Guide to Understanding Roman Culture and Customs

You must have heard of the phrase “when in Rome, do as the Romans do!” The phrase was coined way back in 387 AD and reflected the rigidness of the orthodox religious Romans who were not very keen on being flexible with their rituals. Even today visitors can profit from a short guide to the ins and outs of Roman culture and customs. Rome has changed tremendously over the years. Although the city still retains the serene spiritual and religious character (because of its numerous churches and cathedrals), Rome has now become a modern city that is more accommodating and open in its outlook. Nevertheless, when you are in Rome, you should try acting a little Roman to enjoy its true character.

An Eclectic Mix of History and Modernity

Modern Rome presents an eclectic mix of the traditional and the contemporary. You can experience this wonderful mix in every part of the city. Tall modern structures stand alongside stunning structures built by Bernini and other famous architects of yore.

You can see modern artists displaying their works in the same museum that showcases the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. Today, Rome is a modern city that thrives in its cosmopolitan culture but still has a deep reverence to its past.

The charming eclectic culture of modern day Rome is a result of diverse cultures and people who have made this city their home for years. The religious heads, the rebellious but learned scientists, the master artists, the gladiators and the settlers from around the world have given this place a very distinct culture.

You have to visit Rome to experience this diversity. For a modern day traveler, Rome has plenty to offer in terms of a historic experience and contemporary entertainment.

The Culture


Roman culture stems from its strong family-centric social structure. The close knit families provide solid support to all members. You can see this character in all walks of life in Rome.

Interestingly, your physical appearance makes a huge difference in Rome, especially when you visit the local markets and try to gel with the locals. Romans are fashion conscious. Although the influx of huge number of tourists has softened the Romans’ stance on appearances, traditional families still judge your family’s background, social status and education by your attire.

Do keep in mind that in Italy in general and Rome in particular, first appearances matter. Locals assess you within the first few seconds of meeting and that impression lasts. In Roman culture, greetings are often enthusiastic, but formal.

Make sure that when you visit Rome's beautiful monuments you are respectful, because the Romans take immense pride in their heritage.

Interested in seeing the 'Eternal City' from the inside out? Check out our list of Rome tours.

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