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13 Things NOT to do in Rome

13 Things NOT to do in Rome

These things NOT to do in Rome cover everything you need to know before heading to the romantic city of Rome as well as what you should avoid and not do whilst you are here.

Why Rome?

Italians are known for their vivacious spirits, rich culture, mouth-watering cuisine, historic sites and all-round beautiful scenery. It’s the reason why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

While the locals are warm and welcoming, you’ll find they do lose their sense of humor when people disrespect their country and way of life. 

While there are a few cultural differences to be aware of in Italy, you don’t need to stress about stepping on any toes when you’ve got our little guide handy. In this article, we’ll cover all the basic Italian etiquette to help you explore the Beautiful Country without getting dirty looks. 

For those planning a trip to Italy, Crown Currency can help you with all your currency exchange services, so one mistake you definitely won’t make is paying too much to convert your cash to Euros. 

Things NOT to do in Rome

What to wear in Rome - Things not to do in rome

Dress Code: What NOT to wear 

When you want to get the most authentic Italian experience , the best way to ruin your chances and attract unwanted attention is to dress like a tourist. There are many incredible things to do in Rome but you don’t want to ruin your trip in the wrong attire.

  1. No thongs/flip flops

Unless you’re planning to spend your day on the beach, it’s best if you leave the thongs at home. This is especially true in the bigger cities like Rome and Florence, as Italians As soon as you step out in public, you’ll be marked as a tourist.

In fact, the hilly region of Cinq Terre takes this so seriously, due to having to rescue many unprepared tourists from hiking trails, that you can face fines of up to €2,500 for the wrong footwear.

  1. No swimwear (unless at the beach)

Most Italian trips include trying to fit as many activities on your itinerary in one day as possible. So, you might be tempted to just wear your swimsuit, especially in the summer. Please, don’t do it.

Not only will you get some very upset locals, but you run the risk of getting fined up to €500 in areas like Sorrento. 

  1. No revealing clothing 

We understand that Italian Summers can sometimes be unbearably hot, but the Italians prefer to be dressed comfortably but appropriately.

This means avoiding crop tops, short shorts, mini skirts and mini dresses at all costs because, in Italy, it’s just not the norm. Rather, opt for longer but loose-fitting clothes like maxi skirts, dresses, and shirts with sleeves. 

Rome Skyline

Tips for visiting Rome Attractions

When surrounded by ancient ruins, majestic fountains and colossal churches, there are plenty of reasons to visit Rome. But you need to be respectable.

These aren’t just tourist attractions; they’re symbols of Italian history and culture, and disregarding them in any way is disrespecting the people. 

  1. Resist hopping in the fountains

While we’ve seen Kristin Bell do it in the movie When in Rome, life is not like the movies, and it’s best to avoid hopping into the fountains, even if it seems romantic or funny. Those caught will be rebuked and handed a fine. 

  1. No picnicking 

Meandering around Italy will definitely work up an appetite; that’s probably why the food tastes so good.

While it’s a good idea to keep a snack or two with you, you’ve got to watch out where you eat. It might seem glamorous to eat a pizza on the steps of the Spanish Steps, but picnicking is prohibited by many major sights, like in front of churches, fountains, and monuments.

  1. No swimming in the canals

Take a trip on a gondola or a cruise on a boat; just don’t go for a swim in the canals. Some tourists have been caught and fined for making the canals their personal swimming pool. And yes, dipping your toes in the water can hurt anyone; even this will get you a fine. 

  1. No love locks

Italy is one of the most romantic places in the world, so understandably, people may want to make a romantic gesture to symbolise their love. You may think putting your initials on a love lock, attaching it to a bridge and throwing the key away is the epitome of devotion, but due to the overwhelming number of people taking part in this ‘tradition’, Italy has declared war on love locks due to the damage the sheer weight of the locks have on the bridge’s structure.

  1. No taking sand, stones or shells from the beaches

Want to take home a little memento, say a tiny jar of sand, to remind you of your blissful beach holiday in Italy? Maybe a shell or two? Just a small stone could be a conversation starter. Best stick to buying a souvenir because taking even just a little bit can get you a fine of up to €3000, or worse, jail time. 

Eating in Rome

Dining Etiquette in Rome

Most know it’s almost a sin to break your pasta in half in front of Italians, but here are some things not to do when eating out in Italy. 

  1. Don’t order a cappuccino after 11 am 

Okay, this one isn’t a law, but as far as Italians are concerned, ordering a cappuccino later in the day should be considered a crime. This milk-heavy drink is usually reserved for breakfast time, and they consider it to be a mini meal all by itself as they usually don’t eat much for breakfast.

When lunchtime comes, the meals get bigger, so drinking so much milk doesn’t sit well with most people when they eat more food. 

  1. Don’t expect restaurants to be open all the time

As a visitor, you need to be aware of the fact that fast food is not very big in Italy, and restaurants open their kitchens according to different meal times throughout the day.

Generally, kitchens will be open between 12 pm and 1 pm for lunch and open again for dinner from 7:30 pm or 8 pm (although pizzerias may open earlier). Ensure you prepare for this when you’re eating out

  1. Don’t ask for the leftovers when eating at restaurants

When you’re eating out, it’s not customary to take your leftovers home in a doggy bag. Even takeout isn’t all that common, except at pizzerias.

Meals are meant to be enjoyed in a sit-down area. You can eat while standing in a restaurant as long as you buy a drink, and this is cheaper, but the atmosphere may shift if you ask for a takeaway. 

  1. Don’t add chicken or pineapple to pizza

It’s become a huge debate around the rest of the world, but in Italy, pineapple on pizza is just a travesty. The same will be said for adding chicken to your pizza. 

  1. Don’t feel obliged to tip

Tipping is welcome in Italy, unlike other European countries, but it’s completely optional. So, if the service was wonderful and you’re feeling generous, go for it. However, you can expect additional charges of €1-2.50 per person called the pane e coperto (bread and cover charge).

Even if you don’t want the bread, it’s still mandatory at some restaurants, and it will be on the menu. 

When you do as the Italians do, it’ll be an experience you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. So, avoid making these touristy mistakes and try to blend in with the locals with these tips. Ciao!

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