10 don’ts in Rome · My little survival guide

Here are my tips on the 10 don’ts in Rome. Follow these suggestions and you will enjoy a perfect time in Rome.

Visiting sights without reservation

This is my most important advice: don’t visit the main attractions without reservation!

St. Peter’s Basilica, the Coliseum and the Vatican Museums are among the most visited attractions in the world.

The Coliseum can only be booked with reservation and reservations are also recommended for the Vatican Museums. Reservation is also required for the Borghese Gallery. The reservations are sold out in the main season even weeks before.

St. Peter’s admission is free, but there are almost always long queues at the security check. You can bypass the queues when booking a tour or audioguide.

Without reservation, you risk missing the sights and you lose many hours of your short time in Rome in different queues.

A spontaneous visit to these sights is therefore not possible or extremely difficult.

 

On foot and haphazardly through Rome

One of the biggest mistakes many tourists make is to cover most of Rome’s routes on foot. The reasons are manifold: you don’t know the bus connections, the public transport is not reliable and in the city center many monuments can be reached only on foot.

The center of Rome is not very big. Nevertheless, many miles come together in the course of the day if you run haphazardly through Rome.

To make sure that does not happen to you, read my overview of the main public transport lines in Rome. The sights within the city walls can be reached very well with the Hop on hop off buses.

Dress code

Don'ts in Rome cobblestones MontiDo not wear beach clothes in the city. When visiting religious sites and the catacombs, shoulders and knees must be covered. A light shawl is enough. Provide adequate sun protection with a hat or umbrella.

Do not drape yourself with jewelery and photoequipment, and do not make visible where your documents and valuables are. Here you can find more details for your security.

Wear good footwear and no high heels if you do not want to give an acrobatic insert on the Roman stone pavement.

 

Don’t buy at snack sales carts

Don'ts in Rome snack truck
Snack sale vehicles

Do not buy beverages, sandwiches or ice cream at the snack sales carts, which are around the tourist attractions. The drinks are overpriced and the ice cream is an industrial product. You can fill your water bottles at the numerous drinking water fountains in the city, for eating and for sandwiches you will find enough places and for the ice we advise you to visit a good ice cream parlor

Don’t jump into the wells

Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni shot mythical scenes in the Trevi Fountain for the film La Dolce Vita. That is forbidden today!

Even if it is very hot, you must not get into the wells or put your feet in it. It always comes back to hefty fines

Don’t immortalize yourself in the monuments

You hear again and again that tourists are caught engraving their initials in the Coliseum or on other monuments or breaking out pieces as a souvenir. They damage the monuments and risk high penalties!

Don’t order double espresso and cappuccino after lunch

Don’t order a double espresso. The coffee is strong enough and the people around you will react with incomprehension. In Rome you simply order a café (espresso) or a macchiato (pronounced makkiato – with milk), latte macchiato (a glass of warm milk with an espresso in it) or a cappuccino. After lunch you don’t drink a cappuccino in Rome, but a café. The idea of ​​finishing a good meal with a large milk coffee filles the Romans with horror.

Don’t go to tourist restaurants

Restaurants which expose plastic samples of their dishes are not necessarily a good recommendation. If there are many locals or priests in the restaurant, this is usually a sign of quality.

 


The tables at the large squares are also expensive. At the Piazza Navona or at the Pantheon, a café at the table can sometimes cost 5 euros or more, at the bar it costs around one euro. Be sure to check the price list before ordering anything.

Certain motives may not be photographed and drones are prohibited

You are not allowed to photograph a military or police from near. You should not overly take photos of infrastructures such as airports, train stations or metro stations. You may also be prohibited from photographing with a tripod.

At the Colosseum or at the Castel Sant’Angelo one often encounters showmen dressed up as legionnaires or gladiators. They charge a high price and it often comes to dispute. If you want to take pictures of them, make sure you agree the price of the photo in advance.

Frequently tourists want to photograph monuments and squares from above and use drones to do so. Unfortunately this is not possible. Since the Holy Year in 2015, the use of drones in Rome is prohibited for security reasons. The authorities are reacting hard. The drones are confiscated and there is a criminal complaint.

Don’t allow to be approached by strangers

In Rome there are many street hawkers. Some come directly to you to offer their goods. They stretch out their hands and ask where you came from. Just keep going and ignore them.

Another trick is supposed students inviting you to a signature collection. Once you become involved, you will be asked for a donation, and in the worst case, your purse will disappear. Here you will find more information on pickpockets and trick thieves in Rome.

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