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Forget the stereotypes and myths about Italy. Here are five travel safety tips to avoid trouble on your vacation.
Italy is a mostly safe place to travel, and violent crime is rare. In the 2020 Global Peace Index, Italy ranks 31 out of 163 countries when it comes to safety and peace. In Europe overall, Italy is ranked 22 out of 36 countries.
Travelers should take usual precautions to avoid being a victim of theft, bag snatching or pickpocketing in Italy, like you would anywhere else.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Stay away from dark alleys, secluded parks at night and dodgy neighborhoods. Always walk in well-lit areas at night, and preferably with another person or group of people.
If you are unsure of the area, ask your accommodation staff about areas of town to avoid – and take their advice if they say it is safest to catch taxis at night.
Begging has increased across the country, and there are scammers who use begging as a tactic to distract you while their accomplice takes your valuables.
As for the mafia? They are more concerned with turf wars than tourists. So long as you aren't dealing with drugs or meddling in any shady dealings on your trip, you have no reason to be afraid.
Pickpockets are common in well-known, crowded tourist spots and transport terminals. Keep an eye on your belongings and keep your valuables close. Never leave your phone or wallet on the table while eating at a restaurant or cafe, especially outdoors. And never leave your bag over the back of the chair.
Italy has many famous religious sites, and for women travelers visiting a church or holy place, carry a scarf so you can easily cover your shoulders if you are wearing a singlet top, and be mindful to wear something which covers your knees, too.
Wear comfortable shoes, as you'll be walking around a lot, and many places in Italy have uneven, cobblestone paths and roads.
If you want to avoid potential catcalling from Italian Casanovas on the streets, don't show too much skin while out on a day trip. Stick to wearing beach clothing at the beach.
Traveling by train is one of (if not the safest) the best ways to get around Italy. However, look out for opportunistic thieves.
In the bars around Piazza Navona and Campo di Fiori there have been reports of drink spiking. Be cautious when visiting bars at transport hubs, such as Roma Termini and Florence's Santa Maria Novella station.
Never accept open drinks from strangers or new friends you have just met – insist you join them to the bar if you want to take up their offer of a drink from. Watch the bartender pour your drink, and never leave an open drink unattended.
If you start to feel woozy, or unusually drunk for the amount you've had, ask friends for assistance. Or, if you're alone ask the bar staff to call the police.
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