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Who wants to be identified as an American tourist? Lets be real, I don’t. So far I have discovered some interesting “idiot tourist” mistakes that are immediate giveaways.

1)Smiling: In the United States it is considered polite to smile when you make eye contact with someone. DO NOT DO THIS. People will know you’re a foreigner. Smiling is reserved for happiness, not fake niceties. Also its totally normal to stare so take advantage.

2)Walking with your phone/electronics out: bad idea. Pick pockets are everywhere.

3)Looking up: though I wouldn’t necessarily avoid this, you will definitely be identified as a tourist.

4)Flip flops: you will get very weird looks if you wear flip flops.

5)Wearing bright colors: just stick to dark colors. Romans’ dress extremely well. Casual clothes will garner many stares.

6)Water is not free unless it is from the “water fountain.” They are literally fountains. if you want tap water ask for “acqua dal rubineto.”
fountain

7) You have to ask for the check. Italians do not want you to feel rushed. When you buy food from a restaurant you can stay for how ever long you want but you have to ask for the check if you want to leave.

8) Be aware that the price of food often changes when you eat it at the bar (standing up) versus at the table. Coffee, for instance, costs more when you sit down to drink it.

9)Fettuccine Alfredo does not exist here. If it is on the menu it’s not real Italian.

10) Cars have the right-of-way. Be careful a few people in my program have already gotten hit.

I’ll add more to this list as I go. On certain days Italians will start talking to me in English so I know I am still missing some.