28 Things to Know Before You Visit Rome

Art, archeology, scenery, romance, and grandeur—the majestic lands of Rome have so much to offer to everyone. It is a fascinating blend of modern and historical cultures.

Rome is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of people from all over the world. The Vatican Museum alone gets 4.2 million tourists and the Colosseum receives 4 million tourists.

Here you will experience the exuberant culture, historical architecture, traditional food, exotic museums, and vibrant parks. You name it, Rome has it!

You will find numerous travel guides for Rome. However, in 28 Things to Know Before You Visit Rome, we will share every little thing you need to know before visiting Rome.

Carry Cash or … Coins

This may seem to be the most obvious thing to many, but they still don’t keep it in mind. Your credit card will be useful for large stores and restaurants. However, some cafes don’t have this facility. So, it’s a good idea to have some coins in your pocket.

Tip as you Please

Most people believe that tipping is ‘obligatory’ in Europe as it is in the US. However, it is not a traditional part of Roman culture. So, you can leave a few coins on the table, but you don’t have to.

You can decide this on the quality of the services you get.

The Right Way to Order Coffee

Instead of waiting for your coffee at the table, order it on the bar. If the waiter brings it to your table, you’ll be charged an extra fee. So, it is better to sip your coffee while standing at the bar.

Buy Bus Tickets Ahead

Most tourists don’t know that they need to buy tickets ahead of time. You can’t buy the tickets on the bus. You can easily purchase them for a tobacco shop.

Also, metro tickets are valid for 75 minutes only. So, make sure that you use the buses during that time frame.

Kids are free!

In Rome, kids under the age of 10 years can ride the metro for free. If you have children traveling with you, make sure that you don’t purchase a ticket for them.

Plan your Airport Ride

The airport is very far from the center of the city. From the airport, you can take the train to the Termini station for $16. However, if you want to save some cash, take the regional train instead.

It will make multiple stops throughout, so you can get off whenever you want.

Learn about Taxi Fare

In Rome, the taxis can be very expensive. If you’re coming from the airport, there is a fixed rate. So, make sure that you know the latest rates precisely.

Some taxi drivers tend to prey on unsuspecting tourists. So, make sure that you check the taxi meter before you start your journey.

check Rome airport Taxi fare: Rome Taxi Fare Calculator

Keep your Water Bottle Close

While in Rome, don’t forget to carry your water bottle. Street vendors charge ridiculously for a bottle of water. So, make sure that you purchase water from a grocery store instead.

There are also water fountains throughout the city. You can always fill a reusable bottle from there.

Don’t Take Anything from Anyone

While this may be a tip that we usually tell our children, it fits here too. Wait, hear me out before you shake your head in disbelief!

Never take anything from anyone on the street. They might try to trick you into accepting a rose and then charge you for it. So, make sure that you don’t take the umbrella from the salesman. He isn’t being nice; he’s just looking for an excuse to charge you for it.

Double Check your Food Bill

If your food bill seems wrong, make sure that you speak up. Always make sure that you read it carefully before paying.

There can be a mistake in the bill or they may be trying to fool you into paying extra. Even if it’s a few euros, don’t let them cheat you.

Order Carefully

When you order an appetizer, they will ask how many servings you want. Most people like to share the appetizer, so make sure that you specify it to them.

If you “order for the table,” they will bring only one appetizer. However, if you don’t specify that, they will bring you four appetizers if there are four people.

Trust me, you don’t want to end up with 16 euros just for the starter.

Choose Accommodations Carefully

Make sure that you choose your accommodations carefully. Rome is a place where millions of people go every year. So, there isn’t a shortage of good places, hotels, apartments, and hostels.

However, finding a good location will always be a challenge. If you stay outside the city walls, you will be charged lesser. If you stay in the middle of the city, it will be expensive. Most people make the mistake of reserving a place outside the city walls so that they have to pay lesser.

However, their traveling expenses start to increase. As you already know, taxi fares are ridiculously high. So, it can be quite a hassle to find a metro every time you want to go sightseeing.

So, make sure that you choose a place in the middle of the city. Have a look at the places you want to visit and make sure that you book your hotel near that. If you want to stay locked up in the hotel, that’s another story.

Pay for using public restroom

Public toilets in Rome
Public toilets in Rome

You might already know that many European countries demand a fee for using public restrooms.

So, make sure that you have some change in your pocket. Obviously, it is better to use the restroom at your accommodation so that you don’t have to waste money. If you want, you can also stop at one of the McDonald’s and use their restroom.

The usual fee is 1€ but check from a reliable source before you travel there.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that restrooms are free for children. Often, people will try to trick you into paying for your children as well. Therefore, if you have children traveling with you, make sure that you keep this in mind.

Drive at your Risk

Most people think that it is a good idea to book a car to drive on their own in Rome. Let me break it to you, it’s not.

Some taxi drivers don’t know what lanes and speed limits mean. They simply don’t respect them.

So, unless you don’t care about your life, don’t rent a car. It is just an extra expense when you already have an extensive metro system. Also, if you end up damaging the car, you will have to pay for that too. So, do yourself a favor, and just use taxis and metro.

If you can’t avoid that, make sure that you also get an experienced driver. Otherwise, you will be in for a visit to the hospital!

Pickpockets Ahead.. Watch Out

In general, everyone in Rome is friendly and respectful. But where it is good, there is also bad.

Overall, the city is very safe. However, petty crimes such as pickpocketing are a real threat in Rome. So, make sure that you don’t leave your belongings unattended.

Make sure that you are vigilant when you are in crowds. Some children are so trained in the art of pickpocketing, that you won’t even realize it when it happens to you. This is especially important when you are traveling on public transport. So, you should make sure that your wallets are tucked in your inner pockets.

Shoes … Put your Best Foot Forward

Roman Cobblestone Street.
Roman Cobblestone Street.

It might sound attractive to walk around in high heels. In fact, some tourists pack their stilettos only. This is the biggest mistake you can make. Unless, you want to break your ankle and hope to visit the hospitals too, opt for flats.

The old streets of Rome are not suited for your fancy shoes. Also, you will be strolling around quite a lot, so make sure that your shoes are comfortable.

Make sure that you Know some Basic Italian

You might already know that Italian is the official language of Italy. Not many people know English unless they work in the tourism sector.

So, it is a good idea to learn some basic Italian words. You can also carry a small notebook or use a good translation application in your smartphone to avoid any issues.

Dressing in Churches

Rome has a number of churches that house the most beautiful architecture of Rome. So, whether you are religious or not, a visit to the churches is a must.

However, remember to dress modestly. Women should wear skirts that reach below their knees and men should go for pants or shorts that reach their knees.

If you wear miniskirts, make sure that you pack some scarves in your bag. You wouldn’t want to walk in a church with your legs showing. You can tie the scarf around your waist to cover yourself.

Beware of Scammers

Some restaurants will try to scam you into paying more for their food. So, make sure that you know the standard prices and don’t get scammed.

Remember your Hotel Details

If you don’t speak Italian well, you should carry your hotel details. You might need to take a cab to the hotel. So, you can easily show the driver the address on Google maps.

Visit Free Places Too

Many people just visit the main tourist locations and skip other places. So, dig in a little deeper and you’ll find some amazing places that are free too.

Do visit Palazzo Barberini, Santa Presede, and Villa Farnesina next time you go.

Free Museum Visits

Many tourists don’t know that state-owned museums and archeological sites offer a free visit on the first Sunday of each month. Many tourists even plan their visit around these days so that they can save some cash.

Also, you should go early so that you don’t have to wait in long lines. However, some special exhibitions will require you to pay a fee even on free Sundays.

Buy Vatican Tickets Online

 Crowds of tourists wait at the entrance to Vatican Museums
Crowds of tourists wait at the entrance to Vatican Museums

It is a good idea to purchase tickets for the Vatican Museums online instead of waiting in the lines.

Some people hesitate to book online because they will charge you extra. However, buying it online will save you from the hassle of waiting in lines.

Wi-Fi for Life

As a tourist destination, all major hotels and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi facility. However, it is a good idea to not rely on the public Internet connection. First, they might not offer enough coverage with good signals. There are a huge number of people who connect to the public connection, so it won’t be reliable either.

Furthermore, some Wi-Fi connections aren’t safe due to potential hackers trying to prey on unsuspecting tourists’ private information.

House Wine

House wine is one of the best things about Rome. It is not only tasty, but it is also affordable. However, you must remember that you are paying the standard price for the wine. Some bars try to charge you extra, so make sure you check the menu before ordering.

Dinner Starts Late

Most tourists don’t know that dinner starts late in Rome. In the evenings, Italians have a ritual of meeting friends and colleagues. They meet around 7 PM and enjoy some light snacks and sip on wine.

They go for dinner at around 9 PM. Also, it is quite common for dinners to last longer than usual. So, you will find dinners open around 10 PM too.

Less is More

Food is a huge ritual in Italy. They don’t like fancy dishes and complicated sauces. Instead, their menu tends to be very simple. So, less is more in Rome.

Summers are Hot

If you haven’t visited Rome before, you might not know how hot summers can get. So, make sure that you pack appropriate clothes. Also, make sure that you avoid going out during the hottest time of the day. Otherwise, the intense heat will wear you out.

Planning a vacation is a daunting task. But while you plan the big stuff, don’t forget to prepare for these little things. When it comes to a great visit or vacation, every tip counts.

So, if you are planning a trip to Rome, remember to take all these tips with you. Safely tuck them away in a corner of your mind. You’ll need them!