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 didn't pay up, threats were made and cameras taken. When news broke of fisticuffs between semi-official and totally illegal "fake gladiators" who prey on unsuspecting tourists for perhaps the most expensive photo ever, that is unless you've crossed swords with the gentleman from Bangladesh who charges plenty for a pretty poor polaroid pic of you and your inebriated mates on Campo dei Fiori - it didn't just go local, it went global.

 In so far as we are concerned, police intervention against the uniformed touts and heavy news coverage of what transpired (arrests) compromised our Rome tour bookings, particularly Coliseum tour bookings. An unrelated search for Vatican tours unearthed another article by The Guardian about the gladiatorial scandal. The story was everywhere and millions were reading about it.

 After flatlining for some 36 hours, bookings eventually picked up. It was as if everyone soon to be visiting or already in Rome really believed that the entire city was set up to rip them off, when in fact the only people intent on doing so are randomly corrupt cab drivers, occasionally twisted restaurant staff - and fake gladiators. When in Rome, avoid these people at all costs!


  1. So funny! We saw these guys at the Colosseum and some of them were clearly not even Italian. One of them sold us a tour on the spot and he said that he represented Gladiator Tours (of course...). Their Colosseum tour was really good! Advice is this: take the tour, don't let them take the photo!!


Post a Comment