Monthly Archives: January 2013

When Visiting Italy (some common mistakes)

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Every country is different, here are some tips that will help you to have a more enjoyable experience in Italy:

  • Assuming you can buy tickets for public transportation directly on the bus / tram.

Most big cities in Italy (Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence) require you to buy your bus/tram tickets before boarding. And not just that, but most bus stops will not have a ticket machine next to the stop. Rather, you’ll need to find a newspaper stand (edicola) or a tobacco shop (tabaccaio) to purchase your tickets.

  • No validating train tickets

Depending on the type of train ticket you buy, you may need to validate it or otherwise you pay a fine. This will be indicated on the ticket.

  • Assuming that cars and scooters will leave you to go first while crossing the streets

Even when they are bounded to, many drivers will not stop to let you go first and scooters will never do it (they have no obligation).

  • Expecting to be waited on very attentively in a restaurant or store.

Many restaurants will be “understaffed,” (few waiters working many tables) They probably won’t ask “how are you folks doing?”, if you like the food, if you want a refill (this concept doesn’t exist) or other general “friendly” requests that are in reality superfluous to your main dining experience – they just don’t have the time. So, sit back, be patient, and flag down your waiter when you need something, but be patient in knowing they are probably working very hard.

  • Tipping.

You don’t need to tip in Italy. Italians will only leave a tip for exceptional service (anniversary dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant) or will leave the change when paying cash because it’s easier not to wait for the waiter to make change .

  • Thinking you have to order an antipasto, primo e secondo at every meal.

Most Italians don’t eat an antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce at every meal – you don’t have to, either.

  • Not respecting meal times, especially at lunch time.

Most restaurants and bars have specific opening times, and they will close in the afternoon. If you have a late breakfast, visit museums through lunch and hope to get a bite to eat at 2pm or 3pm, you’re going to find a very limited selection.

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  • Ordering before paying, paying before ordering in a bar.

Many bars require that you get a receipt (scontrino) before ordering, especially if you see the cash register (cassa) sitting apart from where you’ll pick up the food or coffee, and you don’t see immediate table service.

  • Touching fruit & vegetables with your bare hands in a street market or supermarket.

In a supermarket you should see plastic gloves and bags near the scales or throughout the fruit/veg section. Use them. In an open-air market, you won’t see these gloves because you are not expected to handle anything yourself – the people working in the stall will do everything.

Our staff will kindly help you to learn all that you need about Italian culture. See you around!

Marcelo

Become a Gladiator in Rome!!!

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The most exciting experience, that will take you back in time not only to understand a very special aspect of daily life in Ancient Rome, but to feel it in a unique way. The Gladiator School in Rome run by the Gruppo Storico Romano (enthusiastic volunteers willing to tell you everything they know about Rome) provides this opportunity.

First a  history lesson: weapons, costumes and models from Ancient Rome. Then, the gladiator style warm up (dressed in a kind of toga) with belt, sandals and a wooden training sword called a ‘rudis’. The rest of the time at gladiator school is about learning different techniques of attack and defence using your wooden sword. When you’ve proved yourself with that, you’ll move on to use the ‘gladius’, the heavier sword which gave gladiators their name

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The activity is good for both adults and kids (thou for children over 6 years old). The price depends on the size of the group that makes the booking. The school is located at Via Appia Antica 18, which is just a short cab ride from the Coliseum and a wonderful complement to its visit.

I came to know about it for clients that tried it and found it the most interesting and funny! ( So now  I have to try it myself,  maybe I will see you there. Why not?)

MARCELO