This happened to us in Florence in July. I was walking with my seven-year-old daughter and someone tried to tell me she’d stepped on his poster (my husband was a little ways away with my son). At first he got really aggressive. He backed off maybe because of the kid factor not sure, but then a few minutes later someone else nearby starting screaming at another tourist about the same thing.
The tourist wasn’t on a phone- he was looking at the sites as most people were in the area. The “vendor” was demanding money and showing some “mark” on his poster. The guy didn’t give him money and he walked away. It was right by the Duomo, and I also only saw that happen in Florence. When you’re looking at up something like the Duomo, it’s very easy to accidentally step on these strategically placed posters. Definitely a scam.
Im currently visiting Florence and experienced the exact same thing.
I walked out the exit of Accademia and almost stepped on a poster placed strategically at the exit where people are trying to get their bearings and is partially blocked by other pedestrians. I would have stepped on it if it weren’t for my wife pushing me out of the way.
We also saw many other guys pulling the same scam, moving their posters very close behind tourists groups less than 40-50cm behind them, hoping they would step backwards on it.
In the 20 min walk from Accademia to our accommodation we saw maybe 6-10 guys doing the same thing. Posters strategically placed where it would be easiest to step on.
Look out for these scammers. They run off and pinch these prints. Seen this happen a couple of times. See them running through the streets then place them in heavy foot traffic. Waiting for potential innocent travellers who accidentally stand on them. So when they have found a victim they approach them and make them pay for the print.All the while one is eyeing off victims to pick pocket they work in pairs or in threes.
I went to warn the person and was approched by one of these guys who told me to mind my own business and to f off.
Just a tip for anyone travelling to Florence: avoid going near the people trying to sell prints laid out on the ground at all costs! The whole point of having them on the ground is so you accidentally walk over/graze them and they try and scam you to pay €50 for their “damaged paintings”. They will try and get you to pay for two that you apparently damaged, instead of just one if you’re unfortunate to come close to these prints, although they are already damaged to begin with! I had this happen to me today, they’re only worth €5. If you want to buy real art work, buy from the street vendors with stands/tables/easels!
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