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.
Exploring Rome with a Local | margieinitaly
[…] Taxis in Rome – Italy Travel Tips […]
I got caught on my first trip to the station in Rome. The driver agreed on 60 euros for a trip that was really only 5 minutes away. Now I am much more familiar with the city I just go straight to the front of the line at the taxi stand and wait for one of the official taxis to roll forward. Looking confident, even when you aren’t, gets you a long way.
We nearly always walked from places like Termini and The Vatican to look of a Taxi. Always found a legitimate Taxi! 7-8 Euros was all we ever paid. Flagged a few down too. Easy peasy stuff…
Stayed by the Spanish Steps off the piazza at the Manfredi. Nice people. Free breakfast. Expensive! Wish we had stayed in Testacchio or near there. Marvelous part of town!
I love Rome!
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.. You have had some great experiences in Rome it seems like! Great advice
Victoria De Maio
I have to say I have heard tales about taxis in Rome (and New York and many other places). What many travelers (especially Americans) don’t know is that you do NOT hail a taxi in Italy and you should NEVER take a taxi that is not from an authorized taxi stand. I’ve been reminded by Romans of this and address in my Italy travel tips book.
What many don’t know is that it is very expensive to get a license and you will find the name and permit # of the driver clearly displayed. If he is reported and gets enough complaints he could lose his permit and his livelihood! I’ve never had a problem in Rome – on the contrary, I’ve only had polite, helpful drivers. There are 8000 taxi drivers in Rome but as any place else, it only takes a few nasty characters to taint the reputation of the majority which is too bad…
Great advice Victoria, and I know yiu’ve traveled enough in Italy to have learned these travel tips! Grazie, Bella for leaving a comment and sharing your advice
Ciao Margie —
We had a hilarious encounter in Roma a couple years ago when a sleek Mercedes pulled up
to us, driver dressed like a businessman, perfect English, said he had been to SF many times. He reached in back seat, handed us new ‘leather’ coats he’d picked at a fashion show he was attending; said he was a designer. Then he asked if we had a few Euros to pay for gas, he was low, stations far away. I took out 5 Euro from pocket (don’t carry wallet in Roma), my wife reached in her sweater, took out 10 E, he snatched them, sped off. We were stunned; he looked and acted like a real gentleman.
When we got back to our B & B, we checked the designer bags, ‘leather’ coats in fancy wrapping were plastic! We laughed and laughed, enjoyed the experience, only cost us 15 Euros. We gave the ‘leather’ coats to homeless people when we left. They were making our room smell like it was full of new basketballs!
We’ve shared the story with many, now you. The experience was worth the 15 Euros. Sure glad I didn’t pull out my wallet when he asked.
Oh, we’re returning to Roma in late December, New Years Eve dinner at restaurant by the Pantheon where we had our first honeymoon dinner back in ’01.
We’re taking language, cooking, art history courses at Scuola da Vinci. We’re going to have fun — but will look out for smooth talking scammers!
Jack, that is a good story and a lesson learned..Thank you for sharing here!!have a fantastic time on your December trip to Italy!How romantic!
Great advise Margie!
A worthy warning to repost. Anbody can be scammed when they are too tired so remember that the more exhausted you are, the more alert you had better be. Thanks for looking out for all of us.
Getting ferries in Italy is really stressful – a totally disorganised process to get tickets, check in and embark in three different places. Bari port was a shocker!
You just didn’t like Bari, I seem to remember!
No, never had a bad experience anywhere in Italy but I will watch out for this if I go to Rome again.
Thanks Andrew…I learned a lesson from this experience for sure