The Dos and Don'ts While You’re In Rome

May 1, 2021
girl walking by, her face is turned away from the camera

As you may already know, every culture is different from one another. People from one country live a certain way, while people from another country might live in a very different way. At John Cabot University especially, you’re truly immersed into a world of multiple diverse cultures as our students come from over 70 countries!

It’s not easy adjusting to a new lifestyle in a new country. You never really know what to expect, and you’re worried about fitting right in with the locals. Here I’ve organized a “Dos and Don’ts” list for when you’re adjusting to your new life abroad in Rome!

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    DON’T drink a cappuccino after lunch. Cappuccinos are strictly for the morning when you’re enjoying your breakfast. If you’re looking to refill on caffeine levels after lunch, have un caffè(an espresso)!If a local catches you drinking a cappuccino after lunch, hide!

  • DO be outgoing and practice your Italian with friends or locals! Italians really appreciate it when you try to speak their language rather than just expecting them to know and speak English for you. It also helps you become more comfortable with your Italian speaking skills, and your Italian friends will be more than happy to help you.

  • DON’T have dinner anytime before 8 pm. Most Americans have dinner around 6 pm, while in Italy that’s our happy hour! You might get some strange looks and reactions if you invite your Italian friends out to dinner at 6 in the evening.

  • DO remember to bring some cash with you, especially when going to get a coffee with a friend. In most bars, there is a minimum amount you can pay with a credit card (some bars don’t take card at all!), so it’s always better to have a backup plan and bring some cash as well.

  • DON’T dress for the weather. No matter how hot or cold it is, Italians dress for the season rather than the weather. Even if it’s a warm and sunny January day, make sure to grab that coat before leaving the house.

  • DO try to visit as many museums and churches as you can, and make sure to dress modestly (covering knees and shoulders). It’s always good to be respectful, especially when sight-seeing Rome’s many beautiful and historic museums and churches. Some churches won’t even let you enter if you’re not covered up!
  • DON’T order chicken alfredo pasta when you go out to dinner. Chicken alfredo pasta is, as we Italians say, un’americanata.It’s a totally made-up dish that Americans have convinced themselves to be Italian! If you ask the waiter at a restaurant for a plate of chicken alfredo, they won’t even know what you’re talking about.

I hope this guide of “Dos and Don’ts” for when you’re in Rome has been useful! Have you noticed any Don’ts that you’re guilty of doing or any Dos that you have yet to try? Just remember to always be yourself and have fun making new memories in the Eternal City!


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