It’s been a couple of weeks now since we landed back on British soil from our short trip to Rome. We’re settled back in at work, and back to the reality of the autumnal chill. Still, I think we got more rain in our first day at Rome than we have had for a long time here in the UK – so at least there’s that.
When we chose to visit Rome, we didn’t fully know what to expect. I had heard it was quite a romantic city (it’s not really, tbh), and had also got the indication that everything was hella expensive and we’d be spending over 100 euros a day to eat (also not true in our experience).
Because the two preconceptions about Rome didn’t quite hit the mark, I wanted to hit you guys with some truth bombs about our own experience of the city by sharing some less than conventional travel tips.
Crossing the road is like dicing with death
Getting across a road in a city is always a little risky, but I’ve never experienced such a risk as crossing a Roman road. The zebra crossings there are really just a suggestion rather than the hard rule that we have in the UK. Here in Blighty, when a pedestrian is stood on the path in front of a zebra crossing, a car has to stop to let them cross safely. Not in Rome.
In Rome (and possibly all of Italy, idk), cars can just keep on going unless you actually step out into the street and risk your life to get to the other side. Top tip: Wait for an Italian to cross and follow them like a shadow. Works every time.
Never order a taxi – stick to ranks
So this is a tip based on the fact that Liam was told by someone that when you order a taxi to a location, you will also be charged for the journey to reach you. Always get a taxi at a rank if you can, or just do what we did and walk for several hours in the rain. Also be prepared to get stuck in loads of traffic, and be taken the long way round to anywhere you are going.
Be prepared to be treated differently based on who you are/where you are from
Now, this might be a bit controversial. But again, I am basing this specifically on the experience we had during our stay. As Brits, and as a couple, we were treated with a level of…much lower priority at certain restaurants. We were often left waiting ages just to take our order, and even longer between courses.
I did initially think this was just because we don’t speak the language, but I found that larger groups of tourists were also being served more attentively – and I imagine it’s all down to knowing the waiters will get a larger tip from a group too.
Learn at least the basics of Italian
Some European countries are fine with tourists and will speak a lot of English anyway. Before going to Rome I was told that a lot of Italians do speak English, what I wasn’t told was that a lot of them choose not to. That’s fine – I don’t blame them at all (after all, it is their country!), which is why I would definitely recommend brushing up on basic phrases at least!
Don’t try to eat like an Italian
If you have ever eaten in an Italian restaurant in Italy, you’ll know their meal structure. If you haven’t read this on Wikipedia and truly appreciate how much Italians love their food.
On our last evening in Rome, Liam decided to try and eat four courses (starter, pasta dish, main, dessert) and was well and truly beaten. British stomaches just aren’t cut out for that much food. Especially when you factor in the delicious bread and oils that are on offer too!
Have you ever been to Rome or anywhere in Italy? Let me know your travel tips in the comments below!