Exclusive Q&A with Scam City’s Conor Woodman in Rome
Scam City’s Conor Woodman talks about food scams, gladiator rip-offs and Vatican turf wars in Rome, Italy.
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Take a trip to Italy, and you’ll find beautiful architecture, delicious food, romance… and possibly a few scams along the way. In this exclusive Travel+Escape interview, Scam City host Conor Woodman shares some tips for avoiding scammers in Rome.
You get to travel a lot while working. Where’s your favourite place that you have made a program?
I’m so lucky; I’ve been to so many places for work and travelling. It would be completely impossible to pick one.
The first Scam City was filmed in Rome. Has your time in Rome changed your opinion of the city?
Yes and no. I’ve always been aware that there is stuff that goes on behind the scenes. It’s the same in any industry, and tourism is so economically vital, for obvious reasons. So you can always expect aggressive selling from people trying to get your money.
Have you visited Rome before? Did you experience any scams while you were there?
I have, yes, but I wasn’t scammed—at least, not to my knowledge!
What surprised you most about your time in Rome?
Maybe that, although I’m now very much aware of the scams in Rome, it hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment of the city.
Who was the most interesting person you met in Rome?
I think Franco. He’s a man who, quite literally, fought his way to the top, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I met him.
“Although I’m now very much aware of the scams in Rome, it hasn’t spoiled my enjoyment of the city.”
What’s your favourite tourist attraction in Rome?
It has to be the Colosseum. It’s got such an air of grandeur, you can almost feel the weight of history on you as you step inside.
What scam do you think is the worst for tourists in Rome?
Maybe the food-related scams. Rome is so famous for its cuisine that I think getting shortchanged like that—even though it’s relatively minor—can really spoil your enjoyment of the city.
What would you warn tourists about in Rome?
I think I’d tell them not to take pictures with gladiators and to make sure they find a good restaurant!
What did you discover that you think tourists wouldn’t?
I think the turf war around the Vatican and Colosseum is something that tourists would never know goes on.
What was your most frightening moment while filming in Rome?
When we were undercover filming around the Vatican, and the other touts started getting quite aggressive.
How did it feel filming undercover?
It takes a while to get used to. Because you are so aware of the fact that you have a camera on you, you start to think everyone else must be able to see it as well.
Would you visit Rome again?
Without a doubt. It’s a beautiful city, vibrant and timeless. I would, however, go with the knowledge of what to avoid!