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Is my friend's perspective on Italy safety

Is my friend's perspective on Italy safety

Jan 17th, 2006, 05:22 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Is my friend's perspective on Italy safety

Hi, I'm sure this has been covered before but I could not find a post, so please donít flame me. Otherwise, any comments are appreciated.

I've been planning a trip to Florence, Rome and Naples...mid Feb. I went to a good friends house last night to discuss my trip....as he backpacked Europe during his youth and was will to offer some advice.

The first words out of his mouth were "why Italy, they are nothing but thieves, the cities are dirty and it's not safe". He went on to say that I'll most certainly get mugged, gassed with chloroform on a train or at the very least pick pocked or harassed. Ok, so he has a very low opinion of Italy, apparently all of the above happened to him during his trip.

Ok guys, Iím 47 M, in pretty good shape and always able to take care of myself. However, I donít know how serious to take my friend. I want to go and have good time, but not at the expense of needing to look over my shoulder consistently.

Any thoughts on your safety experience in Italy would be appreciated
Refurbit is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:29 AM
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"....as he backpacked Europe during his youth (emphasis mine..."

and how long ago was that and what sorts of little holes in the wall was this person lurking in?

Anyone who generalizes about an entire country being anything especially this kind of BS should put you on the alert that you're using a questionable information source IMO.

In this case, don't let sentiment get in the way of better judgement.

Intrepid1 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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I've been to Venice twice, Florence once, and as a female I'm getting ready to take on Rome with only my elderly mother and younger sister for protection. Gasp! Three women alone in one of the largest cities in Italy.

In all honesty, I've never felt unsafe or threatened in Italy and I don't find the cities any dirtier than other large cities in the world. It's a fabulous country with wonderful people and gorgeous sights, not to mention great food.

Take your friend's words with a grain of salt and use the same precautions you would anywhere else. And have a great trip!
Statia is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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There's crime in any city or country you go to. Your gut instinct should always be trusted, but we've never had one second of problems in our travels. Use common sense, watch your belongings, don't flaunt your money etc..
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:43 AM
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And some Europeans think that we are mad renting a car and driving in Miami; we're sure to get mugged and/or shot if we get lost.

Be sensible, as you would anywhere where you're on unfamiliar territory. And have a great time!
Tulips is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Hi R,

Pish tosh.

I felt safer in Naples than in Atlanta.

Just take the usual precautions.

ira is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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Sounds to me like he was there 30 years ago. Are you really that gullible? Don't you read/watch the news? Have you read dire warnings in the guidebooks you are (presumably) using to plan your trip? Aren't you aware that tens of thousands of American students go to Italy to study and tour every year? Not to mention the thousands of tourists Italy takes in annually. Don't you think this European Travel Board would be FULL of dire warnings if things were that amiss in Italy? Think about it..........

Maybe the reason you couldn't find a post on this topic is that it's indeed a non-topic.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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Maybe he's jealous that you get to go to Italy and he doesn't? His poorly veiled attempt to keep Italy all to himself isn't working on you, I hope.

Honestly, I believe that often people see what they want to see in any place that they visit. Not to minimize the purported trauma of his visit, but do your own research on the crime rates, less savory neighborhoods (all cities have them in any country), etc.

Having been to Italy 7 times, 6 of those as a female solo traveler, I can't imagine that you'll be gassed on a train; however, it's always best to be aware of your surroundings.

Go, have fun, and send your friend a postcard.
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:46 AM
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Thanks much everone....!
Refurbit is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:48 AM
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I'm not going to give him a second thoughts!
Refurbit is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:54 AM
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Just about everyone who opens your message and reads it has traveled to Italy themselves or is planning a trip to Italy. None of us would be doing so if it were as dangerous as your friend contends. Many of us have gone more than once. We are not doing it to punish ourselves.
Nikki is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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Your friend is a very sad individual. He has been to Italy without understanding anything about this beautiful, civilized, sophisticated country. Of course there are crooks in Italy, as there are in every part of the world. I have travelled in Italy many times over the past twenty-five years or more, I've got lost in the back streets of Napoli, wandered into strange towns in Sicily, caught trains, buses, trams and boats, stayed in cheap hotels, eaten in restaurants and drunk in bars of every kind, and will have no hesitation in going back there again and again. Where does your friend go for his holidays? Obviously not Italy, so you'll be able to tell him what he's missing.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 06:08 AM
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<< However, I donít know how serious to take my friend....>>

Not seriously at all. Italy was NEVER like that--not in 1963 when I was first there with my parents, nor in 1972 or -3 when I was there for a month with a friend, taking trains and buses from Milan to Sicily, and not in recent years. (The only time I felt mildly uneasy was in Rome in the 1970s, but nothing seriously bad happened.) I suppose if you were to seek out the sleaziest, seediest, roughest places in each city and present yourself as a target, you could find trouble. But, compared to some places where I've worked or gone to school, I've found Italy to be a wholesome, nonthreatening place. Just be vigilant in big cities like Rome and Naples, as you would be in NYC, and be a little extra careful in and around the Florence train station.
cmt is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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And I have been at the Florence train station many times and never once felt bothered or threatened. Refurbit, woman go to Italy by themselves and stay there by themselves and come home to tell about it. The only complaint seems to be they want to go back again immediately and can't. Have a wonderful time in Italy!
LoveItaly is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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As you have guessed this person is in left field without a mitt. Italy is perectly safe as long as you take the usual precautions you do in any city (don;t wander down dark alleys at 3am, stay out of slum neighborhoods etc).

(Perhaps he tried to sleep in a RR station overnight and had something stolen, or drank too much and suffered the consequences. In any case his POV is highly inaccurate.)
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Italy is wonderful. You will have a fabulous time. Don't wear shorts and hold your maps in front of your face with your wallet sticking out of your pants pocket. Other than that, you will be fine.

One side note, I have never been to Naples, but of the places you mention, that would be the most unsecure. Our tour driver stopped going there after 3 of his vans were stolen. We saw the outskirts on our way to Pompeii and it didn't look like much. Maybe add Venice instead? Ahh...Venice.
kelliebellie is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 12:09 PM
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Some people like to be know-it-alls bearing bad news. Anyone who says all of any place is dirty, all people are thieves, etc. just likes to hear themselves talk.

As a solo female I've managed to make it in and out of Venice several times unscathed.

Certainly there are some things that are a bit intimidating or confusing if you don't speak Italian (a transfer at the Milan train station comes to mind) but I very much doubt your life is at risk.
suze is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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You will find the same dangers in New York, and any major city.
I'd find a new friend.
tondalaya is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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Is the United States board full of questions like this from Europeans?
Just curious.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 02:48 PM
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Actually I know people in Italy that view the United States as some people view Italy...a killer,robber or rapist on every corner. These are not Italians I am close friends with but I have known them for decades and they hold firm to their belief of how dangerious the US is. Of course these Italians are ones that never travel out of their own country. They go to their mountain house or their seaside house for vacations and that is it.

Imagine they get all of their ideas from Hollywood. Heaven forbid they should do some travellling and find out what the world is really like.
LoveItaly is offline  

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