Livorno is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy.
Livorno makes a great oceanfront base to visit one of the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Pisa, and its famed tower, is just a 17-minute train ride from Livorno. The Baptistry, Duomo (cathedral), and the Leaning Tower—an iconic symbol of Italy — are located in Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli . The city has 158,000 residents.
eTN was contacted by Australian journalist Ian Mcintosh who shared his experience. Ian is the former publisher at McIntosh Communications Pty Ltd.
According to Ian a group of Australian tourists that had been hijacked by transport authority thugs in Livorno Italy and ripped off for 40 Euros each.
They were on a day trip from a cruise ship to the Livorno railway station, which cost one euro fifty.
All purchased tickets. In Italy, tickets need to be validated before boarding a train. Stamp machines are positioned usually at the beginning of a bus station platform.
Italy is known for not everything functioning all the time. This is what happened when the group tried to validate purchased tickets. The machine did not work.
A local told them in broken English one had to know precisely how to manipulate the machine to get validation.
When they stepped onto the bus, the bus driver was informed but waved them through with other groups from the ship who also found it impossible to validate their tickets.
Shortly after commencing the journey, the driver pointed out the Australian group of five to uniformed thugs who got on the bus and demanded to see passports and then imposed a fine of 17 Euros for each person for not validating their bus ticket.
As the group was in a hurry to get to the railway station and visit Florence, they agreed to pay a curious fine by credit card.
However, a close examination of the credit card slip showed that each person had actually been charged 40 euros.
According to one of the Australians, the so-called officials were intimidating, demanding to see passports, which were photographed.
“We were treated like criminals,” she said.
“Anywhere else in the world, visitors would be treated with understanding and guided in local rules – but not in Livorno.”
Looking at similar incidents on Facebook, it seems this racket has been happening for some time.
Why did the bus driver select the Australian group?
Was he part of the scam?
It is easy to believe the answer is yes.
According to the group leader: “We have contacted our credit card company and had the charge challenged – and look forward to the authorities in Livorno taking the right attitude and protecting visitors from this sort of humiliation and theft.
“We are, by the way, assuming they were officials she added, and complied with their requests – “this could also be a tourist season scam on a grand scale.”