Top 10 travel tips for surviving Rome!

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Five this week, five next week!

1.  Don’t eat near a major monument.

If you can gaze out onto a major tourist attraction then the restaurant you are sitting in doesn’t need to do ANYTHING to attract trade.  That includes cooking well.  They also don’t need anyone to ever return, they have a steady supply of hundreds of customers daily.  The chefs are not usually Italian but a much cheaper paid nationality (this is an issue because after living in Italy for seventeen years and travelling to over 30 countries I can guarantee you that NO ONE knows how to cook pasta like an Italian), neither is the wait staff, and the ingredients are the cheapest and least wholesome available.  This particularly concerns me because GREAT, reasonably priced Italian food is usually just around the corner.  Go where there is nothing to rely on but the cooking itself.

2. Don’t sit down.

If you drink your cappuccino or juice at the counter, like all the other Italians, it will cost you roughly a third of the price than if you sit down at a table and get waited on.  I know its hard in a city that requires non stop walking to see the sights, but if you don’t want to get stung with exorbitant prices then eat/drink standing up and then go find some comfortable stone steps to sit on.  (I should make my next blog “Where to sit down in Rome”)

3.  Yes Rome gets cold.

Rome looks perennially hot to most of the world as it is usually sunny and does get very hot in the summer.  We had some guests from Germany last December who went out gaily in the morning without coats, to bask in the sun, and enjoy the delights of a much warmer country than their own.  They were back by lunchtime, crying and shivering, to stick their frozen heads under hot water showers.  5 degrees Celsius is cold, even when the sun is shining.  You will need a serious, natural fibre coat (i.e. not Polyester like the kind of coats you can get away with wearing in Melbourne – the bone freezing humidity will be on you in a second), the longer the better.  A hat will mean you can walk around for longer and still feel your ears.  Gloves and scarves are necessary for any evening jaunts.  Rome is a city where walking around and being outside is the only way to see most of it so you need to be insulated well.  Cafes are often open to the elements and therefore not great places to warm up in.

4.  Push back.

A lot of pushing goes on in Rome.  Usually it is just crowds jostling you in popular piazzas or shopping streets, or old ladies elbowing you out of the way.  But sometimes it is gypsies who use it as a technique, especially on public transport, to lean against you and feel where your wallet is, and then to take it.  If you are getting pushed in a manner which to you seems excessive then push back, hard.  It is the only way to keep them away from you and to send them the message that you are on to them.  Romans will support you in this.  Yelling is a good tactic too, even if they don’t understand your language, having the attention focussed on to them will stop them from pick pocketing you.

5.  Drink free water.

Rome has an abundance of free, clean, water flowing out of ancient fountains.  You will see these fountains on many street corners.  The water continually flows out of them into a drain below.  Fill up your water bottles or place your hands over the end of the spout so it comes out of the smaller hole further up and lower your head to drink as the Romans have been doing for over 2000 years before you. The water comes from underground springs, and is transported by aqueducts built by the Romans. Free running water for all Roman citizens was a gift from an Emperor to his people.  The gift that keeps on giving…..

6 thoughts on “Top 10 travel tips for surviving Rome!

  1. It will be my first trip to Rome in July 2012 for 3 days, I especially like the idea of shouting at a pick pocket! It appeals to my sense of justice ………………….. I only hope I won’t verbally abuse some poor Mum of 3 trying to get me off her child’s foot! 😉

    This has been very beneficial to me, thank you.

    Clare uk


    • Hee, hee that made me laugh – yes I hope so too! Glad this has been of help. Three days is the MINIMUM time recommended to spend in Rome on a holiday so you have just made it through, although I am sure that after those three days you will be booking another trip soon. Let me know if you want any specific travel advice. Thanks for your comment. Bronte


      • Hi Bronte, we’re having our main holiday in Turkey this year so three days was all we could manage in Rome 😦

        I found a great site for sight seeing, “tripomatic” ………… great if you don’t know anyone in town and are unsure on distances etc? We’re staying at the Ambasciatori Palace. If you could recommend any nice, but reasonable restaurants in that area I would be most grateful to you?

        Was lovely to have a reply 🙂

        Kind Regards

        Clare x


      • Hi Clare,

        Well Turkey is my second favourite country so you are forgiven! It is really wonderful so I hope you have a great time there. As you are staying not far from the Trevi Fountain then L’Achetto (no.9) is close to you – about a 15 minute walk. Go straight down the veneto to piazza barberini then straight down via tritone until you get parallel with the Trevi Fountain on your left then turn into the pedestrian streets and navigate from there. Even if you have only three days I recommend of an evening to go to Trastevere to walk around and eat. It really comes alive then and three of the restaurants I mention are there in that area. It would take you about forty mins leisurely walk from your hotel and is a lovely walk. Enjoy your trip!


  2. I just returned from 6 days in Rome and I’m having food withdrawals! No problems with pickpockets as I had a money belt and there was never any “pushing”. My daughter and I found our way around quite easily, and used the subway every day. The free water from the fountains was heaven because it was 95 degrees every day. I loved it and would go back someday. Your website is great!


    • Hi Patty, thanks for your comments and feedback. I am glad you like the site and i am really glad you had such a nice time in Rome and I too hope that you get to go again someday. Apologies for taking so long to reply to you. My book Roman Daze – La Dolce Vita in four seasons is coming out soon. If you enjoyed this blog you might enjoy my book too. I will announce it on this website when it gets published. Regards, Bronte


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