Removing the Tourist Label in Rome

Kimberly Quintanilla is a student at Arizona State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Rome, Italy.

When initially arriving in Rome, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by all that awaits to be explored. Living in the eternal city is quite the experience, but the shock will make anyone feel lost at first. Here are a few adaptations I have acquired that have come to make me feel as close to local as I can be.

Piazza Venezia

One of the most breathtaking experiences is the first time you lay eyes on the Altare della Patria at Piazza Venezia. It is located in the middle of one of the most chaotic intersections in Rome, so don’t stare at it for too long or you might get hit! Becoming familiar with this Piazza will be very beneficial when trying to navigate around Rome for many reasons.

  1. It is located steps away from The Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Pantheon, and then some. Once you’ve found your way to Piazza Venezia, you are set.
  2. If you are a shopaholic, you have found heaven. From Zara to Kiko, there are enough stores to keep you around the area all day. Have fun, but spend wisely!
  3. Most of the public transportation one uses will have a stop at Piazza Venezia. It is at the center of most departures and arrivals. It becomes very easy to navigate through common attractions, which brings me to my next point…

 Public Transportation

It is almost a life necessity to understand public transportation in Rome. Although it seems like a hassle at first, it quickly becomes your best friend. Quick tips on how to stay in the game:

  1. Plan out your rides and be informed on what time it arrives.
  2. Be ready to be packed in like a sardine. The buses are very full, so you’ll have to fight your way on!
  3. Don’t miss your stop!

Grocery Store

Believe it or not, going to the grocery store will feel like an adventure on its own. There are significant differences from U.S. stores.

Borsa?When the cashier asked me this my first time, I looked like a deer in headlights. All they are asking is whether or not you want a plastic bag, but the bag usually comes with a charge. I recommend buying a reusable one and taking it with you when you shop.

Fruit: One of my roommates and I learned the hard way that in Italy, you weigh your fruit and print out the corresponding sticker with the cost. The cashier will be VERY angry if you do not print it out. Beware.

Though these may seem like simple social ques to most locals, the short time I’ve been in Italy has allowed me to try to catch up with these normal daily life occurrences. I am excited to keep learning the Roman way of life in hopes to become the closest thing to a local by the end of my stay!

The world awaits…discover it.

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