gypsies

who are these Gypsies or ROMA I keep hearing about? Where do they come from? are they not just other Italians or what?? I have always thought of gypsies as traveling people that are artist.. But then I never knew any either.. I would be interested to learn.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Michelle, If the website works in your area, this may answer some of your questions: www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyeshowcase/2010/gypsychildthieves/index.html Click on the small photo to watch the promo video. If they ever decide to re-broadcast this episode, the full content will be available online for about 30 days past the air date. I've seen the full episode and it's quite incredible. Some people are "uncomfortable" with the term "Gypsy", so I should stress that this is not my terminology but rather that of the Reporter who made this award-winning documentary. He originates from Romania and this is the title he's chosen to use. While this may seem like people trying to obtain money to eat, the reality is far different. Police agencies in Spain and Italy had elaborate charts showing the complex hierarchy of the criminal organizations behind this, and the children are the victims. Cheers!

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

Thank you Ken I will watch the website.. So do they call them ROMA because they are from Romania and now live in Italy? Michelle

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

KEN I read the article and it sounds awful.. I do think it should be easy enough for a protective agency to do something about this.. These children are being abused. Thank you for sharing it with me.. Michelle

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

Michelle, The Roma or Gypsies (or variations of them) are located ALL OVER Europe! I've encountered them in the U.K. (using horse-drawn Caravans in one case), in France, Italy, Greece, Spain and other countries. In some places, they're referred to as "travellers". One of the "methods" they often employ is to have small children go up and down the cars on the Metro playing a cheap accordion, that produces something vaguely resembling music. They have a small cup for "donations". They also send children to "work" the tables at sidewalk cafés, again with a small cup. Those are some that you'll likely encounter. You'll have to decide how you're going to deal with them. If you'd like to read another description from "the Guru" that hosts this website, here's a link: www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/east/gypsy.htm Another source that has some good information is: www.theguardian.com/world/roma-gypsies-and-travellers Here's a description of the groups in Spain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romani_people_in_Spain I attended a Gypsy Flamenco show in Granada in June, and it was incredible! One of the highlights of my trip. There's lots of information out there on the subject, but the links I provided above will give you lots of reading for awhile. Cheers!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2394 posts

I read the article and it sounds awful.. I do think it should be easy enough for a protective agency to do something about this.. These children are being abused. It's not a life most of us would choose, but the Roma people have typically resisted efforts to homogenized with the general population.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3354 posts

Roma people come from Rome. If you go to Milan, there will be lots of Milano people there. The Venezia people have for the most part migrated to Mestre.

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

Yea... I know Roberto is a real wise guy.. His humor is a little gruff. I still cant figure out if he is American or Italian living in America... But to make him feel better, I am still here in Florida at the height of hurricane season waiting to be blown to OZ.. michelle Valrico FL

Posted by Michelle
Valrico, FL, USA
120 posts

Yea... I know Roberto is a real wise guy.. His humor is a little gruff. I still cant figure out if he is American or Italian living in America... But to make him feel better, I am still here in Florida at the height of hurricane season waiting to be blown to OZ.. michelle Valrico FL

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4877 posts

Roberto is Italian and has been a wonderful resource for anything relating to Italy.

Posted by Ron
Cesena, Italy
755 posts

Don't know if you will be travelling to Italy at some point or what but my advice would be NOT to ask about gypsies while there unless there is an Italian you know very well. There is a great hatred for them with many Italians, especially southern Italians, and you could find yourself in a conversation you don't want to be in. I have a good friend in Rimini who is the nicest guy in the world and would give you the shirt off his back but mention gypsies and he's almost irrationally rabid. A lot of northern Italians are mixed on the subject but I never met a southerner who had a kind word for them.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5776 posts

I can second what Ron is saying. Do not bring up the topic of gypsies or Roma in conversation with an Italian. You might not like what you hear.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5776 posts

I can second what Ron is saying. Do not bring up the topic of gypsies or Roma in conversation with an Italian. You might not like what you hear.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

The children are a sad case,, I know in Paris they are used for pickpocketing, and because french law does not procecute children under 11 its the small ones you have to watch out for... They ARE allowed to attend school in France, but they do not, their "families" make sure they work the streets.. period. Its a sad cycle for them. I believe the more pc term is Roma people rather then Gypsies.. In England our friends hate them, they say they move onto land with their caravans and are difficult to push off( so really you own a field and they just set up on it,, groups of them ) One final note.. do not stop and talk to them, do not even let the little kids near you, I know I know it seems heartless but they will pickpocket you , and they are not actually starving ok,, they are in the BUSINESS of stealing from anyone they can..

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17792 posts

"and they are not actually starving ok," I've often wondered if they carefully cultivate the appearance of starving or having physical defects, in order to elicit sympathy. A bit more trivia..... If you've ever seen the movie Snatch (Brad Pitt, Jason Statham), you'll no doubt have heard the term used in the U.K. to refer to "travellers". The term apparently has an American equivalent with a slightly different meaning, as described in the second paragraph of this article: http://voices.yahoo.com/brad-pitt-pikey-culture-look-shelta-8035128.html?cat=7 It seems that the Roma culture has now embraced reality TV, given the production of...... www.tlc.com/tv-shows/my-big-fat-gypsy-wedding Cheers!

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
702 posts

We have a large Gypsy population here in Vicenza (They are also called "Zingari" here), it looks like a trailer park. The people you see there (it's on a main road and you pass by it almost every day) are definitely dirty and disheveled but then you look closer into their camp and you see satellite dishes and Mercedes. Here you see them everywhere begging for spare change. There is a huge problem with them breaking into houses as well. The base where I work actually posts pictures of the various symbols that they use to case houses and such (They have symbols that mean stuff like "this house has a dog" or "unoccupied during the day", they paint them in front of houses). About a year ago a good friend of ours who had just had a baby found the symbol for "woman alone" painted in front of her house. Her husband works during the day so they were terified. They tried calling the Carbinieri but they don't really do much. I've had other friends find symbols over the years but luckily we have not. One Carbinieri friend of mine told me that they send the children to rob the houses for two reasons; they are smaller and can fit into smaller places and because the law here is that if a child under 16 is arrested the only thing they can do is release them to the parents. I don't think I'm allowed to post links here but if you google "PCS Italy gypsy symbols" you'll find a blog with a chart of some of the symbols.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

I think Rik explains quite well why they are hated by many people... it would be frustrating,, the thing is ,, where ever they settle they have no alleigance to where ever they are, .. they don't give a hoot about anyones but themselves, they feel no loyalty to the town, city or country they are in,, they only see their neighbors and fellow inhabitants of the city or town as potential victims.. harsh but true.. And yes, there are likely a few who are not like that, but we are not talking about them because frankly, they are the minority in their community .

Posted by Frances
San Diego
591 posts

Thank you for the info Rik and the link. I had no idea the problem was this bad. As a tourist I have seen several Roma around the tourist area - but
didn't know about the residential problems.

Posted by Rik
Vicenza, Italy
702 posts

An interesting albeit little known piece of trivia; the Gypsies are represented at the United Nations with a voting seat.

Posted by RB
Coraopolis, Pa, USA
602 posts

When we were in Roma this past July and August we noticed a conspicuous absence of members of this population. Generally, we see them everywhere. We arrived in Italy through Pisa in mid July and I noticed several members of this group near the train station and the piazza up from the train station. They were begging and not presenting the behavior we've witnessed in the past. Seeing them in Pisa was a curious fact for us. Toward the end of our stay we were in Ariccia in the Castelli Romani for five days visiting friends and I asked them about of our observation not seeing any members of this group in Roma. They told us that several years ago a Facist mayor was elected in Roma and he drove them out of town. Originally, he wanted to house them all in one section of the city like a ghetto, but decided instead to reomove them all from the city. He closed down two hundred encampments in the city and they were forced to find other places to live in other parts of Lazio or wherever. Our friends went on to indicate that they have found other methods, not necessarily legal, to survive. After returning home I did some research online and learned about the mayor's actions. He is no loner mayor as he lost his re-election bid. The Italians have much contempt for this population and after traveling in Italy for thirty-three years not one Italian has mentioned anything positive to me toward these people. My wife has been swarmed several times by female group members attempting to rob her, but we've successfully beaten them off. I am a frequent contributor to frommers.com's Italy forum and posted a similar report on frommers.com's Italy Forum. Another frequent poster torched me calling me and my Italian buds as racists and had Frommer remove my post. All I attempted to do was objectively report what we had observed, no more...no less. Buon viaggio,

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

I found the number working the trains between Vicenza and Verona, the R trains and the the ReV trains this Summer much greater than I had seen in the past in Italy. It started on our R trains around Bologna in the Spring, again heavier than I had seen previously. I know that capotreno of those trains has a real job on his hands dealing with them. It won't take you long to recognize them, because of the distinctive dress. I was also surprised this year because of the very visible gang master running all the girls and that they had cards in English (on Regionale trains where we were nearly the only English speakers on the train). It is a very difficult thing for the Italians (and others) to be blighted with these invaders to their shores - there only to send money home to big gang leaders in the countries identified. Just last month the London Metropolitan police had another big crackdown on gangs of 30 to 50 kids and adults. These are many of the thieves on Oxford Street and on the London buses and Underground. They were offering them £1000 each and a free plane ticket to return to their home country. According to the London Evening Standard, the main evening paper, only about one in 10 or 1 in 20 took them up on the offer. The rest are going through the courts, many free on bail. Wonder where the bail money came from.