Tourists Outraged Over $84 Gelati In Rome

Getting scammed by quack taxi drivers or phony tour operators is one thing, but when a group of tourists were charged 64 euros ($84) for a few ice cream cones in Rome – well, that’s just sad.

The Eternal City has quite the reputation for con artists. Cafes and bars have been known to have special menus for English-speaking customers that double or even triple their prices. But the Antica Roma bar and gelateria, which is located close to the Spanish Steps, has allegedly sunk to a new low. According to the U.K.’s The Daily Telegraph, British tourist Roger Bannister and his family were “astonished” when the shop charged them 16 euros each ($21) for a round of ice cream cones.

A manager at the cafe confirmed the tourists were charged the outrageous prices, and told the news outlet their prices are posted and the gelati was “worth the money because they were large.” Officials in Rome told the Telegraph these types of scams are “shameful” and “such practices harmed the image of Italy.” Have you ever been victim to a travel scam like this, and if so, what did you do about it?

[Photo credit: blogger Libby Zay]

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Vatican, Vespas & Rome’s Nightlife

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 25 – Click above to watch video after the jump

For the final installment in our series on Rome, we’ve saved the best for last & are satisfying our thirst for adventure. Watch as we tour the Vatican, rent Vespas, and check out Rome’s impromptu night life.

On the couch, we’ll dissect the differences between the Vatican & the Holy See, and show you the one place in Rome to peer through a keyhole and view 3 separate countries. Tune in to see just how crazy Roman driving actually is, what the best place public place to go after hours is, and what else the Vatican has to offer beyond the Sistine Chapel.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Subscribe via iTunes:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Show directly in iTunes (M4V).
[RSS M4V] Add the Travel Talk feed (M4V) to your RSS aggregator and have it delivered automatically.

Want to find the ‘magic keyhole’ of the Piazza del Cavalieri di Malta? Look no further.
Rent your own Vespa in Rome! Check out Eco Move Rentals.
Read more about the Holy See right here.

Hosts: Aaron Murphy-Crews, Stephen Greenwood

Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Ancient Rome

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 24 – Click above to watch video after the jump

Well, we got to Rome in style and now it’s time to hit the streets & explore. The city’s history spans over two and half thousand years and it seems like everywhere you go, there’s something interesting to discover.

This episode, we’ll take you on a whirlwind tour of some of Rome’s most iconic monuments & show you one of the city’s best kept secrets: the American Academy in Rome. On the couch, we’ll do an impossibly brief look at city’s history as the capital of three major eras; the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. So put on your tourist hat (we won’t tell), get your running shoes on and come check out Rome!

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Subscribe via iTunes:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Show directly in iTunes (M4V).
[RSS M4V] Add the Travel Talk feed (M4V) to your RSS aggregator and have it delivered automatically.

Learn more about the exclusive American Academy in Rome right here.
Did we get an exclusive sneak peek at an archeological milestone? Read up on the Lead Burrito.
Check out our fancy digs! The Regina Baglioni in Rome.
Need a tour group? Check out I.C. Bellagio – our gracious guides to Rome’s rich history.

Hosts: Aaron Murphy-Crews, Stephen Greenwood

Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea

Galley Gossip: A question about packing (it’s all about the shoes!)

Dear Heather,

Love your blog and your web site! I laugh all the time. I usually only fly once a year for a cruise, but when I do I always see people doing what you write about and I laugh. I also try to remember to do and not do what you write about. I’ve never had a bad experience with flight staff or any flight for that matter. I’m about to go on vacation and I do have a question about luggage. With all the restrictions on checked luggage, I’m trying to make the most of my carry on bags. I’ve called the airline and they refer my questions to TSA and TSA refers me to the web site or the airline (talk about run around), but some answers are not on TSA or the airline’s web site. For instance – can hair dryers, flat irons and travel irons go in your carry on? My usual carry on fits nicely in the overhead compartment, but how big of a bag can I fit under the seat? (I’ll be on a Continental 757-200 and 737-900 ) Trying to keep the weight of my checked bag down, I would like to use a bigger under the seat bag for shoes and such. The 3-1-1 rule is that per person or per carry on? I try to book a hotel near shopping so I don’t have to transport toiletries, etc. but I also hate packing that stuff in my checked bag for fear they would leak (I wrap them well and seal them in zip locks and cosmetic bags but you just never know). Any information you can give me would be helpful. Thanks and keep up the great blogging. I love it.

Dear Debbie,

First of all, I’m glad to hear you like my blog. I’m even happier to hear you’ve never had a problem with a flight staff or on any flight for that matter. You’re one of the few.

Hair dryers, flat irons and travel irons can go inside your carry on luggage. Though I must ask why you are hauling a travel iron along with you on a trip? Do you really want to lug that thing around and then spend your precious time ironing on vacation when you could be relaxing on vacation – in wrinkle free clothes? Isn’t that what vacation is for? Relaxing. Not ironing. Personally, I’d rather not iron, and that’s why I wear the navy blue polyester dress when I’m working. However, whenever I do bring along something that must be ironed, I just hang it up in the shower and let the steam take care of the wrinkles. Now if you must take the iron with you, I guess I should tell you about a pilot I know who sprays his uniform shirts with starch before packing them inside his suitcase. He said it works.

I’m sorry to hear you’re getting the run around from the airline and TSA, but my guess is TSA is telling you to go to the airline website because every airline is different and has their own set of rules about how much luggage you can bring on-board and what it will cost to check each piece of luggage. I bet the airline is sending you to the TSA website because their rules are different from the airlines rules in regards to what you can and can not take through airport security. Me, I’d play it safe and leave the liquids at home, like you said, check one bag (if it’s too large to bring onboard with you) and take a smaller bag on the airplane.

Because you sound concerned about your bag fitting under your seat, it sounds like your bag may be a wee bit big. Just so you know, my crew tote-bag doesn’t always fit under the seat in front of me. It all depends on the airplane and how much I’ve managed to stuff inside my tote. While most of the time my bag does fit under the seat without a problem, I have had an issue on the 737, but all I had to do was take out a few books, the big bottle of water I had bought in the airport terminal after I passed through security (don’t forget to purchase yours!), turn my bag on its side and give it a good shove. Whatever you do, do not over pack and make sure that the bag going under the seat in front of you is squishable.

Packing for a long trip isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard, either. The tricky part, if you’re a woman, is figuring out which shoes you’re going to take with you, because when you’re a woman it’s all about the shoes. Am I wrong? Shoes take up too much space in the bag. That’s why I’m going to tell you to leave all those shoes you’ve packed in your smaller bag at home. I mean do you really need all of them?

Now I’m not the most fashionable person on vacation, but I do manage to have a good time and look okay doing so. The key is picking out only two pairs of shoes (a nice pair and a walking pair) to take with you and then coordinating all your outfits around them. If you’re smart you’ll be able to wear both pairs of shoes with most of your outfits. Whenever I’m going on a long trip, I pack two pairs of nice pants and two pairs of jeans (or cargo pants). When it comes to my shirts I always stick with basic colors – black, white and maybe even brown. That way I’m able to mix and match all my pieces which creates even more outfits. I use colorful accessories to dress it up or down.

See that photo over there on the right? Those are my shoes. That’s what I wore in Italy – a beat up pair of slip on canvas shoes and a pair of black boots. I made sure to wear the boots whenever traveling because my walking shoes took up less space in my bag. (Shove a few pairs of socks inside the shoes to save even more room.) Of course I packed everything for my ten day trip to Italy inside my crew luggage – a rollaboard and a tote-bag -that’s it. No need to check bags. Don’t forget, less bags equals less stress. You want to have fun, right?

The only reason I was able to make it through those ten days in Italy with only one suitcase and a tote-bag was because I rolled my clothes tightly, which resulted in me being able to pack even more clothing, I found a laundromat in Venice, which allowed me to get to know the locals and feel like a true Venetian, and I only took two pairs of shoes, which made it possible for me to get it all in one rolling bag, which is why I was able to swing my tote over my shoulder and carry that one very heavy bag up the Spanish Steps in Rome as if I were super woman in black boots.

A word of advice; If you can’t carry it (or lift it) by yourself, don’t pack it, don’t take it, otherwise you may not enjoy your trip. I had to learn that the hard way.

Hope that helps, Debbie. Enjoy your cruise! And make sure to take me with you next time.

Heather Poole

Have a question? Email me at


The world’s most disappointing tourist attractions

The Taj Mahal. La Sagrada Familia. The Grand Canyon. These are places that give visitors goose bumps and must be seen in person. The kinds of places that photographs just can’t do justice. I know that when I arrived at the Taj Mahal my jaw dropped. I was in awe. But not all travel destinations live up to the hype. All to often, you arrive at your prized spot only to snap a perfunctory photo and get back into your rental car feeling disenchanted and cheated. The Sydney Morning Herald did us a solid and put together their list of the world’s most disappointing tourist attractions.

Included on the list are Buckingham Palace (“It’s just a big grey building.”), the Spanish Steps in Rome (“It’s hard to get excited about a flight of stairs…”) and New York’s Times Square (“And what’s there to look at once you arrive? Billboards?”).

I missed the Spanish Steps when I was in Rome because I decided to take a nap instead of joining my friends on that walk. Their reaction when they returned to our apartment? Some shrugged shoulders and a lot of “meh.” And living in New York, I can tell you that Times Square is nothing more than one of Dante’s outer circles of hell, filled with sidewalk hustlers peddling schlock and not much else.

Take a look at their list and let us know what you think. Ever been underwhelmed by a famous landmark? What places have lived up to your high expectations? Drop us a line in the comments.

Click the pictures to learn about some unusual amusement parks, from R-Rated “Love Land,” to a park with a ride called “Dog Fart Switchback.”

Alternatively, click the images to learn about the most unusual museums in the world — covering topics from funeral customs, to penises, to stripping.