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Travel Tips for Rome

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Bedminster, New...
posts: 11
reviews: 117
Travel Tips for Rome

I didn't know where else to put this information, so I thought I would try putting it here. These are some of the lessons my husband and I learned from our trip to Rome this past summer.

A few practical pieces of advice while visiting Rome:

* Exchange some money at the airport so you can get around, but the best exchange rate you will get is withdrawing money from the ATM (just be sure to check with your bank before you go to make sure your card will work.) Many of the banks would not allow us to exchange money.

*Try to make sure you are never lugging more than one suitcase. I insisted on this (as I have traveled Europe before) and my husband understood why once we were there. Cobblestones and public transportation areas with lots of stairs make it difficult to maneuver more than one suitcase at a time.

*Most of the public transportation ran on time, but don't expect everyone and everything to be efficient all the time. Embrace the culture and the speed at which it moves. Take a deep breath and fine some wine or gelato. You'll relax quickly. :)

*If you eat "early" dinners (6-7pm), you may find that some of the restaurants aren't open that early. You may also find that the reason why you need reservations (at certain places) is because many of the restaurants only turn the tables over once. We observed the people walking in around 8:30-9:00pm and leaving around 11pm.

*Make sure you eat gelato at some point. :)

*We didn't have one bad meal in ALL of Italy. It didn't matter where we were. There are TONS of places to choose from. Many times, if you wander off a public square, where everyone else is, you will find a meal for half the price.

*If you enjoy wine, always order the house wine. Often times it is served by the liter and it is awesome.

*If you don't purchase your tickets ahead of time (we didn't really know how everything was going to go, so we purchased most of our tickets in Rome) and are going to the Colosseum, buy your tickets at the entrance to the Palentine. The line is much shorter over there.

*If you are going to visit the Vatican, reserve your tickets online (via the Vatican's official website.) It helps to do this before you go as you need to print out a voucher to bring to the ticket office.

*Be mindful of the dress codes that the churches and the Vatican have. Make sure you bring/wear the appropriate clothing so you don't miss out on those experiences!

*Have a wonderful trip, eat and drink whenever you can, and take lots of pictures! :)

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,746
reviews: 22
1. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

All good advice. The only thing I would change is that I find it's much better to order some foreign currency at my own bank before leaving home, rather than changing money at the airport, where you usually get royally ripped off. All a week or so for this, as many banks don't keep foreign currency on hand.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1,927
reviews: 18
2. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

Yes, thanks for that report, but I also agree with bvlenci - NEVER exchange money at the airport unless you want to pay the highest possible fees. DO get money in advance through your home bank if you want to have some with you when you land. And, yes, do allow for at least a week for your bank to order the euros.

Also, if you didn't have a bad meal in Italy, you were lucky. It's just not true that all food in Italy is good. But I'm happy for you.

Edited: 6:17 pm, November 21, 2012
Mill Valley...
posts: 2,598
reviews: 10
3. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

Is there not an ATM at the airport for a debit card withdrawal?

London, United...
posts: 227
reviews: 21
4. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

What are the dress codes for the places you mentioned that have one?

Edited: 7:16 pm, November 21, 2012
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 60,833
reviews: 11
5. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

To enter St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, men and women should have their arms covered to the elbow, and their legs to below the knee. People who do not meet these requirements may be refused admission.

It is courteous to follow this rule in any church in Italy.

posts: 390
reviews: 15
6. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

Great question about 'Is there an ATM at the airport?' -I'm hoping there's one at the airport as not all banks give good exchange. I find the ATMs the best.

Great advice!

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1,927
reviews: 18
7. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

There definitely are ATMs at the airport, but most if not all of them are not connected to a bank branch. Some people prefer to use only ATMs physically connected to a bank branch to avoid the possibility of card-reading scams that happen more often at ATMs that are not monitored.

As for the dress code for St. Peter's, it is the strictest in Italy. Men must wear long pants. At some other churches, a man can get away with wearing shorts that come down below the knee, and every now and then someone gets past the guards, but you're likely to get rejected at the Vatican for the same outfit. Not worth taking a chance.

However sleeves do NOT have to be down to the elbow. They just need to completely cover the shoulders, for both men and women. Here's a photo of the sign in front of St. Peter's explaining the dress code. The purple is the man. Notice how his pants have to be longer than the woman's.


posts: 1,109
reviews: 5
8. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

<<As for the dress code for St. Peter's, it is the strictest in Italy. Men must wear long pants. At some other churches, a man can get away with wearing shorts that come down below the knee, and every now and then someone gets past the guards, but you're likely to get rejected at the Vatican for the same outfit. Not worth taking a chance.>>

Which part of the Vatican and St Peter's? I have quite a few photos of men and women in shorts and women in short skirts above the knee inside the Bascilica. No photos but people in similar attire were also in the Sistine Chapel.

Taylorsville, Utah
posts: 1,241
reviews: 1
9. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

What is allowed in St Peters varies depending on the guard etc. To be safe, obey the rules. BTW sleeves do not have to be to the elbows.

Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 21,053
reviews: 14
10. Re: Travel Tips for Rome

Foxy, sometimes you will see people inside that are not following the dress code. It really depends on the guards that are doing the scanning. If they decide you're okay then you're okay. The only way to "guarantee" getting into the basilica is to obey the rules. It would be horrible to plan your day around the Vatican only to be denied entry because you weren't wearing what they've asked you to wear. Just because some people get away with it doesn't make it right. We always try to tell people the rules and have them follow them. If they choose not to follow the rules they will have to pay the consequences.