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!
The folk who dress up as soldiers, gladiators etc seem very friendly , wanting to take a photo of you beside their colleagues, but then DEMAND payment in a most unfriendly way. They should tell you first that it is a business transaction.
We hadn't had time to change any money when we strolled down to see the Colliseum , and my grand-daugher was fascinated by them and wanted a picture. But their aggressive attitude when we said we'd no money meant she went into a panic whenever she saw anyone dressed as a Roman again.
Unique Suggestions: Refuse unless you are sure it is not payment for a service. After all that is how they make their living.
Fun Alternatives: I snap them when they are busy touting other potential customers.
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?
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!
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!
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?
There are men dressed as gladiators in front of the Coliseum. They won't tell you before, but after you have your picture taken with them with your own camera, they'll ask you for money. I think we ended up paying about $5 per camera. If we had known this ahead of time we wouldn't have used everybody's camera. It would've been cheaper just to make a copy of our pictures.
When my sister-in-law and I visited the Colosseum, we naively said, " Wouldn't it be great to have our picture taken with one of the Roman Guards in period costume?"
When we asked one, he was so innocent acting and agreed readily. Of course, after the picture was taken, he said, "That will be
( $5.00 in American currency)". We paid.
Unique Suggestions: I just read this week in "The Chicago Tribune" travel section that the practice of charging tourist to have pictures taken with guards has been banned.
Let me know if it has.
Fun Alternatives: An alternative would be:
Don't have your picture taken with the guards.
Ask BEFORE the picture is taken what it will cost.
When you go to the Colloseum, beware of the men dressed as gladiators. You can get your picture with them (with your camera) and then they will demand 5 euros from you.
Unique Suggestions: Don't get your picture with them.
Fun Alternatives: Get your picture with your travel partner. You obviously know that person and it will be a better memory than some guy you don't know in a costume.
Dont be fooled by the dressed up Roman soldiers outside the Colosseum. They will encourage you to take a picture with them. As soon as you do that, they will say you owe them money. They will not say the picture costs money beforehand. Be careful.
Unique Suggestions: Just ignore the obnoxious scam artists.
Around the Colosseum you will find numerous roman soldiers dressed in so called historic costumes.
What they do is that they will pose with you in different ways you can choose.
Unique Suggestions: This costs. Why would you want to pose in such a charade?
Fun Alternatives: Run as fast as you can but run.....
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.
Ok we've all seen them - the guys dressed up as gladiators and roman centurions who just love to take your picture with them - well it is a bit of a rip of - too ashamed to tell how much - but I succumbed!
Unique Suggestions: Smile and tellyourself you're on holiday and it will be a lasting momento to have!
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
By no means should anyone speak to the Roman soldiers who parade around the old city in Rome. Most are ex-criminals who try to con you out of your money. They will work in groups of two, one will ask you if you want a picture with them, the other soldier will take the camera (this is the best part) and take the picture of you with the soldier. Out of no where after the picture is taken, a nap sack shows up and the soldiers ask you for money (mind you, they have your camera in their possession still), "xcussie, xcussie, 10 euro". So do not let them fool you like they fooled my friends.
Unique Suggestions: TELL THEM YOULL TAKE THE PICTURE!