Street Vendors, Rome
Avoid these guys at all costs. They are every where in the touristy areas. They will come up to a lady and hand her a flower and tell her no charge then they will tell the man 3 Euro or something crazy like that. These guys are every where. The Spanish Steps, the resturants on the street in any tourist area you will find them. We found that if you say no thanks they will still try to get you to buy flowers do we just avoided making any eye contact or even looking at them and less of them seemed to bother us.
Fun Alternatives: Dont look at them and they wont bother you.
Don't buy food from the the mobile snack carts outside the major tourist attractions - it's pretty expensive, and the food, at least the 'pizza' that we had, was pretty terrible. It's better to get pizza al taglie from the little bars - there's usually one or two on most main streets. They're probably a bit cheaper, and the food is _much_ nicer.
Street vendors peddling everything from "designer bags" to sunglasses can be a real problem in Rome.
Unique Suggestions: I discovered that a simple "no" was often not enough to discourage them, but found that a harsh "NO!" accompanied by holding my hand out would do the trick.
Fun Alternatives: The items that are sold are of poor quality , which my daughter found out the hard way when she bought sunglasses for 20 Euro and discovered the next morning that the frames were broken.
We encountered the most beggars while in Rome. Some were truly needy people and did not annoy people.
However, some, usually Gypsies, were unscupulous. For instance, while we were walking out of the underground train platform, a young woman who was nursing her infant, grabbed ahold of my husband Allan's arm and asked for money. I whispered to Allan, "Be careful; she is too close to you."
He backed off, but she kept crowding into him. Obviously, she was trying to pick his pocket. It was not possible because he always wears, as do I, a money belt. It was sad to see a mother use a baby as part of her "scam".
Of course, I did not get a picture. But, I did see a real person of need and took the picture of the old woman with the cane.
Unique Suggestions: If this happens, it is best to firmly say, "no!"
Move away and walk rapidly.
Fun Alternatives: To ensure the safety of your money, ALWAYS WEAR A MONEY BELT.
Rome of course is a beautiful Romantic Place to visit, so people are playing on your emotions and wallet, when they try to offer /sell couples roses. I am really switched on to these things and call me unromantic, but I would not be wanting someone to buy me an overpriced rose that someone is tormenting him to buy. Anyway you sort of smile and say no thank you, no honestly no thankyou (I was doing this in bad italian) Until they go, "look I really want you to have it, your lovely, go on, just take it" and they hand you not one but 3 - and you think it's the end of the night they are giving them away, or they are probably giving me one so other people see them and want to buy them (I am worse then they are!) and then as you think I love Rome so romantic, this guy tails your partner going "You are a lucky man, now pay pay, You are lucky" and you go - Oh I get it and try to give them back. I did give them back in the end, and it was quite funny, but I can't believe I let this happen to me twice - my hand just opened - I am a fool. Over and over again we watched this happen to people, at the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. They probably were reasonably priced but when people start hounding you!!! They were also very keen to take your photo with your camera, no way - if I get to post my photos up you will see how blurry they are! In saying that we loved the Trevi Fountain it is fabulous!
Unique Suggestions: Make a tight fist don't open your hands...(ha ha)
Bring a plastic rose with you and walk about with it....
JUST SAY NO THANK YOU!
Fun Alternatives: We were there around midnight, a lot of people suggest going later when there is no one around.
It is crowded but I really liked it and would hate to put you off, don't feel threatened by these people it is easily handled and there
are actually police nearby the fountain.
When I was at the Trevi Fountain I was being hasssled by some guys trying to sell you roses and other kinds of things, my advice is just dont even look at them because if you do you've had it! When I was there 1 of my friends wouldn't listen to me and she didnt understand why she shouldn't look at them. They decided to tell my friend a lower price than originally said before and then once my friend had the roses in her hand, he started asking for a higher price and wouldn't take the roses back and wanted money in exchange! So just stay clear of them unless your willing to pay for a roses or 2, but they aren't that cheap neither so i'd just stay away altogether.
ok, so you see a pair of sunglasses/handbag/picture/goddam awful painting where they stick your name to it and you decide it's the MUST HAVE item. Stop to browse and you'll never get away. Street sellers are EVERYWHERE in Rome and their prices vary from area to area. The same pair of sunglasses can range from 18 euros (Piazza Navona) to 6 euros (back streets leading away from St Peters Sq)
Unique Suggestions: If you're going to buy I suggest you get a large pair of sunglasses so that you can at least take sly looks at the merchandise befire getting hooked in.
Oh and forget bartering, they're really not that interested as the stuff is dirt cheap anyway
Beware of swindlers everywhere, especially at the Spanish steps and Piazza Navona. A group of very nice Jamaicans asked me and my friends for our fingers assuring us they intend no harm. When I've given them my index finger, they made a bracelet around it from colored strings, being very nice at the process. However, after they were finished, they demanded 50000 lire for it! After brgaining I've reduced the price to 5000 lire, but it wasn't worth it. My sister makes these bracelets for free!