Inside Rome’s Most Dangerous Hood

Oct 30, 2022 1.3M Views 3.2K Comments

Rome is known for its grand architecture and delicious food. But instead of showing you the Colosseum and the Pantheon we’re going to see the other side of Rome, the Rome that tourists don’t know about. Join me on an eye opening experience on the streets with legendary locals@Cicalone Simone and @Franchino Er Criminale

► Cicalone Simone:
► Franchino Er Criminale:

► Video edited by: Natalia Santenello
► Researched by: Kymberly Redmond

♪ jazz ♪
♪ street performer playfully humming ♪
-Rome, Italy, one of the most touristy
and well-known cities on the planet
but today’s a different Rome video for you.
We’re gonna meet up with Simone Cicalone.
Who said to me, “Hey Peter,
do you want to see the other side of Rome?”
The one the tourists
don’t really know so well.
Of course I said yes.
So that’s what we’re gonna do.
♪ jazz ♪
-Franchino Criminale, he’s a criminal here.
In the past, was a criminal,
now he’s a good person.
-So I met Cicalone the other day.
Cicalone’s his last name
and that’s what he goes by.
Everyone seems to know him
on the streets of Rome.
He’s quite a legend in these parts.
CICALONE: This is the Termini Station,
the most dangerous area Rome.
-But during the day, there’s much crime
being committed or how does that work?
-There are crime during the day
but in some specific area.
I show you.
-When the tourists
come down from the train it’s okay
but when they goes
on the right side of the station
or in the left side of the station
it’s not so safe.
-So this is the right side
when you come out the train station, right?
-Here it’s better to stay
on the opposite side
for tourists.
Never stay in that area
because people…
-They try to maybe steal your wallet
or something like that.
-Or ask money.
But not ask money, “Please.”
Ask money, [aggressive] “Give me money!”
“Give me money!”
[both chuckling]
The people that made
the most problem is here.
PETER: Right here?
-Just this?
-It’s just a few homeless people.
FRANCHINO: Hungry people.
CICALONE: It’s not… There are homeless
and beside there are… who use drugs.
During the day it’s dangerous
because don’t have drugs to…
-To use?
-To use.
-And ask money.
It’s not kindly.
-Okay, so does the Italian government
help people with drug problems?
-It’s possible.
You go to a special area
where you can have Methadone.
-Okay, yeah.
-Or Suboxone, Subox.
-But some people want Methadone,
Suboxone, heroin, cocaine, all the drugs.
-But okay, Cicalone…
This is the worst in all of the city?
In all of Rome?
-Um, one of the worst.
It’s a good problem you have in Rome
if that’s the worst.
Here, there are another area.
Sottopaso Turbigo,
the limit of Termini Station.
From here, there are problem about….
PETER: You gotta wear a mask in here?
-We use a mask
because in the middle of the Sottopaso…
-The smell is really, really bad.
[motorcycle passing]
-Here, every area is for something.
You can see fight between homeless
because don’t respect
the space of the other.
Where are they now?
-It is time, try to earn money.
-To drink, try to
earn money for drug
but someone can sleep inside here.
-If you see this liquid, people go inside.
Last time I saved a guy’s death.
Sleeping here with the foot outside.
-And a car nearly take the
foot off the people stay here.
[cars passing]
Or you see some people…
Sleeping because have found the drug.
Use drug and then sleep.
-Right, right.
-Especially with heroin.
Here, very, very trash every area.
PETER: Yeah, wow.
Lot of drinking there.
-Where is empty is for sleeping.
Here is for sleeping.
This is chemical barn here.
-Oh, they’re doing something
with the battery, huh?
To have a little money, using metal.
[motorcycle passes]
Probably you can find
the bottle to smoke crack.
Do people use Fentanyl here in Italy?
No, Fentanyl is very rare.
I find Fentanyl in another station.
In Trastevere some people using Fentanyl.
I’ve been doing a lot of mouth breathing.
-It’s the cleanest…
-It’s for sh*t.
-He’s from Switzerland.
-No, this one is for sh*t.
When you have a problem,
you need to go to the bathroom…
-Oh, that’s great, Jesus.
-Go here.
When steal suitcase…
PETER: Watch out behind you.
CICALONE: Baggage.
PETER: Yeah.
CICALONE: From [Italian]
FRANCHINO: From bus.
CICALONE: From bus.
-Oh, they steal the suitcase up there,
bring them down here?
-There are bus station.
Someone steal, come here, open,
find all the things can sold.
And the other…
Leave on the corner.
FRANCHINO: Just throw away in the street.
-So Okay, in Italy, in Roma…
Can these people go find a home?
Like, does the government provide
housing here if they want it or no?
-No, it’s not poss…
FRANCHINO: It’s really hard.
-It’s really hard?
-It’s really hard to find an apartment.
There is a Christian Association in Italy
that take care of them
about the night for sleep.
So they can sleep
in those kinds of association
but they have to stay about some rules.
They must to be there
(at) seven in the evening.
-And they must to get out
at 6:00 in the morning.
-And they can’t do drugs in the home.
-No, of course.
-No drugs, no alcohol…
-A lot of homeless prefer stay here
instead in the association.
-Same in US, a lot of our cities,
we have a big homeless problem right now.
Depending the city,
there’s a lot of housing for the homeless
but you have to be clean,
you have to follow rules…
-Yeah, exactly.
-And if you’re on heroin or Fentanyl,
the last thing you want to do is…
…become clean I think.
-Yeah, exactly.
-Prefer live in that condition.
-They prefer it, yeah, yeah.
CICALONE: This is the bus station
where usually steal from tourists.
-So they grab the bag…
-And go over there?
-Yeah, okay.
-Right under there.
Why doesn’t the police
do something about this here?
If this is such a big tourist hub, right?
It’s an important place.
-Here, police, you see…
rather than is needed.
If me and you make a fight now,
no one stop me and you.
-These ladies will help maybe.
-So in Italy, if you’re homeless,
you don’t have close family?
Is that the problem?
-No, some homeless,
I have greeted them, young boys.
I know very well they have
biggest family and very rich family.
They tried to take back home,
it’s not possible
because have very big problem with drugs.
Prefer to stay on the street
because here can find 24 hour a day,
the drugs that they need.
This is the baggage,
sometimes try to steal from here.
[phwip]… And they go away.
It’s the driver, stays here
to control the people don’t steal.
PETER: And take it under.
-And take it under.
Grazie, ciao.
Ciao, bello.
He is the only one that make pizza,
try, eat, and give review criminal style.
-No good, and use… [Italian]
-Bad words.
-Bad words.
-This pizza, f*ck, f*ck…
-Okay, okay.
-Really, I speak about Italian food.
When it’s good I say it’s good,
but when it’s bad I say it’s bad.
-Okay, tell me this, as a tourist, right?
Look, Rome is amazing.
Architecture, beauty, everything, right?
-In the center.
Just in the center.
But why can you not do pizza like Napoli?
Napoli is… their pizza’s up here.
It’s amazing.
-No, it’s a different kind of pizza.
-Yeah, but it’s amazing.
-Napoli is… It’s soft.
In Rome, pizza is crunchy.
-So you like the Rome pizza better?
-No, I like both but probably
I prefer the third way.
-The third way?
-Exist a pizza called, “Third way”.
It’s in the middle
between Napoli style and Roma style.
Soft, but not too much.
-Okay, where do we find that,
in a town between Napoli and Rome?
-No, you can find in Rome
the third way really.
CICALONE: This is the second exit
from the station.
PETER: Oh, this one up here, yeah.
CICALONE: If you exit to the other side,
go to business area of Roma.
If you exit to this area,
go to the tourist way of Roma.
-And here, we go to Via Gioberti.
Here during the night it’s like a jungle.
A fight every night here.
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Now back to the video.
-This is the market but there are
a special buy for people who steal.
If you have something to sell, come here.
-You can find someone can buy.
You can go to some, not all.
-Not all, okay.
-Only some shops, if you see…
…you have telephone,
you have the watch.
-But the business owner
doesn’t know it’s stolen?
They don’t know or maybe?
-Depend on the business owner.
-Okay, okay.
-There are some business owner that…
-They don’t care?
-What I’m feeling here though
is it feels like a very safe city.
I’ve been here four days.
-Nah, here is not safe.
-More during the night it’s not safe.
-How are the police doing here in Rome?
Do they do a good job?
-For me, the police is not enough
on the street to make the correct job.
-Need more police during the night.
-Are police very corrupt here?
-[both] No, no.
-Not at all.
-Okay, what about mafia?
Is there a mafia situation here?
Mafia Roma is very…
Think about Rome is divided
by four, five area.
-And every kind of criminal organization
have control of one area.
Do you have the Camorra here?
-Yes, like Camorra, like mafia.
-Yeah, everybody.
Because Rome is too big.
-Roma, all the mafia.
-There is a lot of business in Roma.
The big business is clean the money.
So if you have a lot of money
you have to clean, I buy this,
I spend a lot of money, refresh.
-Okay, money laundering.
-And then without people coming inside,
I just make a bill.
-But there are big difference
from the center…
to the…
Mafia in suburbs
have all clean, all controlled.
Mafia don’t want
the police in the area…
…where make business.
-To avoid police,
there is no criminal act.
The only criminal act is sell drugs.
Here the Carabinieri
is one of the police department in Italy.
Carabinieri is from Army.
Policia is police from civil.
-How much money
do the police make here a month?
One thousand, two…
-Two hundred?
-Two hundred to the grow.
-1,200 to start
as an officer with the police?
-Say you’ve done it 10 years,
how much do they make?
-Depend of how many career
have you made.
You can remain the same for all the life.
-Oh, wow.
-If you prefer to stay
on the street, on the car.
-They don’t take bribes you think?
They don’t take any money,
like, [swish swish]?
-No, because in Italy, if take money,
take bribe, it’s very dangerous.
-Too much risk for the money.
-Too much risk.
For the money you can take
and no interest to bribe.
Better to have people.
All… better results
…because I give the gun, I give the drug,
I give something to old women
that go to shopping.
It’s not possible to have
an idea that… drug dealer.
Some, maybe even kids are like,
“Hey kid, take this package,
put it over there, here’s some money.
-Yes, but in Italy, kids in Rome, no.
-Probably in the South of Italy.
In Rome, better is
the older women or men.
-Because have a little pensione.
-Yeah, little pension?
-Have a little pension that cannot to eat.
Cannot pay the house, and can work
with the criminal, and the risk is very low
because when you are old,
difficult to go to the jail.
Probably stay at home under arrest.
-Yeah, yeah.
-From that way
you go to the city center, more or less.
-Touristic side, rich side,
a lot of people,
a lot of money, and a lot of clean.
Street clean and everything.
And then that side,
you go to the suburb.
Every side here is close to the center
and it’s okay
but this side is
a center point for the drugs.
So you can go inside the square
and buy drug really, really easy
because there are a lot of people
inside there that sell drugs.
-From hashish to cocaine, heroin.
And it’s really easy because
you just go inside and people call you.
This center of drugs is for poor people.
During the day, the poor people
try to make money
for spend to the drug in the afternoon
and the evening
but it’s not a place to buy drug
for rich people or for normal people.
CICALONE: This area during the night,
people stay here.
FRANCHINO: It’s full of homeless.
-It’s full of homeless,
if you see, it’s very dirty.
PETER: Yeah.
Is Rome more dangerous now versus,
say, 10 years ago?
-For me, yes.
Many people use drugs.
The drugs is the first driver
to make crime.
-So more drug use now than 10 years ago?
-More money needed,
no working, make crime.
-What is the psychology
of the country right now?
I mean as a whole, as a whole.
There are no chance to live comfortably.
To have a good salary.
To build a family.
Buy a house.
-And so Italy is
all about the family, right?
Italian culture?
The family is very important.
-Yeah, Italian culture was the family.
Since I think 20 years ago.
Now it’s no more like that.
-It’s not now?
-There are no money
for build a family I think.
-Italy has very low birth rate.
Like people aren’t having many kids.
-Do you have kids?
No kids, we’re all not having kids.
You don’t want kids
because it’s gonna be very expensive?
-Yeah, exactly.
And the government doesn’t help the family.
-I show you the difference.
Big difference.
The same place…
-The same place,
same structure you see here…
You see the opposite side of the street.
-This is private, this is banking.
Every day, clean.
Every day, controlled area.
-Who is cleaning, the bank or the city?
-The bank.
It’s the same floor.
This floor is the same.
-Oh yeah, it’s just polished.
-Yeah, polished.
If you see,
there are camera every five meters
and if you see to the roof is cleanest.
-That’s very nice.
You said, “The psychological mood
of Italy right now is depressed.”
You see anything better
on the horizon in the future?
What do you think Italy is in 10 years?
-I think it will be worse.
-You think worse?
-Because people aren’t having kids?
-Yeah, but we don’t have a good
government, and good ideas, and project.
We don’t have,
I think nothing for the future.
-What about business?
Can you start a business?
-[scoffs] I think that it is hard
to start a business because…
The rent is high.
The bill… The bill is high.
Electric, gas, everything is too much.
-Oh, yeah.
-Lot of tax, right?
A lot of tax.
Everybody in Italy
can pay to 48% of tax.
-How much?
-Okay, 48%.
So you make, say…
-Cicalone pay 48% of tax.
-So you make, say, $10,000,
almost $5,000 gets taken.
What do you get for that?
Do you get pension?
You get a retirement?
-This is the point
because I will pay you a tax, of course.
I think it’s right (to) pay a tax
but what you give me back?
-What about when you retire?
You get money when you retire, right?
-Yeah, pension.
Not that, our other tax… is, yeah…
-Other tax?
-But pension is really few monies.
It’s really few moneys.
-How much?
-Probably you will pay pension…
…for 20, 30 years
and then when you get old
you will have back, 700 euros per month.
How can I live with 700 euros per month.
An apartment in Rome to rent start to 700.
The worst.
-700 euros, no bills, no energy or nothing?
-No bills, in the suburb.
-In the center
you can pay 2,000, 3,000 per month.
-Okay, what is the average salary
for Italians right now?
The middle salary is 1,400 euros probably.
-The middle salary?
-Yeah 102, 104.
One thousand and two,
one thousand and four.
-One thousand to fourteen hundred euros?
-So like 2,000 euros is a good salary?
-2,000 euros is a good salary?
-Yeah, 2,000 is a really good salary.
-But then 48% tax on that?
-No, free for tax.
-After tax?
-After tax.
-After tax, okay.
PETER: So there’s no way
to buy a place with a normal salary?
FRANCHINO: You can’t
because an apartment in Roma
can cost easily more than 200,000 euros…
…in suburb and you go to the bank
with your salary, 1,200 euros
and the bank say easily, “What?”.
-Could you ever imagine
living anywhere else in Italy
like Milano or Napoli?
Could you live in those places?
-I was in Milan for 10 years.
During my job from 30 years
to 40 years of my life, I stay in Milan.
-How do you like Rome
compared to Milano?
Uh, Milano is better for work.
-Okay, if you want to make a career,
Milano is perfect.
-How much do they make there,
the average salary in Milano?
-Probably 2,000, 3,000.
It’s possible because
all the business in Milano is strong.
No people live here.
Italian people, Roman people
don’t want to stay here.
It’s too dangerous, it’s too dirty.
All the apartment are sold and used
by bed and breakfast, hotel or more
If you see…
-So sorry to interrupt, guys.
This nice American family,
they have no clue
that this neighborhood’s not so nice.
-I think so, they have no clue.
I want to suggest them, why you are here?
It’s so bad, it’s so ugly.
Go to the City Center,
go to the Colosseum, Pantheon, Casa Navona.
CICALONE: 2,200 met… no,
200 meters from here.
-Gotta love this about Rome though,
look at this, fresh water, right?
From underground?
-Yes, it’s free.
FRANCHINO: It’s free and you can drink.
PETER: It’s nice and cold.
FRANCHINO: You can drink.
CICALONE: It’s one of
the best water in Rome.
PETER: And even you say,
“This is a bad neighborhood.”
Look at this beauty right here.
-I mean everywhere in Rome.
-It’s good but it’s closed all the time.
-But c’mon, there has to be
some good places in there, right?
-Nah, this is good place
but you have to stay
all the day with bad people.
Because here…
-Because Termini?
-You have Termini and you have
bad people who write all over
and you have every kind of different store.
Now, Chinese store.
Today, Arab cooking store.
If you see…
If I live here and have this one here
all the day, the smell.
It’s not good.
-Oh yeah, that’s right.
There’s a strong smell,
it’s pretty good though.
-If you see, people live here
and put the plant to the window
to have better quality because
on the street, smell problem, people…
CICALONE: [Italian]
PETER: We got a nice museum in here.
Art gallery?
CICALONE: Art gallery.
PETER: And just like that,
we’re up at the train station, right here.
-This is Central Market.
-Yeah, here there are a lot
of good things to eat.
So tourists, when come from the train
They can… yeah.
Stefano Callegari, I told you
before about the pizza, the third way.
Basically right below here
there’s a world of drugs and homelessness.
Right above, fine dining.
-No, homeless cannot eat here.
-Yeah, but I’m saying
people don’t know, as tourists,
that the world exists below, right?
-Of course.
-The people from station arrive here,
eat the quality product.
And never see which
is inside the sub pass.
Food is really important in Roma.
-Oh, yeah.
Cicalone is healthy so probably…
He will eat something like salad.
-Chicalone’s gonna eat a salad over there.
Let me get a sandwich though.
-If you want, you can eat…
There is bonci.
One of the best pizza in Rome.
Or il trapizzino is…
-Oh, look at that chicken,
that chicken looks good.
-You have to try this one.
This chicken cooked in the Roman style,
inside the pizza.
-Chicken in the pizza?
-You have to try.
-It’s like American. [laughs]
-No, it’s not like American.
-I’ll eat whatever.
-It’s called the cacciatora.
It means with the olive oil…
-Spices, olive oil, yeah, yeah.
That is fantastic.
That’s one of the best things
I’ve had in Rome.
-Grazie, grazie.
You took me for the traditional food
but you’re eating sushi.
I’m from Rome,
I eat pizza probably every day, so why not?
PETER: Cicalone,
this is the best Italian sushi, right?
This is your traditional…
-Yeah, it’s good, but not best.
-The sticks, you can’t use the fork.
It’s stupid, why can’t you use the fork?
-Come out from the cave.
I use, but…
Cicalone, neanderthal.
[as Cicalone]
“I want a fork, I want a fork.” c’mon.
Franchina australopithecus,
it’s before neanderthal.
PETER: So guys, what do you think
is the solution to the homeless problem?
-You have a lot of building in Rome,
that not used.
-Or used for government…
…that not needed.
Today if you made…
…all electronic to make document…
To make something for…
You have a lot of building
you can use to help homeless
and there is job opportunity
to people that want to help homeless
like in this case.
In this case, he have a problem.
Illness, mental illness.
-Okay, so that’s the bigger problem,
drug use, mental illness, right?
-Yes, but see, it’s connected.
-It’s connected, yeah.
So there needs to be
more treatment, fair to say?
-Yes, more treatment, more area
where stay like apartment, like room.
-And you have more people working to help.
Paid by government
and you have the solution.
-Today, lot of people don’t take job.
In Italy now,
you have Reddito di cittadinanza.
-Is like… [Italian].
PETER: Welfare?
-Yes, same the welfare…
…but I pay, you stay at home.
Then I find you a job, I call you,
you don’t take the payment to have the job.
But today, a lot of people
have payment and not a job.
In that case…
-There’s a lot of that, huh?
Payment but no job?
Payment by government but not job.
In that case, you have
a lot of people stay homeless.
Okay, I take a building, use for homeless,
but use people that take money
and don’t have a job
to work inside and help.
Homeless inside.
-But if someone…
But if somebody’s on drugs,
they have a drug habit,
they don’t want to work, right?
They just want to do drugs.
That’s the problem.
-Ciao. Bella.
The people with drugs,
the problem is work is not possible.
-You have people with drug,
you need to use the correct way.
The (Serta), Methadone,
Suboxone, all the treatment.
-And if the people
don’t want to exit the drug,
remain the drug all their life,
go to the death with drugs.
-Yeah, yeah.
So guys, I want to make a very clear point.
Rome is one of the most
beautiful cities that I’ve seen
and so today’s video is
obviously about the harder edge to it
but the goal of these types of videos
is to show you that there are
many layers to a place.
Sometimes literally on top of one another
and so while there are thousands,
probably hundreds of thousands
of beautiful videos of Rome,
I thought I’d give you
the other perspective.
And even that other perspective,
you know, I’m a tourist.
I’ve been here five days,
what do I know, right?
But I have felt through and through,
Rome to be extremely safe.
This isn’t a “Don’t go to Rome.” video
or, “It’s super dangerous, watch out.”
I think like any city,
it’s got its good and bad
but I’d say less bad
as far as the danger edge to it
than most US cities right now.
So come to Rome.
Don’t let this scare you at all
but just know that, you know,
here is the main train station
and right underneath
is that world that
absolutely nobody knows about
and I think the same can be said for
a lot of the places that you might live in.
All right, Cicalone,
thank you for bringing me in.
Bringing us in.
-Thank you too, to come to Rome
and visit the worst face of Rome.
Guys, I wanna drop
the channels of these guys.
Simone Cicalone has
a very cool channel in Italian.
Simple channel, “Cicalone.”
The other channel is
Franchino the Criminal, Food de Roma.
If you come to Roma
and don’t want to be fooled with the food
Franchino is the the right person.
-And Cicalone has the very cool
underground, like today, channel
to see a different perspective of Italy.
All right, guys.
[hands slap]
-Thank you very much, see you.
-Thank you.
That was awesome, ciao.
-See you in the USA.
We’re gonna get Cicalone in the hood.
Until the next one.
♪ jazz ♪

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