10 Things That Surprised Me About Living in Rome

Chicken Parm is NOT a thing here

All my favorite Italian dishes from back home? Well, it turns out they are not real Italian dishes, rather they are American spins on something that could be Italian. When I do stumble upon chicken parmesan or chicken Alfredo, I am usually forced to the conclusion that the restaurant is not an authentic or traditional restaurant.

Street Signs On Walls

In America, at the end of every street, there is usually a sign that tells you what road or street that you are on and the names of the other streets that you have for options, but in Rome it’s a little different. Actual street signs with the name of a street on a pole are few and far between and you can only find the names of a street on the side of a building - usually.

Rain jackets really are not a thing either

The first day it rained here, all the students from HWS put on their raincoats, some even whipped out the rain boots, and headed out for the day. To our surprise, we did not see many other people wearing raincoats, although we did see some using umbrellas, but most people were not phased by the rain at all.

Uber is illegal here

Upon arrival, we were warned to not use uber because it’s illegal here. Apparently there is a lot of protest and backlash from the taxi drivers, but in America we still have both so that was definitely a shock.

You WILL eat gelato every day

It is just way too addicting and way too good not to…

There are so many McDonald’s

Coming to Rome I knew there was one McDonald’s located really close to the Vatican. Since getting here, I have seen 6+ McDonald’s in Rome, not to mention several others in areas outside the city as well.

Americans stick out like a sore thumb

No matter where I go, people can tell that I am an American almost instantly. The longer I stay here, I can also look at people walking down the sidewalk and know instantly if they are American because we stick out so badly.

Even if it is still in the 70’s or 80’s don’t wear shorts if it’s after “summer”

Another easy way to pick out Americans is if it’s October first and they are still wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Italians are walking around in long sleeve shirts and jeans in 80-degree weather without sweating at all.

People drive everywhere and anywhere

It does not matter if you are walking on a sidewalk or on a cobble side street, you are guaranteed to see a car or Vespa or even a bus coming barreling at you at any point in the day.

Americanization is real

So many places here cater to Americans and specifically American tourism. Touristy restaurants have menus with an Italian translation already on them and certain bars are even decked out with American pride so it’s welcoming to American students.You can even survive with knowing very little Italian because most people also speak English.