Is it Safe to Travel to Italy?

  • Italy is generally safe for tourists, but be mindful of your surroundings and belongings, and avoid carrying large sums of cash.

  • Stay informed before your trip and get the necessary vaccinations.

  • There are some areas to be extra cautious in, like certain neighborhoods in big cities and train stations.

Millions flock to Italy each year, lured by its rich culture, incredible cuisine, breathtaking landscapes and more. But is it safe to travel to Italy?

Thankfully, Italy is generally considered a safe place to travel. That said, any trip can be made safer. Travelers should stay informed about safety measures, vaccinations, common dangers and more. Let’s take a look at what you can do to make your Italian vacation smoother and safer with a few easy precautions.


Safe Travel Practices

Here at AXA, we love a safe trip and that is why we have got everything you need to know in this guide. Here are some tips to navigate Italy with confidence.

Stay Mindful

Italy can be captivating, with its artistic treasures, historical sites, and delectable cuisine. While it's easy to get swept away, staying mindful of your surroundings can ensure a smooth and unforgettable trip. This applies to both bustling piazzas and quiet alleyways.

Avoid carrying large sums of cash, instead use ATMs or credit cards as needed. Pickpockets can be a concern in crowded areas, so keep your bags close to your body, preferably in front of you. Prefer using a crossbody bag with a slash-proof strap or a money belt hidden under your clothes. Also, refrain from wearing overly flashy clothing or jewelry that might make you a target for thieves.

Join STEP

The U.S. Department of State offers a free service called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), specifically for American citizens traveling abroad, including Italy.

Here's why you should sign up for STEP before your trip:

  • Stay Informed: STEP provides you with the latest updates and security information directly from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Italy. This can include anything from potential dangers and demonstrations to health advisories and natural disasters.

  • Emergency Assistance: If an emergency situation arises during your trip, enrolling in STEP allows the Embassy or Consulate to locate you more easily. This can be crucial in receiving timely assistance and resources to ensure your safety.

Head over to https://step.state.gov to enroll and start receiving updates from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Italy.


Try to Blend In

Travelers often become easy targets for theft simply because they stand out from the locals. While completely mimicking a local might be unrealistic, here are some ways to blend in and avoid unwanted attention.

Research local attire for the season and region, opting for stylish comfort over casual wear. Observe how Italians interact, adopting a slightly more animated demeanor for a confident vibe. Try not to be the only one doing something - whether it’s speaking loudly or wearing shorts when everyone else is more formal.

Learn some basic greetings like, "thank you," and "please" to make you seem less like a clueless tourist. With these tips, you'll feel more like an Italian insider, ready to navigate and savor every unforgettable moment of your adventure.
 

Stay Informed

Stay informed about current events in Italy. Reliable sources include the U.S. Department of State's STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and the official Italian government tourism website. These resources offer valuable insights into potential risks, cultural norms, and even upcoming festivals or events you might want to experience.


Share your Whereabouts

Before you embark on your Italian adventure, share a copy of your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. This should include your flight details, accommodation information, and any planned excursions. Sharing captivating photos and updates on social media can also be a fun way to keep your loved ones engaged and give them a glimpse into your experiences.


Get Necessary Vaccinations

The last kind of souvenir you want to bring home with you is an illness. Before you hop on that plane, make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations. You must get it done months before to avoid any last-minute mishaps.


General Recommendations

Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel website https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list to get the latest news on infectious diseases prevalent in Italy.

Measles outbreaks are increasing globally, and unvaccinated travelers can unknowingly carry the virus back to their home communities. Ensure you're up-to-date on your MMR vaccination to protect yourself and others. Other standard vaccine recommendations include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Consult your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to Italy. They can review your immunization history and recommend any additional vaccinations you might need based on your specific health and itinerary.


COVID-19 Considerations

Make sure you are up-to-date on Italy's current entry requirements for COVID-19 vaccinations. Websites like the U.S. Department of State’s STEP or the Italian government's official tourism website are reliable sources to get the latest information.

Also, public health guidelines can change quickly. Prepare to be flexible and adjust your travel plans accordingly. Plus, you must also consider travel insurance that covers medical expenses related to COVID-19 in case you fall ill during your trip.

Region-Specific Vaccines

While Italy generally enjoys high standards of sanitation, discuss with your doctor for any additional vaccine recommendations. For travelers who plan to spend time outdoors in wooded or rural areas, vaccinations for tick-borne encephalitis are advisable, especially within Northern Italy.

If you plan to spend extended time outdoors in wooded areas, particularly in northern Italy, including the Alps and other mountainous regions - tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is generally recommended.

Hepatitis A is another vaccine that is recommended for travelers who are planning to stay in rural areas or are planning to eat a lot of street food in Italy.


Dangers, Threats, and Alerts

Italy is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture, but like any destination, it's important to be aware of potential dangers and threats. To ensure safe travels in Italian cities and countryside, here are some specific things to keep in mind.
 

Terrorism

While Italy has not experienced any major terrorist incidents in recent years, it's important to be aware of the global threat and take some basic precautions. Pay attention to your surroundings in crowded places and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy is also committed to keeping the public sound and safe. Before setting off, give the U.S. State Department’s website one last look for the latest travel alerts and warnings.

 

If there are any security alerts or warnings issued while you're in Italy, be sure to follow the instructions of local authorities.


Pickpocketing and Scams

While Italy is full of breathtaking sights and experiences, it's important to be aware of petty theft and scams that target tourists, especially in crowded areas.

Be extra cautious of pickpocketing on public transportation (especially buses and trains in Rome, Milan, and Naples), train stations, and major tourist attractions. Or scammers might approach you disguised as police officers or officials, demanding to see your identification or check for counterfeit bills. Real police won't ask to see your wallet or bag on the street.

As a safety measure, you must keep your cash in a money belt tucked under your clothing. Better to leave valuable jewelry back home. Take photos of your important travel documents and be sure to back up your data in case your phone gets swiped.

Take note of emergency numbers like health emergency (#118) and police (#113). Also, look into baggage loss coverage in your travel insurance plan.
 

Natural Disasters

Italy, with its stunning landscapes, has its share of geological activity. Parts of Italy are seismically active and that is why it is important to familiarize yourself with basic earthquake safety procedures like “drop, cover, and hold on.”

Mount Etna in Sicily and other volcanoes in Italy pose potential eruption risks. Monitor local news and official advisories, especially if you'll be visiting areas near active volcanoes. Follow local news and official advisories, especially if visiting areas around active volcanoes.(https://www.protezionecivile.gov.it/en/).

It is also recommended to include non-medical evacuation and trip cancellation coverage in your travel insurance plan, if traveling to high-risk areas in Italy.

Areas to Avoid

While Italy is generally safe for tourists, there are a few areas in major cities with higher crime rates, especially petty theft. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

High-Crime Neighborhoods: Some neighborhoods within large cities experience higher rates of petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams. Be alert in tourist hot-spots, but also be aware that some less-central neighborhoods might require more caution, especially at night.

If a situation feels off, it probably is. Leave the area and find a well-lit, populated place. Be cautious in the following areas in Italy.

  • Rome: Esquilino (near Termini Station), San Basilio, Corviale, Tor Bella Monaca (outskirts)
  • Milan: Quarto Oggiaro, San Siro, Corvetto
  • Naples: Areas near the Central Station (Stazione Centrale) can be sketchy at night.

Even major train stations in any city can be targets for opportunistic theft. Pay close attention to your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, especially while boarding or exiting trains.

Political Demonstrations: While uncommon, check for any planned protests near your destination. You can find updates on the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. If you encounter a demonstration, avoid large crowds and follow the guidance of local authorities.

Also, your hotel concierge or front desk clerk can be a valuable resource for information on safe areas and navigating the city. Dial 112 for emergencies.

 

FAQs


1. How safe is it to travel to Italy?

Italy is a safe place to visit, but like anywhere, be mindful of your surroundings and belongings, especially in crowded areas.
 

2. What is the emergency phone number in Italy?

The emergency number for police, ambulance, and fire is 112. Also, 118 is for health-related needs, while 113 is to be dialed for accidents, thefts, etc.


3. Do I need any vaccinations to travel to Italy?

There are no mandatory vaccinations for most travelers. However, recommended vaccinations may exist. Consult your doctor or the CDC website for details.

4. What is the best time to visit Italy?

The shoulder seasons (spring and fall) offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer can be hot and crowded, while winter has fewer options but festive charm.


5. Is Italy safer than the USA?

Generally, yes, Italy appears to be safer than the USA. Italy has a lower overall crime rate than the US. The Global Peace Index ranks Italy significantly higher than the USA in terms of safety.
 

6. Is Italy safe for solo female travelers?

Italy is generally a fantastic destination for solo female travelers. Catcalling can be more common in southern Italy, though. With a little planning and awareness, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.
 

7. What is mobile phone connectivity like in Italy?

Most major mobile phone providers offer roaming services in Italy. Check with your provider for details and potential fees.

AXA already looks after millions of people around the world

With our travel insurance we can take great care of you too

Get AXA Travel Insurance and travel worry free!

Travel Assistance Wherever, Whenever

Speak with one of our licensed representatives or our 24/7 multilingual insurance advisors to find the coverage you need for your next trip.