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Best purse/messenger bag to bring while travelling

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Although we're originally from NY and pretty street smart, I've read so much about pickpockets in Italy that I am concerned as to what type of bag to carry, especially in Rome. We will definitely will wear money belts. What type of bag do you recommend to carry other items such as a camera lens, water bottle, guide book etc. Should I carry a purse or is a messenger bag better? It seems as if backpacks are out of the question. Please share your ideas and what has worked for you. Thanks!!

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