- Pickpockets are prevalent in Europe. The area around the Colosseum and nearby Metro station is particularly bad. One gets tired of being approached with the line” Nice shoes” when you know it is not your shoes that interests the grinning man. You need eyes in the back of your head as the saying goes because secreting your wallet where you think it is impossible to remove without your knowing (yet accessible when you may need it) is a tricky mission. You can never guarantee success. So, from experience, don’t carry much cash or credit cards around with you. Leave the majority and all valuables like your passport in the hotel safe. And note if you carry an American Express card: despite it having an international toll-free number to call if your card is stolen, this number will not work in Rome, either from a cellular phone or a landline. Even with PINs these days, you still should report a stolen card.
- Like to shop? If you want to be bedazzled with designer names such as Hermes, Prada, Cartier, Gucci et al, travel up Via del Condotti. (This street also leads to the Spanish Steps.) Your head will be on a swivel taking it all in, even if you are just window shopping. But if this area is too pricey for your pocketbook, there are many fashionable shops along the main streets, especially Via del Corso, which are quite reasonable. Haggle with street vendors to bring prices down as items offered may be more expensive than the same items in shops if you are not mindful.
- People watch. You can tell the natives by their great sense of style, especially the men with their lean silhouette of skinny dress pants, loafers or dress shoes, and casually worn dress shirt. It is practically a uniform (such a refreshing change from jeans and tee shirts, and never boring). One can and will see anything on a tourist including short shorts so don’t worry about what to pack for your stay. However, when setting out on your explorations of the city, one can’t be too revealing in your attire if you wish entry to religious sites. Your shoulders and knees must be covered for instance to obtain entrance to the Vatican.
If you are visiting Rome pre or post cruise, or just touring on your own, you will fall in love with Rome. Like every city, it has its flaws and its drawbacks, but the romance and magic of this city will captivate you. These fourteen observations shared may help in enjoying Rome to its fullest. And before you leave Rome, don’t forget to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into Trevi Fountain to guarantee your return to this world-famous destination.