You know you are in Rome when…. - Wimdu base64Hash You know you are in Rome when…. - Wimdu

You know you are in Rome when….

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It isn’t really hard to know you are in Rome when the streets are filled with such masterpieces as Vatican City, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. However, there are some other features of the magical city which make it stand out even further from the crowd. Look out for these to truly know you have arrived in Rome.

…. you can visit a country within a city.

In case you didn’t already know, the Vatican City is a completely independent sovereign state. In fact, with a population of just 800 residents, it is the world’s smallest country. Within the Vatican City are some of Rome’s main tourist attractions: St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Just remember, you must have your shoulders and knees covered when entering any of the state’s buildings.

Vatican City

A view of St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Photo by Zplcs via FlickrCC.

You know you are in Rome when….
….crossing the road should be considered an extreme sport.

It is not recommended that visitors to Rome walk into oncoming traffic without blinking, although it may seem that is exactly what the locals are doing. If there is one thing you will remember about Rome, it is how difficult it can be to cross the road. Most drivers will not stop to let pedestrians walk, even at a zebra crossing, so remember to approach all roads with the uppermost caution.

You know you are in Rome when….
….a bar is for coffee and not alcohol.

Yes, in some bars alcohol is indeed sold, but they are definitely considered more a place to drink coffee. There are a wide variety of bars within Rome, so visitors will have plenty of variety during their stay. Some of these bars will also serve food. Other key points to remember are that, in Rome, latte is just milk and a caffe americano is an espresso with water.

Cafe on Piazza Santa Maria

Cafe on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Photo by Graeme Churchard, via FlickrCC.

You know you are in Rome when….
….you are in perhaps the only city with a belly button.

Strange, but true, Rome is home to the Umbilicus Urbis Romae, or the “navel of the city of Rome”. Introduced by the emperor Augustus, although not given its bizarre name until emperor Constantine came into power, this usual feature is a spot in the Roman Forum from which all distances in Rome and the Roman Empire were measured. Unfortunately, these days the marker is a pile of bricks and a plaque, rather than the glorious tower it once was.

You know you are in Rome when….
….you can drink water from public fountains.

Rome is relentlessly warm during the summer months and hours spent exploring each day are sure to build up a pretty hefty thirst. Luckily, the city is well equipped to deal with high temperatures due to the presence of public drinking fountains. It can be easy to miss the fountains on first glance as they blend into their surroundings. Visitors hankering for a refreshing drink should keep their eyes peeled for ancient looking fountains. As was the case several centuries ago via Roman aqueducts, it is perfectly safe to drink water from them.

Fountain Rome

A public drinking fountain in Rome. Photo by Seth Schoen via FlickrCC.

You know you are in Rome when….
….you can find your own wonderland by looking through a keyhole.

Visitors to the city have the opportunity to embrace their inner Alice. While it won’t lead you to a world of Mad Hatters and Cheshire Cats, the Keyhole Of The Knights Of Malta does allow you to look along a beautiful garden path that ends in a perfect frame of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. More specifically, what visitors will see are the gardens of the Villa del Priorato di Malta, one of the Rome properties of the famous Knights of Malta.

You know you are in Rome when….
….when offal is one of the most popular foods.

While most people will head to Rome with the intentions of gorging themselves on pizza and pasta, it is actually dishes such as offal which are the city’s most popular food. Back in the 20th century, Quinto Quarto was home to the largest slaughterhouse in Europe. During this time, slaughterhouse workers were often paid in-kind with off-cuts of meat such as sheep intestine, tripe and tongue. Not the most appealing parts of the animal, housewives soon began to work their magic to create tasty recipes using the meat.

These days, the Quinto Quarto cuisine is still one of the most popular in Rome and can be found in the presence of dishes like tripa alla Romana (tripe served with a rich tomato sauce and pecorino cheese) and coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stewed for hours in either a tomato sauce or one with a chocolate base). If this is not the kind of dining you had in mind when booking your trip, other local specialties on offer include Pizza Bianca (a very simple and tasty pizza) and Fritti (Italian doughnuts).

Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca, a Roman speciality. Photo by paolo, via FlickrCC.

You know you are in Rome when….
….you can train as a gladiator.

Those who fancy themselves as a bit of a tough cookie can head to the Roman Gladiator School on the ancient Appian Way and see if they really fit the bill as a hard man or woman. Here, visitors can learn the basic techniques of gladiatorial sword fighting and take part in a gladiatorial tournament. A convincing atmosphere is ensured through the hire of gladiator clothing and weapons and the opportunity to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome.

You know you are in Rome when….
….no matter how long you stay, it is impossible to see everything.

It is important to prioritize your time in Rome to really make the most of your visit to this ancient city. Start by booking an apartment in an area home to most of the attractions you want to see. Rome has a pretty decent public transportation system, so use it. It will help you get to places faster and more efficiently. However, you should also spend a few hours just strolling the city streets, discovering some hidden gems which aren’t always mentioned in the guide books.

(Header image by Zplcs via FlickrCC.)

Rome: Top Offers

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