The entire country of Italy is currently under lockdown due to COVID-19 concerns. The U.S. State Department has issued a level 4 warning which means you currently are not allowed to travel to travel.
If you are planning a trip to Italy you must be asking yourself is Italy safe and when will you be able to travel to Italy again.
Italy has everthing you want and need from sights, art, history, beautiful and idyllic Mediterranean beaches, and some of the best food in the world – it is always on every travelers bucketlist.
While Italy is normally safe COVID-19 has change the landscape of traveling to Italy so before you pack your bags keep reading because it may be a minute beforeyou can book that flight.
What is the current situation in Italy?
COVID-19 risk in Italy is high. CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to Italy. Some examples of essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies.
Older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to Italy.
When will U.S. citizens be able to travel to Italy again?
Italy has renewed its travel restrictions in its latest emergency decree, which came into force on August 10th.
Under the new law, a ban on tourism from the United States and most other countries will remain in place until at least September 7th.
Meanwhile the EU continues to revise its list of “safe” countries which it recommends members allow travelers to enter from – but the U.S is still not on it.
So what does this mean for Americans?
At the moment, “non-essential” travel to Italy from the US is still forbidden.
Italy Safety Tips
- 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, taxi’s, rideshare companies and leaving your jewlery and expensive electronics at home especially in Rome.
- Is Italy safe from terrorism? Italy hasn’t had any issues with terriosm but if you are visiting Italy you still be aware of your surrounding when you are in crowded tourist spots and enroll in the STEP program which will make it easier to find you just case there is an emergency.
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. Rome’s Termini station is nortorous for pickpocketers and petty theft so I suggest purchasing your train tickets ahead of time just to be on the safe side.
When using taxis or rideshare cars in Italy, use licensed vehicles that has 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 stealing passengers’ belongings and overcharging them once they arrive at their destination.
Uber rides are available only in Rome and Milan so if you decide to use a ride share company make sure you wait on your ride in a crowded well-lit area and you confirm the licence 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 certainly precautions you need to take because like most men Italian men can come off aggressive and do not know how to take no for answer which some women may consider harassment.
Solo female travelers often experience unwanted flirtation and stares which can cause you to feel uncomfortable. I suggest walking away, ignoring the comments or simply state I am waiting on my husband which usually works.
The three cities that have the highest rate for 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 on 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.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes in Italy
Look out for summer wildfires on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, landslides in Calabria, the Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre, in Sicily and Tuscany. Venice is notoriously known for flooding as well.
In more recent years Italy has seen multiple earthquakes, active volcanoes including Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily; Mt. Stromboli, on the island of Stromboli; and Mt. Vesuvius, near Naples.
Scams to Be Aware of In Italy
There are plenty of things to do and see in Italy, so don’t allow scammers 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 baby in their arms that they’ve intentionally drugged in order beg, gain sympathy and get money from you.
- Beware of “Free” rosemary: Lastly, we aware of scammers who offer you a “free” sprig of rosemary which symbalizes 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 keep an eye on your belongings and do not lay expensive electronics down because they will be gone within the blink of an eye.
Driving 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 you want to travel again.
Is The Food in Italy Safe
Italy has some of the best food and cocktails in the world! Italy is known for its pasta, limoncello, wine, pizza, mozzarella, lasagne, spaghetti, calzone, gelato and coffee so you really should not have to ask is the food safe 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 sub par at best. Do you your research before traveling to Italy and have a list of restuarants 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 restuarants look for off the beaten path Gelato cafes. Don’t stop at the first one you see right in the touristy areas because the qualtiy will most certaintly be different.
- Breakfasts in Italy. Breakfast in Italy consist of cakes, bread, 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 spending 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 – Euro is the currency in Italy but make sure you budget accordingly because tours, hotels, food, cocktails, taxi’s and rail service 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, and 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.
Public Advised to Reconsider Travel to Italy
Italy was set to host the TBEX 2020 Europe travel conference from March 10 -13. Travel influencers, bloggers and industry leaders were going to descend upon Catania, Italy for a week of networking and learning.
TBEX Events CEO, Rick Calvert says that the company is committed to attendees’ health and safety. They remain diligent in keeping up with the latest news as it relaest to public health and the Italy travel advisory.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
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 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 Satista 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 venture 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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