Is Italy Safe to Visit For Tourists?

Written By: Andrea Spallanzani
Reviewed by: Rick Orford
How & Why We Created This Article

This article has been written, reviewed, and fact-checked by Rick and I. We live in Italy and travel throughout the country to help you make the best choices for your trip. We wrote this piece to ensure you have the best trip possible on your next trip to Italy. Portions of this article have been written using assistive AI tools to help with tasks like research, spell-checking, grammar, and translation.

Last Updated October 28, 2023

Italy is considered to be one of the safest countries in Europe. The crime index measures the safety of countries, and the higher the number, the more dangerous it is. Italy has a crime index of 46.2 compared to Great Britain’s 46.6, France’s 54.4, or even the United States’ 48.8.

Unfortunately, some parts of Italy have a terrible reputation for being unsafe. For example, Naples was once notorious for being full of micro crime, but now this is not the case anymore.

Another thing to consider is that during peak season, some Italian cities are flooded by millions of tourists, and any other bustling place might attract some crime. Therefore taking routine safety precautions should be sufficient.

Nevertheless, a few things to consider will help travelers stay safe when visiting Italy.

How to Stay Safe In Italy?

Here are some things you should keep in mind when visiting a busy tourist destination to help keep yourself safe:

  • First of all, be aware of your surroundings. Use standard caution when traveling in a foreign country.
  • Second, leave some cash in the safe at the hotel and take only a few euros with you. You can use your credit card everywhere, so there is no need to walk around with cash. On the same note, bring a copy of your passport if you need it.
  • Avoid con artists on the street. Don’t participate if you observe people playing cards or gambling on the road because they are most likely con artists.
  • Stay away if a gypsy approaches you and asks for money or offers to read your palm; they might divert your attention before robbing you later.
  • Keep your purse closed and out of the way, especially when riding the bus or train. Additionally, if you eat outside at a restaurant, avoid leaving your wallet or phone in a place where it is simple for passersby to take it.
  • Avoid empty streets at night; stay in areas with other travelers.
  • Go to a reputable bank if you need to withdraw money from an ATM. Use a machine you see in a shop or coffee shop, not just any machine. You never know if those devices are genuine, or you’ll have to pay exorbitant costs.
  • Avoid buying anything from street vendors selling fake belts, wallets, or purses. First and foremost, it is unlawful to sell and purchase counterfeit goods. Second, you are squandering your money because those products are frequently of relatively poor quality.

What To Do If You Are A Victim Of A Microcrime

blue car on the street during night time

You should contact the nearest neighborhood police station (Carabinieri or Polizia di Stato) if you’ve been a victim of theft or another crime, which is highly unusual anyway. A copy of your report is something you should save in case you need to submit an insurance claim. If your credit card is stolen, you should immediately contact your bank to block the card so that no one else may use it.

Watch Your Step!

Many Italian cities date back thousands of years. This could cause the pavement to be quite uneven. Walking should always be done with extreme caution to prevent trips. This is far riskier than micro-crime in many places. Particularly in Rome and Naples, this is important.

Traffic May Be Dangerous

Italian drivers are notorious for their aggressiveness. You should therefore exercise extra caution when crossing the road. Pay cautious attention when opening the door after exiting a car or a cab because scooters may be whizzing by quickly. Bicycles and scooters are everywhere, frequently even on sidewalks, so use caution and pay attention.

Is Tap Water Safe To Drink?

person holding clear drinking glass

Drinking tap water is completely safe. However, for some weird reason, Italians never drink tap water. Tap water is never served in restaurants, coffee shops, or pubs, and if you ask for it, you may get a strange look. There are extremely few instances where tap water is unsafe to drink; on such occasions, you will see a sign that states “Acqua non potabile,” which is prevalent on trains and in some public restrooms.

Is It Safe To Swim In The Sea In Italy?

aerial view of body of water near green trees and houses during daytime

Swimming is completely safe at every beach in Italy. A lifeguard is frequently present if a beach offers chairs for rent (lettini in Italian). You should exercise caution if you plan to swim on a remote beach without other people because there probably won’t be any lifeguards.

In the recent past, jellyfish sightings have increased. Ask the lifeguard if there are any jellyfish in the water that day. Even though they are not life-threatening, but still hurt if you are stung.

How Safe Is It To Rent A Car In Italy?

several vehicles parked beside sheds

Driving about in an Italian rental car is completely safe. Additionally, driving is the most excellent way to experience some places, such as the Tuscany highlands or the Dolomites. We highly warn avoiding driving in several areas. There are places where you shouldn’t go, like the Amalfi Coast. The road is winding and congested with cars and buses during the summer. It is, therefore, far better to join a guided tour. Not because driving in cities is risky, but since you might enter a ZTL (limited traffic zone) and the consequences for doing so are high, we also advise against it.

What Is The Emergency Phone Number In Italy?

person using smartphone

The emergency number to call in the unlikely case of a crisis is 112. This number is accessible from landlines and mobile devices and is valid throughout the European Union.

Are Italian Hospitals Safe and Reliable?

people wearing surgical clothes inside operating room

Italy boasts a world-class healthcare system, despite the fact that its citizens routinely grumble about it. For EU citizens, Italian hospitals are free. Travel insurance is recommended for non-EU citizens, even though medical bills are not prohibitively expensive. For example, one of our friends got pneumonia while we were in Italy. He had to be admitted to the hospital and spent the following two weeks there. He had various tests, and the total cost was less than €5000. The hospital delayed several months to produce a final statement, and their insurance company asked for the final bill. This was the only problem they had.

Conclusion

Like all well-known European locations, Italy is a safe nation.

Tourists are unlikely to experience events involving anything more severe than petty theft, and violent crime is rarely reported.

The most prevalent crime that poses a risk to tourists is pickpocketing, mainly because these criminals sometimes operate in groups or have some type of arrangement with the street sellers.

Similar circumstances apply to beggars; they are organized, and as a result, beggars are widespread as in any major city, although tourists are unlikely to encounter hostile beggars.

If you take the standard safety precautions you would while visiting any other nation, your vacation will go without a hitch.