9 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist In Rome

I have to admit I always tend to do a lot of research for a new destination and this includes research not only about places to see and things to do but also about local lifestyle, traditions, culture and general daily life. daily habits of local people.

Luckily, I didn’t dress like a tourist with typical outfits like the backpack, sensible pants, all-season jackets, ugly (if comfortable) sneakers or sandals and socks that made you stand out from a mile away. Instead, I dress as if I were living at home and just go for coffee and this has often paid me back as people approached me for directions thinking I was a local.

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but not so only Dressing like a tourist is not just about dressing like a tourist, but also knowing a few things about how to order that coffee, how to walk around, and how to behave—or, more often, how not to act.

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On my last visit to Rome, I learned a lot about how to avoid looking like a tourist, from a certain dress code to hiring a taxi. Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate sweet life On your next visit to the Eternal City.

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Cappuccino outside the Roman Colosseum

Cappuccino outside the Roman Colosseum

Photo credit: Em Campos / Shutterstock.com

1. Don’t Drink Cappuccino in the Afternoon

This is something most latte-drinking foreigners make mistakes: ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon. In Italy, a sparkling cappuccino is associated with breakfast when you sip it with your cornetto, a croissant. After breakfast, Italians switch to black coffee and indulge in the caffeine shots of the espresso (and note that there’s no ‘x’ in espresso, it’s a soft ‘s’). If you want to appear Italian but can’t resist adding milk, then either sneak into room service instead of society, or try the macchiato, a coffee with just a drop of milk. This is something my husband, who seldom drinks his coffee without milk, learned while I fit in easily because my coffee color is black.

If you’re on a budget, have your coffee at the bar inside the cafe, it’s cheaper and much more authentic, because you’ll be surrounded by Italians.

2. Drinking Tap Water

Unlike in France, where you can often drink tap water for free, even in good restaurants, you tend to see bottled water rather than pitchers on dining tables in Rome. But that doesn’t mean you can’t drink tap water safely or get hydration for free. Many of the smaller restaurants on the side streets are happy to bring you a glass or jug ​​of tap water, saving you plenty of money. Just practice saying: “Per like, posso avere dell’acqua del rubinetto?”

Taxis waiting on the streets of Rome

Taxis waiting on the streets of Rome

Photo credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

3. Taxi Stop

I spent a lot of time standing by the side of a main road in Rome watching empty taxis ignore me and curse rude drivers. In fact, they were not rude at all; instead, I was unaware of the rules. You cannot call a taxi from the side of the road in Rome. There are many taxi stands or you can order them through the Uber app on your phone.

If you’re traveling without mobile roaming or a local SIM card, you have the options to order a taxi from your hotel’s Wi-Fi (although if you’re staying in the old town, be prepared for a fairly long wait) or mark your location. the taxi stops near the attractions you will visit. Near the main historical sites there are always plenty of taxis ready. Pay cash before boarding or ask if they take cards.

4. Dress Up for the City

Italians are a classy bunch, and when you see weird sweatpants or dirty shoes, real Italians dress up for no reason. Just get out of the house, dress well and bella figure – always doing your best. When you find yourself surrounded by people who can easily pose, leaving your baggy t-shirts and comfortable but worn sneakers at home is definitely a pretty urgent reason. fashion italy. Instead of your casual travel attire, choose smart casual, urban chic, stick to a small range of colors and wear comfortable shoes instead of walking shoes.

5. Appreciate the Fine Art of Doing Nothing

Dolce Far Niente

The art of doing nothing is probably my favorite Italian cultural habit. It’s about appreciating and savoring every moment, taking life lightly and not rushing it. And spend your time in Italy more than sitting in a cafe, lingering over lunch, loitering instead of running to the bus and just structure in Rome instead of marking must-see places?

I know it can be hard to slow down when you’re short on time, when you only have a few days in Rome, and you have so many historical sites to see. But I promise you, by rushing you will miss the essence of the city, people and country. Do this in small doses, stay in a cafe for a while, maybe skip a sight for a longer lunch, or simply relax by the Tiber for a while and watch the world go by. You will leave more relaxed and more appreciative of the Italian lifestyle.

6. Learn Some Italian

I think Italian is the most beautiful language in the world and it would be a shame not to learn some of them. start with buongiornobest used in the morning until lunch, but acceptable during the day, then buonasera afternoon and evening. Informal hello and goodbye ryeif you’re not sure how formal you need to be, ointment, you probably remember from the Latin in your school. Add some flair using your hands and always accompany a request. per favorplease and end with pasture, thank you. And remember not to slip into Spanish, which is easily done.

Outdoor seating in a restaurant in Rome

One of many outdoor seating in Rome restaurants

Photo source: Song_about_summer / Shutterstock.com

7. Don’t Eat at Touristic Spots

I still wax lyrical about the quality of food I come across even in the smallest of places in Rome, but recently spoke to a friend of mine who had the opposite experience. Totally disappointed by the meal. Difference? I was eating in small side streets away from the main tourist spots, always listening to the Italian speakers before sitting down.

On the other hand, my friend ate in places like Piazza Navona where there was ambiance, scenery and hustle and bustle, yes, but you also have chefs who cater to people who are only going to have a meal. restaurant rather than courting the returns business. You may get lucky, but it’s usually best to avoid places that are crowded with other tourists.

A good guide is the language of the menu, if it’s in English or worse, the pictures don’t even think about eating there. Reserve the touristy terraces for your aperitivo to capture the ambiance, but then eat elsewhere.

8. Know the Difference Between Lunch and Dinner

Italians like to linger for lunch rather than dinner when they have time. Breakfast tends to be a short and sweet affair, while lunch can take hours and dinner is usually a lighter snack. So, plan your day around food while you’re in Rome, because eating and taking your time to eat is a local sport. Italians tend to order appetizer (appetizer), followed by a primo, usually pasta or risotto, followed by the main course of meat or fish, followed by dessert. And this is for lunch!

This is also why so many places ripsoItalian equivalent siesta, when people rest sometime between noon and afternoon. For dinner, people usually eat a slice of pizza or a salad. However, if you’re not a lunch eater, restaurants are also quite happy to welcome you with a larger meal for dinner.

a bowl of spaghetti

Do not rotate your spaghetti on the spoon for mixing the sauce into the pasta, if any.

Photo credit: aodaodaodaod / Shutterstock.com

9. Eat Your Pasta Like a Local

When it comes to local cuisine, there are a few tips and tricks that make you look and act like a local. One of the most important things to know is to only eat your pasta with a fork. You don’t rotate your spaghetti on the spoon to mix the sauce into the pasta, if any, and you definitely never, ever cut the long pasta.

Do not add cheese to your seafood pasta; It’s also not polite to ask for extra cheese, as the chef will prepare the food the way he thinks it is. Also, even if you are used to eating pasta, you may think that your pasta is undercooked. al dente. You’ll soon realize that it’s al dente in Italy, less cooked than anywhere else in the world, and that’s the best way to eat your pasta.

Pro Tip: I often look at books written by locals or immigrants, for example cute How to Be Italian By Maria Pasquale about the Italian lifestyle that gives you insight into being Italian and gets you in the mood for travel.

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