Stay Safe


Rome is generally a safe place, even for women travelling alone. There is very little violent crime, but plenty of scams and pickpocketing which will target tourists. As in any big city, it is better if you don't look like a tourist: don't exhibit your camera or camcorder to all and sundry, and keep your money in a safe place

. Conscientiousness and vigilance are your best insurances for avoiding becoming a victim of a crime in Rome. Remember, if you are pickpocketed or another scam, don't be afraid to shout Aiuto, al ladro! (Help, Thief!). Romans will not be nice to the thief.


Members of the Italian public are likely to be sympathetic if you are a crime victim. Police are also generally friendly if not always helpful. Carabinieri (black uniform, red striped trousers) are military police, and Polizia (blue and grey uniform) are civilians, but they both do essentially the same thing and are equally good, or bad. If you are robbed, try to find a police station and report it. This is essential to establishing a secure travel insurance claim.

Rome is home to two rival Serie A football clubs, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio, and there is a history of conflict, and even rioting, between the two. If you dare to wear anything that supports either of them, especially during the Rome Derby (when the two clubs play each other), make sure you don't wander into supporters of the other club, or you may be subject to heckling or even confrontation. Play it safe and refrain from openly supporting either club unless you are very familiar with the rivalry. If you are a fan of a foreign team playing in Rome (especially against Roma) be very very careful as a number of supporters have been stabbed over the past few years purely for being foreign.




Being the incredibly popular tourist destination it is, some of pickpocketing and bag or purse-snatching takes place in Rome, especially in crowded locations, and pickpocketers in Rome can get pretty crafty.

As a rule, you should pretty much never carry anything very valuable in any pocket. The back pocket of your pants is one of the easiest & most common targets. Keeping your wallet in your front pocket or in your bag is far from safe. You should consider using a money belt and carry only the cash for the day in your pocket.

Also beware of bag-snatchers--one popular technique that purse-snatchers use is to ride by you on a moped, slice the strap with a knife and ride off. They might also try to cut the bottom of your bag open and pick your wallet from the ground. Others will use the old trick of one person trying to distract you (asking for a cigarette, doing a strange dance) while another thief picks your pockets from behind. Bands of gypsy kids will sometimes crowd you and reach for your pockets under the cover of newspapers or cardboard sheets.

Termini (the main railway station), Esquilino and bus line 64 (Termini to San Pietro) are well known for pick-pockets, so take extra care in these areas. In Metro pickpockets are extremely skilled.

Remember that hotel rooms are not safe places for valuables; if your room doesn't have a safe give them to the hotel staff for safekeeping.

You don't have to be totally paranoid, but be aware of the danger and take the usual precautions.




Tourist scams

Read up on the legends concerning tourist scams. Most of them occur regularly in Rome and you will want to see them coming.

A particular scam is when some plainclothes police will approach you, asking to look for "drug money," or ask to see your passport. This is a scam to take your money. You can scare them by asking for their ID. Guardia di Finanza (the grey uniformed ones) do customs work.

Currently there are two middle-aged men working near the Spanish Steps. They approach you, asking where you are from and begin to tie bracelets around your wrists. When they are done they will charge you upwards of €20 for each bracelet. There are also two men in their early twenties doing the same thing in the Piazza Navona. If anyone makes any attempt to reach for your hand, retract quickly. If you get trapped, you can refuse to pay, but this may not be wise if there are not many people around.

When taking a taxi, be sure to remember license number written on the card door. In seconds your taxi bill can raise by 5, 10 or more euros. When giving money to taxi driver, be careful.

Be careful of con-men who may approach you at tourist sights such as the Colosseum or Circus Maximus. Eg. a car may pull up next to you, and the driver ask you for directions to the Vatican. He will strike up a conversation with you while he sits in his car, and tell you he is a sales representative for a large French fashion house. He will then tell you he likes you and he would like to give you a gift of a coat worth several thousand euros. As you reach inside his car to take the bag the coat is in, he will ask you for €200 for gas, as his car is nearly empty. When you refuse, he could turn angry and now demand money from you, any money, of any currency. Don't fall for such confidence-tricks - if something sounds too good to be true, it is.



Tourist traps


Whenever you will book your tour in Rome with me or not, I would like to warn you on the following tourist traps in Rome, at the airport/station and  its port.

I  noticed the proliferation of the internet advertisements  who promise the so called Driver-Guides or Chauffer-guide, but please note that these fellows are illegal in Italy.

Please remember that a driver is a driver ... and be aware of " driver guides " as they are not official tour guides of Rome as a real tour guide must be licensed by local authorities after the legal and public written and oral exams of tourist guide.

The drivers in this case are cheating you as they cannot operate as guides.

A Tour guide is fully trained to offer commentary on driving tours plus provide walking tours and tours inside historical sights and museums.


A Driver can only provide transportation and may only speak limited English (without mentioning that every stop you should be waiting for him to park  his car to reach you).
Those who hire just a driver thinking that he is also a guide will never experience Rome or any great historical sites in Italy in the right way; sometimes is better not having any tour or ground service than risking to ruin your Rome discovery, something that I consider a lifetime experience.





In an emergency call 112 (Carabinieri), 113 (Police), 118 (medical first aid) or 115 (firemen). Carry the address of your embassy or consulate.