Travel Rome Like an Italian– First, Ditch the Fancy Heels

Andrea | A Glimpse of Good
6 min readFeb 15, 2023
Colosseum, Rome, Roma, travel like Italian, travel tips

Walk down the jet bridge in your comfy cute style, ready for your first day in Rome. Just skip packing your Gucci python print heels on this escapade.

You can look stylish wandering Rome by looking at number-two of these 12 Rome tips without looking like the goofy tourist in your wanderlust.

We chose to fly to Roma on Easter weekend for our very first time. I’m in-touch with the crazier ideas when it comes to traveling and now know how to keep you from looking the out-of-sorts maniacal traveler.

Easter weekend — in the Catholic capitol — we thought, “Lets visit Rome!”

One-step-nuttier…We added a tour of the Vatican on the list!? {Go off the high dive of nuts — or don’t go at all!}

If you knew my Hubs, this sort of crazy optimism wouldn’t be so shocking. He’s an “all-in”, “it’ll be fine” kinda guy.

And if you don’t make it into Vatican City, there’s always a gelateria nearby ready to serve it’s oh-so-sweet-goodness. Gelato makes everything better!

On to the gelato! {Plus the 12 tips}

If you’re traveling to Rome, these are the 12 best travel tips to keep you from looking like the nutter tourist…

The 12 Best Rome Travel Tips

1/ But First Coffee — at the Bar

The midday rest hours is a thang in Italy, but slowly drinking your coffee is not. Order your frothy cappuccino or caffè macchiato {an espresso with a splash of milk} at the bar, take your receipt to pick up your cuppa, and drink up. Sitting down at a table to leisurely drink can double your bill {table service fee}.

2/ No fancy heels — Just Good Walking Shoes

The cobblestone streets of Rome are part of its old world charm. You’ll be doing a lot of walking along those cobblestone streets, and heels don’t fit this trip {they do fit nicely in the cobblestone cracks and break your heels though}. Save your cute spikes for your Asheville weekend.

There are good walking-around stylish shoes to pack for walking Rome::

3/ Greetings — Remind Rome that Americans have manners

When you pop into the small boutiques or family-owned shops, greet the owner {most small shops or artisan workshops are operated by the owners}. Greet them with “Buongiorno” {good day} until afternoon and “buonasera” {good evening} after. {Ciao is an easy hi/bye, if that’s what you’re looking for}.

No need to rattle off Eat, Pray, Love in Italian, but making an effort to speak the language goes a long way in ANY COUNTRY you visit {except for maybe France. Depending on who you try it with, they can get a bit testy}.

4/ Safety First — Watch Your Bags

As with ANY TRAVELING, keep an eye on your bags. In crowded areas {and all of Rome’s popular sites are overflowing with people}, carry your bags on your front or use a protected travel backpack like this one.

  • Always keep them zipped
  • Carry your wallet in an inside zipped pocket or hidden belt bag.

SIDE STYLE TIP:: Belt bags are the new fanny packs 😉 I bought mine in the wine color because it’s purty. But turns out it’s a BRILLIANT CHOICE if you’re a wine spiller too 🙋🏼‍♀️ {anyone else raising their hand?}

5/ That’s a Pass — As in Bus Pass

We are walkers most of the time, but getting to certain places in Rome requires wheels. The city buses were those wheels that Easter trip. Buy your tickets ahead of time because they DO NOT sell tickets on the bus.

Buy tickets at any tabaccheria in the city. Shops are designated with a large “T”. Tickets are €1.50 each, or choose a 24-hour, 48-hour, or weekly ticket for a discounted price. Tickets are valid for all public transportation in Rome (bus, metro, tram and local train).

6/ Tickets Please — Buy Your Tickets ahead of time

Bypass the lines and purchase tickets to the more popular sites AHEAD OF TIME. Many of these sell out quickly. Do a little planning ahead and buy your tickets online before your trip. { Vatican and Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, St Peter’s Dome & Basilica tour are big hits}

You don’t need a ticket to visit Trevi Fountain, but it’s wildly popular and not much fun squishing your way through a ka-jillion of your closest strangers. Grab your cappuccino and make that your first view of the day.

OORRRR, make a night stop to see it under all the beautiful lights. We did both, and 18/19 tourists agree…nighttime viewing is best, mainly because…fewer peeps standing around in your photos 📷

We ran out of time, but one tour that’ll be on our 2024 trip itinerary is the traditional pasta-making and wine tour in Frascati {40-min train ride from Rome}.

7/ Cash still Reigns

Since the pandemic, credit cards aren’t the frowned upon payment they once were, but good ol’ coin still reigns supreme — especially in smaller-run businesses.

Keep some on hand during your trip.

8/ Dinner at 6:00-No — 7:00-Closer — 8:00-almost

One of THE BEST parts of foreign travel is the exposure to other cultures. Dinner in Rome might be one of those adjustments, unless you’re a snacking queen like myself🤗

Dining and drinking are rituals in Italy. Don’t rush. First, enjoy an aperitivo. You’re meeting up for a pre-dinner drink and light eats {similar to Happy Hour} at 7pm, after a day of sight-seeing.

However, don’t eat too much Italian deliciousness, because dinner follows around 8, 9, or even 10pm.

Might want to grab an extra caffè macchiato for your long Roman days to keep moving until dinner, or take a midday rest {riposa} like the locals, from 1–3-ish.

This Art of Aperitivo post will help you fit in with the locals at aperitivo time.

9/ Gelato For All

Anytime + all-the-time is when you look for your next gelateria to try a new flavor. DO NOT LEAVE ROME without trying at least one flavor, no, five…maybe six. Depends on the season, since they keep rotating.

10/ Simplicity is the Italian Way

Order the house wine –you’ll love it– and don’t expect pizza drowning in sauce.

It’s the simple cooking that makes Italian foods mouth-watering, along with the extra pounds you’ll pack home with you. 😬

Enjoy it the way it comes. Don’t ask for sauces {I see you, ranch lovers} or try to salt your capressi or bruschetta into a cardiac arrest.

Yes, Italians love their pastas, pastries, and pizza {as well as coffee, wine, and gelato…}. But believe it or not, there are also salad and vegetable options. Look under “CONTORNI” on the menus {their side dishes}.

Always, always, for the love of Italy, save space for dessert + your after-dinner-sip of limoncello.

11/ Be With the People You’re with

That said, you’ll want to put foreign phone service on at least one phone in your party. Wi-fi can be spotty at hotels and cafés.

If you’re using your phone for directions on your trip, pay extra to add on foreign service {or check out the BONUS TIP BELOW}.

Whenever we’ve gone international with our teens, they didn’t have phone service. I’m a mama who has her kids back! No Snap notifications, texts, games… BEST TRIPS EVVV-ER!

12/ The Must-See Roma Spots

BONUS TIP:: In case you’re directionally challenged {like myself}…

Did you know you can download Google Maps to use offline?

Touring the Colosseum today?

When you type in “Colosseum, Roma, Italy” click one of the options that populates, then the three dots ••• {upper right corner on iPhone}.

Tap “download offline map”

Andrea ~ A Glimpse of Good in a Mid Life Refresh

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Andrea | A Glimpse of Good

Globe Gallivanter. 50+ Style Enthusiast. Book Buff. Wine Taster. Queen of Quirky | Lifestyle Blogger + Renovator of THGB