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Rome: Busy, costly, pickpockety

Posted by daveb on November 6th, 2007

Rome is mostly magnificent, but in-line with the rest of the Italy that we’ve seen, this place is expensive. I’ll surely write another post on the cost of travelling this country, but in the meantime here’s an example for you: We climbed the national monument to get the best views over the city. About two-thirds of the way up the building, the view started to open-up. To go any further however, you had to take the newly installed lift (the staircase was off-limits to the public) and pay €7 for the pleasure. We decided against it as €14 (for both of us to go up) is a significant chunk out of our daily budget. Everything in this city is a cost-option.

It’s also a busy city; more to do with the sheer volume of tourii than the residents, methinks. Large groups of bright-yellow baseball caps led by a raised umbrella maraud the pavements, pushing unaffiliated visitors into the middle; at the mercy of the constant rally of angry-bee scooters (I have already been nearly run over by one in Florence, but that’s another story). Seriously, these scooters are everywhere–including places they shouldn’t be–and their riders don’t give a monkeys. Half of them are on their mobile-phones whilst buzzing through the busy pedestrianised areas, terrorising anyone in their path. Walking through Rome is not a terribly relaxing experience!

Additionally, we overheard many a conversation from the victims of pickpockets, active everywhere but especially on the buses. Obviously pickpockets operate anywhere and everywhere, but if you do go to Rome, we recommend being extra vigilant. Don’t take a bag at all and don’t assume that your zipped trouser pocket is a safe haven — these folks are professionals and you won’t feel a thing. Only carry a small amount of cash with you, just enough to get you though the day. If you take a credit card, put it in a less obvious place than a pocket and make sure your partner is carrying the ‘lost and stolen’ telephone number!

Don’t misunderstand us here: We really enjoyed Rome, but as with all big cities, it’s not all a bed of roses — forewarned is forearmed.

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