One of the biggest rip-offs in a city that knows many is the gladiator scam. Thugs dressed up as gladiators prowl around the Colosseum and allow tourists to take their pictures for a “moderate” compensation.
This moderate fee, though, sometimes goes up as far as to 20 Euros and if you refuse to pay the phony gladiators become abusive and threatening and sometimes even go as far as physically assaulting the unsuspecting visitor to Rome.
It is common knowledge in Rome that there are several families dividing up the gladiator racket and that any outsider trying to enter in the same “business” risks being beaten up.
Although the police sometimes crack down on the fake gladiators – in August 2011 they were all arrested and taken away in handcuffs – it is an evil that keeps on occurring.
The best thing to do is to ignore them completely and whatever happens, do not be bluffed or threatened into giving them any money whatsoever.