5 tips for crossing the street in Rome

Stepping out in Rome and crossing with confidence

Romans definitely have a more unique way of crossing the street than outsiders do. One of the first weeks I was here sightseeing in Rome, I went out with one of my Italian roommates. We headed to Piazza Venezia to see a few of the sights at night. It was wonderful to see all of the illuminated monuments and all of the fountains were gorgeous as well.

It was all fun and games until we had to cross Via del Corso, a major street that runs from Piazza Venezia to Piazza Popolo.

Miraculously, all forms of traffic smoothly slowed down and patiently waited for us to cross the street. Once we were safely on the other side, the traffic continued to flow as though nothing had happened. I couldn't believe it! All I could think was "How did we just cross four lanes of traffic on one of Rome's busiest streets and not get hit?" My Italian roommate must have seen the concern in my eyes and she shared with me the following tips for surviving the Roman Streets.

1. Follow a local.

The first few times you cross a street in Rome follow a local as they cross. Observe how they step out with confidence and conviction. Notice that they never run across a street nor do they take their sweet time.

2. Start small.

Start with a small side street that is not very busy. Practice your crossing skills working on the components listed below. Slowly work your way up to bigger streets with more lanes or more traffic. Then if you are really brave, tackle the busiest streets like Via del Corso or the Piazza Venezia.

3. Be confident.

When you step off the curb into the street be certain in your actions and traffic will stop for you. Go with determination. Italian drivers do not see the crosswalks as places where pedestrians have the preference, but rather as places where they have a fighting chance of crossing the street. Therefore if you wait on the curbs, the cars will never just slow down to let you cross the street, they will go about their business of whizzing on by.

4. Keep a comfortable pace.

It is key that you keep a steady walking speed while crossing a street. A driver will plan where he is going and how much he must slow down based on your speed. This being said it is also important that you don't run across the crosswalk either.

5. Have no fear.

Last but not least, know that if the driver senses fear in you, you're finished.

Published on November 30th, 2009
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Anne Marie Kerchberger.

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