Do As Romans Do, Rome
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel is a marvel, however I was a bit disappointed with the experience as a whole. The Chapel itself is not disappointing- it's magnificent, but as you're walking through the Vatican Museum, there is no limitation to the number of people allowed into the Sistine Chapel so it's always very crowded in the Chapel. You're not allowed to speak, a rule which is enforce by security, but this solemn, silent atmosphere is completely defeated by the crowds. You are also not supposed to take pictures, but I squeezed this one off by getting lost in the crowds and not using a flash.
Possibly the most lasting impression you will have of Rome is that motorists do not stop to let pedestrians cross the road at the zebra crossings. This is not just inconvenient for pedestrians - given the sheer volume and overall high speed of traffic in central Rome, it's actually downright scary and dangerous. You can try to put off a road-crossing only so long, but sooner or later you will have to venture out into the fray. The first thing you need to remember is that Roman drivers do not regard zebra crossings as places where pedestrians have priority to cross. Rather, they view these crossings as places where pedestrians may be granted a sporting chance to get across. That is to say, if you are already on the crossing, approaching motorists may just reduce their speed a little, giving you time to advance a few more paces. It is no good waiting on the curb for traffic to stop before you cross - You will wait forever because no cars will stop... Instead, you must clearly assert your intention to cross by actually stepping out onto the crossing. Once you're on the crossing, keep going at a steady speed, but watch out for cars and weaving scooters that may not have seen you. Do not slow down or stop unless absolutely necessary, as the motorist has usually plotted his path in the assumption that you will have moved forward before he gets to the place you were a split second ago. For the same reason, do not start running either, as this also makes it tricky for the motorist to plot his route and speed. Native Romans do not run on the crossings, not because they care about being run over, but because they're too gosh-darn proud and posey to be seen running on a zebra. Remember to always keep an eye out for cars taking a diagonal route or even overtaking on their blind side across the zebra. Romans don't care about blindsides, and lane markings on the roads are universally ignored. Most three-lane streets actually bulge into five lanes as motorists constantly jostle for position and prominence in the pack.
Italian are very clean people. In the bathroom you will find an extra accessory that you may have never seen before. It is usually near the toilet, and it is used to wash you ass after you sat on the toilet. Learn to use it, you can just benefit from it. We DO NOT use that instead of paper, it is a plus to make sure you are properly cleaned. Saying that in your country you don't use that because you have showers is insulting! We have showers too, and most Italians use them every day of their lifes. If you don't use it in your country it means you are not as clean as an Italian!
Once an American told me that they don't use this peace of bathroom accessory because they use showers; so I assume they could do without a sink as well, because they have showers, isn't it!
Now just to make sure you understand the tip: after you have been sitting on the toilet you wipe your ass with paper, then when you think you are clean enough you go sit on the bide', fill it with warm water, and then with your right hand wash your ass with soap. Near the bide' you will find a small towel; that is to dry you ass. When you are done you can call yourself a fully civilized person.
Ladies.....the men in Italy are known to be relentless, no? But don't 'fear' them......INDULGE!! The men in Italy celebrate women and adore everything about a woman. Of course, as in any other country, if things get out of hand, you should already know how to handle the situation. Otherwise, just enjoy being a woman in Italy!
The dapper gentleman in this picture? He was neither a boyfriend nor a friend. Never even knew the guy......he was our WAITER!!!!! I went to a local restaurant where the waiters were infamous for kissing the female patrons and sending them off with a long-stemmed rose. Ya think they were after the big tips???
It was a lovely time.....don't quite remember how good the food was, but the 'service' was impeccable! If anyone out there knows the name of this particular restaurant, feel free to email Geisha_Girl directly....so I can add it to my list of 'Places to Re-visit.' ;->
Don't order drinks or food at the bar and then sit at the tables. Fairly common in Europe this but different to the pub culture in UK.
Also, in snack bars, pay for your food first and then go and order it. This is dodgy if you can't speak Italian as you have to wave wildly at the sandwiches and hope you get one on your bill. Somehow I ended up with a capuccino instead, must be my accent!
Very much an Italian speciality. Piaggio-Vespa do 3-wheel scooter-based vans and pick-ups and 4-wheel vans and pick-ups with Daihatsu-designed cabs.
Fiat also made this type of vehicle.
Apperently it's the current trend for guys this summer in Rome; CHEQUERED pants... So many men where wearing this, it was hard to keep count! Interesting phenomenon. Hope the hype stays in Italy!
When visiting churches in Italy it is customary to cover shoulders and legs. In some churches this rule is not enforced but for places such as St Peter's it is advisable to bring extra clothing.
Partly it is just local custom and culture, but many Italians also believe it is unhealthy to drink things that are too cold. They don't think it's good for you!