Five Things You Need To Know About Rome
1. You can definitely drink the water from the water fountains.
Rome is hot. Visiting the Roman Forum on a hot day is not a dissimilar experience to what I imagine a visit to the sun would be like. Yet, despite there being hundreds of decent, if rusty, water fountains lining the streets, dehydrated tourists will hand over their euro to numerous touts selling bottles of water around Rome. Unless you’ve got a peculiar aversion to drinking out of taps, use the fountains. The Romans do.*
*To drink out of a pump ‘the Roman way’, you need to cover the mouth of the tap with your fingers, allowing for the water to sort of spurt out of a small hole on top of the tap. This will save you from having to lie under the tap.
2. Contrary to popular belief, young Romans do not pass every evening at a bar taking aperitivo.
This would cost them a small fortune. Being the sociable bunch they are, a popular alternative is to grab a beer or small bottle of something from a cafe or off license, and drink together at one of the numerous piazza across the city. A chance to flirt, socialise and show off (for a fraction of the price). Piazza della Madonna del Monti in Monti is a popular destination for the young and beautiful.
3. There are many churches in Rome, housing many incredible works of art.
There are over 900 churches sprawling across Rome, the most in any city in the world. Many of these churches house works from Caravaggio to Raphael, which you can see for free. Some of the best examples include:
- The Crucifixion of Saint Peter and The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Way to Damascus at Santa Maria del Popolo
- Three canvases commissioned for the family chapel of French Cardinal Cointrel: The Inspiration of Saint Matthew, The Calling of Saint Matthew and The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew at San Luigi dei Francesi (Caravaggio)
- Caravaggio’s Madonna del Pellegrini at the church of Sant’Agostino
4. The Romans have a very particular way of splitting the bill
Regardless of what you have eaten, the bill will be split equally between all members of the party. Good news for those who have ploughed their way through a few antipasti, two plates and a few glasses of decent wine, bad luck for everybody else.
5. Italians are a fairly superstitious bunch, and Romans bear the brunt of it.
Italians have some funny superstitions, fear of the number 17 and putting your hat down on the bed, to name a few. One of my personal favourites is the superstition which predicts bad luck upon seeing a nun. To counter the effects of seeing a nun, you either need to pass it onto the next person you see (saying ‘tua’) or you need to grab your crotch (breast if you're a woman). Needless to say, given the high concentration of nuns in Rome, there is much inappropriate petting going on in the Eternal City.