Facts of life in Rome? Help!

Oct 1st, 1997, 11:34 PM
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Facts of life in Rome? Help!

Will be in Rome? Read so much about this City, mostly good/bad. If you've been there, do let me know the finner details of this city. Is it dangerous, pickpocket and any reasonable hotel around Spanish Steps or Termini area (is this place safe). Thanks.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 05:29 AM
Tim Walshe
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Hi Ann,
Just back from Rome. You don't have to be overly cautious. Suffice to say, the only time we had trouble was when heavily loaded with baggage going through the Metro. I know, in the cold light of day, one would say we presented bit of an easy target. Several kids no more than 12/13 approached my wife and I, but concentrated on me as I was laden down. Before I knew it, they were all over my pockets. Either there was'nt a lot there to interest them, or
my quickly telling them git, did the trick, but no harm was done. So the moral to the story is that, as in any big city, if you present yourself as a target, you may end up one. Rome, and Italy is prone to bands of Kids, so keep an eye out for them, they may be bearing Cardboard for you to read or other such decoys. Good accomadation is available in the Fodors Planning section on this Web site. I would recommend 'The Steps' over Termini as the latter is a poorer area. Enjoy your trip, Tim.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 06:59 AM
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Tim: Thanks.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 08:41 AM
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We're just back,survived the earthquake! Rome felt much safer than I expected,I did you a little plastic bag from a pharmacie instead of purse as a precaution. Be prepared for a lot of Fumes and litter, it's really pretty filthy. Most little restaurants had great salads and pizzas. We stayed near the Piazza Navona at the Raphael,great location at around $230 per night. Have a good time.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 10:48 AM
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I just ended a Europe Cruise with a stay over in Rome. We had heard (and read) a lot about pickpockets and thievery, however, the main place we encountered distractions was at Piazza Navona at night, where the youngsters gathered around you trying to sell you things. The main thing is just to keep your wits about you. We didn't encounter much elsewhere, although we were with a group of people at times. As I stated at another post, a tour guide that we had (who is a native) discouraged us from using public transportation and advised us to get taxis. We did not have the need to use either because our hotel provided shuttle service. I agree with the post before mine entirely that the city IS filthy. In addition, traffic in the central city is congested and moped are entering traffic from all angles. There are a lot of neat outdoor cafes where you can order Italian-style pizza and gelato and the primary historical sites are awesome, intriging and beautiful. DO NOT miss St. Peter's Basilica, and when you go, be sure to have your shoulders and legs covered to the knees or you will be denied entrance. The Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel are also worth visiting, as well as Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum and all of ancient Rome.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 11:46 AM
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A few years ago both my wife and I were pickpocketed on a bus going to the catacombs. My fault that I had my wallet in my back pocket and they got me going off the bus and my wife's purse when she was standing in the bus. A priest in the catacombs told me that pickpockets also join groups of tourists in the catacombs and thefts are common. Around the railway station you can find gypsies who will occasionally attempt to beg or rob you. Other than this Rome was what we expected and worth the trip. Don't bother going to the Italian police to register any theft. Although they have an office for foreigners the process takes more than an hour and you will leave with a stamped piece of paper and never see your wallet again (an officer told me they practically never recover the goods). But you might need a police report for insurance purposes (homeowners insurance might cover you). Buona fortuna!
Oct 2nd, 1997, 12:02 PM
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On our last visit to Rome in May we stayed at La Residenza--reasonably priced on a quiet street near Via Veneto and the Spanish Steps. We found the best way to see the Sistine Chapel was to get into line before the Chapel opened (around 8:00 AM). We were about 4th in line--when we came out the line was several blocks long. The same with the Coliseum--get there early and you have the place to yourselves.
Oct 2nd, 1997, 06:34 PM
Janice Nagano
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We enjoyed Rome, although we did encounter a band of pickpocketing girls outside the Coliseum in broad daylight.

They left me alone, but went for my boyfriend who was carrying a camera. Luckily, we were both wearing a money belt tucked under our shirts so all they got from him was a bus ticket, which cost all of 1500 lire (not even a dollar US).

Even so, make sure to wear a money belt or necklace and keep your passport, money, credit cards, train pass, etc. with you at all times.
Oct 6th, 1997, 01:43 PM
Joe Lomax
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A useful phrase for bands of gypsy kids is: "Va Via!" as loud as you can. It means 'beat it', but more rude. Have a tour book out and pretend you are going to wack 'em. Usually this is enough.

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