You’ve probably heard the expression, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. But is that actually good advice? Well, not really. While there is some merit to it, it’s not actually the best way to navigate Italy. As in other parts of the world, you want to operate in a way that is as frictionless as possible. You don’t want to wind up with problems for bad behaviour.
Remember, in Rome, the people who live there can behave badly at times. They’re not trying to ingratiate themselves, being permanent residents.
However, if you get into their bad habits, you could soon find yourself in trouble. In addition, you might not enjoy your vacation as much as you had planned.
Therefore, when in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do. Here’s how you should behave instead.
Get Out Of The City
The historic centre of Rome is charming, but beyond that, the city is actually quite unpleasant. That’s why so many people who visit spend a few days away from the conurbation itself in other parts of the country. You could, for instance, go for cycling tours of Puglia or head on over to Venice or the Dolomites. These parts of the country are truly spectacular and give you a change to get a feel for what Italy is really like.
Always Use The Pedestrian Crossings
Italy does have pedestrian crossings, but many locals living in Rome don’t use them. Instead they jaywalk all over the road, creating absolute chaos.
Don’t be one of them. Most busy areas of the city have places where you can cross the road, marked with white stripes on the floor. Italians drive on the right, so make sure that you look in the right direction when you cross the road.
Don’t Use Your Horn
Using your car horn is a bad habit in many Italian cities, not just Rome. Usually, people use their horns to encourage other road users to drive faster. However, it also happens at traffic lights, even if they are red, leading to stress.
Avoid using your horn if you can. It will usually only invite retaliation.
Don’t Jump The Red Light
You will very often see people jumping the red light in Italy. It’s illegal and a bad habit, so you shouldn’t copy anyone you see doing it. It could also be dangerous in some situations, so absolutely not advised.
Always Wait In Line
The Romans can have a habit of jumping the queue. It’s not fair, but it happens more often than you might think, often because there are long waits to get into popular tourist attractions, including St. Paul’s Basilica.
Don’t join in, though. While it might be tempting to copy the bad habits of the people around you, it can still land you in trouble.
Don’t Be Excessively Loud
Lastly, you’ll want to avoid being excessively loud as you make your way around Italy, particularly if you speak a different language. Remember, many Italians in the south speak loudly and can sound angry, though they rarely are.