When in Rome: 5 Tips for Visiting Italy’s Liveliest City
Written by Carley February 13, 2017
Buonasera! (Thanks to our Survival Italian class, I’ve expanded my limited Italian vocabulary). So this past weekend I spent two days in one of the most historic cities in Italy: Rome. Despite this title, I’m not going to tell you a love story about a woman that takes coins out of the Fontana de Amore (sorry if I got your hopes up). For all of you that decide to study abroad at CIMBA, a weekend trip to Rome is a must. After reading this blog you’ll find yourself wanting to also “do as the Romans do.” So here’s some tips and advice for visiting Rome.
Trevi Fountain. For all of you that have seen the Lizzie McGuire movie, this is your chance to channel your inner Lizzie. For all of you that haven’t, I recommend watching it, and chances are you’ll want to channel your inner Lizzie too (boys too!). If you haven’t heard of this fountain, I’ll give you a brief synopsis: the Trevi Fountain is one of the largest and most famous fountains in Europe, and over 3,000 Euros are thrown in the fountain everyday by tourists making wishes. For all of you single ladies and men out there, visit Rome so you can throw a coin in the fountain and find someone that looks at you the way Paolo looks at Lizzie.
Hide your purse, hide your wallet. Pick pocketing is real. While we’re talking about Rome and crowded places, I just wanted to bring this up. I’ve been warned pick pocketing is pretty common in crowded places but I never actually thought it would happen to myself or any of my friends. While we were visiting the Trevi Fountain (generally a very crowded area) we had our first encounter with pick-pocketers. Some younger girls tried to open one of my friend’s purse who luckily caught them in the act. Luckily for you, you’ve been warned in advance so you can buy yourself a money wallet for a small price of $12.99 on Amazon.
Visiting the Vatican: do’s and don’ts. Lets start off with the fact that no matter what your religious background is, the Vatican is a must-see. Aside from its intricate architecture, its historical significance is also extensive. So if you go there, there’s a few things you should probably know in advance.
1. If you’re planning on buying tickets online, READ THE FINE PRINT. My friends and I made the mistake of not doing so and ended up buying tickets for the museum instead of the Basilica (which is great if you enjoy art work, but not so enjoyable if you don’t).
2. If you want to go inside the actual church you need to put a lot of time aside for the long lines or you also have the option to pay for a tour, which the tour guides will happily explain to you (maybe even multiple times if you don’t buy them the first time like us).
3. This may sound self-explanatory but if you plan on going inside the church you must wear clothing that covers your shoulders and your knees (shouldn’t be a problem in the winter).
Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon Tours. Did you even go to Rome if you don’t see the Colosseum? Let’s be honest, not all of us are history majors or know even half of the history of these places. So what better way to see them all and learn the background than a guided tour? Plus if you have a larger group and are friendly, they might even cut you a deal like they did for us. In three short hours you can cover all these places, learn a lot of cool things, and even get some great exercise out of it. If you’re interested in one of these tours, be sure to keep an eye out when you get in front of the Colosseum, but don’t worry if you don’t see them because they most likely will have seen you and approach you with a sales pitch on their tour.
Strangers aren’t always dangers. Despite what your parent’s have told you about not talking to strangers (sorry mom), there is no better way to learn the culture of somewhere than meeting the locals. My friends and I met some local Italian college students that we befriended and actually had the chance to hangout with. After talking to them for some time we found out that they studied in the United States for a few years in college and one in high school so they were pretty familiar with our culture. They invited us over and even made veggie burgers for us (European hospitality might have Southerners beat) and we watched MTV music videos (they might have even known more about American celebrities than we did). With all that being said, I wouldn’t recommend hanging out with everyone you meet, using your best judgment is definitely necessary but I would 100% recommend branching out because you never know who you’ll meet.