If you are planning a trip to Italy you must be asking yourself is Italy safe, especially for solo travelers.
Italy is in southern Europe and is bordered by the Adriatic Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, and France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north.
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Italy is famous for its pasta, limoncello (my absolute favorite), culture, and of course its sexy language, it is one of the most visited countries in Europe because it is also where the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites are.
From Coliseum in Rome, Venice’s gondolas, and museums in Florence to the beautiful Amalfi Coast, Italy is definitely a country that you need to need to visit multiple times because it is the gift that keeps on giving.
While Italy is considered a very safe country there are some cities and areas that should be avoided or you need to take some of my simple precautions.
According to the U.N. and Global Peace Index, Italy is ranked 30th to 35th safest country in the world, well ahead of the U.S.
However, the most dangerous thing likely to happen is pickpocketing near tourist destinations and landmarks, so using common precaution measures should suffice.
Don’t take my word that Italy is safe —check out the data! The number of crimes reported by the police to the judicial authority in Italy decreased in the past years.
Plus, you’re never far from a police officer: Italy has 550 officers per 100,000 people, which means it’s 9th in the world in terms of police presence.
For context, the US is ranked 45th.
That means you can explore Italy’s incredible places to visit without having to worry much about safety.
Is it Safe to Travel to Italy Right Now?
- Is it safe to travel to Italy? Yes, Italy is extremely safe but you need to know which towns are the safest, where to go, where to eat, and what areas to avoid.
- As with any destination, there are parts of Italy where you’re more likely to become a crime victim.
- You will need to exercise extreme caution on public transit, taxis, and rideshare companies, and leave your jewelry and expensive electronics at home, especially in Rome.
- Is Italy safe from terrorism? Italy hasn’t had any issues with terrorism but if you are visiting Italy you still be aware of your surroundings when you are in crowded tourist spots and enroll in the STEP program which will make it easier to find you just in case there is an emergency.
Violent Crime in Italy
Italy sees few muggings, and never with a weapon. According to the national statistics agency, in 2019 Italy had 315 homicides, that’s the same for an average American city.
How to Explore Italy Safely
While Italy’s crime rate is extremely low, please be aware of your surroundings on public transportation and in one of the many city centers.
When using taxis or rideshare cars in Italy, use licensed vehicles that have a taxi sign on the roof, and make sure that the driver resets the meter before you start your drive.
Fake taxis have been known to steal passengers’ belongings and overcharge them once they arrive at their destination.
Uber rides are available only in Rome and Milan so if you decide to use a rideshare company make sure you wait on your ride in a crowded well-lit area and you confirm the license plate before you get into the car.
Lastly, don’t tell the driver your name when you arrive instead ask for the name on the booking instead.
Solo Travel in Italy
If you are traveling to Italy solo and worried about your safety there are certain precautions you need to take because like most men Italian men can come off as aggressive and do not know how to take no for an answer which some women may consider harassment.
Solo female travelers often experience unwanted flirtation and stares which can cause them to feel uncomfortable.
It is not uncommon for a lady to hear “Ciao Bella”(Hello Beautiful). Just ignore the comment and walk on.
Again, using common sense, staying in tourist areas or with tours is not only a good way to see the places you want to see but also a great way to meet other travelers, many of whom will speak English.
I suggest walking away, ignoring the comments, or simply stating I am waiting on my husband which usually works.
The three cities that have the highest rate of sexual assault are Bologna, Florence, and Milan.
- Book your stay at a female-only hostel.
- Dress appropriately if visiting the Vatican. There is a dress code for both men and women. Wear a shawl that will cover both your knees and shoulders.
- Use the same precautions you would at home—don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t walk alone at night.
While sexual harassment can be a problem in Italy the other end of the spectrum is prostitution. Prostitution is on the rise and legal in Italy which means sex workers are easy to find.
Italy’s crime rate has increased in towns like Catania, Ravenna, Ancona, and Alessandria where prostitution Is more accessible.
How to Stay Safe at Night in Italy
Italy has more crime at night, and more crime of a non-violent nature than in the U.S. Pickpockets, boosters, purse snatchings, and the like tend to occur when individuals don’t take ordinary precautions to protect themselves.
From personal experience walking in Venice and Rome in the early, early morning has never been a problem. I suggest making a concerted effort not to dress, or act like a tourist because potential scammers will see you coming a mile away.
Is Italy Safe for Black Americans
Pockets of outright racism do exist in Italy, especially in the Veneto and the Northeast in general but let’s be honest pockets of racism exist everywhere.
If you are a Black woman be aware of your surroundings because your olive skin color and 4c hair mean that you are different and will more than likely be stared at in coffee shops or on trains.
While it is harmless it is still exhausting cause like “what are you starring at”
Small towns might feel more unsafe than bigger cities like Milan, Turin, or Florence, where diversity was more accepted so just be keenly aware of your surroundings at all times.
You might even get the occasional “Are you traveling for your honeymoon” or “What’s the occasion” because how dare Black people to have money to simply explore the world.
Scams to Be Aware of In Italy
There are plenty of things to do and see in Italy, so don’t allow scammers to ruin your vacation, especially in Rome.
- Beware of petitions: If someone approaches you asking for a signature to sign a petition to help with a charity it’s likely a fake charity and as soon as you agree to sign it, the scammers will demand money or pickpocket you.
- Beware of Taxis charging a flat rate and not using the meter: Taxis are required to use the meter to calculate charges unless they’re going to/from the airport.
- Beware of scammers presenting a box of pizza: You are likely about to be a victim of pickpocketers. The scammer will block your view from the waist down while someone else picks your pocket.
- Beware of views being blocked on the subway: One person will distract you while another quickly picks your pocket or grabs valuables out of your backpack.
- Beware of Gypsy babies: Gypsy women will have passed-out babies in their arms that they’ve intentionally drugged in order to beg, gain sympathy and get money from you.
- Beware of “Free” rosemary: Lastly, we are aware of scammers who offer you a “free” sprig of rosemary which symbolizes good luck, and once you accept they will demand payment.
If you notice or see any of the above situations keep moving and don’t engage with the scammers. It should go without saying to keep an eye on your belongings and not lay expensive electronics down because they will be gone within the blink of an eye.
I suggest hiring a private car but if you can’t hire a driver please be especially cautious in public transportation or crowded places such as train stations, bus stations, restaurants or airports, and tourist landmarks.
Places like the Colosseum are where muggers might try and snatch your bag or steal your valuables.
Mugging and bag snatching is a serious problem in Italy, and you should be aware of your surroundings at all times because they might try distraction as a tactic to steal from you.
Take the usual precaution measures as you would when traveling to any other country (do not walk alone at night, leave your valuables unattended in plain sight or carry all your money in one place, easily reachable to potential muggers) and your trip will most probably go smoothly.
The Most Crime-Ridden Cities in Italy
Driving and Transportation In Italy
Driving in Italy can be very scary! I don’t which is worse Italy or Costa Rica because they both had me needing a cocktail by the time I arrived at my destination.
Cities like the Amalfi Coast can be extremely busy and hard to navigate from the huge buses, mopeds, narrow streets, and one-way systems which is enough to make you never want to travel again.
Italy has an excellent public railway and bus system. These systems are generally easy to use. In many places, announcements are in English and Italian.
However, there is one thing you need to be aware of. When you have gotten your paper ticket, make sure you get it validated (punched and time stamped) before you get on the train or bus.
There are multiple time stamping machines (validation machines), available at bus and train stations. Failure to do this doubles the cost of the ticket which must then be repurchased in transit and can produce an additional fine.
Eating in Italy
There are rules around eating and drinking in Italy so keep reading about how not to get caught up in tourist traps while you eat your way around Italy.
- Forget touristy restaurants. While it’s easy to just walk into the closest restaurant you see because you have probably been walking all day and you are starving I don’t suggest that because the food will probably be subpar at best. Do your research before traveling to Italy and have a list of restaurants you want to try.
- Eat where the locals eat. If it’s busy and people are actually speaking Italian you might be in luck.
- All Gelato is not created equal. Just like with restaurants look for off-the-beaten-path Gelato cafes. Don’t stop at the first one you see right in the touristy areas because the quality will most certainly be different.
- Breakfasts in Italy. Breakfast in Italy consists of cakes, bread, and jams so you will need to watch your caloric intake while vacationing in Italy.
- Slow down. You are not in the States so there is no need to rush. Slow down and enjoy your dinner and spend time with your family.
- Enjoy a Cappuccino.
- Learn a few Italian phrases.
- Italian American dishes. You will not find ‘fettuccine al fredo’ or ‘spaghetti and meatballs in Italy as these are not traditional Italian dishes.
- Limoncello. If you are visiting Italy you must try Limoncello and my favorite is the crema limoncello.
Go where the locals go to eat and drink and leave the touristy spots for thousands of people who didn’t do their homework before visiting Italy.
Must-Know Italian Phrases:
- Piacere – nice to meet youCome va? – how are you?
- Mi può aiutare? – can you help me?
- Quanto costa? – how much does that cost?
- Un caffé, per favore – one coffee, please
- Buon Giorno / Buona sera / Buona notte – good morning/ good evening/ goodnight
- Mi scusi – excuse me
- Come ti chiami? – what’s your name?
- mi chiamo… – My name is…
- Tutto bene – all’s well
- Grazie mille – thank you so much
Italy Travel Advisory Levels
Assistance for U.S. Citizens
00187 Rome, Italy
How To Stay Safe in Italy
- Be careful on public transportation
- Watch your belongings
- Leave valuables in your hotel safe
- Take guided tours instead of exploring on your own
- Wear Sunscreen
- Beware of beggars
- Stay vigilant and alert
- Don’t buy counterfeit bags no matter how tempting
- Be careful in Naples
- Flag system on Italy’s beaches
While it may seem like there are a lot of safety issues in Italy it is still a very safe destination and violent crimes are extremely low.
- Visas – If you are not staying longer than 90 days a Visa is not required but make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from your planned date of return to the country you’re visiting.
- Currency – The euro is the currency in Italy but make sure you budget accordingly because tours, hotels, food, cocktails, taxi,s and rail services can get expensive.
- Weather In Italy – The best time to visit Italy is either the spring or fall but summers are normally the busiest and hottest.
- Airports – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Milan (Malpensa International Airport, Linate Airport, Bergamo Orio Al Serio, Naples (Naples International Airport), Bologna (Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport), Pisa (Pisa International Airport), and Venice (Venice Marco Polo Airport).
- Always have Travel Insurance – I recommend getting travel insurance no matter your destination because travel insurance covers the costs of medical problems and theft.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Italy
Look out for summer wildfires on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, landslides in Calabria, the Amalfi Coast, and Cinque Terre, in Sicily and Tuscany. Venice is notoriously known for flooding as well.
In more recent years Italy has seen multiple earthquakes, and active volcanoes including Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily; Mt. Stromboli, on the island of Stromboli; and Mt. Vesuvius, near Naples.
General Tips in Italy
- Ordering Coffee in Italy: There are multiple ways to order coffee. The common “café” in Italy is our espresso. “Café Americano” or a Café Longo” is the equivalent of an American cup of coffee.
- Italians walk a great deal so sturdy walking or hiking shoes are a must.
- Currency exchange: Currency exchange windows have the worst rates of exchange and are the equivalent of an unnecessary middleman. Use the ATM and your debit card for euros.
- Keep your money safe: Keep your hands on your purse and don’t flash your cash. Keep small amounts in multiple safe places as you travel. Always use the hotel room safe for valuables you are leaving in your room.
- Understand the differences between Southern Italy (any place south of Rome) and Northern Italy. Southern Italy is more casual and easygoing. The food and wine are different and the costs in southern Italy are much lower than the costs in northern Italy just as the costs in small towns are lower than in the larger cities and major tourist attractions.
- Asking for changes to the menu is a no-no and you may find you have insulted the chef. Food is taken much more seriously in Italy than in most places in the world.
- Remember that Italians have a different notion of what constitutes dining “service.” In tourist areas “turning the tables” may be important but in most of Italy when you get a table it’s yours for the night. Service is slower and more casual the farther south you go.
- Check the prices before you order so you are not surprised. If you are handed a menu in English, make sure there are prices indicated. Check the bill when it comes. Know what to expect on your bill before you ask for it. Italians don’t tip.
Indulge in Opulence: Discover the Most Luxurious Hotels on the Amalfi Coast
Along this stunning coastline, you’ll find a collection of exquisite hotels that redefine luxury and safety and offer an unparalleled experience.
- Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello: Nestled in the charming hilltop village of Ravello, the Belmond Hotel Caruso stands as an enchanting retreat. Immerse yourself in the sumptuousness of this 11th-century palace, boasting elegantly furnished rooms, breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and exquisite terraced gardens. Unwind by the infinity pool perched high above the coastline or indulge in gourmet delights at their Michelin-starred restaurant. This architectural gem exudes timeless elegance and unmatched sophistication.
- Palazzo Avino, Ravello: Formerly a 12th-century private villa, Palazzo Avino exudes old-world charm and impeccable luxury. Located in Ravello, this grand hotel offers stunning vistas of the Amalfi Coast, opulent suites adorned with antique furniture, and a private beach club. Indulge in their renowned rooftop terrace restaurant, Rossellinis, boasting a Michelin-starred dining experience while being treated to panoramic views of the coastline. Palazzo Avino is the epitome of refined extravagance.
- Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi: Overlooking the picturesque town of Amalfi, Hotel Santa Caterina presents an idyllic haven of beauty and tranquility. This family-owned gem boasts elegantly appointed rooms, a private beach club, and exquisite dining options. Unwind by their cliffside infinity pool, perched on the edge of the azure sea. The hotel’s impeccable service and attention to detail ensure an unforgettable stay where every desire is catered to.
- Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, Conca dei Marini: Embracing the charm of a 17th-century monastery, Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is a hidden sanctuary nestled into the cliffs of Conca dei Marini. This boutique hotel offers unparalleled luxury, boasting breathtaking views, lush gardens, and a world-class spa. The elegantly designed rooms and suites feature stunning sea vistas, while the Michelin-starred restaurant indulges guests with refined Mediterranean cuisine. Prepare to be captivated by the tranquility and exclusivity of this exquisite retreat.
- Le Sirenuse, Positano: Set in the heart of the captivating town of Positano, Le Sirenuse is a legendary hotel that radiates glamour and sophistication. Adorned with vibrant colors, elegant furnishings, and breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, this hotel captures the essence of Italian splendor. The rooms and suites offer a blend of modern amenities and classic charm, while their Michelin-starred restaurant, La Sponda, provides an enchanting dining experience under a canopy of twinkling lights. Le Sirenuse is an emblem of refined luxury on the Amalfi Coast.6. Hotel Onda Verde, Praiano: Nestled in the picturesque village of Praiano, Hotel Onda Verde is a hidden gem that offers a luxurious and tranquil escape on the Amalfi Coast. Perched on a cliffside, this boutique hotel provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea..
Useful Resources to Help You Stay Safe and Explore Athens
- Expedia: the best website for finding cheap flight deals and hotels to and from Athens.
- Booking.com: my favorite hotel booking website, as it consistently has the best selection and prices.
- Hotels.com: another excellent hotel booking website for finding fabulous Athens accommodation.
- Tripadvisor: this famous review website now allows you to book accommodation and tours direct as well.
- Get Your Guide: my favorite resource for finding tours and activities in Athens and elsewhere.
- Viator: another great option for finding fun things to do, skip-the-line tickets, and fabulous tours in Athens.
Conclusion of is Italy Safe
While it is currently not safe to travel to Italy as the cases of coronavirus continued to rise with more than 2,000 infections and 52 people have died in Italy from the Coronavirus.
I am hopeful this will change before summer and things will be back to business as usual.
I will continue to update this article and keep you informed when it’s safe to visit Italy again and things are back to normal.
According to Statista In 2019, 94 million tourists spent a total of 216 million nights in Italy last year, according to new figures released on Thursday. This was more than the 140.7 million nights spent in France so while Italy is currently struggling I firmly believe things will turn around.
Whether you are visiting Capri, Florence, or the Amalfi Coast I suggest learning a few Italian phrases and venturing off into the countryside of Tuscany so you can get a real understanding of the culture, food, and people.
Don’t forget to grab your travel insurance before booking your trip to Italy.
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Are you worried about the Italy Travel advisory and wondering is Italy safe for travel? I hope my Italy travel advisory has prepared you if you are planning a trip to Italy.
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