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Surprised By Two Things In Rome

My wife and I were blessed to take a 7-day Mediterranean cruise via the beautiful Costa Serena for our 15th anniversary almost three years ago.  

As part of the cruise we docked at a city called Civitavecchia and from there we rode a tour bus into Rome.  The bus’ final stop was at Vatican City.

As you can imagine, we had the opportunity to see the famous city for the first time.  It was quite exciting! 

However, there was something about the Vatican City (Rome) that surprised me.  There were scores of men and women who lined the street selling different items – bags, scarves, jewelry and several other souvenir items.  Many of the vendors appeared to be immigrants from Africa. 

The most interesting thing about the vendors is that they were there without permits or licenses.  How did I know this?  Whenever a police car came into sight, we watched them scurrying about in many directions.  And, as soon as the police left, they came right back.

Another thing about Rome that surprised me was the presence of pickpockets.  From Vatican City, we rode the subway to the Coliseum.   The guide on our tour bus warned us before leaving to look out for pickpockets.  Sadly, one of our friends who had visited Rome the year before had her passport picked.

I remember standing on the train platform and seeing a very suspicious guy eyeing the patrons.  I held onto my stuff firmly.

Those are the two things about Rome that surprised me.  Why was I surprised?  I think of Rome, especially Vatican City, as a “holy” place.  I therefore do not expect certain things to happen there.

Yet, I was reminded that the people are pretty much the same wherever you go.

Despite those two “minor” things, Rome is a beautiful city.  Your family will enjoy the visit, whether by cruise ship or by airplane.  Be careful as you explore and enjoy the breathtaking views of this ancient city.

Peter Grant
McDonough, GA


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