Rome Travel Tips
When in Rome…
Bring your most comfortable walking shoes.
Bring your ATM card with working PIN, so you don’t lose your money, time or temper trying to exchange dollars or traveller’s checks. Using an ATM (in Italian, ” bancomat “) gets you the bank’s own daily adjusted commercial bulk exchange rate, with no commission; the only extra cost would be the fee paid to your own bank for using a foreign ATM.
For sun-sensitive people, please bring protection (sunscreen, sunblock, a hat or even a collapsible umbrella) in June, July and August. The sun can be quite intense here. For those sensitive to heat, take the necessary precautions (salt tablets, a small bottle of water, etc.).
Speaking of water, the water that flows freely from Rome’s hundreds of fountains is even better than the bottled water. Do what the Romans do: buy one small bottle of water and then keep refilling it for free at almost any fountain in town. (Only a very few fountains will say “Acqua NON potabile” – “water NOT drinkable”.)
Coffee and snack bars – you will see “BAR” everywhere; this means coffee and snack bars, not a place for getting drunk. There are two different standardized price lists in bars here: the lower prices for drinking or eating while standing up at the counter, and the much higher prices for sitting at a table and requiring waiter service.
Tipping – in cabs, one or two euros is fine, except for a long haul, such as to or from the airport; then a 5-10% tip is a good gesture. In restaurants, some will say that gratuities or service is included, some will not. The rule of thumb is, if you enjoyed your meal, to leave the change or at least a couple of euros on the table; if you have a large dinner with many people, or if you really loved the meal and the service, then a 10-15% tip is a very nice way to say thanks. There is no way to put the tip on your credit card here, so it must be in cash. Here in Italy, it is not so much the exact amount that one leaves, as the good will gesture of leaving something on the table.
Pickpockets – Rome has the best of everything, including the sneakiest pickpockets in the universe. When in crowded tourist sites, and especially on the overcrowded buses and subway, do NOT keep your wallet in a back pocket or a backpack on your back. Do not let Gypsies surround you – even their children, sad to say, have been intimidated and indoctrinated by their parents to steal.
Entrance fees: Colosseum, 12 euro/person; Jewish Museum, 7.50 euro/students 4 euro; Vatican Museums complex, 14 euro/person. Tivoli villas – the total cost for entrances to both Villas comes to about 15 euro/person. Castel Sant’ Angelo daytime, 8.50 euro/person
Generally, no credit cards or dollars are accepted for entrance tickets at museums. Italian secular museums are closed on Mondays, making Monday a nice day to visit the Jewish Museum and/or Ancient City, and a bad day to visit the even-more-overcrowded Vatican Museums complex.
PLEASE NOTE: Given that we are very few guides with an overwhelming amount of request, and all our tours are private, we are forced to turn many clients away. Please consider this before finalizing your bookings by email as we have a 50% cancellation fee for any tour cancelled within 48 hours of the scheduled tour meeting time.