My AirBnB Nightmare in Rome

I took a four day dream trip to Rome with my boyfriend (now fiance!) last month. The dream quickly turned into an AirBnB nightmare.

Rome Jewish QuarterRome, exactly how I imagined it

Almost everything went off without a hitch – even the weather was incredible.

It would have LITERALLY been the most perfect vacation imaginable (I mean, I got engaged! Yay!).

If it wasn’t for my Airbnb nightmare.

My Airbnb Nightmare

Over the course of 4 days, I had to interact with the most awful, dishonest, and irrational person I have ever come across in all of my years of traveling… who also happened to be my nightmare Airbnb host.

While the host had excellent reviews and spoke English, and hosted a very conveniently-located and ridiculously well-priced loft, with all of the needed amenities and tons of space… the trip quickly turned from a dream into nightmare.

The host couldn’t meet us, so he had elderly relatives living in the building to check us in. Which would be fine, except the keys we were given wouldn’t open the apartment. After much hand-gesturing (the relatives didn’t speak English) and door-wiggling, we got inside. Instead of complaining about the keys, we were jetlagged and starving, and set out to find some food.

When we returned home that evening, the keys wouldn’t work. Again. And the relatives downstairs didn’t answer. Living in Brazil, we didn’t have a European cell phone to call the host. We were locked out for over an hour before the door finally, MAGICALLY opened. Once inside, I told the host about the key problem, which he confirmed had happened to other guests as well, and that it just takes a bit of jiggling but eventually the door will open.

While that wasn’t a super helpful answer (and something I wouldn’t say to my own guests when I was a host in Bangkok), it had to do. We were there during Easter weekend, every other hotel was booked, and I had a jampacked tour schedule lined up for us. Resigned to our annoying key situation, we went to bed.

The next morning, after sleeping in, we finally had a good look at the apartment. And WOW. Covering every wall of the apartment was extremely violent and misogynist paintings and photographs. Images far too disturbing, disgusting, and graphic to publicly display, but including: a painting of a woman with her throat cut and bleeding out, paintings of vaginas with swords through them, a drawing of a woman’s face as she appears to be raped, slogans such as “your girlfriend is a bitch” and “high men love pussy”.. among many, many more.

I was terrified of who I was dealing with – and shocked that AirBnB would approve this listing (a professional AirBnB photographer had taken the apartment photos which did not show the content of the wall hangings). According to AirBnB policy, you have 24 hours to report a problem. We’d already passed that window.

Airbnb Nightmare "Artwork"

one of the milder “art” works (note the cut throat and blood dripping)

There wasn’t time to waste overthinking this sick apartment, as we had reserved a tour of the Vatican and had to go. The whole day, I couldn’t get the creepy images out of my head. What is up with that place?

Upon reaching the Airbnb again in the evening, AGAIN we were locked out. AGAIN we tried the neighbors downstairs, and nothing. I got a faint signal of wifi from outside the door, and used it to Airbnb message the host. Nothing.

Then, again, after over an hour of trying, miraculously (or creepily?) the door suddenly sprung open. Once inside, I messaged the host again, to let him know that this isn’t acceptable and we’ll be needing a working key set. Shortly after, the elderly relative from downstairs came to the door. We attempted to explain to him the situation, what happens with the keys, but the guy doesn’t speak a word of English. We went to bed.

A few hours later, an angry, violent pounding on the door started. I was scared, and we didn’t answer, as we definitely weren’t expecting anyone in the middle of the night. Creeped out by the whole situation, I held my breath in bed, and after it stopped, finally fell into a nightmared sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I had a tirade of rude and strange Airbnb messages from the host, who claimed he had sent his assistant to help us and we didn’t want to be helped. He would send for another set of keys to be left under the door. HOORAY!

Those keys actually worked. But from then on, the host was insanely rude, accused me of “breaking balls” (as in, being a girl who is tough on testicles?), sending long and nonsensible messages insulting me. Because of his sexist messages, and the violent, misogynistic images on the wall, I spent the rest of the trip (in which my now-fiance later proposed) a nervous wreck.

Before checkout, the host demanded extra payment. calling it a tourist tax, but doubling the usual amount. He said that if I did not pay, he would file a false claim that I had stolen artwork and made damages. Sick of dealing with him, I gave in. He said all of this on Airbnb message, which can be tracked.

The host declined to meet us before checkout, as we had an early flight. So, I left his keys and the payment on the table.

After checkout, the host claimed I stole a window curtain from him (!?), and that my check-in and check-out times were inappropriate (even though they’d been approved by him). After seeing my NEGATIVE review of his Airbnb apartment, he then also claimed that I caused damage to the apartment and that I stole as well, and that he would file a legal claim against me.

His is my only negative review, I’ve been a guest and a host many times and have nothing but positive comments. AirBnB declined to remove it – even though much can be proven false via his long, convoluted messages – and tried to comfort me by saying that most people wouldn’t understand it.

In sum:

The keys to the apartment didn’t work properly (leaving us locked out for hours)

The host extorted an additional night’s payment in cash (by claiming it was a “tourist tax” and threatening to claim we made damage to the apartment if we didn’t pay – which he later did anyways)

The host made extremely rude and sexist comments

The host sent “assistants” to harass us late at night

The host claimed that I stole a curtain (!!!) and that he would report me to the police

The host threatened to say that I stole art if I complained

The host lied about the time of check in, check out, and the condition of the apartment

The host left an extremely dishonest review (which AirBnB would not remove)

I made many mistakes with this Airbnb, which I will admit:

1. I should have inspected the apartment carefully upon arrival. Including taking pictures.

2. I should have refused to pay the “tourist tax”.

3. I should have informed Airbnb at the first sign of a problem.

4. I should have taken photos upon checkout, to prove the condition of the apartment.

After contacting AirBnB about my experience with this host, they were less than supportive. They did give me a 100USD voucher for a future stay on AirBnB.

My biggest issue with AirBnB is that they did not have any excuse for why this listing was approved (and continues to be available), or any answer for what protocol that they take to insure that their experience is safe for guests, especially solo women.

Instead, they only insisted that “Airbnb is a third-party company”, and that it is “your word against your host’s words” even though I flagged inappropriate and threatening messages from the host, and sent 13 photos of the “art” in the apartment depicting violence and rape of women.

My takeaway?

You are paying AirBnB for a service – and that service is to connect hosts and guests and protect the privacy and payment of each. You are not paying them to protect your safety, and are equally as personally safe (or unsafe) had you chosen a room/condo off of Craigslist.

You are not paying to be protected from Airbnb extortion, you do not have the right to a fair and honest review, and the customer service is hurried and mildly polite (though grammatically incorrect) at best.

Whether you choose to continue using AirBnB or not (it is an awesome, fun, and inexpensive way to travel.. aside from bad Airbnb experiences like mine), I hope you stay mindful of a few lessons I’ve learned and tips I’d suggest, listed below.

Lessons Learned from My Rome Airbnb Nightmare Experience

  • AirBnB does not check the identity of the people who “apply” to be hosts
    • Meaning, convicted rapists/sex offenders or people who have such charges as filming another person nude without consent.. are all eligible as Airbnb hosts
  • If a host (or a guest) leaves a review that can be proven to be false, that review will still not be removed
    • If you are so unlucky to have an off balance or angry host/guest, you can be stuck with a dishonest and tarnishing review (after 13 previous glowing and positive reviews, now my most recent and most visible is awful, rambling, and almost nonsensible but obviously negative)
    • Airbnb will not make any changes or allow a comment – when I made a request for Airbnb to edit the obvious libel out, this was the response “your host comment will not be understood by everyone, so you will sill be able to find a new booking later” [spelling error by Airbnb, not me]

Tips to Protect Yourself from on AirBnB and from Bad Hosts

  • Check the room IMMEDIATELY and THOROUGHLY upon check-in
  • Keep all communication onAirbnb
    • If the host wants to communicate via email or text – revert back to AirBnB. This is the only way to have “proof” and protect yourself later. Maybe it will help you, maybe it won’t (like in my case)
  • Do not pay any extra fees
    • If extra payment is demanded – report it immediately to Airbnb by flagging the message and sending an additional email to Airbnb
  • Take photos of your arrival AND your checkout
    • You should have the accurate timestamp on the photo of your arrival and your departure, in case any problems arise
    • You will also have proof as to the condition of the apartment
  • Try to deal directly with the host at arrival and departure
    • This way, you can discuss any problems directly with the host, and hopefully resolve them before they worsen
    • Sometimes, tone cannot be accurately conveyed via messages, especially when different first languages are spoken. Avoid misinterpretation by speaking directly with your host

**I contacted AirBnB to ask (again) how they protect guests from dishonest or aggressive hosts, and to question the approval process. I was given the following statement: “I can’t provide you with these informations, but you can take contact with our Press Department”. I’ve contacted the Press Department, and if I hear back, I will update this section accordingly**

***Update 4/22/2015*** Airbnb responded: “I am getting in touch as I would like to reassure you by answering the questions you raised in relation to safety within our community. Should you at any point feel that your listing is unsafe or fear for your safety for any reason, we have a dedicated Trust and Safety team available 24/7 who can assist in these extremely rare situations. I am unable to provide internal information on the measures we take to protect our community but I am attaching a link regarding Personal Safety within our community which I hope you will find helpful:”

***Update 1/31/2017*** While I am still very disappointed in Airbnb’s response to my complaints, I have used Airbnb many times since this very dark episode. Though this awful Roman really messed up our engagement, I am happy to report that we had an AMAZING stay (and an awesome host) in Thailand for our honeymoon. In the future, I’ll only use Airbnb when I travel with my husband or girlfriends – never alone – as I still don’t trust the safety standards.

Pin it for Later: My Airbnb Nightmare in Rome
My Airbnb Nightmare

Have you ever had a bad AirBnB experience? Have you ever experienced AirBnB extortion, false bad Airbnb reviews, or Airbnb nightmares? Any AirBnB scary experiences you’d like to share?

If you’ve only had positive experiences – I’d love to hear those too! Please share below.

If you’ve never tried Airbnb before and you’re brave enough to give it a shot – use this link to get a $32 credit towards your first stay!

To read about my other, very positive experiences in Rome, click here

Rome Pantheon the packed Pantheon and the very giddy me on my first day


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. brittciupka
    April 21, 2015 / 10:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience! I used AirBnB a couple times in Italy and loved my experience. Great tips to be mindful of, I never would have thought to do so and will definitely keep in mind

    • April 22, 2015 / 8:34 am

      I never thought of it either! I guess I may have been a bit naive but I’ve never encountered anything but lovely and helpful people in my travels so far. I still think AirBnB can be a great tool but it’s important to stay aware and protect yourself (especially for solo women!).. Thanks, I hope the tips can help prevent the experience from happening again (also crossing my fingers that AirBnB enacts a stricter acceptance policy or is more open about the current policy’s potential dangers)

  2. Jiji
    April 25, 2015 / 11:26 am

    Oh wow …. that sounds so scary ! I’m so sorry it happen to you ! I’m Italian ( from Milano) and i promise you that not all the guys here are that sick Please come back and visit here again because this guy is not a good example for our people!

    • April 25, 2015 / 11:32 am

      Thanks Jiji! Yes I definitely don’t take him as representative of Italians.. I LOVED Italy, loved Rome, and every other person I met was absolutely amazing and super friendly and helpful.
      I hope to be back to Italy soon! 🙂

  3. Cristian
    April 25, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    That was so fucked up, more carefully the next time!!!!!

    • April 25, 2015 / 4:03 pm

      Definitely – the problem is that the host had GREAT previous reviews. But I’ll definitely check the apartment for crazy rape paintings upon arrival from now on, if I work up the courage to stay in an AirBnB again!

      • Devika
        April 14, 2023 / 4:22 pm

        This is such a shame! I had a similar experience in Rome. The pictures posted on the airbnb were much different from the ones we saw and much more. This is a very common thing in ITALY is what i’ve from other travellers as well.
        When you leave an honest feedback, the hosts here in ITALY post filthy comments to that feedback and airbnb does nothing about it. We loved ITALY in general but the kind of people we came across in most cases was absolutely terrible!

  4. Mark
    April 26, 2015 / 3:51 pm

    Guys suck … hope you will be the last one who need to go through this nightmare with this host … AirB&B – wake up call for you !!!

    • April 26, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Guys are great most of the time but this host was a sad exception to the kindness I’ve previously experienced. I definitely hope AirBnB will revise its approach or add further safety measures but my conversation thus far with them doesn’t leave me very confident

  5. Bob
    May 9, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    Do you have his address???? I will teach him some manners!!! What a D*ick!!!!

    • May 9, 2015 / 2:17 pm

      He was definitely lacking in manners but in this case – reporting the incident to AirBnB and waiting for karma to run its course may be the best lessons 🙂

  6. Megan
    May 16, 2015 / 6:05 pm

    Sounds awful! I really hope that the same thing will not happen to me in my trip there .. Two more weeks !!!

  7. Jay
    August 20, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    Hi, I have read your blog and I have same experience similar to yours. During my roadtrip to LA, we have been file for a complaint of vandalism, purposely damage host property which I swear to God we did not ever did these kind of illegal action. It is mysterious to be complaint that we scratch the artworks on the wall and still, we did not do this and in fact we did not touch any artworks there. The host has also claim ridiculous amount of replacement fee said that we have left stained on their rug and the stained can’t be removed, need to claim 850USD for replacement and even file to police said that we vandalize their house. I’m really disappoint with this host, she is try to extort our money. We have discuss this issue to Airbnb trust and safety staff but they said we need to communicate with the host. We did left a message to clarify all the points but she seems insisted to ask for the claim just to replace a new furniture or rug for themselve, what a cheater!!

    Can you suggest me what can I do now?she has report to police which we think is really ridiculous and absurd because we did not vandalize her house. I have good record and never have I been complaint by the host I stay reserved with Airbnb before. What a nightmare to me! Disappointed.

    Would like to hear your suggestion or advice how can I solve this issue, I’m just an international student and never met this absurd incident and complaint before.

    • August 23, 2015 / 1:18 pm

      Hi Jay! I am so sorry to hear about this! Yes, it seems some hosts are extremely dishonest and make wild claims, for the purpose of their own benefit and pleasure – I don’t understand it.
      Do you have any photos of the place – how you arrived and how you left it? Has the host provided photo evidence? For it to be a valid claim, she should have evidence of some damage that you caused, right after you left the apartment (a time/date stamp on the photo). If she does not, then the police should not accept this claim. Please don’t worry – if you have not done anything wrong then you should stand strong.

      Really, I am SO sorry. In the future, if you stay with AirBnB, do like I suggest above and ALWAYS take photos so you can protect yourself.

      • Jay
        August 23, 2015 / 2:22 pm

        Hi Steph,

        Thank you for your advice. I have learn the lesson, I should take the photo when I arrive and before I leave but in this case, I didn’t. I have not expected this accident happens in my life. She did upload some photo but obviously, I think she made a fake evidence on it, I swear to God that I didn’t do any bad thing to owner’s house during my stay, it was really shock that she even go this far (make fake evidence). Thank you for your suggestion and I will be careful next time!

        • August 23, 2015 / 6:23 pm

          Hi Jay – did you check the time/date stamp on the photo? And does she have a “before” photo for comparison?

          I’m really sorry and I understand, I’m a person who wouldn’t think to take photos because I wouldn’t think to cause damage either!

  8. Ashley
    August 27, 2015 / 12:37 pm

    Please post the link to his airbnb listing! I’m looking for one in Rome right now, and will have no way to know which is this creep’s home. Post the link so others scoping it out before booking can know 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!!

  9. September 15, 2015 / 12:33 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about this!! I’ve never had any problems on Airbnb & when I had some payment issues they were extremely helpful. This is completely unacceptable on their part – I hope you get some better answers than just a link to an FAQ. Please do share the link if you can find it on Airbnb – I doubt I’ll be going to Rome anytime soon but I’d love to spread the word so this doesn’t happen again!

    I hope you’re doing okay with everything, I can’t imagine how traumatic that must have been! Sending lots of hugs and good vibes.

    • September 15, 2015 / 3:09 pm

      This was months ago, so I’m guessing they’re not going to ever answer my last follow up. Oh well! This is the link, though I’ll admit I’m a bit scared to share it and have that creep freak out: The host I had a bad experience with was named Ameodo, though now he seems to have partnered with someone else, as the name on the listing has changed to Ame and Vale.

    • September 15, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      There have been reportings of rape committed by Airbnb Hosts as well, in which AirBnB seems less than concerned about the safety of the victim here and here

      For the second one, the host had apparently done it multiple times, and had cameras throughout the apartment. UGH.

  10. D Naruka
    October 3, 2015 / 12:21 am

    Gosh, it is do disturbing to read about your experience. I’m sorry you had to go through it. What is infuriating to know is AirBnB’s lack of appropriate response and action. I also read about similar situations and even sexual assault reported by a user which AirBnB did not respond adequately to. There is generally a problem with accountability with such online platforms and a whole legal grey area, but taking someone else’s security for granted is just really inappropriate and pathetic.

    • October 3, 2015 / 10:57 am

      Thanks for your support!
      I agree – if AirBnB had responded better, I would have had more faith in future stays. I still haven’t used the $100 they credited me, and I doubt I will. After my experience, I did some reading and I also found records of sexual assaults and other attacks that occurred during AirBnB stays – one host had been filming his assaults and had done it multiple times before getting caught. I found AirBnB’s response to those attacks (or should I say, lack of response) absolutely appalling. In one situation, a man called his mother asking for help, and AirBnB wouldn’t release the whereabouts of the location so that the police could be called.
      I agree with you – it’s a problem with accountability/grey area and I think AirBnB should be more obvious and upfront that they do NOTHING to protect a guest’s safety – no real verification, no background checks on hosts.

  11. October 9, 2015 / 9:54 am

    I was reading and freaking out… As many others – I am so sorry you went through this… I don’t think I will ever be using Air BnB…

    • October 9, 2015 / 10:43 am

      I’m okay about it now… I will say, I had many positive experiences before this one – all pretty flawless and enjoyable (both as a guest and as a host). But I am beyond disappointed in how this was handled! It’s sad, because the concept is so great, if only AirBnB cared about guest safety and experience a bit more than earning profits.

      • Sarah
        February 7, 2020 / 10:08 am

        What is the airbnb? Send a link so people are warned

        • Steph
          February 17, 2020 / 12:40 pm

          It is no longer up.

  12. January 30, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Wow this is horrible! I hope you get some kind of response from Airbnb about this – I’m shocked that the photos were professionally taken so they’d obviously checked the apartment and they still approved it!!!

    We had a dodgy airbnb experience in Miami but luckily we were only there for one night and it was nowhere NEAR as bad as this. Our host didn’t show up at all to let us in and we were sat outside their apartment messaging them with no response for hours until eventually my friend went downstairs to find a rubbish bin and a man in the building saw her and it turned out he was the one left with the keys to let us in. He hadn’t seen us walk past him and so if she hadn’t gone downstairs we probably never would’ve got in! Our host meanwhile neglected to tell us that she was out of the country. We were also in a spanish-speaking part so had the same communication problems!

    At least we weren’t scared for our safety though. How horrid.

    • January 31, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      I’m so sorry! I don’t understand how some hosts can be so awful/irresponsible. I was a host in Bangkok, and my fiancé was a host in Rio, and the happiness/safety/enjoyment of our guests was ALWAYS our top priority when listing on Airbnb.

      Aside from the $100 credit and the lackluster response I pasted to this post, Airbnb has had nothing to say. Yeah I agree – and they continue to let this guy host (I saw the apartment still listed), but they changed his name. Wow. Especially because all of his craziness and threats were done on Airbnb message – so they could see it all.

  13. February 17, 2016 / 3:52 am

    Holy Jesus! that sounds horrific – I actually had a bad experience with accommodation in Rome as well, and generally didn’t get along well with Roman people in general – SUCH a shame because the city is beautiful right!?
    I have used Airbnb twice and had such wonderful experiences, my terrible experience was with a BnB that I booked through Frankly Amoma were no help whatsoever… it took me weeks until I got my money back! It put me off Rome a little, and I haven’t chosen to return to Italy, sadly…

    • February 17, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      I’m glad you had great experiences with Airbnbs… but I’m sorry to hear about Amoma! I hadn’t heard of them before.
      And I had actually heard the stereotype of Romans being a bit “stuck up” but I only encountered endlessly nice people (aside from the host, of course!)

  14. Ashleigh @ Paws and a Passport
    February 17, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    I have not used Airbnb yet but have seen a few experiences similar to this on some blogs. It seems crazy that this is even able to happen. I understand that Airbnb cannot watch over everyone and do background checks on every person but still… I’m sorry you had this bad experience with Airbnb and I’m disappointed that they just threw a $100 credit at you and expected it to be okay.

    • February 17, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      Yeah, I was disappointed too! I expected to see the host removed or at least have a follow up on him, especially since all of his crazy messages and threats were very clear and on Airbnb message for them to review! Even if he has other good reviews, if he did it once to me, he could do it again to someone else.

  15. February 17, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Wow, this sounds like it’s from a horror movie! I’m so sorry this happened to you. I also stayed in an Airbnb in Rome and it was probably the best Airbnb experience I’ve ever had…it just depends on the host bin shocked others didn’t leave bad reviews you could have used. It’s really a shame to be a female traveler and have to deal with something like this in a foreign language and country. Are you willing to announce what the host name and Airbnb listing is so we can all avoid it in the future?

    • February 17, 2016 / 9:01 pm

      Totally, I don’t blame the city at all – but I do blame the host and am disappointed in Airbnb’s response, especially when the threats were made on Airbnb message.

      Of course – this was the listing – however they seem to have made some changes and the host (or at least the host name and photo) has changed. The crazy guy I dealt with was named Amedeo.

  16. Alan
    March 5, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    I googled Airbnb + Rome and found your article here. Thank you for the informative post and sorry to hear about your experiences. I did not know problems needed to be reported with the first 24 hours. I am planning to go to Rome for the first time later this year and your post has been most informative. I think i’ll get a sim card as soon as I land, and will keep some hotel addresses as backup in case. If I encounter major issues, I’ll bail and go to a hotel instead. From reading various reports online it seems airbnb really isn’t all that great at resolving customer issues. I looked up credit card charge backs and the time limit is up to 120 days only. So if I am able to book this within 4 months of the trip, I can also have the safety of a credit card charge back as well. Thank you again for sharing your experiences, and this is a great blog you have here. You have the kind of life many can only dream of, while trapped in a gray cubicle.

    • March 6, 2017 / 11:49 am

      I’m glad to have helped! I think my incident was definitely isolated, as I’ve had lots of friends use Airbnb in Rome and be totally fine. But having a sim card and hotel backups is definitely a good idea.
      Yeah – I think Airbnb is a great concept but they’re definitely lacking in the customer service (especially customer resolution) department.

      Thanks so much Alan, that is an awesome compliment. But to be totally transparent – most of my days are spent on a computer, either on the road or in my home office (though it’s not a gray cubicle!), too… and expat life and/or location independent (aka remote work) are becoming more and more accessible to most professions. If it’s something that interests you (and fits your goals and career), you should look into it! You might be surprised.

  17. Swaranjit kaur
    April 2, 2017 / 2:21 pm

    First time I going to book on air B nb from 19 may till 30th .After reading the strong nagative comment I am very scared as I am coming with my daughter and her infant.I have already bought the tickets can anybody guide me what should i do.

    • April 2, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      I’ve stayed in Airbnb since this issue, with no problems. I recommend following the advice I list above, and reporting any potential issues right away.

  18. Ewa
    April 17, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Hi, I’m in Rome now, in the apt that I rented via airbnb. I used this web many times, I travel alone or sometimes with my female friend, I never experienced anything bad or even unpleasant. I was always happy with the hosts and accommodation. I looked at the link that you gave, these guys have really good reviews. I feel sorry that you had such an awful stay but it should not discourage others to use airbnb as I truly think that it was an exception.

    • April 23, 2017 / 10:49 pm

      Hi Ewa! I agree that I think it is an exception to normally good service from Airbnb, which is why I list tips for staying safe if you choose to use the service. I do disagree with the way that Airbnb handled the incident, especially as the host threatened me on the Airbnb, supposedly secure messages (to claim that I was stealing if I left a bad review or didn’t pay the extorted amount).
      Behaving in such a way even one time should result in some kind of investigation or penalty for a host to prevent such behavior in the future. I don’t know if the actual host was gone during my stay and using an assistant, as the photo of the host during my stay was very different than the photo when I last looked him up, and when I stayed at the Airbnb the communication with the host was in very broken English, which is also different from his communications before and after my stay.

  19. Europebound
    December 22, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    I have stayed at Airbnb in the following locations: London 3x, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Amsterdam, Rome 2x, Florence 2x, Nice and Madrid. Never, ever had an issue. Prefer to stay in Airbnb, inexpensive and no issues.

    Just an FYI, so no one gets confused about the tax in Italy. It is a legit tourist tax that is required, and YES, you do have to pay it UP FRONT, or if the renter is not present, you will need to leave it for them, typically they tell you how much it will be. I had to do this in Rome, I was told the amount and I left it, because I know this to be what is done.

    Of course, if you refuse to pay when they request it (and you can), make sure you have a hotel ready to go to. At the hotel, they will just add it your stay on your credit card.
    Rome and Florence the cost at the time was about 3 – 3.50 euros per person, per night and they also require a copy of your passports as well. In all my travels, Italy was the only country I had to pay it, but again, it is legit.

    • Steph
      December 26, 2017 / 12:45 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing! My understanding is that the tourist tax is for hotels, not private residences. The tax is broken down by stars: 3 star, 4 star, 5 star, etc., and Airbnb and home rentals are not included.

      Glad to hear you’ve had such great luck with Airbnb! Aside from this place, I’ve had a great experience as well.

  20. Araceli
    February 20, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    Hi! My hubby and I are traveling to Rome and as I read your post, I wonder if this host is still on Airbnb? Would you be able to share the listing so we can avoid it?

    • Steph
      February 21, 2018 / 6:59 am

      Of course – this was the listing – however they seem to have made some changes and the host (or at least the host name and photo) has changed. The awful guy I dealt with was named Amedeo.

  21. Yasmin
    January 23, 2019 / 9:07 am

    Hi! I’m about to go Rome in two months and am currently looking for Airbnbs to stay at (this will be my first airbnb experience). I’m horrified by your experience and hope noone will ever go through that again. Thank you for sharing the name and link of the home. I know it’s been changed since then, but was wondering whether it was this host as he has the same name:
    Just asking as I was close to booking this but really wanted to be sure it’s not the same person now!

    • Steph
      January 25, 2019 / 8:16 am

      Hi! That is definitely NOT the same guy, judging by his photo. I hope you have an incredible trip in Rome! 🙂

  22. Best Airbnb Philadelphia
    March 3, 2019 / 11:10 pm

    Good to see you are blogging more. Some of the places you stayed are amazing! !! I am also a big fan of AirBnB from the other side. I am sometimes a host, it is a great way to make some extra money when I’m saving for my next overseas adventure ☺

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