The last time I was in Italy or Rome was in 1997 on a high school trip. Needless to say, I would love to go back! In the mean time, here are some handy tips to consider before I book my trip, written by our old friend Aleix.
“If it’s our first time in the magical city of Rome, here are some tips that can come in very handy during our stay in the city and that can avoid any unwanted surprises.
Our first visit to Rome is always a highlight in our lives, especially for those of us who see traveling as a way of life. Rome is such a beautiful city that it will take us aback, with its monuments, museums and streets, full of history, color, and beauty.
However, because of all of these things, Rome is one of Europe‘s tourist centers and this brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city every year. Due to the number of tourists, there are some people who take advantage of them by scamming or robbing. Here are some tips on how to avoid these people as well as other tips that might come in handy during our stay in Rome apartments.
// — Airport scams.
You can be a victim of scamming straight after your arrival at Rome airport, whether its Fiumicino or Ciampino. If we want a transfer to the city centre by car, we need to be sure that these taxis are properly licensed and that have a meter. There are many cars outside Rome airport that offer themselves as taxis but that charge exorbitant fees to drive you to the city. Our recommendation is that you take either licensed taxis or public transport.
// — Pickpockets.
This is a disease that affects all of the main tourist cities in Europe, with no exception. We need to be especially careful when visiting main monuments and landmarks, such as the Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza di Spagna, etc. because with our distractions taking photographs and general site viewing it’s easy for the pickpockets to steal from us. Also, on the Metro, if it’s full, we need to keep our belongings close to us and keep an eye out because these people are highly skilled. Any strange distraction by strangers means we have to be extra careful.
Cafés in Rome are delightful, and its coffee is absolute excellent. However, Romans usually drink their coffee standing up at the bar and if we sit down at a table, whether it’s for coffee, drinks or a snack, we can be expected to be charged a fee for it.
If you’re just going in for a quick coffee, hence the name espresso, drink it at the bar if you want to avoid the charge.
// — Dress code.
Leaving aside the unpleasant tips, dress code in Rome is quite important, and I’m not talking about bars and clubs here. Due to the huge amount of religious landmarks in Rome, from the churches to The Vatican, we will not be allowed in depending on what we are wearing.
For men, vests are forbidden and for women, vests, low-cut tops and short skirts or short pants will also leave you standing at the entrance without being able to get in, a crying shame if we’ve just queued for a few hours to get in. Sometimes, these places offer plastic ponchos for girls to cover themselves up but that’s not something to rely on.
// — Street characters.
We also need to know that some people in the street outside the main landmarks may bring us unpleasant surprises. What better than a picture of yourself standing next to a man in gladiator costume outside the Colosseum?
Well, actually, we’re made to believe that these pictures are for free but the gladiator then asks for anything from 5 euros up to 20 euros for the photograph and if we refuse, it could result in an unpleasant situation. Also, unofficial tour guides presenting themselves as official can also charge us exorbitant fees at the end of the tour. Unless we’re prepared to pay these fees, we need to avoid them.
Don’t let all of this put you off visiting the wonderful Eternal City. With these tips, your stay in apartments in Rome will be trouble free and you can sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.”
About the Author: Aleix Gwilliam is a 24 year old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.