Those not already familiar with Audrey Hepburn's iconic movie Roman Holiday may not necessarily see the appeal or charm in the Spanish Steps of the Piazza di Spagna. Admittedly, the steps are not as historic as, say, the Colosseum or as heralded as Michelangelo's Steps to the Capitoline hill. However, for me a trip to Rome would not have been complete without channeling my inner Hepburn (or Danny as the dashing Gregory Peck!) at the Spanish Steps.
|My Gregory Peck (just not at the|
Before we could even scope out a place to sit for a moment, pushy hands were thrusting roses in my face. "Free gift! Free gift for you!" was the man's insistent explanation.
"No thanks," I said firmly, holding my hands up with palms facing outward.
"No pay, no pay! Roman tradition! Good luck to give roses to pretty ladies!"
"We don't want it," Danny said firmly as we turned away. The man grunted and muttered under his breath at us as he left to accost his next target. Shortly thereafter we heard him repeat his statement, and when the lady took the rose, he began hounding her to pay for her "free gift," following her around the piazza until she finally handed back the rose. This seems to be a pretty popular scam in Rome.
Despite the crowds and pushy "salesmen," it was refreshing to rest our achy feet while taking in the bustling ambiance. Just don't dare to slip off your flip-flops or shoes unless you want a scolding from a policewoman! We found it ironic that they would enforce a fashion code while blatantly ignoring the obnoxious ways of the scam artists all around us.
At any rate, we enjoyed our quick respite at the Spanish Steps. Only a gelato cone could've possibly made the experience better, but an impending storm cloud hurried us back to the metro and on for more adventures in Rome!
What other tourist scams have you witnessed while traveling? Have you visited the Spanish Steps?