than usual. Always ask for the menu and check on it the price of what you’re ordering, and remember that most of the best restaurants in Rome are usually in narrow streets or in little squares;
 
  • Remember that when you’re entering a coffee bar, “coffee” usually means “espresso” to us (specify “American coffee” if you want it long and less strong), “latte” simply means “milk” (maybe you mean “caffé latte”?), and that the price changes if you’re sitting at the table (ask first the price difference);
 
  • Remember that in Italy credit cards are accepted only from a specific amount up (most shops have information inside);
 
  • Don’t buy water in Rome, as Rome is The City of Water by definition ! Buy the first plastic bottle and always have it with you: I promise you’ll always be able to refill ! Drink with confidence from the “Nasoni” (litterally “Big noses”) fountains, which are located everywhere in the city, and feel their freshness ! Even the water from the sink in your hotel room: it’s drinkable (otherwise it would say something), and it’s FRESH and FREE.