Even before my trip to Rome, I heard numerous comments regarding tourist safety in this ancient city. So is it safe to travel to Rome? That was the big question that I needed to find the answer to. I decided to do some research and gather useful information which would help us avoid trouble during our stay in Rome.I realize that some things you just find out by experiencing them, but the more you know before you head out for your travels, the better. I hope that the information contained in my article will help you to stay safe and enjoy your trip to the fullest, so here we go……….
Rome in general is a very safe city for tourists, but it is a good idea to be aware and cautious about a few dangers that could be lurking around the corner. One of them is the issue of pickpockets, with which Rome is infested. With millions of visitors every year to the Eternal City, many of the tourists are unaware of these shameful practices. So the question is, which places should you stay away from, which places are safe and where should you use extra caution?
My Favorite – The Neighborhood of Trastevere
This amazing, vibrant, colorful, medieval neighborhood, situated across the river Tiber from the ancient city core, is home to countless bars and cozy restaurants, amazing Gelataria, tiny shops, spectacular nightlife, little piazzarias, gorgeous churches and a whole lot more…… it’s the place to be. Trastevere is very safe for tourists, easy to navigate around and conveniently situated. The reasonably priced B&B that I booked was situated on a quiet street, but close to one of the main streets in this hip neighborhood. After a long but amazing day of sightseeing and dining, we would walk back at night to our apartment. We felt safe at all times and didn’t encounter any trouble. We would definitely stay in this area of Rome again.
Beware of the Spanish Steps
I read the safety warnings about visiting the Spanish Steps prior to our trip, but I didn’t think that we would actually witness any trouble when visiting this famous location. I knew that the Spanish Steps and the surrounding area were crawling with pickpockets, so we decided to be extra cautious. My husband used his money belt to stash our Euros. I left my purse in our B&B and only brought video/photo camera with me (which didn’t leave my hand at any time).
We visited the Spanish Steps on a beautiful, sunny day. There was a large crowd of tourists on Piazza di Spagna, browsing around, and even more tourists sitting on the Steps themselves, enjoying the day.
We decided to visit the Renaissance church of Trinita dei Monti, situated at the top of the Spanish Steps. After enjoying the beauty of the church and an amazing view down the Steps and onto the Piazza, we started walking down the Steps. Since I was the designated vacation “photographer,” I stayed behind on the upper area, while my husband kept walking down. Busy taking photos, I suddenly heard people yelling behind me. When I turned around, I saw a woman being pressed against a wall by another woman with a cardboard sign in her hand. At the same time, the husband of the attacked woman was kicking the male accomplice. All of this took only a few seconds. The two attackers situated themselves at the top area of the Steps, which wasn’t busy compared to the lower area. The attackers were quite aggressive when trying to grab the purse from the female tourist. Fortunately, they didn’t succeed this time, but I have to think that not all tourists are that lucky…
Don’t let your guard down when visiting this most popular attraction. Beware of children running around in groups. There are a lot of gangs of young muggers around Rome’s main sightseeing areas . Watch out for people with cardboard signs…they are usually up to no good!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discourage you from visiting this beautiful sight, I just think that it’s better to be safe than sorry. The better prepared you are, the less the chance of an unpleasant surprise.
Avoid Termini Station Area
Termini Train Station is the main transportation hub for both local trains, and trains departing to the rest of the country. This is a busy place and caution is advised. Beware of pickpockets, luggage “helpers,” and people offering to help you find the platform you are looking for (for a fee!). I don’t think that it’s a good idea to trust any stranger with your luggage, since you might be forced to continue your travel without it….
The Termini area is not safe, especially after dark. It seems that the streets to the south of the station are more dangerous than the streets situated to the north. I wouldn’t recommend staying in this neighborhood while you visit Rome. You could probably save a few Euros on accommodation here, but would that be worth it?
We took the high speed train from Termini Station when heading to Naples and had no problems at all, but we were cautious. We declined any offers of help from strangers (with our luggage, or finding the correct platform). We held on to our belongings and stayed away from the crowds. Our train trip was very quick and enjoyable.
Exercise Caution in Crowded Places
When planning your Roman adventure, be aware of a few other places that are especially popular with pickpockets, who can not only “help” you to part with your belongings, but also can be very aggressive. Most of those situations occur:
- when walking from the museums to St. Peter’s Square (around the Vatican walls)
- around the Forum Romanum
- walking from The Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain along the Via dei Pastini and Via di Pietra
- visiting the Porta Portese flea marketTrevi Fountain
Watch Out For Pickpockets On Buses 64 and 40
These buses run from Termini Station all the way to St.Peter’s. The no. 64 has a reputation for being the worst pick-pocketing bus in the city, but not far behind in this ranking is the express bus no. 40. Be very cautious and hold tight to your purse or wallet (Anti-Theft Travel Totes or Travel Bra are a great idea).
Once again, this is not to scare you, just warn you of certain dangers that can be easily avoided. We took bus no. 64 on our way back from the Colosseum, and since we took extra precautions….nothing unpleasant happened to us.
Other Tips and Warnings
- Single women, be aware that bottom pinching and even inappropriate rubbing is common on city buses. If that happens, be very firm and show the perpetrator that you won’t put up with that kind of behavior.
- Wearing a money belt is an excellent idea. Find out more by checking out my link.
- For all you traveling ladies – The Travel Bra offers you security and piece of mind (check out the details of this amazing product).
- Anti-Theft Travel Totes are great to carry around. Click the link to find out more about this useful and practical item.
- Carrying your documents on you is probably not a good idea. Before you leave home for your vacation, make a few copies of your documents and always carry a copy instead of the original.
- Limit the number of items that you carry around when sightseeing, so you can have a better grip on them.
- Try to stay away from the crowds and be aware of your surroundings.
- Beware of Italian drivers….they are ALWAYS in a hurry!
- And the last warning….beware of people in costumes offering to pose for photos with you (for a fee – 20€ or more!)
To sum up…Rome is an absolutely amazing city and I would go back in a heartbeat. Do not get discouraged to visit this ancient gem. Just be cautious, and you will have an AWESOME TIME.
I hope that you find this article helpful, and I wish you safe and memorable travels!!!
I appreciate any comments or suggestions.
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