Is It Safe to Travel to Italy?

In this article

Covid caused a standstill in the tourism culture of the world, which affected Italy adversely. The strikes and protests related to it, and then the global policital crisis put the question "Is It safe to travel to Italy?" on everyone's minds. However, Italy is relatively safe to visit; the air quality is superb, the area is peaceful, and its is an overall wonderful coutry to stay at.
Actually, its multiple destinations have been voted as the best places to visit in December. And the city of Florence has made it to our list of the most magical European Christmas markets. However, visitors must beware of pickpockets, as their activities thrive in Italy.
While in Italy, ensure to have your contact details written clearly on your belongings, in case it gets missing. Having the details readily accessible on your phone's lock screen can come in handy, especially during an emergency.

Italy Travel Advice: Practical Tips and Useful Information

First on the list is to learn basic phrases in Italian, what they mean, how to use them, and the appropriate responses to them. Essential words such as asking for directions and the price of goods and services can make the difference between a worthwhile stay and a horrible one. Learning courtesy in the language, such as the correct forms of "thank you," "please," and "excuse me," is also very important.
Be wary of pickpockets, as they are very skilled and strike when you least expect it. Keep it in mind, and take only clothes and bags that can help you keep their sticky fingers out. When exploring the beautiful cities in Italy, it is ideal you wear sturdy footwear. Cobblestone streets, narrow sidewalks, and uneven pavement can make walking with less stable shoes difficult. Occasional reckless cars and scooter riders make it more important to have sturdy shoes. Also, know what regulations surround health and Covid 19 procedures.

Is Italy Safe? Safety in Public Spaces

Italy is a relatively safe space for tourists and its inhabitants. It is placed in the 34th position of the safest countries in the world. It has low transport, mugging, and kidnapping risk. It has a medium risk of natural disasters like volcanoes and avalanches. There is also a medium risk of terrorism because of its position around Belgium and France, which have previously experienced terrorist attacks. However, Italy has not had a terrorist attack at the time of writing.
The high side is the risk of pickpockets and tourist-related scams, especially around famous landmarks and tourist areas. Many people have sticky fingers, looking to pick up valuables and belongings of tourists when they are unaware. Many work in groups, making it easy to do their bidding. Around tourist areas, scams like hiking prices or shortchanging you may also be typical.

Crime Rate

Italy is relatively safe, like many other European countries. Citizens and tourists rarely report armed robberies and violent assaults. The only crimes with high chances tourists may encounter include fraud and light tourist scams, spiking drinks unattended at bars, pickpocketing and petty theft at crowded places, taxis, and public transport systems.

Social Unrest and Political Situation

The security in Italy may not be the best in the world, but it is among the top secure places to live or visit in the world. Strikes, public protests, and public violence instigated by political sources are not very prevalent but do occur. Recent strikes and protests in Italy in 2022 include the protest to recover the beaches from private clubs due to their exorbitant rates. The protest was on the basis that the shoreline is public property, but private firms control more than 50%. Taxi drivers also protested the government's plan to pass bills that make online services like Uber have advantages over public transportation systems and taxis.
In 2020, Italy witnessed one of the most profound protests of recent times when the government declared movement restrictions to prevent the spread of the Covid 19 virus. The protest was like other protests, which often started peacefully and turned violent later, requiring local authorities to intervene.

The Threat of Terrorism: How Safe Is Italy?

Italy is safer than several European cities concerning terrorism. Italy has not had a terrorist attack in a long time; however, neighboring members of the European Union, like Belgium and France, have had attacks. The attacks on these neighboring countries require Italy to tighten its security measures around major cities and transportation hubs, as terrorists are known to target such places.
Tourists in Italy should be vigilant for unusual movements at public places like tourist locations and train stations. Having your medical care and personal details readily accessible in case of an accident is essential and can help you be safe.
Common attack sites for terrorists across Europe include shopping centers, populated city centers, popular coffee shops, places of worship, restaurants, and iconic landmarks. Tourists in these locations are advised to stay vigilant in case of a terrorist attack.

Driving in Italy: Driving Customs and Traffic Pace

Tourists visiting Italy can enjoy great city views when driving in officially licensed taxis or other public transport systems. Tourists coming to Italy with driving licenses from other countries in Europe do not need additional requirements to drive in Italy. Other visitors must provide an international driver's license before they can drive freely without getting into trouble with local authorities.
Many Italian cities have pedestrian crossings, especially in the urban areas, to keep people safe. As a tourist, when driving across the town, always pay attention to the traffic restrictions to ensure a safe driving experience.
Some of the essential rules to note while driving in Italy include:
  • Always keeping right and only moving left to overtake
  • Trains and trams always have the right of way
  • Drivers must be older than 18 years
  • You should only use your horns when necessary, especially around villages and small towns.

Also, consider other local laws that apply in the driving area.

Local Laws on Illegal Substances

Illegal substances in Italy are judged based on their location rather than their effects. Some medically approved narcotics are largely legal across Italy; however, Heroin, Cocaine, Cannabis derivatives like hashish, marijuana, Ecstasy, Hallucinogens, and similar products are illegal. The Italian government has put a penalty of between 6 and 20 years of jail time, with a fine of €26,000 to €260,000, depending on the area.
Cannabinoid-based drugs that are prescribed by medical personnel are legal in Italy. Regulated pharmacies make these cannabinoid-based drugs with chopped dried cannabis flowers. It is legal to cultivate cannabis seeds if they are intended for industrial uses and textile production. The seeds must be traceable and certified for them to be legal.

Other Local Laws Relevant to Travelers to Italy

  • Always carry a means of identification. Usually, the photocopy of the data page of your passport can suffice; however, to be safe, ensure to hold a second ID with a photo attached.
  • Always validate or endorse your ticket before you embark on a trip. Before entering a bus, train, or tram, ensure to validate the ticket. The Italian authorities have strategically placed machines at metro and railway stations to endorse tickets easily. If the patrolling officers realize you do not have an endorsed ticket during the trip, you will be issued an on-the-spot fine of €100 to €500. If you decide to pay it immediately, you will only be charged €50.
  • Many Italian cities reserve the right to impose small taxes on tourists, which must be paid in cash. It is popular among commercial accommodation facilities, and the tax they charge depends on the city and the rating of the hotel. You can get further information about this tax at the local information office for tourists.

Climate and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are not foreign to Italy. Floods, forest fires, volcanoes, avalanches, and earthquakes are common examples. During winter, a condition called acqua alta, which means high waters, often leads to flooding in many parts of the city. Spending winter in Italy can be magnificent. But, no matter where you stay in this time of year, always pay attention, and monitor local media to make sure you are in a safe zone.
In summer, areas around the woodland are predisposed to forest fires. Forest fires are unpredictable and can spread quickly across large areas. People should contact emergency services at the sight of a forest fire, regardless of how small it may be, and avoid it spreading. Earthquakes and volcanoes are fairly common because a large proportion of Italy sits on a major seismic fault line, leading to occasional seismic activity. In the case of any natural disaster, contact the emergency assistance bodies.

Outdoor Activities, Adventure Tourism, and Winter Sports

Outdoor sports are famous in Italy. There are typical examples that are relatively safe, and they include hiking and mountaineering. More dangerous sports like climbing, mountain biking, and paragliding require added safety precautions like rapid medical evacuation also exist in Italy. The various ski types also occur in Italy in winter.

Staying Safe in Italy: Essential Tips

Although Italy is relatively safe, your personal safety depends on you. It would be best if you still took basic precautionary measures to protect yourself from danger. Some of the essential tips for staying safe include:
  • Keep your bags and personal belongings secure and close to you at all times to prevent pickpocketing and bag snatching, especially around tourist sites, transport hubs, and larger cities. If your bag gets stolen, report it to the nearest local police office.
  • Store your valuables in the safe the hotel provides to avoid losing valuables to theft.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Only cross the road at a designated zebra crossing, and motorists should obey traffic lights.
  • Always monitor local news for information that could affect you, like weather reports.

Get Travel and Medical Insurance

When traveling to Italy, get your travel insurance requirements sorted out. Insurance is a key part of Italy's entry and exit requirements and should be acquired before traveling to Italy. Ensure that your travel insurance covers overseas medical costs and care.

Preventative Measures and Restrictions Related to the COVID-19

The Covid 19 restrictions to enter Italy have been lifted. You do not need to provide your status on entry unless you are visibly sick. If you are noticeably sick and test positive for Covid, you will either be isolated in Italy or moved to your home country, with the help of emergency consular assistance.

How to Gain Access to Italy

Different kinds of visas can give visitors access to Italy: tourist visas, short-stay visas, long-term visas, and Schengen visas. It’s important to note that by the end of 2022, eligible non-Europeans will be eligible to apply for ETIAS for Italy to enter the country. The application process is quick and easy and it can be carried out online.

The Bottom Line: Is Italy a Safe Country?

Italy as a country is about as safe as it can get. It is ranked 34th place in the world on the list of safe countries. The only real problem concerning safety in Italy is the unpredictable natural disasters and the pickpockets. Emergency services are always ready to handle the situation of disasters, carrying victims to public and private hospitals as needed.
As for the pickpockets, they can be handled by the Italian police. Although it is relatively safe to visit Italy, visitors must provide their medical insurance in case of a medical emergency.
There are widespread drug penalties that vary according to location for the misuse of substances. The penalties are not based on the effect of the substance but on whatever the territory decides. Visitors should always be wary of strikes, especially cab drivers, usually on short notice.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

FAQs

  • 1. Is it safe for US citizens to travel to Italy?

    It is relatively safe for US citizens to travel to Italy. When US citizens get to Italy, they should stay alert and wary of pickpockets, as they are present in large numbers, especially around tourist locations. There have been no cases of terrorist attacks in Italy so far; however, the chances are threats of possible attacks are increasing. Cases of violent crimes are also relatively low.
  • 2. Is it safe to travel in Italy alone?

    Solo travel to Italy is safe, and anyone can partake in it. It is advised to travel as a team of solo tourists, or to make some friends on the trip, as it can help to keep you safe. As a solo traveler in Italy, you will also come in contact with other solo tourists, and you all can have a good time together. If you do not mind traveling and exploring alone, then Italy is a great place for solo travel.
  • 3. Is it safe for a single female to travel alone to Italy?

    It is safe for female travelers to visit Italy alone without the fear of getting into trouble. With the standard safety precautions everyone should take, it is safe to travel alone to Italy as a single female.
  • 4. Is it safe to travel to Tuscany, Italy?

    It is safe to travel to Tuscany. Tuscany is very safe compared to other cities in the world. There are 41% less violent crimes and 24% less general crimes in Tuscany than the national average. It has an estimated crime rate of 3,216 per 100,000 people, giving it an A+ in security and safety.
  • 5. Is it safe to travel in Naples, Italy?

    Safety in Naples is tricky, as the city has a considerable level of organized crime. However, it does not affect the rate of tourism because tourists can avoid organized crime if basic safety precautions are put in place. It is Italy's fourth most dangerous city, after Milan, Rome, and Turin. The media has painted Naples as one of the most dangerous cities in Italy; however, some news and events are fake, and you will do just fine in the city with basic security measures.
  • 6. Is it safe to travel to Venice, Italy?

    Venice is a very safe tourist travel destination. Tourist destinations are prime locations for pickpockets, and Venice is no exception. Tourists in Venice should keep an eye out for them and keep their belongings safe.

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