Tips & Facts in Rome
from VaticanTour.com - Maximus Tours
One of the best ways to see Rome is to walk, you'll stumble across some amazing sites that you won't find listed in your guide books and once you get to know it you'll realise its not such a big city after all. However, Rome does have a pretty good transport system. Buses are well connected and the Metro is fairly straightforward to use. The main Terminal is Termini Station. For Buses and Metro you need to purchase tickets beforehand. There are Ticket Machines located in the entrance of every Metro Station. Tickets for the buses can be bought from any Tabacchi (look for the T sign), some Newspaper vendors and some bars. Note: You must Validate the tickets either at the entrance of the Metro or using the Machines on the Buses. Unless your ticket is Validated the Ticket inspectors will still class you as riding for free and fine you regardless! You can purchase a €1 ticket which lasts for 75 mins which can be used on any atac bus, and valid for 1 metro journey within that time period. One day and weekly passes are also available.
Italy has various different police forces. If in any trouble, the Carabinieri are the first choice, especially as they deal more with international affairs. There is also the Polizia, which are the State Police, the Municipality Police who deal with the traffic, parking and other environmental issues, and the Guardia di Finanza, the guards of finance looking for illegal street traders etc.
In many parts of the world, seeing tons of Graffiti can mean you've entered a less than salubrious area, in Rome its the norm! Typically soccer or politically related slogans adorn trendy areas like Trastevere, Testaccio and even the Vatican area gets its share. Don't let it put you off!
Whenever you are visiting a Holy site (and that includes ALL churches in Rome!) Men and Women should always make sure shoulders are covered, ladies; knee length skirts and dresses or long shorts are OK, in some places like the Vatican Men are not permitted entry if wearing Shorts.
Some Restaurants will automatically add a service charge to your bill, these tend to be the more touristy places however. Many good restaurants usually have signs saying no service charge or service charge not included, in this case if you are happy with your meal and the service provided a tip of 5-10% is normal.
When you're short on time and have places to be, a quick snack from one of the many Vans or street vendors around Rome may seem like a good idea, until you pay the price and taste the food!! A bottle of water from a discount supermarket can cost from 15 cents to 1 Euro. Street carts can charge up to €5 for the same bottle, so stock up from the supermarket if you can. You just need to take one bottle out with you in the morning and fill up for free from one of the many drinking fountains from around the City. The water is cold, clean, pure and perfectly OK to drink, only if there is a sign saying Non-Potabile is it not drinking water. Another way to lose cash is making the mistake of having a "fun" photo taken with one of the many Costumed Gladiators that can be found at the Colosseum and other parts of Ancient Rome. It may seem like a good idea to show your friends at home but posing with tourists is their full time job and they will expect payment for the privilage. They have been known to haggle and demand anything from €1 - €15 depending on the tourist, so rule of thumb is not to take photos of these guys unless you're prepared to pay!
As a tourist other battles you may have to fight will be against the very pushy rose sellers generally found at the Trevi fountain but in general at most tourist sites in the evening! You will often find a Rose or two being thrust into your hand without your consent while being expected to pay for something that you didn't ask for. The trick here is to be firm!!! Either ignore the seller or better, very firmly say no and walk away. Place any Roses or items that you may have been coherced into taking either on the ground or on a bench and walk away. Don't feel obliged to pay for something that you don't want or didn't ask for. Just say no.
As a tourist, there are constantly new distractions everywhere you go, however you need to remain aware of your belongings at all times in large cities where there are always people ready to prey on those little moments of distraction. Pick pockets are rife in Rome and they do have the ability to spot tourists from a good distance away! Always make sure you carry your bags in front of you when taking any public transport, never carry wallets, purses or other valuable items in your pockets and carry a photocopy of your passport as oppossed to the real thing, hours at your embassy trying to get an emergency passport will not be fun! Bus routes popular with tourists such as the 64 or the 40 are OK to use as long as you are aware!! Termini, again because it's the main train station and full of travellers is an area to be careful in, common sense is the key. Groups of Women and even children are often the worst culprits, don't let your guard down just because it's a mother and child. They are professionals and prey on people's weaknesses. PORTA PORTESE is one of the biggest flea markets in Rome, held every Sunday morning and slightly different Roman experience for the braver traveller. Great bargains can be found here but BEWARE... due to the crowds and the distractions this is a notoriously pick pocket friendly place, money is best kept in a neck pouch or a safe inside pocket, never keep valuables in your outside pockets and take extra care when browsing the stalls or stands.
Using taxis as a form or transport can prove very costly in Rome. Its always wise to try to establish a rough of idea of the price before getting in to the cab and keep an eye on the meter. An average journey across Rome should be about €15 depending on traffic and if travelling with suitcases you will be charged slightly more for the baggage. If you feel you have been unfairly charged, the drivers number can be found on the door of the taxi, taking that number and threatening to report them to the municipality tends to help! Also worth a note, if you call a taxi as oppossed to going to an official taxi rank you will be charged from wherever the driver is until the point of your pick up, so generally speaking you can expect at least €2 - 3 already on the meter. You don't have to tip the taxi driver if you feel they didn't deserve it, however if you do want to tip €1 or 2 is fine. TAXI NUMBERS: From Rome dial 06 4994,/ 06 3570 / 06 6645, / 06 5551, or 06 8822
- Night supplement (from 10pm to 7am) : € 2.58
- Sundays and public holidays (from 7am to 10pm) : € 1.03
- Luggage : € 1.03 per piece
- Rome - Fiumicino Airport : € 7.23
- Fiumicino Airport - Rome : € 5.94
- Rome - Ciampino Airport or Ciampino Airport - Rome: € 5.16
Although modern metropolitan Rome is spread out all along the arterial roads, the historic center of the city is really quite compact and walkable, as the famous Seven Hills don't really challenge your physical fitness. So if you're tired of trying to figure out where the bus stops and Metro stations are, just put one foot in front of the other and you'll find that the distances aren't that great. Walking around is the best way to get oriented, and even if you do get lost, you'll no doubt run across something like a Baroque fountain or ancient marble fragment that will make that wrong turn worthwhile.
Getting across a busy Roman road safely and in one piece is not always easy!! You will find traffic rules in Italy are not perhaps quite the same as at home. Standing at the side of the road at a Zebra Crossing will not work in Rome. Make sure that the approaching car has enough stopping distance, put a brave foot out on to the crossing and hold your hand out to show you mean business. Eye contact also helps! Walk at an even pace and try not to hesitate, scooters will often weave around you and changing your pace can often be worse than to just keep walking! Often when a traffic light is showing green for pedestrians it also means that it is green for cars to turn too, officially they are supposed to give way to pedestrians however the more impatient driver may not! It's always important to look and take care even at crossings!
Bank opening hours: weekdays from 08:30 or 09:00 to 12:30-13:30 and from 14:30 -15:00 to 16:00 depending on the bank. Most commercial offices are open Mon-Fri from 8.30 until 18.00hrs depending on the industry. Most hight street stores are open from 8.30am until 8pm and in the main shopping areas will remain open throughout the whole day. Smaller boutique style shops or traditional Italian shops in the less tourist areas are likely to close around 1pm and re-open around 4pm until 8pm. This also includes the August Holidays, most tourist areas will remain unaffected but again the smaller more traditional style Italian shops will close for anything from 2 weeks to 4 weeks during the month of August, usually starting from around the 15th. There are many change places which are often better options than banks for changing your currency, better rates can be found around the Termini area. There are many ATM/Cashpoint machines to be found around the City, however ALWAYS alert your bank to the fact you will be using your card in a foreign country. Due to a big crackdown in fraudulent withdrawels and stolen cards, many cards are automatically put on hold and you will remain unable to use your card until you have contacted your bank at home and they can then approve any transactions. The phonecalls alone can be very costly but being unable to use your card will prove to be an even bigger headache.
Since January 2005, smoking is banned in all enclosed public places including bars and restaurants. Smokers and Businesses are likely to face fines if caught ignoring the ban, most pubs and restaurants provide an outdoor smoking area for their customers.
Public telephones accept euro coins, tokens and phone cards which can be bought from a tobacconists, newstands and post offices. Many public phones now accept international credit cards which can also be purchased from the many internet points around the city. Most, if not all areas of Rome now have internet points which also offer phones for international calls, however it is now a legal requirement to have to show your passport or Identity document before being able to use the internet due to anti-terrorism laws.
United Kingdom: Via XX Settembre 80a, Tel: 800 877 790
USA: Via Veneto 119, Tel: 06 46 741
Ireland: Piazza di Campitelli 3, Tel. 06 697 9121
Australia: Via Alessandria, 215, Tel: 06 85.27.21
Canada: Via G.B. De Rossi 27, Tel: 06 445981
Netherlands: Via M. Mercati, 8, Tel: 06 32.21.141
Germany: Via San Martino della Battaglia 4, Tel: 06 49213
France: P.za Farnese, 67, Tel: 06 68.60.11
Spain: Lg. Fontanella Borghese, 19, Tel: 06 68.78.172
For medical emergencies go to the nearest "Pronto Soccorso" of any large hospital; Santo Spirito by the Vatican, Ospedale San Giacomo close to Piazza del Popolo and Ospedale Di San Giovanni by the Church of St John in Lateran are some of the most well known. For Children there is a special paediatric hospital called Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu, located near the Janiculum hill (Gianicolo) For over the counter medicine or mild ailments the Pharmacies (Farmacia's) are usually pretty helpful and there will generally be somebody there that speaks English.
General Information: fax +39.06.698.85518
Daily Mass Schedule: 9-10-11-12-17
Sundays and Holiday Mass Schedule: 9-10.30-11.30-12.15-13-16-17.30
Only for information concerning the celebration of Sacraments:
Baptism of newborn babies, Confirmation of adults, Marriages
Parish Office: fax +39.06.698.85793
Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano, 4
Parish Office +39.06.69886433
Winter Schedule: 7-8-9-10-11-12-17 (Sunday 17-18)
Summer Schedule: 7-8-9-10-11-12-18
Via Liberiana, 27
Parish Office - Via Carlo Alberto, 47 +39.06.4465836
Reception - Via Liberiana, 27 +39.06.4814287
Via Ostiense, 186
Parish Office +39.06.5410178
Winter Schedule - Sunday: 7-8-9-10.30-17.45 (Daylight saving.) - 18 (standard time)
Summer Schedule - Monday-Friday: 7-8-9-10.30-12-18 (Saturday and pre-festive 18 p.m.)
Enquiries: Prefect of the Pontifical Household Ph. +39.06.69884857 fax +39.06.69885863
To purchase PHOTOGRAPHS all enquiries to be made to Photographic Service of the L'Osservatore Romano
To purchase video-recordings enquire at the Vatican Television Centre
Internet Office of the Holy See: communications and suggestions
Vatican Switchboard: +39.06.6982
Schedule Mon.- Fri.: 8.30-18.00; Saturday: 8.30-13.00; ph. +39.06.69883422
Office of Papal Charities: ph. +39.06.69883135, fax +39.06.69883132 UP
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