Rome Sex Guide advises where to find sex, working girls, prostitution, street hookers, brothels, red-light districts, sex shops, prostitutes, erotic massage parlors, strip clubs and escorts in Rome, Italy.
Rome (Italian: Roma), the Eternal City, is the capital and largest city of Italy and of the Lazio (Latium) region.
- 1 Sex and Prostitution in Rome
- 2 Rome Female Escorts
- 3 Red Light Districts
- 4 Prostitutes and Sex Workers
- 5 Street Hookers
- 6 Live Sex Cams
- 7 Adult Locations
- 8 Escort Services and Agencies
- 9 Erotic Massage Parlors
- 10 Brothels and Sex Clubs
- 11 Strip Clubs and Striptease
- 12 Karaoke and KTVs
- 13 Swinger Clubs and BDSM
- 14 Sex Shops and Adult Stores
- 15 Love Hotels and Short Time Hotels
- 16 Nightclubs and Bars
- 17 Gay and Lesbian
- 18 Other Adult Services
- 19 Dating
- 20 How to find Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies
- 21 MILFs
- 22 Transsexuals and Shemales
- 23 Sexual Services for Women
- 24 Sleeping and Girl Friendly Hotels
- 25 Stay Safe
- 26 See Also
Sex and Prostitution in Rome
Rome has plentiful prostitutes of all price ranges. Unlike, other European countries street walkers are the most popular. While proportionally the more expensive escorts and in-house sex workers are in steady decline number wise. However the presence of large numbers of street prostitutes in suburban areas, has caused protests from Romans living there.
Rome's top security official suggested the city needs a Red-light district to keep prostitutes off the residential streets, because there has been so many complaints about prostitutes working the streets of the Italian capital. The large presence of street walkers compared to indoor sex workers, is the most distinctive feature of Italy's sex industry compared to other European countries. In no other European country can you see so many street prostitutes as you see in Italy. Partly it's caused by it's mild Mediterranean climate, which more easily permits any kind of outdoor activity. Also, due to it's confused and contradictory laws which while officially permissive, have so many restrictions, that Italy gets the worse consequence, of both permissive and repressive prostitution laws.
In the Roman newspaper La Repubblica, Serra (ex Police chief) suggested a district like those Hamburg and Amsterdam "where one can exercise the world's oldest profession without disturbing the citizens."
"In Italy, prostitution is not a crime but this doesn't mean that you must continue to make believe (the problem) isn't there," Serra (ex Police chief) was quoted saying.
Periodically there are crack downs, like in 1998 when an enterprising district police chief cleaned up the whole EUR district, which by then, had turned into a red light wild west. As of 2015, the prostitutes have slowly trickled back to the EUR district, but not in such great numbers as in the 1990's.
Prostitution is not illegal in Italy, but pimping is and police have been cracking down on prostitution rackets, which the police claim, exploit illegal immigrants, including many from Eastern Europe, but also many from Africa. The results have been very mixed.
According to one charity there are 30,000 Nigerian female prostitutes in Italy alone, as of June 2016. They are undoubtingly the most exploited human beings on this planet. All their earnings gets handed over to Nigerian pimps, who threaten or beat them if they don't earn enough. Their large presence is also due to their popularity. They are the cheapest prostitutes, ranging from 15 to 30 Euros. They consequently have a lot of students, unemployed and old age pensioners as clients, who with their meagre state pensions, can't afford Italian prostitutes.
The police has enormous difficulty expelling them from the country, because the Nigerian prostitutes will violently resist expulsion and the Nigerian Embassy won't cooperate sufficiently with the Italian police. All these problems are compounded by the fact that, Italians have the unusual habit of preferring to consume the sexual act in a car, because its cheaper than going to an escort waiting in an apartment.
However, women standing in streets not only feel more vulnerable, humiliated, but are also exposed to dangerous violent criminals who will demand protection money from them, e.g. Albanian criminal gangs. In addition, these sex workers are periodically assaulted by violent and mentally unstable clients. So to be a street walker in Rome, the young woman in question, must have a courage of a Lion! So why do they do it? Answer is: for lots of money they can make. A beautiful street prostitute can earn easily 500 to 800 Euros per night. So after a few months of 'work' (if she's still in one piece), a East European prostitute can return home with 30 to 50,000 Euros - all in cash. Enough to buy a small suburban flat or start a business (typically hair dressing).
In Spain, (except for one industrial district outside of Madrid), there are very few prostitutes standing in the streets. That is because for several years since the 2008/9 economic crisis, the authorities have discreetly allowed the reopening of multi-floored brothels, as one of the ways to deal with the wide spread youth unemployment. They are regularly checked by the police, to check for exploited women and illegal migrants , and yet there has never been a problem, because the brothels make sure to comply with the law. All women get their documents checked by the brothel, sometimes in co-operation with the police. With no police busts in brothels for sex crimes, few Spaniards know about them, which is perfect, because discretion is the name of the game, and usually its only punters who know about their presence.
Italy had legal brothels until 1958, and the streets of Rome where certainly more quieter and salubrious then. But the usual feminist female politician got the bright idea to close brothels "so as to put to an end, to prostitution as a job". The Merlin law was passed which closed brothels - and prostitutes took to the streets, with the disastrous results you see nowadays. There are estimated, to be tens of thousand of prostitutes in Italy working on the streets in Italy. In Rome, they are often standing in the suburbs of the city usually on the consolar roads, like Via Tiburtina, Via Casilina,Via salaria, and the road leading to a seaside suburb, that is Via Cristoforo Colombo. Also in the streets near the Foreign Ministry.
Proposals to legalize brothels again have foundered. Like in many European parliaments, proposals to even partially legalize prostitution, tax them and open brothels (strictly controlled by police), have failed on the usual objections that it is 'exploitation of women', 'its immoral', 'it's risks becoming a respectable job','it increases sex trafficking'. It doesn't help that Italy has been governed by weak coalition governments with slight parliamentary majorities, so governments tend to avoid this highly divisive issue, rather than risking a fall of government by parliamentary vote.
Rome Female Escorts
There are many escorts in Rome who are advertising their escort services online. Watch out for scams although. See Escort agencies chapter below.
Red Light Districts
As you walk past the whores you can hear them saying something like "ti vuoi divertire un pò?" (You want to have little fun?) or "che occhi belli" (beautiful eyes). They will also give you dirty and naughty looks so you will know they are whores. Average cost to have sex with a street whore in this area is 30-50€.
In 2015, Rome's Mayor has approved a plan to create legal red-light district to Rome, so far we do not know wether it will be similar to the red light areas in Amsterdam or German cities. Rome Red light district should open in April and the legislation will allow prostitution in the EUR business district south of the city with the aim of reducing the number of streets currently being used for the purpose.
The council believes that by creating an official Red-light district in what is a largely non-residential area, there will be less chance of trafficking. This will mean that an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 women selling sex in Italy to around 2.5 million customers will be working in a safer environment, this idea could spread to the other Italian cities.
The plans include proposals to provide ‘psychological support and health care’ to prostitutes on the designated streets, and clients of sex workers who work on non-designated streets risk fines of 500€.
- Update 2017
- Via dei Capocci: There are a few prostitutes, but the quality is not really good
Prostitutes and Sex Workers
Most of the prostitution activity in Rome happens in the streets. Street prostitution is the most popular form of prostitution in Rome. Private flat prostitution is also becoming very popular these days, because it is so easy for the prostitutes to post their ad online and then wait for a client to call. There are also illegal underground brothels and erotic massage parlors are becoming very popular.
Most prostitutes come from Eastern European and African countries. There are also Italian ones too, usually high level escorts, but they tend to be a little more expensive, and have poor English speaking skills.
Unless you have a car and some local knowledge and are willing to take the chance on the cops busting you with a heavy fine or even maybe confiscation of the car. If you still want to go for it "Via Salaria" leading out/in of Rome is probably the best area in Rome to pick up young girls from Russia, Bulgaria and Romania, Sex with a street prostitute costs 30-40 euros in the car and its a quick affair but most of the girls are friendly and not more than 20 years old.
Where to find Street Prostitutes in Rome:
- Via Prenestina driving outside of rome during the day.
- Tiburtina from Rebbiba station to about 10km outside of the ring at night time.
- Viale Palmiro Togliatti has good selection of girls. Blow job in car costs 30€, fucking at girls own place 80-120€ and takeaway to your own hotel 100 to 200€. In the past year quality of street girls has gone down, more narcotics and othervise problematic girls.
- Via Pontina need to drive outside the ring road to find street hookers. Mostly the streetwalkers are standing on the roadside where you can't miss them. Most of the girls are black Africans.
- From San Basilio to Colombo and the Pineta di Ostia, by way of Boccea the Flaminia, the streets are lined - and not just after sunset - hundreds of young foreign women selling sex.
- Recent visit in 2015, Lots of women lining up Via Cristoforo Colombo and the best ones on Viale Guglielmo Marconi more towards where it meets Cristofor Colombo. The girls only wear panties even on a cold night so easy to recognise! They start business after 10 PM to possibly early morning.
- During day time: try Via Salaria, easier to reach this area and action with your own car.
Live Sex Cams
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There are many adult locations to be found in Rome.
Escort Services and Agencies
There is a good variety of escort services in Rome. Girls are mostly independent escorts but there are also some escort agencies operating. But watch out for fake photos and switch and bait scams. There's plenty of that too. Pass the girl's photo through Google image website, and see if her photo appears in other parts of the world. If it does, draw your own conclusions!
Erotic Massage Parlors
Massage parlor business is quite popular in Rome, but police is also trying to crack down the illegal business. Many Chinese operate in the erotic massage business and once a while police closes their body rub salons. Recently some massage parlours that sold sex were closed down at Velletri, Genzano di Roma and Nettuno (2015). But again in 2018 business is booming and you can find erotic massage shops from Rome that sell more than just a massage.
Brothels and Sex Clubs
Brothels are illegal in Italy, but there are many Private gentlemen´s and Club Privé clubs (swinger) in Rome, where you can find take-out escorts. The club Privé (equivalent to swingers clubs), will have a few women to start the sex in the rooms, but will not do sex for money privately. Often they are partners of the sex club (to circumvent anti-prostitution laws) so have a vested interest in seeing their club succeeding.
Price to take a working girl with you from a Gentlemans club is around 200 to 300€ - for one hour of sex. Cheaper options is illegal apartment whore houses, where you can usually find 2-5 sex workers mostly from Eastern European countries. At these apartment brothels (Appartamento bordello or Casa aperte), sex usually costs 50 to 150€ depending the time and girls popularity.
Most of these bordellos have basic rooms for sex and condoms are provided. And they get periodically raided by police. In Italy there is a unusual article of the prostitution law which states "its prohibited to aid and abet prostitution activity in any way". So for example, even renting a flat to escort girls is "aiding and abetting".
It's a vague law which gives massive lee way for the authorities to close any escort activity, in any habitable area of a city. With the consequence, that the street girls have even more competitive advantage and more clients!
Massage parlour business is also becoming more popular in Rome and there are many erotic massage salons where you can get a different type of happy ending example sexual intercourse or just a hand relief. Like in many other European cities, many are Chinese.
Example Via dei Capocci in Rome has some Case aperte (brothels).
Strip Clubs and Striptease
All of these strip clubs in the list may not be open anymore. Some of the gentlemen´s clubs only offer striptease and lap dance, but the other will also have take out girls. Watch out for the usual drinks request, - some can be outrageously expensive!
The club staff will exploit the language divide to create 'misunderstandings' about their drinks policy, needless to say you'll find yourself dealing with the club heavies while the girl has quietly slipped away. Take usual precautions - be sober, clarify before about prices, pay immediately, and always ask for a receipt. In Rome, the streets near Via Veneto are infamous for these kind of strip clubs. Often staffed by foreign women, at times not even pretty, let alone beautiful. Ironically, they are stone's throw away from the huge American embassy building nearby.
Karaoke and KTVs
There are not KTVs in Rome. KTVs are popular in some parts of Asia.
Swinger Clubs and BDSM
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Most swingers clubs in Rome and nearby areas only allow couples and single women. Some, in certain weekday evenings, allow limited number of selected single men.
Others make no selection or limit, since single guys pay 100-200 Euros to get in, - there's money to be made! Problem is, the club gets filled with randy single men, who are not delicate in their approaches to nervous couples or the very few single women. So the women leave, never to come back again, and the reputation of the club gets for ever ruined. So the owners close the club and opens another one in some other district.
New club name, new premises and - new promises! All this is made easier, by the fact that these clubs are registered as 'cultural associations'!!! Almost laughable! But it means it's totally tax exempt! As long the clients have a membership card in their pocket, the finance police can do nothing. The owners rake in this easy money using some young women as partners to 'warm' up the single men clients who turn up eagerly. So from the outside it looks like a real sex club, so even couples and particularly courageous single women will enter. But they quickly realize, that it is just another scam. There's no selection or limit to the number of single men who enter, and it quickly degenerates into a wildly testosterone fueled 'get any girl' scramble.
However, there are some, more serious clubs. Look up the local forums and blogs, and see the comments. Use 'google translate', to translate from Italian.
As of 2016, there were nine to ten swinging clubs in Rome and it's province. A high number for a population of three and half million. But only half restrict entrance of single men, or/and have only couples nights. The others are just scams, or/and are thinly veiled prostitution venues. Still five clubs, (which can be counted as 'serious'), is still a relatively high number. Perhaps the stereotype, that Italians are passionate about love and love-making, is true after all !
You should always contact the Swingers Club before you go to the place and ask their entrance policies and rules. Most of the time you will have amazing time in Italian swingers clubs because many of the local girls can be very attractive and some tourist couples also visit these premises.
Sex Shops and Adult Stores
If you don’t feel like visiting or cannot find any local sex shops in Rome, you can easily order adult products from Online Sex Shop.
Some of these erotic shops have adult cinema attached to them. Entrance fee to the adult theaters is around 10€ and sometimes you are allowed to go in and out multiple times a day. Many of the sex cinemas are popular among gay and bi-sexual men. If you are straight guy, just ignore they gays politely and you will be left alone.
Love Hotels and Short Time Hotels
There are not original Japanese style love hotels in Rome.
Nightclubs and Bars
Good-looking local Italian girls and tourist girls can be found from nightclubs in Rome. Italian girls are not the easiest ones to hook up with, as language barrier is a big hindrance, but it's not impossible. Learn few words of Italian to make an impression.
- Ice Club, Via della Madonna dei Monti, tel.: +39 06 9784 5581
- La Cabala, Via dei Soldati, 25c, tel.: +39 06 6830 1192
- Micca Club, Via dei Due Macelli, 75, tel.: +39 392 293 6060
- Carrousel Night Club Roma, Via Emilia, 53, tel.: +39 06 474 0629
- Akab Club, Via di Monte Testaccio, 69, tel.: +39 06 5725 0585
Gay and Lesbian
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Most LGBT clubs in Rome require a ArciGay or ArciLesbian card. If you have this card most clubs will allow you entry for free, without it sometimes they may be forgiving but more often than not you will be forced to pay a small entrance fee. In Rome there are no truly dedicated gay villages. Instead, there are small gay establishments located throughout the city. They are relatively easy to find and you can go just about anywhere in Rome and find a club or sauna that suits your tastes.
GAY CLUBS, DISCOS, PARTIES & DISCOS
- Gloss @ L’Alibi, Via Monte Testaccio 44
- Open Thursdays 23:30 - 05:00. Gloss is the gay night on Thursdays and features drag queen shows, hunky go-go dancers and DJs spinning house and commercial/pop music.
- Historical gay club in the capital, at the other days club has a mixed clientele, gay, bisex and trans and large heterosexual following. Nice music, two floors, with a large terrace for summer nights. Tel: +39 6 574 3448,
- Muccassassina @ Qube, Via di Portonaccio 212.
- Muccassassina started off as a gay only party but soon became very popular with both straight and gay trendy/young crowd. The venue, Qube, has three dance floors and plays house, pop and techno. You can expect a long queue at the entrance. Traditionally the events take place only on Friday except for extra appointments (Halloween, Wordl Day for the fight against Aids, New Years, Once Night preholiday) (October – May). Open Fridays 23:00 - 05:00
- Bears Invasion @ Classico, via Giuseppe Libetta 5 (Metro B: Garbatella)
- Open Saturdays 24:00 - 05:00. Rome’s all-new furry Saturday night gathering from 4th October 2014. Hairy daddies, chubbies, muscle bears, wolves and chasers are all welcomed inside. Hard house and hard men fill the dance floor, 3 bars and darkroom.
- Bear Mondays @ Rude Club, via Pietro Micca 7/a , Rome (Metro A: Vittorio / Manzoni)
- Mondays 23:30 - 04:00. Famous weekly bear party in Rome (open from October – April). Bear Monday is now held at Rude Club (ex Micca), a venue that features two bars, dance floor, lounge area and bear play zone. This is the place to meet bear gays and their admirers. Free entry. Tel: +39 347 244 5810
Other Adult Services
Torture Garden is a popular BDSM party in Rome often held in Vicious Club (Via Achielle Grandi, 7a Rome), OS Club or at Qube. Club Rome has also fetish and bondage parties. Most Rome escorts also offer dominatrix and role playing as an extra spice, but these service always cost more than regular sex.
- Thursdays 23:00 - 04:00 (once a month) New monthly gay dance party in Rome, usually taking place on a Thursday. Inspired by the New York club scene, Butter features a mix of 70’s and 80’s classics, but with an electro twist. Really popular with the young gay Romans. Admission from 5 euros. Tel:+39 6 7061 4349
- Amigdala @ Animal Social Club, Via di Portonaccio 23 E (Metro: Tiburtina)
- Weekend opening times 1st Sat from 23:00. On the first Saturday of the month (October – May), Animal Social Club hosts a gay night with electronic music, concerts, movies, exhibitions and so on.
- Grand Buffet, Via Celsa 6
- Dinner and disco for bears and admirers on Sundays. The buffet starts from 8-10pm, followed by drag shows and dance party with resident DJ playing pop, house & techno tunes. Always check venue page for next event and location http://www.grandbuffet.it/ - Sundays 20:00 - 03:00
- Feel Unusual Club, Via dei Conciatori 7C (Metro: Piramide=:Feel Unusual Club is a cool nightclub that hosts occasional popular parties for mixed crowd. Tel: +39 328 198 7017
GAY BARS & PUBS
- Coming Out, Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 8 , Rome (Metro B: Colosseo)
- Open every day: 07:00-02:00. Located near the Colosseum, Coming Out is an institution in the Rome gay scene. This a bit pricey bistro bar is open all day and has various theme nights. Friendly staff and popular and busy in the evenings. Upstairs is a well known gay bed and breakfast offering good value for money, air-conditioned guest rooms. (Tel: +39 6 700 9871)
- My Bar, Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 12 , Rome (Metro B: Colosseo)
- Open every day 09:00 - 02:00. Gay bar/café with sidewalk seating close to the Colosseum, next to Coming Out. The café attracts a straight crowd during the day but is popular with gay customers in the evening. There is a small dance floor at the back where resident DJ spins great commercial house music. Karaoke nights and occasional gogo dancers. Tel: +39 6 4554 6842
- Garbo, Vicolo di Santa Margherita 1a , Rome
Dating in Rome can be a bit tricky due to cultural differences, so your best bet is to sign up for a dating site before your trip so you can meet a few locals ahead of time. AdultFriendFinder.com lets you meet local members in Rome and get to know them on a personal basis before you arrive. Take advantage of site features like live chat and member to member webcams so you can begin flirting before arranging a face-to-face meeting. Since your time in Rome may be limited, get to know each other’s desires beforehand, so that when you meet you can start having some real fun.
How to find Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies
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Transsexuals and Shemales
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TG/TS/TV or CD Street Prostitution:
There are transexual hookers in a park close to Sheraton Roma (Viale Del Pattinaggio, 100 Rome,00144). You can find about 5-10 t-girls there every night. Transvestites and transsexuals in the park charge about 20-40€ for blow job and 30-60€ for fuck. Most of the trannies in the park are versatile, meaning they can be the receiving or active partner, but it is always recommended to negotiate before paying who does the work.
TG/TS/TV or CD Friendly Clubs and Other Premises:
You can also find drag queen shows and transvestites from Gloss @ L’Alibi, Via Monte Testaccio 44 & Grand Buffet, Via Celsa 6 clubs occasionally. Adult Cinema Ulisse (Via Tiburtina 354H) has sometimes transvestites.
TG/TS/TV or CD Escorts:
There are hundreds of Shemale and transvestite escorts in Rome, so you will definitely find the one you like. Transgirl escorts are usually local Italians or Spanish, but there are many other nationalities among t-girl escorts. Usually trans-girl escorts in Rome work independently from the private apartments and do in- and out-calls. Some of the transexual escorts work on the street prostitution areas same time while they wait calls to their cellphones and if they get a call, they will either receive their client at their flat or where ever the customer wants. Price to have sex with a shemale escort in Rome is about 80-150€ for 30 minutes and 150-300€ for one hour. Better looking ts-girls will always cost more and the service is also much better.
Sexual Services for Women
Italy is a modern country, but many old-fashioned attitudes remain. Many tourist women will still hear guys whizzing or yelling sexual comments at them. If you are not interested on these playboys, just ignore them. Italian guy who picks up tourists won't waste his time if you ignore him, walk past, say 'no grazie' or ask to be left alone.
Gigolos can be seen cruising around popular tourist attractions looking for rich and sexy foreign women, traditionally the cafes at Via Veneto (1980's), were places where woman could hook up with Gigolo's. Perhaps by 2016, things have changed a lot, - check the forums. However, the quality the gigolo's varies a lot. Don't expect the Richard Gere - 'Amercian Gigolo', type of hunk! Some are even fraudsters and thiefs, specialized in stealing jewellery. So the obvious advice - leave your jewellery box at the Hotel reception, before inviting some Italian guy to your room. In the last 20 years even Moroccan men have moved into this activity. They are specialized in fat women, - to the delight of North American obese female tourists.
Many Italian male escorts have ads online and offer sex for both men and women for 50€ to 200€ an hour.
Sleeping and Girl Friendly Hotels
If is recommended to rent a flat near the street prostitution areas, if you like to have sex with the prostitutes in the safer environment than in a car or park. Some hotels will give you a trouble if you bring a girl to your room at the night who obviously looks like a prostitue
Many of the hotels in the prostitution areas will usually get bad reviews online example Hotel Pulitzer Roma (Viale Marconi 905, 00146 Rome, Ostiense) has got reviews like "This hotel has lots of prostitutes hanging out in the nearby street at night time or So it is a good place to stay if you don´t want to walk far away to find a hooker.
See also: Global list of girl friendly hotels
Rome is generally a safe place, even for women traveling alone. However there have been rape cases around the Roma Termini train station, so be careful especially at night time. There is very little violent crime, but plenty of scams and pickpocketing that target tourists. As in any other big city, it is better if you don't look like a tourist: don't exhibit your camera or camcorder to all and sundry, and keep your money in a safe place. Consciousness and vigilance are your best insurances for avoiding becoming a victim of a crime in Rome. Remember, if you are pickpocketed or victim of another scam, don't be afraid to shout, "Aiuto, al ladro!" (Help, Thief!) Romans will not be nice to the thief.
Members of the Italian public are likely to be sympathetic if you are a crime victim. Police are also generally friendly if not always helpful. Carabinieri (black uniform, red striped trousers) are military police, and Polizia (blue and grey uniform) are civilians, but they both do essentially the same thing and are equally good, or bad. If you are robbed, try to find a police station and report it. This is essential to establishing a secure insurance claim and to replace documents: the chances of it resulting in the return of your possessions are, however, fairly remote.
Rome is home to two rival Serie A football clubs, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio, and there is a history of conflict, and even rioting, between the two. Never wear anything that shows that you support either of them, especially during the Rome Derby (when the two clubs play each other): avoid even wandering into groups of supporters of the other club, or you may be subject to heckling or even confrontation. Play it safe and refrain from openly supporting either club unless you are very familiar with the rivalry. If you are a fan of a foreign team that is playing in Rome, be very careful as a number of supporters have been stabbed over the past few years.
Since Rome is incredibly popular as a tourist destination, a great deal of pickpocketing and bag or purse snatching takes place, especially in crowded locations, and pickpocketers in Rome can get pretty crafty. A 2010 study found that Rome was second only to Barcelona for pickpocketing of tourists.
As a rule, you should pretty much never carry anything very valuable in any outside pocket, especially the front pocket of your pants is one of the easiest and most common targets. Keeping your wallet in your front pocket or in your bag is far from safe. You should consider using a money belt and carry only the cash for the day in your pocket.
Also, beware of thieves—one popular technique that they use is to ride by you on a moped, slice the strap of a handbag with a knife, and ride off. They might also try to cut the bottom of your bag open and pick your wallet from the ground. Others will use the old trick of one person trying to distract you (asking for a cigarette or doing a strange dance) while another thief picks your pockets from behind. Bands of gypsy kids will sometimes crowd you and reach for your pockets under the cover of newspapers or cardboard sheets. It is generally a good idea to be extremely wary of any strange person who gets too close to you, even in a crowd. If someone is in your personal space, shove the person away. As one frequent traveller put it, "Don't be afraid to be a dick in Rome." It is better to be rude than to be stolen from.
Termini (the main railway station), Esquilino, bus line 64 (Termini to San Pietro), and the Trevi fountain are well known for pickpockets, so take extra care in these areas. On the Metro especially, pickpockets are extremely skilled.
Remember that hotel rooms are not safe places for valuables; if your room has no safe, give your valuables to the hotel staff for safekeeping. Even if it does have a safe, hotels normally warn that they have no liability unless items are deposited in the main safe.
Be aware of the danger and take the usual precautions and you should be all right.
Read up on the legends concerning tourist scams. Most of them occur regularly in Rome and you will want to see them coming.
A particular scam is when some plainclothes police will approach you, asking to look for "drug money," or ask to see your passport. This is a scam to take your money. You can scare them by asking for their ID. Guardia di Finanza (the grey uniformed ones) do customs work.
A recent scam involves men working near the Spanish Steps, around Piazza Navona, and outside of the Colosseum. They approach you, asking where you are from, and begin to tie bracelets around your wrists. When they are done they will try to charge you upwards of €20 for each bracelet. If anyone makes any attempt to reach for your hand, retract quickly. If you get trapped, you can refuse to pay, but this may not be wise if there are not many people around. Carry small bills or just change, in your wallet, so if you find yourself in cornered to pay for the bracelet, you can convince them that €1 or €2 is all you have.
When taking a taxi, be sure to remember license number written on the card door. In seconds, people have had a taxi bill risen by €10 or even more. When giving money to taxi driver, be careful.
Be careful of con-men who may approach you at tourist sights such as the Colosseum or Circus Maximus. A car may pull up next to you, and the driver asks you for directions to the Vatican. He will strike up a conversation with you while he sits in his car and tell you he is a sales representative for a large French fashion house. He will then tell that you he likes you and he would like to give you a gift of a coat worth several thousand euros. As you reach inside his car to take the bag the coat is in, he will ask you for €200 for gas, as his car is nearly empty.
Around tourist sites like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and the Spanish Steps there are groups mostly of men trying to sell cheap souvenirs. They may also carry roses and say they are giving you a gift because they like you, but the minute you take their 'gift' they demand money. They are often very insistent and often the only way to get rid of them is to be plain rude. Do the best you can to not take their "gifts" as they will follow you around asking for money. Simply saying "no" or "go away" will get them off your back until the next vendor comes up to you.
Be wary of places to change currency. Read ALL signs before changing money. Oftentimes places set up just for currency exchange will add as much as a 20% service fee on all money being traded. The shops near the Vatican have especially high service fees, whereas places near the Trevi Fountain will be more reasonable. The best bet is to change enough money before you leave your home country. There are few places around the city that are under the table and are just interested in American money. These places charge no service fee.
The best advice to avoid scams is to get way from anyone that you have never seen before who starts talking to you.
In an emergency, call 112 (Carabinieri), 113 (Police), 118 (medical first aid) or 115 (firemen). Carry the address of your embassy or consulate.
On anything else you may need for your rome holiday, you can contact the official help line of the Minister of Tourism 039.039.039. From Monday to Sunday, from 9.00 to 22.00, in seven languages seven days a week.
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