So where is the danger, and how do you avoid it? Here's how to NOT be the next victim of pickpocketing.
The danger lurks in the same place as other cities; metro stations at night, overnight trains, crowded tourist areas, and is most prevalent in Europe's Summer months - a prime time for vacationers.
Thieves are also known to strike when travelers are taking their bags from the airport or city coaches. You might not be able to easily spot a pickpocket, as many of them dress very well, disguised in business clothes.
In Rome, specifically beware of Termini, the railway hub, the No. 64 bus (which shuttles back and forth to St. Peter's Square), and the trains to and from Fiumicino (the international airport).
Actually, my family were targeted while we waited for a train at Rome Termini. A couple were meandering around, reading the billboard advertising with unusual interest, which brought them within arm's reach of our bags. Direct, obvious eye contact and a raised eyebrow from me was all it took to let them know I was aware of their game. They moved on.
The Via dei Fori Imperiali, which stretches between the Coliseum and Piazza Venezia, and tourist hotspots like Piazza di Spagna, also attract ill-intentioned Italians.
Really, you should watch your back around any of the major tourist attractions in and around the city center, including the Trastevere, a major nightspot.
Also beware in the area around St. Peter's Basilica, including Trionfale, Via Emo, Prati and Piazza Cavour.
In Milan, another traveler recommends avoiding Central Station and after 9 p.m. Tourists should not walk the city late at night and instead opt for a taxi. Take special caution in Milan's Malpensa Airport.
In Verona, avoid Portoni della Bra, the City Gate, which is the entrance to Centro Storico of Verona. It's packed with tourists and pickpockets. If you need to stop at the Pisa station to change trains, be on the lookout for shady people.
In Naples, which some consider a particularly dangerous city, beware of dark alleys and streets, the Spanish Quarter, the main train station, and the Piazza Garibaldi.
Keep your eyes peeled in Internet cafes across the country - they're prime spots for theft.
Thieves in the city often use the "bump" technique to knock into a person and steal his or her wallet at the same time.
Also, use ATMs during the day and in well-lit areas. Check all transactions after using the machines, as "skimming" fraud, where your data is stolen, occurs in Italy.
Going without expensive jewelry and dressing like the Romans are ways to shake the stealers off your scent. Class it up a bit, and you'll blend in more. Even if you don't look Italian, some locals might assume you live there.
A traveler online echoes the sentiment, saying, "If you are standing on a street corner in shorts, flip flops, a University of Iowa T-shirt and a Nascar #3 hat, you are going to be hounded constantly."
Many travelers say not to put wallets in pockets ever. If you must, stash money inside pockets. As unstylish as they are, money belts may be your saving grace, but still only try to carry enough cash for the day in case someone does make off with it.
Go even further and don a neck-type of money belt. Sling bags are another option, but if a thief sees something valuable poking out of it and tries to rip it from you, an arm injury could occur.
Always look around, and if in a crowded area like a packed bus, hold your bag or purse in front of you tightly.
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