Warning - Do Not Go To Pisa

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Oct 7th, 2018, 01:26 PM
  #1
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Warning - Do Not Go To Pisa

My family and I recently enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Tuscany. On our last day in Italy, a Saturday, our plans were to drive from Tuscany to the Rome Airport, spend the night and fly back to the U.S. the next day. My Daughter wanted to stop in Pisa on the way to Rome to see the historic sights. This proved to be a HUGE mistake. We drove into Pisa and parked in a public parking area on one of the main streets near the Leaning Tower. The parking lot we chose was on the Via Bonanno Pisano, right at the Campo Sportivo Dell'Abelone. We walked to the historic area near the Leaning Tower, enjoyed the sights and had lunch near the Leaning Tower. We were gone from our rental car for no more than two hours. While we were gone, our rental car (Medium SUV) was broken into (broke a small window in the rear door) and all of our luggage stolen. The thieves stole our four "roller board" suitcases, my briefcase, my Son's small duffel and my Wife and Daughter's Longchamp bags. Our passports were in our suitcases. All of our bags were in the luggage area of the SUV covered with a tonneau cover. The thieves had to be watching us as we exited our vehicle. There were many other cars around ours. All we had were our wallets and cell phones. You can imagine the absolute devastation we felt.

We called the police. They would not dispatch a car. We had to go to the nearest police station to file a police report. The woman at the police station who took the report seemed to care less, even though we were visibly distraught. Seems thefts in the city are commonplace. Having the police report did prove invaluable in helping to check into our airport hotel with no Passports, turning in our rental car, getting new Passports, etc..

The Hertz Employee where we turned our rental car in at the Rome Airport could also care less about the crisis we were now in. The employees at the Airport Hilton Garden Inn were very nice. The Delta Airline Employees were amazing. They were so helpful. We had to spend an additional day in Rome and go to the U.S. Embassy in Rome on Monday to get temporary Passports. The Embassy is closed on the weekends even for emergencies. At the Embassy there were several other citizens in the same boat (stolen Passports). The Embassy employees were great and quickly issued new Passports so that we could catch our Monday flight (same day). They told us that Pisa is indeed a problem and despite their complaints the Pisa police cannot seem to get a handle on the large amount of thefts in the city.

DO NOT GO TO Pisa. There really should be an official travel warning for this city. Everyone blamed "Gypsies". Not so sure about that. We otherwise enjoyed the city. It is simply not safe. We had the very best time in Tuscany. Our trip was ruined by our side trip to Pisa. We have been to Italy many times, visiting, Rome, Venice and Lake Como on previous trips. We have never had a problem. In fact we have traveled all over the world and not had a problem before.
mcurttravel is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 02:05 PM
  #2
 
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I commiserate with your travails but it really should be don't drive to Pisa and park in area of Leaning Tower- a natural place for car robbers to target. But if you go to Pisa by train it is probably much safer for street crime than Rome or Florence, etc. but good warning to folks driving and parking there but don't throw Pisa out with the car theft bathwater.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 02:08 PM
  #3
 
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Or just donít leave everything in the car? I donít care where you park, I wouldnít do that here in the US either. Especially the passports.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 02:13 PM
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Never leave luggage or valuables in the car, never leave passports in the car! Unbelievable.
Odin is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 03:19 PM
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Why mention Gypsies - a pejorative term anyway - Romani would be more PC in any case. Best not to speculate and perpetuate the stereotype of a thieving Gypsy.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 04:31 PM
  #6
 
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There are a few rules that travelers with any sense follow religiously, one of which is never leave your luggage in a car. Never. Anywhere. With regret, in this case, I blame the victim.
MmePerdu is online now  
Oct 7th, 2018, 04:49 PM
  #7
 
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The OP may not be back because this was their debut on Fodors. . . . but in the slim chance they come back . . . You simply can't blame a city. Your title should not have been >>Warning - Do Not Go To Pisa<<

>>Warning -- do not leave valuables in your car<< would have been more accurate/useful for others.

Any valuables -- but ESPECIALLY one's passports. It is a shame this happened to you but it was entirely preventable (and hopefully you don't get a bill in the mail next month for the fine for driving in the ZTL.)
janisj is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 05:01 PM
  #8
 
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It was a terrible situation for you to have to deal with. You were the victim of a rotten crime and it should not happen, ever, anywhere, under any circumstances.

It happens all over though. Our cars have been broken into in several cities in the US. Twice on busy city streets with tons of people around, twice in our own drive way in a beautiful residential area in SC. DH grew up in NYC. When it happened there, he did not even bother to report it to the police. A "funny" or at least "interesting" related aside, depending on your sense of humor. One evening after stuff was stolen in NYC, we saw a street person selling some of DH's things spread out on a sheet. Wrong? Of course, but it is not sensible to make it seem as though every city is totally unsafe or that only one has issues.

It is good though to share the lesson. There are often posts advising against leaving luggage in parked cars, but I guess not often enough for you to see one. Hopefully, others will learn from your experience.
Sassafrass is online now  
Oct 7th, 2018, 05:09 PM
  #9
 
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I always carried my passport on me at all times - if something befalls you it's your ID card - and I have actually on rare occasions been asked for one by local cops. (Like a Jay Walking ticket in Vienna.)

But one thing said above was that 'it's your fault for carrying valuables in the vehicle. Well the OP was just stopping by Pisa's Tower en route to driving elsewhere - what were they supposed to do in that case? They'd have to leave all that baggage while going to Leaning Tower? Or just never ever leave a car in a parking with that stuff in it? I guess you'd have to leave one person in the car and take turns trekking to the Leaning Tower.

I would hope public parkings in such an area would have some security - maybe it was an inside job?

Anyway hope your belongings can be covered by Homeowner's Insurance such as I have - covers losses anywhere if documented.

Good luck!
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Ok I don't fault the OP and family for leaving their items locked in their rental car. I read this as a stop on the way to Rome. So where were they supposed to leave their items if in Pisa for only a few hours? So I think blaming them for that isn't reasonable. I always have my passport on me. There are some who say that isn't smart but I use it as identification if needed. I am also going back to Pisa next month but I will not be driving.

There was a poster here who had their rental car and all luggage stolen in either Spain or Portugal. It was a seasoned traveler and they picked the locked on the trunk. So it can happen to anyone. It happened to my uncle when he was moving to NYC. He was on this final interview in the city and they broke into his car and took all of his belongings. I don't believe any of these people were being careless. It's unfortunate but it happens so please don't blame the victim. You just might be the victim next time.
sassy27 is online now  
Oct 7th, 2018, 05:59 PM
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>> . . .so please don't blame the victim. <<. The victim in this case blamed the city. That is not fair either.
janisj is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 06:12 PM
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I have been the victim. And I blame myself. I mean, I feel bad for the OP, but thatís pretty much on them. Your uncle probably felt similarily angry with himself. Parking garages and trailheads around here have warning signs exactly because of this. It sucks, but the best option is to not go sightseeing or even into a shopping center if everything you own, including your only legal form of ID, will be left unattended in the car.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 06:35 PM
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You certainly do not blame the city; this could happen anywhere.

As to what the OP should have done as this became an unplanned stop on the way to somewhere else? For one, perhaps they should have taken turns exploring Pisa. We will be driving in Sicily in a few weeks. I know we will never leave our car with all of our things anywhere. And our passports would be on us. This is not to be blamed on Pisa.

Truly sorry for the OP, this was a horrible thing that happened.
socaltraveler is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 06:50 PM
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I just came back from NYC and left all my luggage in the trunk of my parked car. I had no choice as I was attending a convention. So was I supposed to skip the convention as I had to leave the hotel? Saying never to leave luggage in a locked trunk isn't always practical. How about leaving shopping bags in the trunk and going to another store? Is that a no to? This situation was unfortunate but sometimes you have no choice.

As for blaming the city, if it is a known problem then yes, I would expect the city to do something. Maybe if people are caught and punished instead of turning a blind eye it would help. Like when my Atm card was skimmed. I reported it to the police and when investigated, they said the security camera was disabled as it was in a secure area in the airport. I never heard back but I sure hope they didn't dismiss my reporting of it and to this day I tell people never to use any Atms at that airport and to be very careful in that city.
sassy27 is online now  
Oct 7th, 2018, 07:08 PM
  #15
 
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It seems reasonable to leave one's luggage locked in the trunk, hidden from view, in a paid parking lot, in a touristy part of town, even though there are often signs warning you NOT to do so. I have done it many times in Europe though never in Pisa. I have left my laptop in the car and having that stolen would have been awful. (I am pretty careful not to be SEEN putting valuable stuff in my trunk; I try to do that before I park so no one watching me would assume I have anything valuable in the car.)

However, I personally would never, ever leave my passport in the car. EVER. My rule is: passport is either with me or safe at the hotel. Of course, had the OP kept passports on hand, valuables would have been lost anyway, a huge trauma would still have ensued, but a lot of the stress of getting new passports, etc. could have been avoided.

Yes this could absolutely happen in any touristy city, not just Pisa. How unfortunate for the OP, but as others have said, I feel the anger at the city of Pisa is misplaced.
Andrew is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 07:41 PM
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Actually, their luggage was not locked in the trunk. In was in an SUV with that little cover that pulls over stuff. Honestly, if people have that cover pulled out, I would always guess they had stuff under there.��
Crimes shouldn't happen. It does.
They should have had passports with them. Can't imagine putting them in luggage. However, I was with someone who did. It was a terrible experience. Their luggage had already been picked up. It had to be found and returned to security before they could depart. Horrible!
Sassafrass is online now  
Oct 7th, 2018, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Never leave luggage or valuables in the car, never leave passports in the car! Unbelievable.
Not very realistic other than the passport advice given that the OP and his party were on their way to the Rome airport.
Michael is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MmePerdu View Post
There are a few rules that travelers with any sense follow religiously, one of which is never leave your luggage in a car. Never. Anywhere. With regret, in this case, I blame the victim.
The implication is that if I were traveling from Paris to Dijon by car, I would have to go directly to Dijon to drop off my luggage at the hotel before backtracking to visit places like Sens, Auxerre, etc.
Michael is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 08:08 PM
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Whether leaving luggage in a car while visiting somewhere on the way to the final destination of the day should always be a key consideration when choosing an alternative before the trip during the itinerary selection stage. Yes, many people equate, "It has not happened to me yet" to be equivalent to "It will never happen to me." But if you think about it, the latter is an irrational conclusion.
It is not always possible to get both at the same time - convenience of stopping by on route and the luggage security.
Which are the valuable items that need to be kept with you all the time differs at home and during the trip. Many people I have traveled would mention,"This is how I always do it at home." If you think about it, if you are left with passport and one credit card, you can conceivably continue the trip despite added expenses. If you lose passport, this nearly always requires major changes to the itinerary on top of time and money loses.
greg is offline  
Oct 7th, 2018, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by greg View Post
Whether leaving luggage in a car while visiting somewhere on the way to the final destination of the day should always be a key consideration when choosing an alternative before the trip during the itinerary selection stage. Yes, many people equate, "It has not happened to me yet" to be equivalent to "It will never happen to me." But if you think about it, the latter is an irrational conclusion.
It is not always possible to get both at the same time - convenience of stopping by on route and the luggage security.
Which are the valuable items that need to be kept with you all the time differs at home and during the trip. Many people I have traveled would mention,"This is how I always do it at home." If you think about it, if you are left with passport and one credit card, you can conceivably continue the trip despite added expenses. If you lose passport, this nearly always requires major changes to the itinerary on top of time and money loses.
Agree with all of that. And once it does happen to you, youíre far more willing to NOT make those stops on the way to the airport. Someone mentioned shoppingóand no, if I have expensive shopping in the car, especially electronics, Iím not leaving it in the car. Iíll make that stop last, so I can head straight home. Thatís not to say I never do itóbut if I do, itís someting like a cooler, or only clothing, and Iíd still be really leery of leaving it in a SUV. Because covering it up in an SUV is pretty much like free advertisement for thieves. In that case, they didnít need to be even watching the OP pull up and park. They know what a rental suv full of luggage looks like.
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