When in Rome … one better pray not to have to use the public restroom. If the issue were just that public bathrooms are filthy, the simple solution would be to not sit down, but it becomes a completely different problem when in fact there are no public toilets at all. Who doesn’t love walking around Rome, realizing you have to pee, and then having to either walk to the opposite end of Rome to finally find a metro station with a toilet, or having to enter a restaurant and ask for a bathroom – of course accompanied by condescending looks from the waiters.
Assuming one doesn’t have to use the bathroom, there is still the issue of having no place to eat. Yes, Rome is in Italy; yes, Italy is famous for delicious food, and even though Rome is Italy’s capital, Rome somehow seems to be an exception. Whilst they might actually serve heavenly food somewhere, no one will ever know, because when walking through Rome, you somehow never pass a restaurant. You might find tons of ice-cream places or small cafés that only serve coffee – and who would have guessed: ice-cream! – but if you are looking for decent food, it seems to be an impossible mission.
However once you walk all across Rome to Trastevere, a small neighborhood near Vatican City, it becomes the complete opposite and it is in fact difficult to find anything other than restaurants. However charming the neighborhood may be, it sadly is the only part about Rome that can be described as “charming”. Trastevere is unfortunately also only 3m² big – or at least that’s what it feels like: there are two main alleyways with – to be fair – plenty of amiable restaurants, but after these two lanes, you end up on the very busy main road.
If you can ignore the fact that you will have a difficult time finding food or when having to use the toilet, you have my deepest respect, and then you will probably also not have an issue with the following: Romans are rude. Yes, they are known for being arrogant, but I have never been the kind of person to pay much attention to rumors – this however, is true (at least in my experience). No offense to any Romans, but you won’t be able to count the hundreds of smug and annoyed looks you are going to encounter. Even if all you are trying to buy is gelato (in Italian of course), the person behind the counter will most likely be looking at you as if they’re thinking “god, not another one”. If you do meet someone who isn’t rude, they are probably not from Rome.
Lastly: Rome is dirty. Many big cities are dirty, but Rome is exceptional – well, they have to be that at something. Even though the whole city is “unclean”, the main train station and everything outside of Rome can honestly be described as filthy. Not only is there graffiti everywhere – not the beautiful kind, but just tons of “tags” – but everyone litters on the street, the drains smell, and once you leave the heart of Rome, if even starts to become a little unsafe. If you are a human, you will probably be fine, but anything of materialistic value will possible be either gone or destroyed.
The employees at the camping area (Camping Tiber Roma – which was beautiful by the way and completely safe), even mentioned a few times that it is most definitely not advised to park a car anywhere on the outskirts of Rome, because your car will either be completely be gone, or – silver lining – the windows will just be smashed.
Even though Rome really is crammed, dirty, and rude, it is still worth a visit – after all, who wouldn’t love to tell their friends about how overrated Rome is?