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5 Really Random Things I Learned in Rome

5 Really Random Things I Learned in Rome

These 5 things Eloisa learned in Rome when she studied there are lessons that any Erasmus student in Rome is likely to learn from experience too.

Just because the green man is on, doesn’t mean it’s safe to cross


Try to learn this as quickly as you can. It’s never perfectly safe to cross the road in Rome. Look both ways as many times as you can. Try to keep breathing and once you start crossing try not to stop. If you went to Vietnam on your Gap year, you’ll know the technique. Just keep walking.


Wi-fi is a myth

free wifi rome

Wi-fi is incredibly hard to find. You might think that looking for that wi-fi sign on the window of a café, bar or restaurant will guarantee good, working wi-fi inside. Think again. Many of these places will have their wi-fi broken or off for months. Eventually, you’ll you start learning all those secret spots in your neighbourhood and around Rome where wi-fi not only exists, but is fast and reliable. This is the stuff of legends and your most precious secret. Don’t give it away to anybody.

Alternatively, just embrace that you don’t have to be connected all the time. When in Rome, do as the Romans do: save your time at the bar, restaurant or café to enjoy the conversation you’re having with your friends across the table – not across the world.

A cafetaria can be a restaurant. A tabaqueria can be a restaurant. A ristorante can be a bar.

Photo by Flickr user Marco Bellucci

I don’t know. Don’t ask questions: anything can be everything. The Cafetaria Academica is a restaurant and a tobacconist, not a café. I guess you could say that in Rome, nothing is what it seems.

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A toilet is one of those simple things I took for granted

Photo by Flickr user Junagarh
Photo by Flickr user Junagarh

Most Romans have learned that the easiest way to avoid cleaning a toilet is to persuade you not to use them. So toilets in bars and cafés with no lid are a standard. Others won’t even have lights or paper either. Your best alternatives include training your bladder to wait until you’re home or start learning the tricks that will get you inside bathrooms in restaurants, where the standards are usually higher.

I’ll do anything for a bargain buy

best bargains in Rome


If you need an iPhone charger, books for your course, or a new pair of socks, you will go wherever it’s cheapest. If that is the back of a shady van that’s parked in front of your university or residence, so be it.

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