Top tips for staying safe in Italy
October 21, 2019
Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations due to its beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine and globally recognized fashion market. Whilst places in Northern Italy, such as Milan, are known to have a lower crime rate than areas in the South, Italy is generally known to be a safe and easy country to travel around.
However, like any foreign city, there is always a risk of complications while you’re on vacation. If you’re planning a trip to Italy and want to be aware of how to stay safe, read up on the following tips.
Italy is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, specializing in quality leather goods and top designer brands. However, be careful to avoid knock-offs as you could be charged thousands of dollars if you’re caught with one. You can tell what’s legitimate or not by location – the fakes are normally sold on beaches or by street vendors and will be nowhere near what you would expect to pay.
Check the check
Restaurants in Venice and Rome are famous for offering food off the menu with enormous hidden costs, which is often expensive seafood. There have been a number of incidents where tourists have been handed the check to find hundreds of dollars added for the food they had not asked for and assumed to be free. Make sure you know exactly what you have ordered and approximately how much it will cost before you eat anything, or you could find yourself facing an extortionate check you can’t afford to pay.
Whilst you can expect scams and pickpockets in any tourist area in any country, popular scams in Italy include the pizza scam, where children offer you pizza and rob you when you’re not looking, and the gladiator photo scam, where men dress as gladiators and charge to be in a picture with you. Such people can be manipulative, and being aware of these scams and keeping your distance ensures you don’t run into any trouble.
As a rule of thumb, looking like a tourist makes you more likely to be targeted by pickpockets or scammers. Avoid money belts, large rucksacks and tourist merchandise to blend in with the crowd and have a smooth trip with less hassle.
Watch out for cars
Italy can be known for dangerous driving, with narrow streets full of speeding cars, motorbikes appearing as if from nowhere and vehicles parked across the sidewalks. As a pedestrian, double-checking when you cross the road is key. If you’re hiring a car, remember that you’re on the other side of the road to the one you’re used to and drive with caution.
Use common sense
Like any foreign city, you can ensure that you stay safe by applying common sense. Protect your valuables, don’t carry large amounts of cash and avoid walking around alone late at night and you should find that you have an unforgettable trip to Italy – for the right reasons.
This information is current as of 02/07/2019. This advice is provided for informational purposes only. This information is subject to change and you should always verify the most current information.