Ten useful and interesting signs in Rome

Street signs, placards, new signs, old signs – I photograph them all when I travel. Sometimes they represent interesting cultural differences, sometimes they’re just useful, and sometimes the photo is just a placeholder to give context to the rest of my photos. Here are ten of my favorite sign photos from a recent Rome trip.

1) This sign is at baggage claim at Rome’s Fiumicino airport and describes all the ways to get into the city, in both English and Italian. Very Useful.

How to get into Rome from airport

2) I always remind clients to remember to stamp train tickets before boarding the train; purchasing the ticket is not enough. Amid the chaos of an Italian train station, it’s easy to not see these metal yellow boxes, but this one makes it easy for the traveler with this threatening helpful English sign. 

100 EUR fine sign for no ticket stamped

3) The photo below was taken in St. Peter’s Square. There are two Centro del Colonnato circles in the square, one on each side, and if you stand on either one and face Bernini’s columns (with St. Peter’s to your right or left depending which circle you’ve picked to stand on), Bernini’s two rows of pillars perfectly line up, creating the illusion of just one row of pillars. It’s called Bernini’s Illusion and most people just walk right over it.

Centro del colonnato

4) I took this photo at the historic Caffe Sant’Eustachio. The sign says that coffee with no sugar must be requested at the time of order. Usually you order a coffee and then add your own sugar. Does anyone know why Sant’Eustachio insists on doing things differently?

Il caffe senza zucchero va richiesto all'ordine sant eustachio rome

5) Someone recently told me that she had been to Rome and found that the taxis there had “a bit of an attitude” when she tried to flag them, which made me smile. In fact flagging taxis doesn’t work in Italy (they might wave back, though). You need to find a taxi stand and – by law – take the first taxi in line. So, take note of the photo below: the orange and black taxi sign looks the same across Italy (though most are not written in English).

Taxi sign rome

6) I love looking for S.P.Q.R letters around Rome, and it’s a great way to occupy kids while they’re walking from A to B across the city, too. Here they are on a sewer.

Spqr drain rome




7) The Italian aperitivo hour is fabulous, and yes, it’s a great place to get a free buffet — but not when the sign is in English advertising one. I took this photo as an example of a place to avoid

Happy hour aka free buffet rome



8) Many stores across Italy operate according to these hours. Open in the morning, then closed for the midday pausa (it’s not a siesta) and then open in the afternoon; closed Sundays and often Mondays. 

Opening hours sign with my reflection




9) You can’t take photos inside the Sistine Chapel, but you can take a photo of the Sistine chapel sign.

Capella sistina



10) I took this picture in Piazza Navona. They may as well put up a neon sign saying Avoid This Restaurant. It also had a menu in several languages, a poster with photos of the dishes on an easel out front, AND two guys trying to get people to come in. I think they covered the entire list of red flags for Places Never to Eat. 

No frozen food piazza navona

Do you have any interesting signs you’ve photographed in Rome or Italy? Post them on our Facebook fan page if you’d like to share! 

All photos by Madeline Jhawar and may not be used without permission

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  1. Nathalie ( @spacedlaw )
    April 28, 2012

    At sant’Eustachio, they are adding sugar at some point in their secret process to make this VERY thick foam on the coffee. Funny enough, if you do order it without sugar, you can still have a fairly thick foam on top…

    • Carolain
      July 28, 2012

      ive recently rntereud from a month travelling round italy, it was incredible, venice is my favourite city in the world, its incredible, you absolutely must go to the peggy guggenheim museum, its near the accademia, its something most people dont do but its unmissable, the best thing to do in venice is just wander, you always end up somewhere interesting in rome i wouldnt bother using the metro, its more hassle than its worth, romes not very big and there are statues and fountains on every corner that you miss if you get the metro to and from places.

      • Paul
        October 10, 2012

        wow, Rome for under $400.00 Thats the cost to Japan or Australia from Guam. To get to Rome I’d easily pay $3000.00 just for the flhigt!!! Have a great trip and take photos of the collesium for us!! I really want to visit there before I hit the grave!!!


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