Note: the following text is originally written in English, in other languages is an automatic translation
For information, a map, to book a tour, or just some ideas on what to do next, drop into the Enjoy Rome office at Via Germanico 8. We’re open from 8am-6pm Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm Sun. Around town, try Rome City Council Tourist Information Points (Punti Informazione Turistico, or PIT):
PIT Castel S. Angelo, Lungotevere Vaticano (Piazza Pia). 9:30am – 7:00pm
PIT Ostia, Lungomare Paolo Toscanelli, corner with Piazza Anco Marzio. 9:30am – 7:00pm
Don’t be paranoid, but do be careful. Despite the horror stories you might hear of “gypsies” throwing their babies at tourists before relieving them of their wallets, the pickpocket situation in Rome is much improved although unfortunately not eradicated. However it is not any worse than any other major city. As you would in London, Paris, Barcelona or New York, always make sure you know where your wallet/phone/camera is, and keep your bag in front of you in busy places and on crowded public transport (when using the Metro it’s usually best to walk along the platform and get on at the carriages towards the ends of the train; the ones in the middle are usually a scrum and where the unscrupulous target their victims). Remember also that despite what you might hear, not all pickpockets are “gypsies”.
Rome is one of the world’s safest capital cities, and the city centre is a safe place. There are no real “no go” areas, although some areas around the station can be a little unpleasant at night. In the centro storico the police you see all over the place are guarding government buildings, embassies, and the Prime Minister’s house. They are more an exercise in overkill, than indicative of an imminent uprising.
You CAN drink the water (and very good it is too). Drinking fountains run constantly and abound throughout the city, which can save you a fair amount of cash, especially in the heat of summer. Romans tend to drink mineral water because they believe it has digestive properties and/or they like the bubbles, and while restaurants don’t serve tap water, mineral water is usually cheap at about €2 a liter. However the tap water is good, cold, and FREE. Roman aqueducts have been bringing spring water from the hills around the city for over 2000 years, the city’s tap water today mostly comes from the natural reservoirs of the Apennine mountain range.
Crossing the road. There are apocryphal tales of visitors to the city coming and leaving, having only seen everything on one side of Piazza Venezia, such is the daunting prospect of crossing the vast mass of traffic. Follow these simple rules and you won’t be one of them.
1. Stand on the curb, looking in the correct direction of oncoming traffic. When there is a decent break (i.e. enough for whoever’s coming to brake),
2. Make sure they have seen you
3. Step out decisively and, maintaining a constant and regular pace, walk across. As if by magic the cars and scooters will weave around you
DON’T stop midway, go backwards, or run across screaming, that confuses everybody, and don’t wait in ever-growing frustration for everyone to stop, it’s never going to happen.
Embassies in Rome
Here is a list of embassies and consular offices of some English-speaking countries, for a full list look in the telephone directory under Ambasciate, or at www.paginegialle.it.