Is Italy Safe for Travelers in 2019?

ViaHero · July 10, 2019

We’ll cut to the chase: Italy is a totally safe place to travel. That being said, there are some safety considerations to think about. Here, we’ll cover all the ins-and-outs of keeping safe in Italy—so all you have to worry about is where to get the best gelato. 

For the real inside *scoop* on safety in Italy, talk to someone who actually lives there. They’ll have all the best tips for how to navigate Il Bel Paese (the Beautiful Country) as well as suggestions for awesome restaurants and sights that you’d never find without their help. Learn more.

The statistics don’t lie: Italy is super safe

Is Italy Safe? Yes, definitely
Rome | kirkandmimi/Pixabay

Don’t take our word for it—check out the data! Italy’s crime rate has been in a consistent freefall since 2010. 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. So if you feel safe walking around American streets, you’ll be fine in Italy. 

Italy’s travel advisory reflects its safety

The US State Department gives Italy a Level 2 advisory, which recommends increased caution. It’s the same rating as other big cities like Paris and London. However, unlike Paris and London, Italy has never experienced a terror attack.

Solo Female Travelers love Italy

Is Italy safe for solo travel? Yes!
A solo traveler in Tuscany | quinntheislander/Pixabay

Italy is an amazing destination for solo travelers, including female solo travelers. Generally, Italy is safer than other countries in the European Union. Plus you’ll be trekking well-worn travel routes with plenty of locals and fellow voyagers looking out for each other.

Some quick things to be aware of: 

  • Unfortunately, catcalling is a reality in Italy. But it’s no worse than any other country in Europe.
  • There are female only hostels in some cities.
  • The Vatican has a dress code for men and women. Keep your knees and shoulders covered. Otherwise, you might be barred from entering certain buildings. 
  • Connecting with a local Italian woman is a great way to get even more tips on navigating the country as a solo female traveler.

Pickpockets are a problem, so be careful in crowds

Travelers in Italy flock to its fabled ruins, iconic religious sites, and beautiful cities—but so do pickpockets. Pickpockets also operate on public transit. Although public transit in Italy is super safe and useful, pickpockets are drawn to crowded centers like train or bus stations. For some solid safety tips, just ask an Italian local how they avoid pickpockets.

Common scams to avoid

Along with pickpocketing, there are a number of scams that are popular throughout Italy’s tourist centers. Here are some to avoid: 

  • People asking you to sign a charity petition: Usually, someone will approach you asking for a signature for a petition of a fake charity. As soon as you agree to sign it, the scammers will aggressively demand a donation or take the opportunity to pickpocket you.
  • Taxis charging a flat rate and not using the meter: Taxis in the city are required to use the meter to calculate charges unless they’re going to/from the airport. Any taxi charging you a flat-rate is not an official taxi. 
  • Someone presenting a box of pizza (or another large item): The scammer aims to block your view from the waist down while an accomplice tries to pick your pocket. 
  • Having your way intentionally blocked in the subway: One member will engage, block, or distract you in some way, while another quickly picks a valuable off of you.
  • Roma (Gypsy) babies: Roma women have been known to beg with passed-out babies that they’ve intentionally drugged in order to increase sympathy/leverage the situation to get money from you. 
  • “Free” rosemary: Another favorite tactic of scammers is to offer you a “free” sprig of rosemary (or another charm) for good luck. Once you’ve accepted it they’ll demand payment.

So beware of people stopping you for surveys, asking for donations, or even “accidentally” spilling something on or tripping into you. If any of the above situations or something similar happens to you in Italy, be extra cautious, keep moving, and don’t engage. 

You don’t need any vaccines

If you’re traveling from the US and are up to date on your regular vaccines, you’re all set in terms of medical preparations. No special vaccines or medicines required!

Go ahead, drink the tap water

Water in Italy is safe (even though you may drink mostly aperol spritz)
Aperol Spritz in Italy | 5443882/Pixabay

Although you’ll be mostly drinking Aperol spritz, Chianti, or other Italian drinks, be reassured that you can totally drink the water. Italy’s tap water is safe. In fact, it’s just as good or even better than what you’d drink in the US. 

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Now you know—Italy is super safe for travel. Just be street smart and stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded hubs. And for even more safety tips, connect with someone who actually lives in Italy. Not only will they explain how THEY keep safe, but they’ll help with all your logistics and offer tons of great suggestions for things to, see, and eat. So all YOU have to do is drown yourself in gelato, pizza, and history to your heart’s content. Questions? Send us a message

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