Last Updated on November 29, 2019
Is it dangerous to travel to Italy?
Everyone wants to visit the country of romance, mesmerizing art, rich history, stunning beaches, and of course, Italian food. However, before you go searching for cheap flights to Italy, there are some important facts about the country’s crime rates, terror threats, and natural disasters that you need to know for your own safety.
Generally speaking, Italy is definitely not a dangerous country to visit. The national rates of violent crime are low right now, plus, Italy is ranked above both the US and the UK, according to global safety rankings.
With that in mind, here are some crucial factors every traveler needs to know to stay safe when traveling to Italy.
#1 – Three Main Tips to Stay Safe in Italy
A trip to Italy can be perfectly safe, but you should know where to go, and more importantly, where you should be extra alert. There are some places in Italy where your chances to become a crime victim are quite high. These include some parts of Milan, popular tourist attractions, and crowded city centers.
If you’re planning to visit many regions of Italy, you should be extra careful when using public transport or rideshare and make sure you get into official taxis. Also, hide your valuables in difficult-to-reach pockets.
What about terrorism? It actually happens way more in Italy’s neighboring countries. However, those who are planning a trip to Italy are recommended to be extremely vigilant in critical areas, report any suspicious people or packages, and sign in the STEP program so they can be easily located in case of an emergency.
#2 – Crime in Italy
Some regions of Italy are indeed less safe than others but there are no critically dangerous parts of the country.
Travelers in Rome are reported to have higher chances of being scammed, pickpocketed, or mugged, while tourists in Venice may only get scammed or pickpocketed around popular attractions.
Naples, however, has particularly high rates of scamming and purse snatchings, in addition to an unpleasant reputation of being a mafia hotspot, although mafia activities rarely affect tourists.
Florence also has a high risk of scams and pickpocketing, particularly in the famous Piazza Del Duomo area, which is a hotspot for thieves who dress as beggars to distract tourists while their partners steal valuables.
As for Milan, it’s a bit more dangerous than other popular Italian cities, mainly because of its high theft rates. Tourists should be extra vigilant here, especially when using public transit, and avoid the area around Central Station, especially at night.
Moreover, Milan is known for street vendors who sell fake goods. Keep in mind that you can be fined as much as 10,000 euros should you get caught buying any of the fake stuff.
In fact, theft is Italy’s most common crime with over 1 million incidents every year. Most of them take place in the provinces of Milan and Rimini, while Rome and other major cities are more known for bag snatching and pickpocketing.
The most common scams to watch out for while visiting Italy include counterfeiters selling fake fashion items, thieves acting like police officers who ask for your ID only to steal your wallet, and snatchers on motor scooters.
To stay safe, hide your valuables, be extremely skeptical when strangers approach you, keep your eyes on your belongings wherever you are, and never leave your drink unattended at bars or nightclubs.
#3 – Natural Disasters In Italy
When it comes to natural disasters in Italy, travelers should watch out for summer wildfires if visiting Sardinia and Sicily, flooding if heading to Venice, and autumn rain damage in Calabria, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Sicily, and on the Amalfi coast.
In fact, the whole country is an active seismic zone. In recent years, it has witnessed many destructive and deadly earthquakes.
Moreover, Italy has multiple active volcanoes, including Mt. Vesuvius, Mt, Stromboli, and Mt. Etna.
#4 – How to Get Around Safely in Italy
Generally, the crime rate in Italy is low, yet, it’s only wise to be extra alert on public transit and in crowded areas.
Before using a taxi, make sure it’s officially licensed and has a taxi sign on the roof. Once you get in, expect the driver to reset the meter before moving so you won’t be overcharged. Milan, in particular, is known for fake taxis that insanely overcharge passengers or even steal their belongings before they get in.
If you’re using Uber, which is only available in Milan and Rome, get lifted from well-lit, busy areas, compare the license plate and driver to what’s on your phone, don’t sit next to the driver, and don’t reveal personal information while chit-chatting. Also, remember to share your living location with a friend or family member.
If you’re female, you already know that safety is a primary concern in most countries. In Italy, you may often be a target for harassment, which includes too much eye contact and aggressive flirtation. In such cases, you should walk away, tell the man that you’re married, or go to the police.
Keep in mind that the worst Italian cities for sexual assault are Milan, Florence, and Bologna.
Another travel warning when visiting Italy is that prostitution is both legal and popular, particularly in Trieste, Ancona, Catania, Alessandria, and Ravenna, while northern Italy is home to prostitution-related crimes.
It’s worth mentioning that even though prostitution is legal, brothels, solicitation, and organized prostitution are not, specifically because they are behind the high crime rate in the country.
#5 – Terrorism in Italy
Unlike other European countries, Italy has largely overcome terrorist incidents, however, this doesn’t mean terrorism will never happen.
According to the US Department of State, Terrorist groups may attack Italy targeting public areas, including but not limited to, airports, restaurants, parks, clubs, hotels, tourist locations, shopping malls, and places of worship.
On the other side, the UK government notes that there are few cases of domestic terrorism that aim for official Italian targets, not random tourists.
Whether you’re traveling to Italy or anywhere else in the world, you should always stay aware of your surroundings and check out local media and news stations regularly.
Have you ever been to Italy? Please share your experience with other readers or if you have any questions, remarks, or additional tips.