12 Comments

  1. Avatar Geoff of Nottingham
    July 27, 2017 @ 2:44 am

    Another good article. One useful tip about tickets for the coliseum is that should you not have bought tickets on-line beforehand, is to go to the Forum where there is a small ticket office for the Coliseum.
    Your comment about “Grazie” is Sooo right. We were in Sicily recently (yes, I know the Article was about Rome, but the principle is the same), and visited a a cafe, sat down and ‘talked’ with the owner with my 10 words of Italian and his 2 words of English. A couple of tourists sat down at a neighbouring table, looked at the menu asked the waiter “Do you speak English?” “Sorry, No” was the reply. They got up and walked away. Unbelievable!

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  2. John Henderson John Henderson
    July 27, 2017 @ 3:22 am

    Geoff, you’re kidding! That’s a first. Unbelievable! People who don’t even want contact with locals who don’t speak English should be sent on the first boat home, hopefully a leaking dinghy. Three years ago I got in an argument with a guy in the sport of cycling who said more French should speak English if they care about tourism. Huh? How about more English-speaking tourists learn a little French? So many Americans feel entitled. Yet those same people are probably back in the States berating Hispanics for not being fluent in English.

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    • Avatar Geoff of Nottingham
      July 29, 2017 @ 7:45 am

      Shamefacedy, I have to confess that the ‘culprits’ were English.

      Reply

  3. Avatar Dick Sweterlitsch
    July 27, 2017 @ 7:03 am

    Nice piece on do’s and don’ts. The hat issue I can’t say much about since we visit Rome in February-March. I found I do need a baseball cap as the sun is lower in the sky and seems to be always in my eyes, regardless of which direction I look. The extra cheese reminds me of an experience several years back. In a local, non-tourist restaurant, a friend group ordered pasta alle vongole. When it arrived, my friend was not happy because there was no tomato sauce on it. He asked the waiter for some, and the waiter looked at me — the only one who could conjure up some basic Italian — and I shrugged my shoulders and said softly “Turista” with a smile. He smiled gently and nodded. A few minutes later the sauce arrived. Fine, I thought. Then my friend wanted parmesan cheese. I explained that cheese was not usually served on fish dishes, and besides we should let the chef decide how food is prepared. Nevertheless, the server brought cheese as requested. The server and I nodded a “turista glance.” I figured my friend was raised on Chef Boyardee and, by God, Italian food food should be what he is used to in the States.

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    • John Henderson John Henderson
      July 27, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

      Dick, many Americans come to Italy to eat the same Italian food with which they grew up. I’ve been with people who’ve asked for spaghetti and meatballs. They have meatballs in Italy but they’re called “polpette” and they’re eaten dry and separately. Prime example of what you went through: A fellow sportswriter worked at the Houston Chronicle but was quite the bon vivant. Had a second home in France, traveled all over Europe, a good cook. He opened a gourmet Italian restaurant in a wealthy Houston suburb. His menu was all elaborate Italian dishes you’d only find in restaurants in Italy with good, imaginative chefs. But his customers would always ask for spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna. And where’s the garlic bread? The restaurant didn’t last six months. He’s still bitter.

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      • Avatar James S
        July 27, 2017 @ 7:57 pm

        Sounds like your friend was the inspiration for Big Night!

        Reply

  4. Avatar James S
    July 27, 2017 @ 7:45 am

    Another excellent piece. I know it will never happen but they should somehow reign in the tourist industry. Venice is dead. It was never meant to be Disney.

    Although a newer problem may be the drunk American college student. Every school I visited with my high school senior this summer promoted study abroad. This never existed as commonly when I went to school. The last thing Rome or Paris or Florence needs is a bunch of bars catering to the university crowd

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    • John Henderson John Henderson
      July 27, 2017 @ 12:48 pm

      It’s already happening, James. I walk by some bars in Trastevere and think I’m walking past a frat party. It’s all American English. I love Rome in winter — except for the college kids.

      Reply

  5. Avatar Craig Mowers
    July 27, 2017 @ 9:24 am

    this is great – I chuckled several times. thanks John!

    Reply

  6. John Henderson John Henderson
    July 27, 2017 @ 12:47 pm

    Prego, Craig. Glad I could brighten someone’s day and give a handy tip here or there.

    Reply

  7. Avatar desireemargaux
    July 31, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

    I really appreciate you writing this article, especially because I had a good laugh thinking of all the people I saw committing these tourist sins.

    Reply

  8. John Henderson John Henderson
    August 1, 2017 @ 12:04 am

    Thanks, Desiree. Since I posted the blog, I’ve heard all kinds of disturbing anecdotes about tourists. One guy said he was sitting in a pizzeria in Naples. An English family of wife, husband and two kids walked in. The husband asked the owner, “Do you speak English?” He said no. The family walked out. Unbelievable.

    Reply

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