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Rome Pharmacies Overview

Travel Headache. An annoying condition that appears at the worst possible moment when you are out and about on holiday. You have a whole day planned and that cracking pain in your temple is about to ruin everything. You need to know the location of the nearest pharmacy and you need to know it fast 


Pharmacies are a revelation in Rome. You can find them everywhere and you can even obtain some medications directly from the pharmacist without seeing a doctor. Ask if the pharmacist speaks English and explain your condition. Even if they don't speak English, the international language of pointing at your head or tummy and making a face will give them some idea of the problem. They will let you know the best treatment available in store or they will direct you to a local doctor.


Pharmacies are identified by a large fluorescent green cross that is displayed on the hoarding outside.The directory lists opening and closing hours. Links, where possible, to Paginegialle have been provided to enable you to see the automated updates for weekends and late nights. Otherwise, if you need a pharmacy on a Sunday, find the nearest pharmacy to your location and there will be a sign in the window directing you to the closest operating pharmacy in your area. Look for the words 'Farmacia di Turno". Late night pharmacies and pharmacies that dispense American and U.K medications are in the following areas of our directory; Via Veneto, Piazza di Spagna/del Popolo, and the Vatican Area.

Farmacia Vaticana

This is a gem. It can be a hassle getting inside but when you do, you will find that most medications are  25 -30% cheaper than most pharmacies in Rome. The staff speak English,so grab a ticket, wait your turn and reap the rewards. 

Rules for entry
Rule 1: Bring your passport or similar & prescription
Rule 2: You will need to ask the Swiss Guards for permission to enter. Don't worry, they are always at the gate
Rule 3: Dress appropriately. No tank tops, no shorts etc. This is a non negotiable
Rule 4: Don't go with a friend. Only those with a  prescription may enter
Rule 5: You can have a friend collect the prescription for you but be sure to give them a letter of permission. 

Rule 6: When you arrive, hand over your prescription. You will receive it back with your medication.
Rule 7: Some people have reported that they had to hand their passport or ID to the Swiss Guards before entry but this was not my experience. If you do need to hand your passport over, remember to collect it from the Swiss Guards after you exit the pharmacy!
Rule 8: Unverified Rule: It has also been suggested that non Vatican employees need to go to a registry office within the Vatican to receive a pass. I have not heard of this happening before. It is possible that some people have had the misfortune to deal with a very strict Swiss Guard but you can usually enter the pharmacy without going through this bureaucratic nightmare.

Late Night Pharmacies

The directory lists 24 hr & Sunday pharmacies in Rome.If it is a real emergency and you need a pharmacy close to your location, then you will need to check the  farmacie di turno roster.  Farmacie di Turno, is a roster system that lists the pharmacies that are open on weekends and overnight location by location. This is a good system that allows you to find the closest all night or weekend pharmacy to you. Please note that here is a small surcharge if you attend a pharmacy between  midnight - 8.00. It is normally around E 3.00 and well worth the cost.

What is a Parafarmacia?

A Parafarmacia sells over the counter products. You will find regular headache tablets, beauty products, band aids etc. Some also sell certain medications that may be prescription only in your country but are widely available in Italy. To confuse you even more, some parafarmacia are more like an erboristeria that sells herbal teas,tinctures & ‘’Crabtree & Evelyn’’ style products.

What is a Erboristeria?

Erboristerias vary from store to store. Some sell traditional herbal products, some sell beauty products while others sell health foods with a focus on organic and vegan products. The only way to know which is which is to step inside and explore! 


They sell Organic Groceries?

Some pharmacies will stock a full range of organic,gluten free,salt free.dairy free products. Roman pharmacies will always surprise you. They are also a good choice to find special gifts for Vegans and fans of Organic products.



In conclusion

On the whole, Roman pharmacies will allow you  to find what you need when you need it. The staff are usually warm, knowledgeable and patient with visitors who do not know the language. The names of medications may not match the ones at home but they do the same job. Don't be afraid to ask questions and if you do feel uncomfortable about something offered to you, walk away and check with your doctor back home. Email is a beautiful thing!

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Buona Vacanza