Colosseum Gladiators, Rome
Alright, so part of me knew what I was getting into when I decided to take a tacky picture with someone dressed up as a gladiator in front of the Colosseum, but I thought what the heck? So what if I want to bring home a tacky souvenir?! But what I wasn't prepared for was when, after we'd done our bit (which Sylvain more or less willingly ended up taking part in!), the guy calmly told us "that'll be 10 Euros". Say WHAAAAT?? We were too flabbergasted to argue with him, and we both felt pretty stupid for not having asked for the price in advance. There's no way can we defend ourselves, we walked into that tourist trap like a couple of rookies!
Only after the deed was over did I read all the warnings on VT. However, part of me is glad I didn't read them beforehand, for there's no way I would have taken those pictures had I known how much they charged for them, and even if we felt kicking ourselves for a few minutes afterwards, I'm still glad I got to bring home my tacky gladiator pics!!
As you walk along outside of the Colosseum, you will see many methods used to take your money – horses wait patiently with their carriages for their next fare, hawkers selling sunglasses, toys, and other trinkets, tour guides, and gladiators. Yes, gladiators! They still exist, only from my impression, they are no longer in the prime of their life and physically as fit to fight. But fight they do – they fight to take your money. Many people think it would be neat to get their photo, but watch out – they will demand money if you have your photo taken with them. I opted to get my photos from the top of the Colosseum and not in front of them. But I saw groups, usually young people, enjoying having their photos taken with the gladiators.
My best advice would be to either not take photos of them, or if you really want to have your photo with them, settle on a price BEFORE any photos are taken. They speak English and are master salesmen. Don’t be persuaded to pay more than you think is enough. As for me, I just walked on by all of it. And, even with my sunglasses on, I was asked to buy sunglasses! After pointing out the glasses prominently displayed on my face, I was told I needed a back up pair. Ha!
My expectations were the following: feel like I've travelled back in time, discover the digs from ancient Rome, see how Romans have lived for many years. In reality it was disappointing. The sights were excellent, and what I expected them to be. The surroundings however, not so much.
Loads of people trying to make you buy things (souvenirs but guided tours as well) and that really bothered me. I wanted to be left alone and enjoy my stay, enjoy the atmosphere. But those "merchants" kinda ruined my experience in Rome, same goes for my boyfriend. He wasn't pleased either.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to avoid queueing to purchase your ticket, in stead of buying it at the Colosseum, go farther down the road to the entrance of Forum Romanum. We only had three people waiting in line in front of us, whilst at the Colosseum there was a massive line.
So you go to Forum Romanum first, buy your tickets (admission to Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum Romanum), visit Forum Romanum and then proceed to the Colosseum. You'll be able to skip the line, because you don't need to purchase another ticket.
About the "merchants": best thing to do, ignore them. That's what I did. They'll leave you alone when you don't show the slightest bit of interest.
Fun Alternatives: Well, there's nothing like the Colosseum (at least, not that I know of) in Rome, but there are quite some arenas in southern France.
I don't recommend taking photos with the guys dressed as Roman gladiators outside the colleseum. The gladiators hawking photos are rude. One "gladiator" tried to get 10 euro out of me for taking a photo with MY camera. I told him I'd give him 2 euro, more than the 1 euro I thought he deserved, and he started making rude comments about Americans; in front of children none the less. Stay away!! They are worse than the Romany pick pockets that used to be ubiquitous in Rome (no longer due to an unfortunate "clean up"). The colleseum itself is not to be missed.
Unique Suggestions: Do not engage in discussions with the gladiators. If you really want a photo, take one of them from afar or prepare to pay ridiculous prices.
Fun Alternatives: Don't encourage the gladiators by giving them money and maybe they'll stop hounding tourists. This was not a problem 18 years ago (last time I was there). I wonder when they started up?
You will see these big sized men in gladiator costume standing outside the Coliseum complete with sword and armour. You will be very tempted to ask for a photo to be taken with them. However, do note that at the time when I went in September 2009, the asking rate was 10 euros per photo.
Unique Suggestions: Whip out your telephoto lens and take a photo of them from afar. What is so grand about taking a photo WITH them anyway?
Faked gladiators are everywhere: by the Pantheon, by the Colosseum, you name it! They are inviting tourists to take pictures with them. Once you take the picture, they ask for money: anywhere between 20 Euros to 50 Euros. I am not sure what happens if you do not want to pay for the picture, though, but I noticed how tourists were ignoring and avoiding them :)
Unique Suggestions: agree on the price before taking the picture...
Fun Alternatives: take a picture of the faked gladiators from the distance and move on
Much has been written about this already so I'm just noting that this scam is still around. You'll find the fake gladiators in the piazza outside the Colosseum and while it doesn't cost anything to take their picture, they expect payment if you, or your friends or family, want to be in it. It's fine if you have the money and want a corny shot for the album - it's only a scam because they don't mention in advance that there's a price.
“But when I approached the grand ruins of the Colosseum and looked through the gate into the interior, I must frankly confess that a shudder ran through me, and I quickly returned home.”
— Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832), April 1788
What could have scared the great German poet? Had he seen these modern-day gladiators they would not have frightened off a prospective customer. Russell Crow’s Maximus they are not. Ours, named David, was quite the showman. He admitted that his English was so good because his mother was Canadian; the image further erodes! And any need for fear.
I am not sure if this tip really belongs in the tourist traps category. Tourists do not have to patronize these actors turned gladiators. They will gladly pose for the camera; it is not surprising that it is for a price. The price we were charged was 10 euros per person. At the May 2007 exchange rate of $1.30 to the euro that adds up to $13 per person. We are not good at bargaining; therefore we did not. You may try it; it may help. Either way, it is great fun, if pricey fun.
From the Latin for swordsmen or one who uses a sword (from gladius for sword) gladiators were Ancient Rome’s professional fighters as entertainment.
They fought against each other, wild animals, and condemned criminals, sometimes to the death, in front of spectators, including the emperor, the imperial family and members of the senate. These fights took place not only in Rome’s Colosseum, but also in arenas (from the Latin for sand, with which the floor was covered) in many cities both during the Republican Era and into the time of the Empire, until its end.
Tourist traps may or may not be really tourist traps.
Unique Suggestions: I fail to understand the outrage over giving a costumed gladiator two euros to have your photo taken with him. The guy goes to all this trouble to enhance your visit and you want him to pose for free? And how about paying extra at a restaurant to dine out on the sidewalk gazing at some incredible Roman sight, probably floodlit? You can't duplicate this experience anywhere. Isn't it worth a few more euros for this kind of special thing? I wish people would stop and think, learn some local customs and language, before spouting off about these terrible ripoffs.
I've been the potential victim of severe over-charging several times in my travels. They never get away with it, as I always ask the price ahead of time and have no problem putting down the amount of cash that's required and WALKING AWAY. It's important to know what you're doing, no matter where you are.
You probably about the 'gladiators' outside the Colosseum and the fact that having your photo taken with them won't be cheap.
But actually it's quite fun to sit and watch their antics from a safe distance.
I was very impressed by the 'emperor' who posed with his 'gladiators', particularly the way he hid his cigarette when necessary.
I like the way they all wear ladies' tights in the winter; don't think the real ancient Romans did!
I was also tickled by the gladiator in the photo: somehow, I don't think real gladiators ate salad out of plastic boxes for their lunch! :-)
Unique Suggestions: Keep well away from the 'gladiators' unless you want to pay their price for a photo (which you might..plenty of people seem happy enough to do so).
Fun Alternatives: If you're mean, like me, just use your zoom lens!
These guys dressed as Trojans stake out the Ancient Rome attractions and get you to take pictures with them THEN tell you how much it costs!!
Unique Suggestions: Be sure to haggle with them first.
Fun Alternatives: Take your pictures of them from a distance!
Ok so we went to the Colliseum this morning nice and early, and it was just incredible. But on our way out we had a gelato cone...(didn't bother me that part) and as we were sitting, the gladiators came over and we quickly realised that we were sitting on there stone they use... I didnt even blink when they offered to take our pictures because not 5 minutes before, we had a cleaner in the colliseum very kindly offer to take some pictures of us. So stupid me thought that these guys must work at the colliseum or something and they were clicking away...
2 people - 6 photos - €100...
I walk away feeling incredibly stupid and ripped off (well actually thats a lie, the lads were a good laugh and if im honest, I really enjoyed it. But €100 is definately over the top)
Ok so that was a bad start! nevermind, chin up and let's move on... Circo Massimo!
Off the metro and crossed the street, and a car stops beside us just after my girlfriend takes a photo. I hear a voice from the car shouting "scuse?", inside the car is a very well dressed man asking if we spoke english and we knew where the colliseum was?
So we're talking away and I really did think it was a legit conversation, "Where you two from..." "Ahhhhh! Scotland, my wife is from edinbourg"
At this point I'm starting to get a little suspicious, the man is claiming he is a big big fashion designer and lives in paris.
To thank us for the directions he hands us a bag with two jackets in it, how nice of him! until I look in the back and see he has another 4-5 bags there... at that point I clicked what was happening but while this was going on in my head, the man had asked for some petrol money and my girlfriend had her purse out.
She gave the man €50 euros and he was demanding more, at first quite gently but by this point I was shouting under my breath (as you do), she gave the man 5 more euros and claimed it was all she had, and eventually the man conceeded and drove off.
Unique Suggestions: Ok some definate rules for Rome.
1) Unless you see something you specifically want or you are in a shop/legit place, you DO not understand english or italian, speak some obscure language or even make it up! that way if they have you in a conversation, just look at them blankly and mumble gibberish.
2) If you need supplies, for god sakes get them at a supermarket (supermercat) we were easily spending €2-3 on bottles and cans of juice until we got a 1.5l bottle at the supermarket for €1.60, easily enough to cart about with you during a day...
3) DO NOT ACCEPT ANYTHING FROM ANYONE UNLESS YOU HAVE ASKED FOR IT, the polizei really dont seem interested in people offering services without specifically expressing that it comes at a cost, for an EU country I really really didn't expect this sort of draconian hijinx.
4) Internet Cafe - This is something I thought I'd share with you, you can't always guarantee the safety of these places so dont use them for checking your bank accounts or important details.
Fun Alternatives: here's some of the good tips i've found.
1) Supermercat - SIR - Piazza Independenza - Stock up on water, juice, whatever here.
2) Computer Discount (Just beside SIR) - Cheap SD cards - €25 for 2gb, friendly staff.
3) Colliseum - If you brave the metro about 8:30, you'll find no queues at the colliseum
4) Souvineirs - Most are cheap and tacky, but I got a brilliant bronze gladiator out the colliseum souvineir shop for €35, definately cheered me up, get something that looks unique and will remind you and others of your trip, remember it doesnt have to say Rome on it to be from Rome!
5) Eating - look around properly, don't just go for the first place you find. There are some beautiful little ristorantes in Rome... and as much as I hate McDonalds, the restaraunt in the Termini was a godsend after hours of travelling through Rome. Use it if your really hungry! grab a big mac or whatever and it will stop you making any rash decisions for where to eat.
6) Enjoy Rome on your own! God tourist parties annoy me! We live in the 21st century so get on sites like this and research places that aren't in the tourist books, or get a map photocopied and just wander round the streets, we didn't find in any of the tourist books that there are orange and lemons trees right in the pavement of a certain street. Go find it !
7) Go buy a gladiator costume and stand outside the colliseum, watch the money pour in!
They look very photogenic in their mock bronze or leather breast plates and their head gear - and even the fake sun-tanned legs add to the impression of "real" gladiators from the days of the Roman Empire, BUT beware: A photo costs 5 Euro for each gladiator in the scene - and that's using YOUR camera. Maybe use a telephoto lens to snap off a few of them trying to hustle other tourists, or try as I did.
The two gladiators in the photo were enjoying their afternoon beer and smoke when I happened along in my Australian bush hat. We joked about Crocodile Dundee and I managed to do a swap - a Crocodile Dundee story in exchange for a photo. See horse trading does exist even in Rome - ciao
While visiting the Colliseum there are groups of men dressed in Roman attire for you to take pictures with. They really are a fun group of guys.....until.....
AFTER you take your pictures with them they'll charge you 10-20 euros. $20 to take a picture with me? I don't think so!
Unique Suggestions: Be sure to bargain a price beforehand or they will keep posing and you'll have to pay up at the end.
Fun Alternatives: Feel free to say no to them but they really are fun pictures when you have them developed back home :)
It is and it isn't a tourist trap. There are fellows dressed as Gladiators who will willingly and agressively join you for a photo. Keep in mind that there is a fee for this even if you did not know about this before hand. Just pony up 5 Euros and be done with it.
Unique Suggestions: I paid it because I wanted the photo of Carren and Tanner with the guy. I heard people complaining but forwarned is the best method here.