May 20 11:15 AM.
We took the train from Rome to Florence. I am fortunate enough to have my mom and aunt accompany me to Italy and travel with me before classes start.
I thought I learned my lesson in when the pickpocketers took my phone right out of my purse. It was frustrating then, but makes for a good story now. However, these people are professionals and succeeded in stealing my mom’s passport, credit cards and cash while ON the train. They warn you about the train station but not the actual train itself. It is very very scary and makes me appreciate the safety and comfort of home. My emotions changed from full excitement to very paranoid, anxious and scared.
Gypsies are real.
I wouldn’t suggest traveling alone. Or with a purse. Or anything of value.
Edit: Throughout my 4 weeks abroad I was very intrigued by the gypsies. You could tell who they were by what they wore: long colorful skirts, long braided hair with scarves covering their heads. They would constantly approach you shaking a cup with a single coin moaning, “buona sera, buona sera”, their way of begging for money. I would see the same ones over and over again. I became so curious about these people that I found myself constantly asking my teachers, florence locals, to tell me everything they knew. I learned that they are actually Romani’s, not gypsies, of Indian decent who migrated to Europe. They are nomads who do not believe in owning a home or being employed and tend to congregate in major tourist areas, which is why I would encounter the same ones every day. They are taught from a young age that to honor their families, they must beg and steal. After learning this, I was still very paranoid in their presence but had a different way of thinking about them.