Showing posts from June, 2023

Fake gladiators caught with masses of cash

 What we're really talking about here is fraud. That a bunch of unscrupulous, unwashed Italian blokes from the rag end of Rome have been scamming tourists for years in front of some of the most spectacular ruins in the world, comes as no surprise. What has been surprising, though, is the negative effect their dirty work has had on our own increasingly popular shared Rome tours , all of which have taken years to develop.  CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Sky News, all suffering from UK riots burn out, decided to headline a story about undercover police in Rome dressing up as the Praetorian Guard, waste disposal experts, and tourists - to infiltrate groups of cash-crazy fake gladiators. Their mission was to get the lowdown on what is upsetting so many people in such beautiful places when the sun is shining and everyone else is out and about enjoying the city.  Tourists have been complaining for years about being charged up to thirty euros for a "gladiator photo", and if they d

Taoiseach Kenny eviscerates the Vatican!

 Pardon the exclamation mark, as none of the above will come as any surprise to those of us who have been following reports of sexual child abuse in the church in County Cork, Ireland. No help has been forthcoming from the Vatican, and Irish bishops claim that they have been somewhat left out in the cold. What help they required above and beyond proper implementation of 1996 legislation "Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response", however, is still in need of clarification.  The latest problem involves the Cloyne Report of July 13th. Findings detail the nefarious activities of Cloyne Bishop John Magee, former secretary to three popes. He paid scant attention to cases of sexual child abuse which landed on his desk as recently as 2008. The report states that in his lengthy communications with government officials, Magee claimed that his diocese was correctly reporting all allegations of clerical child sexual abuse to the civil authorities. In fact, he misled an inq

The whys and woes of Vatican tours

  An amazing Vatican tour during the busy high season of July and August is what every tourist wants. However, for every bona fide tour operator and great Vatican tour guide, there are hundreds of illegals. They hang round the Vatican 18 hours a day, gathering and even guiding unsuspecting tourists through what is more often than not the worst Roman holiday experience imaginable.  Imagine a weary eyed back-packing student inviting you to join an "official" Vatican tour as soon as you arrive at the metro station closest to the Vatican museums. This is normal. These gatherers are recruited by tour operators that rent poky offices on the streets that encircle the Vatican City. They call visitors to the Vatican "McDonalds tourists". All of this is an ugly fact of Vatican, indeed Rome tourism that needs to be policed with 100% more conviction.  Almost every street corner around the Vatican museums is owned by (mostly) unlicensed guides, definitively illegal gath