Hopefully some of there will help some of you in your trip planning.
* I never once felt unsafe or as though someone wanted to rob me.
I saw no gypsies and only a few beggars at the doorway of churches.
The only ‘problem’ I had was a man who entered an ‘open sided’ shop I was in and tried, persistently, to sell me socks—I had to get tough with him and he went away.
* I came prepared for anything; carried my money in a zippered, pinned purse in my front pant’s pocket. I carried some small change, my bus pass, Archaeologia pass and camera in a tiny, across-the-body type bag. I carried my water bottle and miscellaneous other bits in a mini backpack that zips against the back not front.
* Don’t forget the sunblock; I found it necessary even in March. Sunglasses too.
* Buy one bottle of water and fill it at all the water fountains in Rome—all are drinkable, the few that aren’t say ‘aqua non potabile’.
* I ate lots of pastries and pizzas from the myriad forno around town. Fruit, cheese and olives from the markets/supermarkets. It makes a good ‘on-the-go’ lunch that saves money and time.
* All the toilets in museums were remarkably clean given the number of people using them; all the museums had a toilet as did most of the churches—you just need to ask. I used McDonald’s once and they were the only ones without paper; I kept a supply in my bag.
Bars ( which are more like coffee shops) have toilets too, if you don’t want to buy a drink then buy a candy or pastry( very yummy !) and use their facilities.
Keep a supply of hand wipes—better than sanitizer lotion as wipes clean hands as well as sanitize. I also took Shout wipes in case I dirtied a shirt or jacket.
* Romans aren’t ‘rude’ but they are ‘brusque’ and not friendly like Florentines.
Everyone I came into contact with was polite—a few were friendly.
I did see how they could be perceived as rude: American person asking for items in a shop S L O W L Y and L O U D L Y, the shopkeeper was visible irritated.
Learning a few words and numbers will carry you far, as will a smile.
A bus driver who saw us running for the bus waited for us.
A man at the station, late at night, carried one of our bags,up and down stairs, from one platform to another.
* Clothes. I went in March, having checked the weather daily for two weeks prior. I took clothes for that weather. The last two days it turned to winter and I froze and got wet feet in torrential rain. If you go in fall/spring, take warm as well as light clothes plus a hat scarf, gloves and waterproof shoes—the sidewalks and streets turn to rivers in the downpours and can be slippery. Don’t forget an umbrella.
* Research is everything. Many places don't have info board and some are only in Italian. I printed out sheets and sheets of information and maps about churches, sights, the forums and it all served me well.
* Take public transport, it’s cheap and fast, safe and clean. Study the online maps –I printed them out and took them with me—to know what bus goes where.
* Buy the Archeologia card if you are planning to see the Coloseum, Palatine and any of the Roman museums ( does not include the Vatican/Borghese), it’s a great buy.
1* Please make donations at churches. I didn’t leave money in the general boxes but in those that says ‘per la fabrica’—for the fabric.
* Visit some of the smaller, less touristed museums. Most of Rome’s museums are worth visiting and many have recently been re-furbished and have wonderfully interesting exhibits.
* Visit some of the lesser-known churches, they are all beautiful and you will often find a little treasure tucked away isomewhere and have it all to yourself—makes it all the more special!
* It’s not ‘like home’ so don’t expect things to be the same. Rome is an ancient city and a modern city in one; the ancient functions with the modern. It’s not ‘quaint’ or ‘cute’ but tough, gritty, vibrant and surprisingly beautiful.
* Take time out to relax and enjoy tranquility in a park or piazza.
* An open mind is a useful tool. So is a smile and a sense of humour.