Italians and Signs

It’s always great when your friends come to Rome for visit 🙂 they enjoy this beautiful city, they eat the good food, and I revalue some of those very alternative and long lost scenarios I always brag about. Plus my fellow Romans are very fun people.

A few days ago, two friends of mine came from Chile to Italy…

As the weekend came by, I took my friends to lovely places such as Garbatella little streets and wineries, more croweded places like Piazza Navona, Vatican area, and a nice party on Saturday night.

But at some point my friend said “You know what? I love this city, there are rules and nobody cares. What’s the meaning of Vietato?”, to which I humbly answered with “Mhmm.. Vietato means forbidden, prohibited… allegedly”. We were walking inside Garbatella metro station when I actually realized what he was talking about:

0                           © Stanito, 2013

Passaggio Vietato people, as in Do Not Pass.


© Stanito, 2013

This guy below happened to walk just in front of me and very conveniently in Termini station. I don’t think he noticed the three signs over their heads:


© Stanito, 2013

Vietato: [vie·tà·to] pp. prevent someone from performing a given action or keep a certain behavior by means of an order, a provision, a law, etc..; prohibit.

Seems either like the word itself doesn’t count anything or else breaking it is just cool. I’m no innocent, I do the exact same thing because in the case of Garbatella station the Prohibited way is faster than the regular one.

Same thing goes for the No Smoking sign, unfortunately I was unable to take a picture with people smoking right next to the No Smoking sign, but believe me, it happens a lot. So instead I caught these photos on the net taken in metro station EUR Magliana in Rome.

FumoEurMagliana03 FumoEurMagliana04

Never encourage this kind of behavior, if you see one, as a proper citizen, you should alert the police.

Unless of course, the police gives you no hope because they’re breaking some law as well…


Enjoy Rome, is a unique city, really 🙂


27 thoughts on “Italians and Signs

  1. The Italian habit of not taking silly rules too seriously is one of the things that makes Italy a great country. Of course, Italians do take that too far sometimes, but still…

    1. True story my friend 🙂 and the more south you go the better.
      My Chilean friends thought Rome is hilarious, but they still don’t know Napoli… that should be good! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Kathleen 🙂
      and this is only one feature of Romans! If you alreayd appreciate this I’m sure you’ll have a great experience.

    1. Yes,
      well especially Romans know how to do that. While in situations such as smoking in No-Smoking areas you just laugh about it, if you’re crossing the street or driving… may God help you.

  2. It’s so true! I feel like exactly the same when I have friends over in Puglia…The fresh look from other people’s point of view gives it a different more interesting twist! I have mixed feelings about the conflicting relationship between Italians and rules…on the one hand, I kinda enjoy the fact that Italians are not extremely law-abinding people and authorities are “not that picky” (if I can put it like that). I remember when in San Diego, California, I got a 175$ ticket for jaywalking. “##zz$%ç£ CK’!!§§!!! s**+=!!ç°####” was basically the content of my first reaction to that. So, I am extremely glad that would never happen to me in Italy. On the flip side, though, I think we would all be better off if we were (much) more civic-minded and understand the VALUE of rules!!

    1. Hahahahahahahahaha thanks for your comment and for the great comparison you gave us! 😀
      Also in California I saw very clear signs of 1,000 USD fine if you through a can out of the car window.
      As Justin said above, when it’s about not considering silly rules I think is fine. What is not fine is when you’re at the airport and the Security Officer is chatting on his Iphone and not paying attention to the passengers! Because of distractions like this one, my mom (she works inside Fiumicino Airport) found a rough knife very visibily thrown in a trash bin, INSIDE meaning after passing Security.

  3. This is pretty awesome. Italians and rules is not a great combination. For some reason, it just does not fit. Great job!

      1. The old difference between who has water in their boat and who holds the bucket is discipline i.e. the former has none. This statement has been copyrighted and patented by moi.

          1. Sure I do! The French should always be part of sad comparisons hahahaha there’s a lot to say there 🙂

  4. I’ll leave Germans and rules out of this conversation (that is a quite different kettle of fish!) and just say that we have often been astounded seeing how faithfully Italians in a restaurant followed the no-smoking law. I admit, this was not in chaotic Rome, but in Le Marche. Perhaps the provincial Italians are less rebellious. But how often have we seen a long table of diners stand up between courses and disappear out the door for a smoke, and then return for the rest of their dinner. I find that endearing. Now if they could just put a “divieto” on TVs in restaurants! Then heaven would be complete.

    1. Dear Debbie 🙂
      You made a very good point, Italians from provinces are less rebellious and abide more to rules and tradition, which I find adorable 🙂

      You know, I know a place in Rome called Dino&Tony, a very good ‘osteria’, with loud people and TV. The waiter would stand up in front of it because the soccer match apparently was more important than bringing the dishes to the tables! I’m not kidding, he would just stare the TV for 1-2 minutes with hot dishes in his hands, that is just too hilarious and loud!! Every goal was a wave of screams.

    1. Hey Sabrina thank you for passing by 🙂
      Well, will Italians be Italian if they followed their rules? They wouldn’t be special anymore. I think Italians love the signs though but not the meaning attached to them 🙂

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