Travel Warning for Italy - Should I Go?

Old Nov 8th, 2002, 02:25 AM
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Travel Warning for Italy - Should I Go?

We have been looking forward to our first trip to Europe next week, a trip to Florence, Rome and Venice. Now I have been alerted to the fact that there is a US Department of State warning for travel to Italy.

Here is the link.

I am torn about whether to go, or to postpone. I won't cancel, we could go next spring, with only a penalty of $100 per airline ticket and no loss of funds from hotel reservations. I am leaning toward postponing. The loss of $200 is woth the peace of mind. Does anyone have advice?
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 02:29 AM
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If you paid attention to every travel warning, bubonic plaque threat,scare tactic unleashed by CNN or your war-mongering president or our war-mongering Prime Minister , you'd never leave your house.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 02:31 AM
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go is absolutely right. Go, Linda!

Besides that, nobody on this board can decide for you.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 02:43 AM
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This "warning" isn't a warning on terrorism. Instead, it points out that there will be "peaceful" anti-war demonstrations in Florence.

I wouldn't change my travel plans because of this event

Here's the text from the state dept web site:

"This public announcement is being issued to inform Americans resident and traveling in Italy of potential disruptions related to the meeting in Florence of the European Social Forum (ESF) from November 6-9, 2002. This announcement will expire on November 15, 2002.

The ESF, an anti-globalization gathering, is expected to attract 18,000 attendees for a series of meetings in Florence November 6-9. It will culminate in an anti-war rally and march on November 9 expected to attract 100,000 participants. The organizers have assured local authorities that their intention is to hold a peaceful meeting. Security will be tight in and around the city of Florence during that time period. In the past, demonstrations including some of the groups associated with the Forum have become violent. At last year's G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, large numbers of protestors were arrested or injured, and one was killed.

Travelers should be aware of heightened security and potential delays entering Italy during this period. Travelers in Florence should follow news reports, avoid crowds, and exercise caution. Particularly, travelers should avoid the area between the Fortezza da Basso and Campo di Marte on November 9, when the anti-war rally is scheduled to take place."
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 02:50 AM
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I would like to point out one more thing. Many Americans are concerned with being singled out as Americans.

You've got to understand that when you are in Europe, most people (even visitors) are not American.

Believe it or not, unless you begin to speak (loudly), you will look just like any other tourist from any one of many countries. Most tourists in Europe are NOT American.

Have a great time.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 03:02 AM
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If you're not going until next week, why worry? The conference will be over tomorrow and the protesters will move on to the next place.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 05:02 AM
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An unqualified "GO"!
We just returned from our third trip to Italy since 1999 and felt no less safe than on our two previous 9/11 trips. The only difference was that there were fewer Americans there than in the past.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 05:27 AM
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I grew up in Florence Italy and can assure you that it is probably the most welcoming place in Europe to go. As the heart of the Renaissance it is an intellectual environment and those rallying are most likely educated students. Unless you plan on demonstrating pro-America and flaunting the fact that you are an American, I wouldn't worry. But even if you do, I would expect nothing more than an intelligent debate with a bilingual Italian.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 08:16 AM
Bob Brown
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I agree with the person who talked about the "war mongering" announcements. Those jerks are just trying to prove that they are there.
It is like Chicken Little screaming that the Sky is Falling. Scream it long enough, and no doubt it will.
Then after the disaster, if able, you can say "I did my job."

I don't deny that attacks can and will take place. But we have been warned so much, and so often, and so vaguely that I have become insensitive. A good analogy: A few years ago the fire alarm in my office building kept going off. Several times in 6 months false alarms caused us to evacuate and stand outside in the rain. Then one day a real fire broke out. Many people paid no attention to this alarm because the previous 10 times had been false. The unbearable noise finally drove me outside where I was serenaded by approaching fire truck sirens. That was the last time I saw the inside of my office, or my desk.

Those travel warnings are so non specific that they could apply to anywhere in any form. If you heed all of those things, as already said, you will dig a hole, dive in it, and pull the dirt in behind you. I question strongly that constant alerts of a non specific nature are worth anything. Each false one tends to devalue future ones, and eventually no one listens.
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 08:57 AM
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This week there is a scheduled anti-war protest in Florence --- CNN story at

However as you'll be going NEXT week, I'd continue with your trip plans. Exercise caution, but if I was in your shoes I'd definitely go. Heck, give me your shoes and I'll take the trip !
Old Nov 8th, 2002, 09:04 AM
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You need to decide if you are going to be so nervous as to ruin your enjoyment. If you think you will be, then postpone. Italy will still be there. However, if it were me making the decision I would still go, I think it is a negligible increase in risk judging by all the previous demonstrations. If you are going to be in Florence during the demonstrations, avoid the area where they are happening if it makes you uncomfortable. You are probably not planning on being in the areas of the demonstration anyway. Different people have different levels of discomfort in the same circumstances, no-one is right. Do what makes you feel safest.
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 12:53 PM
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Rome will not go away. However, terrorist attacks won't either. 30 years from now and they'll still be there. Postponing a trip to next year won't change your risk.

Therefore, decide if you really want to go. If so, do it. The risk won't go away. There is risk (chance of you being blown up or losing a leg). There are no easy answers. If you don't go, however, you'll never see Rome.
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 12:55 PM
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Staying home also has a risk. Your gas water heater could blow up. You could be killed in a store robbery. Both events are remote. The chances of getting killed in Rome are also remote. The chances of some American getting killed somewhere in Rome is high, in my opinion.
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 01:05 PM
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I was at the demonstration, nearly 1 million people turned up!!!!!, it was a civilized peceful march against all wars, a big success. Nobody hates Americans, many people including myself is very concerned about American foreign policies and future wars. You are very welcome to come to Italy and I can assure you that you will be very safe
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 01:06 PM
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The anti war/peace march was yesterday (Saturday) in Firenze. Unfortunately there was very little U.S. press about it (surprise surprise), but I received word from my daughter who is there, that everything was extremely peaceful. Quite a sight to see - 400,000 filling the streets of Firenze. There were some great photos on the site yesterday. The U.S. State Dept warning expires on 11/15, but the City is pretty much clearing out as we type. Hope this helps.
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 04:35 PM
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Check the front page of the Sunday NY Times for a wonderful picture of the demonstration in Florence. We've just returned from Italy and felt quite safe everywhere. Americans are not popular folks in the world that is for certain..I'd go before we are bombing will only get dicier I think.
Old Nov 10th, 2002, 08:50 PM
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i will be sad if you don't go.
just think of all us poor sods who will be sitting her driving among the crappy architecture and eating greasy food all week long.

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