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Rome Travel Tips & Suggestions

Rome is a fantastic city to live in, but from a tourist perspective -- especially if you aren't comfortable with a city that is as chaotic as Rome -- it might not be so great. I myself hated Rome the first time I visited, but came back and looked at things from a new perspective and saw all the great things it has to offer, and now live here. There are also numerous opportunities to meet people from all over the world all over the city if you are social and talk to people. The Spanish steps are a great place for tourists to hang out, listen to some locals play the guitar and sing, and meet new people. Rome is not a dangerous city if you don't make yourself a target. That means not wandering around with a map in your hand or wearing obviously touristy clothing (fanny packs for instance). Also, attempt to have an air of confidence about where you are even if you're totally lost. You can still ask for directions, but don't make it obvious that you're lost. As far as Romans not being friendly, I've lived here for a while and what I've noticed is that most people have expectations of how people such as waiters or barmen should behave that isn't congruent with the culture. Waiters aren't tipped in Italy and as such don't really have incentive to be any nicer than they have to -- however if you're friendly towards them, even if they are cold to you initially, often times they'll warm up eventually. Italian culture is one of taking your time -- if an Italian goes to dinner they expect not to be rushed, if a waiter brings their food too quickly it's considered rude, like they're trying to get rid of them. That said there are rude people here, just like anywhere else. The bus drivers can be especially unfriendly, so try to avoid asking them for directions (especially if they're already driving and you ask in English), instead try asking a local on the bus, they're usually quite willing to help you. The increasing issue with fascists here in the city is something to be concerned about, but just don't get confrontational with people and you shouldn't have a problem. There are police everywhere in the city you can approach if need be. Basically the system the police in Rome follow is if a person isn't hurting anyone, then they should leave it be. All in all with Rome, you have to come in with an open mind, and try to find the humor in situations that are a bit out of the ordinary. It's a great, fun, amazing, crazy city with endless opportunities if you just give it the chance to be so. — Anonymous
Look at Rome -- dirty, expensive, and crowded. It is the eternal city and there is so much to see and explore. And that is what every owner of a hostel, hotel, restaurant and every other business serving tourists knows. Convenient it is that most hostels and hotels are situated close to the Termini train station. It must be the cheapest area in Rome, because it is one of the most smelly, dirty, and -- for tourists, carrying their cameras and wallets -- unsafe areas. Plus, coming out of Termini, walking your first meters in the city, you will see homeless sleeping, be asked for money and cigarettes. The prices in Rome -- well, it is Rome after all, so every tourist is paying for it, but do yourself a big favor when you stay at a some hotel or hostel. Ask around what rate other guests pay, because you will be judged by your wallet and look by receptionists at many places at a difference of up to 60 €uro for a single room. Some tourists just pay everything. — opb.travel
I first visited Rome in 1973 and I had the best time there -- the city was so beautiful with all its history and the people so friendly. Again, I visited in 2003 and it was still wonderful. I visited last year with my daughter because I told her it was the one of the best cities in the world. How disappointed we were, I could have cried. We stayed at an apartment near Termini Station and the proprietor insisted we pay cash even though the internet site said you could pay with a credit card. Unfortunately, because of demand, all ATMs (Bancomats) were out of service. We walked around with the proprietor late into the night, gave up and found one in the morning that worked. We only had three days and didn't want to waste time. First we headed off to St. Peter's but the crowds were horrendous so we gave up on that. The queues for the Vatican went right around the streets and were six people deep. We decided to leave that for another day and get up early in the morning. We queued from 8:30 a.m. for two hours to get in, by which time we wished we hadn't bothered. Next we queued for a sightseeing bus, another two-and-a-half-hour wait from Termini Station. People won't get off as they do the whole circuit first, then get off at places they want to visit. Get on it somewhere than the start, you may have more luck! We loved seeing all the ruins and fountains, but everywhere you go there are huge crowds. The natives were off-hand and I don't blame them. Rome has become too crowded, causing the city to become dirty, with cigarette butts everywhere and graffiti. The food is really expensive and "copperto" and service charges are added onto this expense. Personally, I think that the introduction of cheap flights to Europe (Ryan Air, EasyJet) has caused a major influx of tourists, which has had a derogatory affect not only in Rome but in Venice, Florence. My daughter hated being there and wanted to go home, I was embarrassed as I said it was the best city in the world. The final insult was when we were walking to Termini Station to get to Ciampino Airport, 11 a.m. in the morning, some drunk whipped out his member and urinated in the gutter right in front of us. I will never go there again, I could cry. — Margaret Wilson
I thought Rome was a great place to visit, but lots of walking. But I found a few bars that made up for that at the end of the day. Try and make a trip down to Pompeii -- only two hours away. All I can say is be careful of some of the guys around the termini station, as my friend and I nearly got rolled. If you look about for a night out, you can get good deals on beer -- especially the old town (it's pretty reasonable). I found the Italian very polite -- if you make the effort to speak Italian no matter how basic, you get respect! Enjoy Rome -- the ladies are darlings and fit! — giles(marco)
Rome is a fantastic, brilliant city but one that, like most large and popular cities, offers traps for the unwary. There are lots of pickpockets (and they are very good at their jobs), but just pay attention and don't flaunt your valuables. On the plus side, Rome has a very low serious crime rate for such a large city and is generally safe (with all the usual provisos). You can also be ripped off (however, not as badly as I've been ripped off in London, Paris, or New York) and pay too much for bad food but that is usually only if you eat at tourist spots and don't wander off the tourist path (it doesn't take much wandering -- usually just a street away). Eat at local places, drink your coffee standing up, and generally try to get the feel of the place and you will have a much much better time. People are not mean or pushy, but nor will they fawn and grovel at your feet -- Italians (Romans especially, who can be a bit old fashioned) people respond to politeness and attempts to at least try to speak some Italian. If you dress inappropriately, jabber at people in English without asking if they speak it, or expect them to act like servants then what do you expect? Rome is a living, working city. Tourism is important but is not everything -- I much prefer it that way. Remember, you are not at home so don't expect it be be like home. Live a little for God's sake. — Sam
Nasty people, dirt and graffiti everywhere, no medicine available after 9. Italian hospitality is a myth -- I was treated much more nicely by the English-speaking tourists. You're better off staying home. — Anonymous
Don't talk to strangers if you are a female. I met two Italian men in Rome who helped me to find the way at first and kept on taking advantage of me afterwards! — Anonymous
Roma is historic. Act like a local, keep your valuables hidden, and don't walk round with a map. There are pickpockets and thieves. Watch out. And if you hate your pension or hostel, change it. There are hundreds of others. Don't be intimidated by the pushy owners. I found Rome to be the pushiest city I have ever visited in terms of locals. Perhaps someone needs to remind the Italians that without tourists their economy wouldn't be that good. — jo
Rome was just amazing. It was on my list of must-see cities, and it fulfilled every expectation. The usual tourist haunts should be visited and won't disappoint -- Trevi Fountain, Colosseo, and Vatican City. For something a little more off the crowded track, try Appia Antica, the ancient acquaduct, and the catacombs. We took the "Archeo-bus" out there and loved it. It ended up being our favorite day. Maybe we got lucky, but everything we ate was awesome! The food was so good. Just try to find something a little off the tourist track and you won't be disappointed. The pizza was outstanding and so cheap. Picnics were great too -- just find a deli and order some meat and cheese. Overall, everyone should visit Rome -- you won't regret seeing the "Eternal City." — Jessica
It's bizarre that people complain about not being admitted to St Peter's because of inappropriate attire. It's a place of worship! If tourists want to visit -- for free, by the way -- fine, but what's unreasonable about asking them to respect their surroundings? Would these people show up at a mosque demanding to be admitted without removing their shoes and while eating a ham sandwich? — Herbivore
Rome was one of the most beautiful and interesting cities I have ever seen, but also one of the sketchiest. My friend got her wallet and one hundred-fifty Euros stolen on the Metro on the way to the Vatican Museum, so watch out! Also, beware of the Termini train station late at night and early in the morning. Lots of creepy drunk guys tend to hang out around there. — Anonymous
Rome exceeded all expectation even for a girl who doesn't like big cities. The historical buildings were so interesting and beautiful. Spend a couple of days there. — christine
I lived in Rome for four months with work paying for my plush appartment. Rome is such a lovely place and I liked the people -- what you see is what you get with them. Food and service is great, weather is great. Enjoy your trip there and eat out as much as you can. — Dave
When travelling in Summer, remember to do as the Romans do and siesta during the middle of the day. It gets really hot and is very easy to sun burn if you are trying to do outdoor sightseeing in the middle of the day. I got sunstroke without realising how hot it was... — Janine
This city is amazing. Theres so much to see, I could have happily stayed there for months. Make sure you're wearing trousers and shoes however when you visit St Peters, guards in FBI disguise snatch you from the crowd and send you away in the typical Italian way. I find the Italians extremely rude and unwelcoming; however they didnt spoil my time in Rome. I guess I would be like them if my city was invaded all year round by the hoards of amazed tourists. Strangley enough I also found Rome to be the worst place I've ever been to for pizza, or indeed anyfood. The prices were sky high, the service was rude and even mean and the food was awful. I obviously had a bad time of it when looking for food but I would suggest Rome is not the place for good food. — steve
Rome is fantastic!!! The trevi Fountain is incredible!! I thought it was smaller but is simply fascinating, I could be watching it for hours without a problem, the colosseo, the pantheon, every single piece of Rome is incredible! It's easy to reach everything by la Metro and the people are helpful. — Anonymous
Rome, yes it is very traffic-laden. But the Colosseum, Palatino, Via del Corso, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain are worth it! I hit Rome during the big Saldi and I bought tons of clothes for very good prices! Trevi Fountain was so beautiful at night. I just sat there and spoke with the locals. I learned a lot of Italian that night. Plus, being serenaded by a charming Italian man is always a plus! Dirt, dirt, dirt, who cares? There is plenty of dirt in every American city as well. After all, they are cities! But Italian dirt is so much more charming, LOL : ) — Denise - Philadelphia, PA
Rome is cool, don't stay too long because you might get abducted by the vatican gaurds who dislike you because you clothes are not appropriate, but they are wearing something you would see at disneyland. Go here to party in pubs and peep the ruins. Watch out for the drunk dude at the pantheon with his box wine. — Anonymous
Book in advance or otherwise you'll be in trouble. — Anonymous
Rome is the most beautiful, busy, romantic city you can find. Do not miss it. Take the tours and walk as much as you can, there is so much to do and learn about it. Miss this city and risk dying unfufilled. A place designed for lovers and lovers of travel. — DRD
Definitely read the reviews. We were grossly ripped off. Unfortunately the hostel we chose didn't have a review so help out your fellow travellers by posting a few comments about any hostels you stay at. — Caught Out
Read the reviews and comments on here before you pick a hostel. Rome has more than its fair share of duds when it comes to hostels. — Anonymous
Most hostels in Rome are located near the train station. It's a very touristy area, but it's a reasionably central area in the city and it's nice to be able to walk directly to your hostel from the train station. If you stay somewhere not near the train station, there's also a metro stop at the train station, so you can usually get to your hostel that way. — Anonymous

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