Piazza Navona, Rome
Location: Piazza Navona, Rome
Conman: Usually teenagers in pairs
Target: Teenagers who stand out as tourists. Usually English or American.
What happens: They tell you to stick out your little finger, in excellent English, might I add, and then engage you in conversation whilst braiding a friendship bracelet round you finger. They then finish braiding the bracelet, they tie it tightly around your wrist. They then demand about 2 euros for the bracelet. The best alternative is to a) tell them to get lost or b) if you know any Italian swearwords, now is the time... They will yeild and take the bracelet off after about two minutes of having been shouted at. The best way is to create a real scene since there are so many tourists and usually a few undercover police officers amonst the toursits. They don't want to be arrested and spend a night in the cells, belive me. But that's a completely different story...
Unique Suggestions: Don't stick out your little finger. Or any other appendage for that matter.
Fun Alternatives: Just enjoy Piazza Navona. But beware of the street sellers. The ones who sell off a sheet are the illeagal ones who have no licence. The ones who pester you to buy something if you so much as blink in their direction, trust me, you'll know them when they see you. There is usually a lookout sitting on the side of the fountain keeping a watch for the police. You can usually push them into some decent bargains by seeming interested, asking the price, saying what you are willing to pay, then when they refuse, start to walk off looking disgusted. They will crack eventually. Oh, and another quick scam: signed photos of St. Peter. Need I say more?
A must do according to all Rome city guides. Personally I wouldn't have missed it if I didn't go there. Piazza Navona is chic and cosmopolitan but is well geared towards tourists and highly overpriced. We ended up paying 10 Euros for 2 cans (*repeat CANS, not even BOTTLES) of Coke.
Unique Suggestions: There are plenty of bars and cafes around the square as well as a great number of artists selling their wares. It's nice to walk around to have a look, but other than that I wouldn't suggest sitting to people watch, unless you have brought your own food and drinks.
Fun Alternatives: I much preferred Campo de Fiori which is a 3-5 minute walk south of Piazza Navona; smaller, more intimate and more down to earth.
Yes, okay! I knew it, it read it several times but I did it!
We had a cappuccino at a "touristic high light" excatly at Piazza Navona which was EUR 5 each! Can't really say why we sat down there! Maybe it was one of these moments when my brain didn't exit :-)
Fun Alternatives: There are many other place which are even nicer to sip a cappuccion ...
While Piazza Navona may be a beautiful place to sit, eat and people watch, you should be advised that the restaurants in Piazza Navona are expensive and the food is not good at all. Don't eat in Piazza Navona instead sit at the fountain or if you have to sit in a patio, order just a coffee, although expensive it is 5euros or less and the coffee is much better than the food.
Fun Alternatives: Instead of eating in Piazza Navona head to Campo di Fiore. It is a quaint, bustling little piazza just across the street from Piazza Navona. The restaurants and food are better and not near as expensive as the restaurants in Piazza Navona.
The cafes in the plaza are way over priced and will try to tack on more to your bill. We found the coffee to be good but the service received to be real bad and the waiter did not want to speak English to us even though we had listened to him speaking English to the table next to us.
Unique Suggestions: If you want a coffee or something else to eat do NOT go to the Bar Novona.
If it is the only place with a table then watch you bill and check it over twice.
Fun Alternatives: Go someplace else in the plaza.
On our last day, me and my sister decided to have breakfast in a cafe on Piazza Navona. We had a table in the sun near one of the fountains and the weather was gorgeous. We decided to go for their breakfast buffet, which seemed reasonable €7,50 a head. I think we probably thought that hot drinks would be included and when they finally brought us the bill, we realised hot drinks weren't included and we ended up paying 14.50 each for the breakfast buffet and a latte.
The price of the latte was therefore €7!!! ;-) That is the most expensive coffee I have ever had in my life, since I only paid €5 in Bruges, Belgium!! Ha ha! That's what you get when you don't check the prices before ordering. Never mind. It was worth it. We only spent about €10 per head on our lunches and dinners normally and it was our last day, the setting was very nice and all. No regrets..
Unique Suggestions: Check the price before hand
Fun Alternatives: Go a bit further away from the square and you find many more economical options
Although the Fountain of the Four Rivers is beautiful indeed, and the piazza is indeed very nice, I found it very busy, overpriced and there are quite a few annoying salespeople. Anyway, there are many more piazza´s in Rome so no big loss there!