dangerous in italy??

May 1st, 2007, 12:30 PM
  #1  
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dangerous in italy??

I have heard an awful lot of people advising me to do certain things certain ways because it is dangerous, is italy really that dangerous or is it just the usual city dangers?
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May 1st, 2007, 12:32 PM
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City dangers? What city / cities in Italy do you have in mind?
MyriamC is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 12:32 PM
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What are you planning to do and in what certain ways?
TravMimi is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 12:34 PM
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If you do the usual dangerous things that some people like to do, you're in danger in Italy too. otoh, if you're not into doing dangerous things, you might not be in danger, but who knows, maybe it's dangerous?
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May 1st, 2007, 12:36 PM
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we are going to rome,florence/pisa, venice and milan. And by "things" I mean travelling on buses, in railway stations etc
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May 1st, 2007, 12:40 PM
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OP no doubt referring to scads of reports of being pickpocketed in Rome - several folks i know report problems with Gypsy kids swarming, something being spilled on them and someone offering to wipe it off, someone sticking a map in their face and asking directions... all the while accomplices are pickpocketing them. Or bags being snatched off them by speeding scooters or motorcycles. and on and on.

This is a problem in Rome mainly it seems but if you know the problem exists you just be leery of such folks coming up to you and go away. And carry all your valuables in a moneybelt and you won't have any problem. No strongarm muggings as in Barcelona or Madrid it seems.

I got off the train last January, a night train in Rome Termini and was looking at a posted schedule with my rolling backpack and daypack and two young guys came up and asked me, an obvious tourist, about a train to Torino. I just said i don't know and quickly walked away.

Were they planning to divert me and take my bag? Probably not but i'd rather be safe than sorry if that wasn't the case and the station has a dicey reputation, true or not.

So be prudent and you'll have no problem.
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May 1st, 2007, 12:43 PM
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I have never thought of Italy being dangerous. However if you are from America you might need to use a bit more common sense there than most people use now in the States. For example, in the states a place with wet slimy rocks and waves crashing on them would have a big fence and signs saying "slippery when wet" You won't find too many in Italy because you are expected to figure that one out. You have to be more aware of your surroundings in Itlay, so you don't trip and fall on 2000 year old bumpy cobblestones. This is probably the reason so many people love Italy because you take in ALL the signts and sounds. Sadly now many people in the states wander around in a daze because they know they will bump into a fence or wall protecting them from themselves.
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May 1st, 2007, 12:46 PM
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I'm from the Bay Area. I've been travelling in Italy since 1970, and I would never, ever describe Italy -- either the cities or the smaller towns -- as "dangerous." I'm more comfortable walking the streets of Rome at night than walking the streets of my beloved SF.

Anything can happen anywhere. And nothing can happen, too.

LucieV is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 12:52 PM
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>wander around in a daze
Check out these pages for last years winners.
http://www.darwinawards.com/
logos999 is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Mimi: i tripped on a perhaps 20-year old cobblestone in Naples in January and ended up in the ER! Bloody nose - blood all over - folks could not have been nicer and the ambulance trip, ER, stitches and doctor cost me $0 - no charge. The medical care i though was splendid and the price was right as well. In US i'd probably be suing the city for negligence when it was really my fault (i was eating a gelato and not looking down!)
I do think, however, that some foreign tourists are preyed upon in places like crowded areas and it's common in any large city, not just Italy. Paris, Amsterdam, etc. all have pickpocketing dangers.
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May 1st, 2007, 01:01 PM
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Well, this is what I reported on another thread as being in the news in the last few days in Italy, this murder really shocked the country:

A 23 year old girl who worked in a gelateria on Via dei Serpenti (an excellent gelateria, btw, that I know well, since I've stayed on that street before) in Rome was stabbed to death in Termini metro station two days ago by two young Roma prostitutes-a horrific crime-happened during the day-she was stabbed in the eye with the point of an umbrella, and it pierced her cerebral vein. No one helped the poor girl, and there were Italians all around-that's being discussed a lot in the papers at the moment-the lack of caring. So don't overdo it on how wonderful the Italians are, go back with more realistic expectations, -otherwise, you're you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect too much love and you get indifference instead.

However, you should not infer from this rare event that Rome is more dangerous-it isn't, at all-I've walked all around at night, and no problem. The only thing you need to be particularly on guard about is pickpocketing, which is a huge problem in the art cities of Italy.
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May 1st, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Palenque: So what happened to the gelato?? Squished on the street would be a tragdey!!

Seriously, happy that it was nothing worse.

To add to LucieV's comment...I, too, have traveled all over Italy for years, city and countryside alike...never felt any threat...then again, I'm from the mean streets of L.A. where one can get mugged... or worse, get a script shoved in your face when your only defense is "Let's do lunch!"

Stu T.
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May 1st, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Palen - so many people do trip. It's very difficult to look around at all the beauty and still remember to look down. I've lived in Italy off and on all my life and still forget to keep checking where I'm walking. The trick is to plan your route, I glance down and check out the 50' or so in front of me then sightsee. I do it often. Also I keep track of low hanging arches of buildings. ER staff in Italy know the trip and fall bloody nose treatments like the backs of their hands. I would say that is the easiest danger to come across. Don't think there aren't many Italians with a bandage across their nose.
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May 1st, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Girlspy, are you sure that these people were Italians?
Italy is being invaded by the Eastern's Europeans from Bulgary, Rumenia,Albania etc..,just to give you an example. These people knows the Italian language quite well and so is easy to presume that they were Italians.
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May 1st, 2007, 02:09 PM
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The "pickpoocket" problem is what it is. Imo, it is absolutely not a reason to spend travel time worrying about it. Just be sensible, as you would be anywhere, and you'll be fine.

Yes, I was mugged in Rome once, by the women who do the "pleeeeease, pleeeease, help me, my baby is starving" thing. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't a disaster either. (Hey, I've had my car broken into twice in SF.) And my 80-year-old Mom, a professional photographer who always travelled alone, had her camera stolen when she was on a train in Italy. Didn't deter her from returning the following September.
LucieV is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 02:55 PM
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I don't think Italy is dangerous in the way that most major US cities are...petty crime is something that you need to watch for. Pick pockets will take advance of someone that's an easy tarket so make sure to protect your belongings when in crowded areas.

I've been to Italy 4 times and have never felt threatened so I wouldn't describe Italy as such.
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May 1st, 2007, 03:07 PM
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hi, girlspy -

how terrible. i know that gelateria too as we stayed opposite it in an apartment last easter. the local cops thought it was great too cos they'd come in for their very large gelati while we were there. [don't know if they paid!]

it brings it home to you when you feel some sort of personal connection, however remote.

regards, ann
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May 1st, 2007, 03:40 PM
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I have never been seriously bothered by the pickpockets, gypsys, street sellers while in Italy.

My friend said "don't make eye contact and don't try to respond to the gypsys, streetsellers, when they come up to you - just say NO and walk away".

I remember walking by the Duomo in Florence, it was PACKED with tourists and gypsys with hands out. One family - wearing shorts and baseball caps, cameras around their neck, backpacks, huddled together with children near them - where being harassed by two gypsys. I don't know if they gave the gypsys anything, or if they got pickpocketed, but they looked pretty uncomfortable.

Honestly, I think the pickpockets and gypsys are like horses - they can smell fear.

I remember another time we were sitting near at a cafe near the train station and a gypsy girl..maybe 12 years old....came and stood right in front of our table with hand out...didn't say a thing...didn't even make eye contact (she had dead, emotionless eyes). We said No, and continued on our conversation...purse in lap and away from the girl. She eventually went away penniless.

So, just use common sense......say NO sternly when approached...and walk away if they continue to bug you.


FYI - I always carried a purse with me in Italy - no money belt. I had a zipper compartment in my purse where I placed my credit card, medical card and driver's license (for ID purposes). The main part of my purse carried my camera and a map and bottled water. That's it. I never walked around looking at my map...but would find a place to sit (aka, rest my feet) and do map checking then. I carried enough cash for the day in my front pocket. My purse zipped up and I carried it under my arm with zipper facing forward if I was in crowded situations.

Besides those incidents above - I have never, never felt unsafe anywhere in Italy. I am much more nervous walking around the downtown streets in my own city...and we are pretty tame compared to some American cities i.e., crime.

Enjoy, relax and don't let "war" stories worry you too much.
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May 1st, 2007, 03:55 PM
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Just spent 11 nights in Venice, Florence, and Rome with day trips to Pisa, Verona and Assisi. We did not visit Milan. I was traveling with my 17 yr old daughter, so it was just 2 females.

I never felt unsafe, but we were cautious as one should be in any large cities. We took trains between cities, took buses (water) in Venice and rode the subway and used buses in Rome. The only time we took a taxi was from our B&B in Rome to the airport on departure and on the way to the Vatican for Easter Mass (to save time).

Just ignore the beggars, keep important papers, etc in a money belt or neck pouch and you should be fine. I actually carried a small purse too with a little cash, maps, and other small things I wouldn't mind losing. Never had an attempt at a snatch of any sort. I also debated about a metal strap for my digital camera, but didn't bother buying one. No problem there either.
Deb15July is offline  
May 1st, 2007, 03:57 PM
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Hi guys,

I agree with everything that's been said....just be careful and you'll be fine. I was on the subway in Rome one time and saw two young pick pockets in action...one would scope out a potential victim, make a signal to his partner and then the partner would go for the goods. They tried it on a man, who happened to have a large wallet bulging out of his back pocket, but he felt them, yelled "GET YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF OF ME" at the top of his lungs, and the crooks got off together at the next stop.
It goes to show that they are looking for easy targets, this guys' wallet was practically asking to be stollen, it was so obviously poking out of his pocket.
Just use common sense and stay alert, like in any other big city!

Layla
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