Unspoken rules in Italy and Rome travel tips
Rome travel Tips – Traveling can be an enriching experience as each country has its own way of doing things from taking public transport to eating and tipping in restaurants. Rome is no different and here we try to offer some advice and some tips while in the city to help keep you safe, maybe save you some money and to try to understand the Italian culture like the locals.
In the Cafe
Rome travel Tips 1. When you enter into one of the hundreds of Coffee bars found throughout Rome to grab a quick Cafe Espresso or Cappuccino remember that there is a different price for taking the coffee sat down at the tables and standing at the bar. To save some money order your coffee at the bar and even if prompted by the staff to sit down say you will take standing up so you can avoid the table cover charge which can double the price in some places. Most bars where you will take the coffee standing up requires you pay first so decide what you want and then go to the till to pay and give the receipt to the bar staff who will complete your order. Also when buy in a bar always check the prices which can often be on a small price list behind the bar, to be sure not to get a shock when you go to pay. Tipping in the bar/cafe is not compulsory but most locals will leave a small tip of maybe 10 cents for example for an expresso costing 1 Euro.
In the Restaurant
Rome travel Tips 2.While in a restaurant in Rome there are some differences in etiquette and service you will encounter. Usually the waiters and service staff in Rome will often leave you at your table until you call them. So do not be afraid to get the waiters attention should you wish to order or request assistance as sometimes many sit at their table quite a while waiting to be attended expecting them to come to you rather than calling the waiter to make your order. Also be aware as some restaurants include the service charge to the bills and some do not, so check the menu for these little details, most restaurants also add a cover charge for the table and bread that is brought to the table whether you eat or not.
When choosing from the menu look out when order meat/fish as the price is often per weight so don’t be fooled by a cheap looking option as it may be that price per 100g.
Tipping in a restaurant is also not compulsory and at your own discretion as there is the service charge and cover charge usually, but many still do tip if the service is good. In this case its best to leave the tip directly with your waiter to ensure he/she receives it.
Note that Monday is usually the day when many restaurants close, obviously many in and around the tourist attractions stay open but check the website of the restaurant you want to eat at to be sure.
In the Metro & Buses
Rome travel Tips 3.When taking the public transport in Rome you will need to have your ticket before entering. For the metro you can buy a ticket inside the station or from the ticket machines which are usually located next to the turnstiles. For the buses aswell its the same ticket that you use for the metro but you cannot but a ticket on the bus (although some buses in Rome are now introducing this) you will need to buy beforehand from any tobacco or newsagents or from the metro station. You can buy a bunch of tickets as they only becomes used once you validate in the machine inside the bus. Getting on the bus without a ticket you risk a fine if the transport controllers enter the bus and also be sure to validate the ticket inside the yellow machines as you can receive a fine also if you do not.
The ticket options are as follows:
- B.I.T. Standard ticket, valid for one Metro ride or 100 minutes on all buses and trams allowing transfers. € 1.50
- 24 Hour Ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and tram within Rome for 24 hours from validation. € 7.00
- 48 Hour Ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and tram within Rome for 48 hours from validation. € 12.50
- 72 Hour Ticket – valid for unlimited metro, bus, and tram within Rome for 72 hours from validation. € 18.00
- C.I.S. €24.00. Weekly ticket – valid for 7 calendar days
Note: Public transportation is free for children less than 10 years old.
On the public transport in Rome there are pickpockets at work so be vigilant with your belongings, don’t put wallets or phones in back pockets and keep backpacks kept to the front of you where you can keep an eye on them. Pickpockets often work in groups on the buses and metro and be especially attentive when the carriages are full.
Rome travel Tips 4. Nobody likes to be ripped off taking a taxi so be sure to know your rights and the correct prices from where you a re going to your destination. The taxi’s in Rome are white, so do not be fooled by unregistered taxi drivers pushing rides. You can take a taxi from Termini station just a short walk from the hostel. But its highly unadvisable to take a taxi from Termini to the hostel upon arrival in Rome as you will be most likely over charged and the hostel is on 250 meters from Termini station. Taking a taxi around the city you can just flag a taxi down that is passing and when the light on top of the taxi is on it is available, have the address where you are going written down to show the driver should he not understand you pronunciation, the light off on top means the taxi is occupied.
Some standard laws for taking a taxi in Rome or to and from the airport are follows or for further details check the website www.assotaxi.com/fare/taxi-fare-rome.htm :
FIXED FARES (PER JOURNEY AND NOT PER PASSENGER) ROME CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION N.161 DATED 30/5/2012.
Fixed fares are inclusive of all extra charges.
From Fiumicino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls3 and vice versa: € 48.00
From Ciampino Airport to within the Aurelian Walls4 and vice versa: € 30.00
PROGRESSIVE FARE (cost of each taximeter tick € 0.10) Rome City Council resolution n.151 dated 23/5/2012.
Initial fixed fee
fixed fee from point of departure on weekdays (from 6:00 to 22:00) 3,00 euro
fixed fee from point of departure on Sundays and public holidays (from 6:00 to 22:00) 4,50 euro
fixed fee from point of departure at nights (from 22:00 to 6:00) 6,50 euro
-the first piece of luggage is free; each subsequent piece of luggage measuring more than 35x25x50 cm costs € 1.00
-the fifth passenger upwards in taxis with a capacity for more than 4 passengers: € 1.00
-the fixed fee for calling a radio-controlled taxi is € 3.50
Some taxi companies you can call if you need a taxi are Coop. Autoradiotaxi Romana 06-3570; Radio Taxi 06-6645; soc. La Capitale 06-4994; soc. Tevere 06-4157
Around the Attractions
Rome travel Tips 5. A quick tip when visiting the Colosseum is to first visit the Palatine Hill where you can buy the ticket and the lines are small. This ticket is valid for the Palatine, Roman forum and the Colosseum and if you already have the ticket you can cut some of the long line into the Colosseum.
When visiting the attractions especially around the Colosseum and the Vatican there are plenty of street sellers offering tours, skip the lines and a whole range of things. Sometimes the tours can be worthwhile but be sure not to be pushed by the seller into joining something your not interested in. Also on these tours they will need to get a group together before entering the attraction so if you are the first people in that group be aware you might be waiting quite a while before the tour departs as they need to create a group before you can enter, also check that the tour is in your language only.
Rome is very hilly and also full of cobblestones so remember to wear comfy footwear, take a hat in the summer months and bring a bottle of water with you as the city has many fountains on the street corners with drinking water where you can fill up your bottle.
Entering museums and churches
Rome travel Tips 6. When entering into Churches in Rome and to the Vatican and Vatican Museums there is a dress code, so you will need to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and if you are wearing shorts or skirts they will need to cover your knees. The Vatican is especially strict in this matter to be prepared otherwise you will be refused entrance.
Some museums such as the Borghese Gallery must be pre-booked and you cannot just arrive there to buy tickets. You can reserve you tickets at www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/einfo.htm The Vatican Museums usually have the longest lines of all so you should also think about pre-booking your tickets and you can do this through the Vatican Museum or if you would like to attend the Papal Audience Tickets which are free and take place on Wednesdays.