Rome: Practical Tips for Tourists

Taxi

From the Airport to Rome. While the airport exits are usually surrounded by “taxi drivers” trying to offer you a lift, these guys are NOT authorized taxi drivers and could try to charge outrageous prices for their services. If you choose to go by taxi, locate a designated rank where you can find marked white taxis waiting patiently for their turn. The fixed rate from Fiumicino is 48€ or 30€ from Ciampino – don’t hesitate to confirm the price with your driver before departure. Other useful info on taxis can be found here.

More cost-friendly options would include shuttles, buses, or trains. Every half hour an express train leaves from Fiumicino to Termini station in central Rome – an approximate 30 minute journey for 14€. Terravision shuttles can cost as little as 5€, but are less frequent.

Bus & metro tickets

This seems to be the most confusing bit for visitors. You can’t buy tickets on the buses! “Biglietti” (pronounced BILL-YET-EE) AKA tickets can be purchased using machines in the metro stations or, more conveniently, from a newspaper stand or Tobacco shop (which can be recognized by a “T” sign outside).  They always cost €1.50 and are usable for both the bus and metro.

Beware of pickpockets!!

Especially in the metros and buses, train stations, or in busy crowds around the Vatican and other popular tourist areas. Unfortunately, beggars are sometimes in on a scam, too, so don’t flash your cash and always keep it close.

Yes, you can drink the water

Drinking Fountain

Actually, bringing a reusable water bottle could come in handy! Rome’s public water fountains (usually marked SPQR) are absolutely drinkable, cold, and refreshing! Here’s a general rule of thumb: if the fountain seems bigger or more beautiful than the others, then don’t even think about it!

Wear comfortable shoes

It may seem obvious, but it’s really important! We want you to enjoy your Roman holiday – which wouldn’t be so easy with sore feet. Rome is built on seven hills, so you’re bound to find yourself trekking upwards at some point. Keep in mind, too, while Roman streets are absolutely beautiful, they are often paved in cobblestones, which aren’t very even or smooth.

Aperitivo!!!

Buffet

Take advantage of those golden early evening hours when cocktails come with a side of yummy, savoury snacks (usually between 7:00-9:00 pm)! Depending on the place, you might have full access to a buffet or just a nice little side plate, but we definitely can’t complain when there’s free food involved.

Real Gelato!

Gelato

Explore the side streets for real gelato! Yes, you want to try gelato, but you’re much more likely to find an authentic gelateria tucked away in a quaint little corner than on the main strip. Here’s a hint: if the flavours are neon coloured or filled with candy, it’s not typical Roman gelato. Traditional gelato is based on the use of fresh, simple, and local ingredients. Local can be found licking their cones at Venchi, La Romana, and Fatamorgana.

Restaurants

Osteria

Same goes for restaurants. Traditional Roman eateries usually take a no-frills approach and let the food speak for itself. So, if you find yourself reeled into a place for it’s unique name and hip décor, it might be delicious – but we just think you might have a more authentic experience in a traditional Hosteria, Trattoria, Pizzeria, or Ristorante.

Caffè

Before sitting down at a café or restaurant near the monuments, ask if there is a service fee or table charge. In touristy areas the locales often add an unexpected fee when it’s time to pay. It’s most frequently explained as a cost for eating at a table and receiving service from a waiter. So just check before, or you might end up paying €15 for an 80 cent coffee!

Street sellers

Street sellers can be pretty aggressive. Don’t let them take advantage of you! They will hand you roses and put bracelets on your wrists, telling you they are free, but then follow asking for money. Men dressed like Gladiators will pose for photos and then demand to be paid afterwards. If you’re interested in the products there are selling, then it is absolutely acceptable to barter for a lower price.

Local Markets

Market

Check out the local markets. Italians pride themselves on their traditional cuisine, which is made up of the freshest local ingredients. So hit the outdoor market and sink your teeth into some of the best seasonal produce you can get your hands on. Remember that Rome has some of the tastiest tomatoes in the world!

Most importantly, enjoy your visit! Don’t waste your vacation time stressing the details, let What A Life Tours handle your daily itineraries, museum bookings, and day trips. We’ve got you covered!

Author: April Nicole

April is an American writer and photographer who has lived in Rome since 2013. She enjoys exploring the museums of the city, as well as indulging in authentic Italian cuisine!

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