Rome is a thriving city with a long history behind it. The city celebrated its 2770th birthday last April 21, 2017. Hence, its reputation as the Eternal City because of its enduring appeal throughout the years. To date, Rome remains a popular tourist destination with 9.6 million international arrivals in 2017. It ranks third on the list of most visited cities in Europe.
The Italian capital city takes prides in its art, architecture and culture. In addition, great interest in its cuisine makes it a top destination for tourists from around the world. With so many things to do in Rome, it is in your best interest to plan. The last thing you want is to miss the sweet life the city has to offer aka La Dolce Vita!
Rome is a remarkable city to visit. However, it can be a lot to take in all at once. Hence, it would be best to vary the local sites you plan to visit in the capital. Still, some landmarks are non-negotiable if you want to experience the ‘true Roman experience'. Indeed, it would not be a trip to Rome unless you visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon and all other marvels of Roman architecture and engineering.
Rome's history is celebrated not only in the history books but also in most of the pop culture. We all know of the gladiator fights held during the reign of the Roman Empire. Additionally, you may already be familiar with the Roman emperors such as Caesar and Marcus Aurelius who have shaken the foundations of Western history. Modern Rome is host to many historical sites that you can visit to relive these once mighty people.
The Roman architecture will be one of your main things to gawk at. After all, you could only wonder how these ancient structures are still standing today. However, did you know that Modern Rome has 280 fountains and more than 900 churches? Most of these structures are also more than a thousand years old but are still functioning as they did a long time ago. If you're a shopaholic, the first ever shopping mall in Rome was built in 107 AD and modern Rome has more shopping malls than you can count.
Despite being over a thousand years old, Rome wasn't always the capital of Italy. It was only in 1870 when Italy became a unified country from a group of city-states. Italy itself is full of amazing and noteworthy states, such as Florence - the birthplace of renaissance - and Venice the floating city. However, there is no comparing to the glory of Rome of which all roads lead to. If there was a starting point to something truly Italian then it is here.
Your trip to Rome becomes extra special because of its famous cuisine. While Italian food might be available anywhere you go, bear in mind, nothing can beat the real deal. So, imagine yourself seated at a charming café in the middle of a beautiful piazza. You can have your choice of an espresso or gelato. Then again, why not indulge yourself with an authentic serving of lasagna, risotto or bruschetta. No doubt, your first bite will make your trip worthwhile. To truly cement their commitment to Italian cuisine, they even have a museum entirely dedicated to pasta.
People & Culture
Tourists always get this advice: when you’re in Rome, do as the Romans do. Apparently, this culturally-rich Italian city is big on respect and etiquette. Earn the approval of the people of Rome by getting familiar with Roman culture and social etiquette. We’ve gathered some of the most important ones for you.
Romans are proud of their famous origin and they expect visitors to show the same kind of respect to their culture. For tourists, the first step to winning Romans is to know their language. You don’t need to master it - using a few courteous phrases will do. Italian courtesies like “per favore” (please), “grazie” (thank you) and “prego” (you’re welcome) go a long way. You don’t bid strangers goodbye with “Ciao” - it’s exclusively used between friends. You can use “buongiorno” instead.
Rome is like Italy’s Paris - the people here take fashion seriously. Temples and museums in the city require a certain dress code mostly involving modest ensembles. Restaurants are also very keen in making sure that guests are dressed properly. Don’t get too overwhelmed - a smart casual look will do. Don’t wave this one off or you could get socially shunned by locals or denied access by restaurants. When it comes to fashion, always remember the famous Italian line “fare un bella figura” or “always make a good first impression.”
An essential part of Roman culture is a careful care for relationships. If you happen to meet a friend or a family while touring Rome, it is important to stop and take the time to ask about that person’s life, health, happiness and career. Simply ignoring a familiar person is considered rude.
Romans have simple meals throughout the day. For breakfast, most of them prefer a cup of coffee, may it be a cappuccino or espresso partnered with bread or pastries.So, if you choose to have an american breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausages and toast or pancakes, you might want to stay in a hotel that offer this menu because for Romans, it is already considered a heavy meal to start the day.
People in Rome are also coffee lovers but there are few rules to follow when drinking one. First, espresso and cappuccino are for breakfast. After having your lunch or dinner, the only acceptable coffee is espresso. There might be a rule saying that you can’t drink cappuccino after 11 AM but it is not entirely true. Some are still ordering it in the afternoon for their snacks. The locals will still serve it to you, but they won’t be so happy about it.
When dining in a restaurant, service charge is already added in to your bill even if the server will tell you differently. If you are extremely satisfied and happy about the service, you can give €2-3 per person.
Table manners are strongly observed in restaurants. Some of these include being polite to servers or waiters. No need to call them out across the room just to get their attention. Additionally, you can always ask for the check if you are done eating and ready to go because no waiter will give you the bill until you ask for it. When it comes to drinking, Romans are not fond of chugging alcoholic drinks because being drunk in public is frowned upon. Smoking is also banned in public places just like in other countries as well.
You might also hear Romans complaining about the weather, traffic congestion and little things about their food and wait staff. If you hear these comments, the best thing to do is to hear their frustration out but never criticize because it might sound different and offensive on their part.
When doing business, punctuality is norm and expected. Business cards are often used for both men and women and to be safe, when addressing the person, stick to their last names but you can use their first names if your invited to do so. Giving gifts are not necessary, but if you opt to give one, business related things are the safest.
When you’re not sure what to do next, always remember respect - respect for their religious landmarks, respect for their culture and respect for all people.
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