They may say “when in Rome…”, but as a visitor, you don’t always have the “tourist” label to fall back on. Although sometimes the way you behave while visiting a foreign country can be forgiven, some habits are just plain offensive. Avoid becoming a Roman pariah during your visit by avoiding these 5 common mistakes.
1. Avoid Throwing Coins Into Every Fountain
Although you can find coins in just about all the fountains, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should actually throw a coin in it. In fact, there is only one fountain you should make a wish and throw a coin into, the Trevi Fountain.
2. Never Accept Things from Strangers
While visiting Rome, you will come across at least one person who will try to scam you. This can include things like placing small items like flowers, toys, bracelets, or pictures into your hand like it was a gift. However, once you accept they will ask for money and even give you problems if you refuse them or give them less than what they feel you should pay them. If someone begins to approach you while you’re walking, just keep going and pay attention to something else; and if you can’t avoid them, keep your guard up. Sometimes, they work with others to swipe your things while you’re distracted.
3. Resist the Urge to Dip Your Feet
Yes, Rome can get hot in the summer. However, avoid the desire to dip your feet into the fountains. Not only is it forbidden to do so, it is also very disrespectful to the locals.
4. Don’t Litter
This may go without saying, but you would be surprised how many visitors leave their rubbish behind because they can’t find the trash bin. Rome is a beautiful city, and just like every other city, it needs your help to keep it that way.
5. Dress Appropriately
Although Roman summers can be sizzling hot, you need to leave the tank top at home when visiting certain locations. Many religious sites, such as the St. Peter’s Basilica, have strict dress codes that require shoulders to remain covered, and shorts or skirts to reach no higher than your knee. If you happen to arrive unprepared, many enterprising churches offer the sale of cover-ups to help bare-shouldered tourists. However, not all sites offer these sales, and they have the right to decline your admittance.