I originally published this post 3 years ago and thought it was worth reposting to warn about scams in Italy. I have since learned to be more cautious… read on.
At 9 pm we arrived at the Rome train station and went outside to grab a taxi. Despite the line line of taxis in front of us, an Italian man approached us and told us to follow him for the taxi, saying the cost would be 40 euros when I asked. I agreed to the price and said “Okay” and followed him. He started taking our luggage and walking across traffic and down a side street and I knew something was not right here but was taken off guard. Apparently he was not an official taxi but I did not realize it at the time. Eventually we got to a corner where another man was waiting in the “taxi” and the first man got into the passenger seat.
Although I had told him the address, after about five minutes of driving the two men became agitated and must have realized that the address was farther than they thought, and now told me that it will be 67 euros because the location was at least 30 km away. Well I did not put up with that, especially once I realized that these were not official taxi drivers.
I stood my ground and spoke in Italian and English telling them that that we had an agreement and that all I was paying was 40 euros, or quaranta and I said basta, which means enough. The driver said OK and let the other man out. Afterwards the driver was nice and we arrived at the hotel soon enough. He even offered to stop at a money exchange place on the way, which we did not need. Besides, at that point he lost all credibility with me. I only wanted to arrive at my hotel.
Even though I have read of these scams and consider myself a savvy traveler I guess at the end of a day I got caught too, but fortunately, it ended up well. Beware to all travelers to Rome near the Termini station for these taxi scam artists.
Have you had a bad travel experience in Italy but learned something? I’m very interested in your feedback. Please leave a comment.
Grazie and ciao.