Restrooms: Pay as you go!
Most of the public restrooms in many of the tourist areas and specifically the Termini have restrooms you have to pay to use. Keep in mind that they only take EXACT change so have plenty of coins on you. Currently as of Feb 2008 its .70 euro to use the restrooms. I found out the hard way that you had to have exact change so hopefully now you will not. Here is a way to use the restrooms for free in some of the major tourist areas. There are McDonalds at the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps, they allow you to use their restrooms without having to pay. Believe me it is difficult otherwise to find restrooms in those areas.
They'll know you're a tourist
Romans dress up for everything. Italians don't wear shorts or flipflops. Most women wear dresses all the time and the men always wear slacks, never shorts. Seeing how nicely they dress can make you a little self concious. Don't worry. Just pack some of your nicer, comfortable clothes and you will be fine. In the evening a nice dress will blend in and for men a nice pair of pants with a button shirt will always work.. As far as shoes go, bring something that is already "broken in". White tennis shoes are not very popular in Rome. I bought a tan pair that were very cool looking and did fine. You can get great walking shoes at any mall, and believe me, you will need them. Dont wear heels while exploring Rome or you will pay the price. All the cobbles make it a really bad choice not matter how nice they look. A hat in the summer is a good idea also, and not just for men. Clothing that can be layered is the way to go in Rome. For women, in the summer, sleeveless tops for outside with a large scarf or a lightweight shirt ( with sleeves) for churches will do fine. Capri pants or a skirt is also a good choice, as you are not allowed to show your knees inside church out of respect. For men, those pants that have the zip off leg is a great way to go. Just put the legs on for any church and you're set. In the winter, layering is a must. The mornings and evenings can be quite cold, yet the afternoons can warm up quite a bit. I have found that long-sleeved t's, cardigan sweaters and a mid weight jacket work well. As far as toiletries, I first check with the hotel to find out what they supply, and I bring everything else. Heres the list: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, spare contact lenses, lense case, solution, spare glasses, brush, hairspray, moisturizer, make-up, razors(in checked luggage only!!) tylenol, immodium (just in case),and pepto (again, just in case), mole skin (for blisters-haven't had to use it yet!), band-aides, sound machine, current converter and dramamine (for plane and train trips). If your hotel doesn't supply theses you will need, hair dryer, wash cloth, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and flip-flops. For photo equitpment I take a good camera bag with a large strap that can go across my body not just over my shoulder, my camera, different lenses (if you have an slr or dslr), memory cards or film, storage device for photos with card reader and battery charger. PLEASE!!!!DO NOT check your photo equiptment with your checked luggage, carry it on with you. Here's what goes in my suitcase: Name and phone number of hotel where I am staying (in case luggage is lost), 4 pairs kahkis, 2 pair jeans, (pants in winter and capris in summer for all), 6-7 shortsleeve tops (summer), 6-7 longsleeve T's with 6-7 button up or pullover tops (winter- for layering), 1 bathing suit, 6 sets of undies, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of flip-flops(for going to and from the pool), 6 pair of socks, 1 midweight jacket (winter), canvas shoulder bag and umbrella. In my carry-on: 1 book, 1 puzzle book with pencil, ipod, headphones, laptop, make-ep, contact stuff, toothbrush and paste, brush, dramamine and a change of clothes. I usually change into something more comfortable after the flight has taken off and change back just before landing. On overnight flights, this helps me sleep better.
All over England there used to be Spar shops. They slowly became less and less until the last I had seen on the Isle of Wight (U.K where I live) became a CO.OP (Cooperative). I hadn't seen a Spar for ages and then when I was strolling through Rome there was a Spar. Just as I remembered seeing in England with the Red and White striped band and geen logo. I couldn't beleive it. They sold everything you used to get in th eEnglish Spar just with some different names. If you didn't want to go out for a meal you could go in there and get something. Usual prices
Great Local Pizzeria
This description may be influenced by the fact that this is the first place where we had dinner in Rome on our first wonderful evening in Rome. It may also have been influenced by the 2 bottles of wine?
La Baita is definitely a place where locals go to eat, drink and be merry. It is on a side street away from the ritzier places along Via Veneto and Via Boncompagni.
We started with Bruschetta and Mozzerella Salad and a bottle of Chianti and a liter of water (naturale). The bruschetta was OK, but the Mozzerella Salad (slices of tomatoes alternated with pieces of buffalo milk cheese) was delicious. We then split a pizza topped with eggplant, which was also very good. With the two appetizers, 1 pizza was enough for both of us, but without them we probably each could have eaten our own pizza.
We were expecting poor/slow service, which we had frequently read about in travel books, but the service here was very good and the place was lively. The Mozzerella Salad was excellent. The Buffalo Milk Cheese made it.
15 EURO BRUNCH IN ROME - AND IT'S GREAT!
Sit within the serene grounds of Villa Bortghese on the outdoor patio for drinks - enjoy the minimalist ambiance of the inside restaurant for dining - no reservations required. This is a "find" for anyone in Roma - no need to be associated with the film industry here - all are welcome. Don't miss an opportunity to see the Casa Cinema facilities while you're there. When I wrote this tip, the buffet was 8 Euro - it is now 15 and moved into the main downstairs dining room - still a bargain! I always enjoy the brunch and especially on Sundays because I love spending a Sunday afternoon there in Villa Borghese. The buffet is only 15 € for one plate Mon-Fri -- Sat/Sun all-you-can-eat is higher but still a treat!