A few hints for a Roman holiday can make your trip to "The Eternal City" more enjoyable. Enjoy viewing the incredible statues and fountains that seem to be almost everywhere, the baroque buildings, the Renaissance palaces, the Pantheon, the Forum, and the Colisseum. These are all marvelous works of art that definitely should be seen. So do visit all those fantastic reminders of the Rome that was, the special attractions that will forever be connected to the city founded by Romulus and Remus, but when in Rome also be aware of not only the way things once were but the way they now are. For modern Rome is a very vibrant, active and happening place; however, it also has such modern problems as litter, pickpockets, crowds, noise, and traffic jams. This simply means that you can expect some inconvenience and should use common sense while exploring this phenomenal city.
Helpful Hints for a Roman Holiday
Here are some hints for a safe and happy visit to the Eternal City:
- If you arrive by train in Rome, ignore the taxi drivers who are soliciting passengers directly outside the terminal, for they can sometimes charge unaware travelers much more than the normal fare. Line up in the taxi queue in Piazza dei Cinquecento.
- Even if you are on an organized bus tour, still avoid leaving suitcases unattended, especially in a hotel lobby or in a loading area outside the hotel. These areas are prime targets. One technique that's used by thieves is to simply pull up in front of a hotel with the car window down and the motor idling; the thief gets out of the car, grabs the luggage or purse, throws the stolen articles into the car, and then immediately leaves (perhaps even driven away by an accomplice). This entire operation can occur so quickly that it's very difficult to react in time, even if the thief is actually seen in action.
- Keep wallets and purses protected at all times. Be especially wary in crowded tourist attractions (yes, even churches!) Be careful if someone asks you for directions or information, as this may be an attempt to simply distract you so that a theft can occur.
- Tourist bus passes may be purchased at "Stazione Termini" for a week (and these can also be used on the subway). If taking a city bus, be aware that the bus map you are
looking at may be outdated; some of the buses may no longer even exist. Also, take extra precaution if taking a bus through the historic district, for this route is very popular with pickpockets; one of these buses has even been nicknamed "The Pickpocket Express" or "Wallet Eater".
- Rome's traffic is a danger! The tangled mass of narrow, ancient, cobblestone streets will suddenly emerge into a large "piazza" (roundabout), where cars will then accelerate and jostle for position (crisscrossing from lane to lane while blasting away on their horns). Pedestrians must use extreme caution, for these motorists are "on a mission" and are not always willing to stop. To increase the traffic confusion, add a vast number
of motor scooters to the scenario; many of these drivers don't seem to think that they even need to stop for red lights or stop signs!
- Because of Rome's incredible traffic jams, it can actually be quicker to walk from one place to another rather than drive or take a subway, taxi, or bus. And Rome has four rush hours (yes, four!) every day: to work in the morning; home for lunch, "riposa"; back to work; return home after work.
- At bargain priced restaurants, you may be charged "a pane e coperto" (bread and cover charge), and "servizio" (tip) may be automatically added to your bill.
- If you're visiting Rome during the summer, be aware of its heat. Drink lots of fluids.
Hints for a Roman Holiday: Fountains and Rome
Rome's most renowned fountain, made famous by the film, "Three Coins in the Fountain," is Fontana di Trevi. The tradition is to stand with your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your shoulder and into it - to signify your wish to return to "The Eternal City" someday. And despite the crowds and the necessary precautions that go with a visit to today's Rome, it's very likely that you will want to throw that coin into the fountain and have that dream of a return trip come true, for Rome is a special place, and its uniqueness is not to be missed.
For More Information:
For more information and hints for a Roman holiday, visit the Italian Government Tourist Board: www.italiantourism.com