Rome Warnings and Dangers
Few cities in all the world can capture the imagination quite like Rome, with ancient Roman structures standing next to the center of the Catholic faith and artwork known around the globe. However, visitors who come to Rome must be aware of several dangers that can turn their vacation into a nightmare.
By far the largest danger to tourists in Rome are the pickpockets and purse-snatchers who go to the most-visited areas in search of easy targets. The best way to not become a victim of theft is to not carry anything of value on your person and to travel with guides who take care of all the payments. However, since this is costly and difficult and many people prefer to handle their own trip, it’s necessary to carry some cash. Use a traveler’s wallet instead of a normal wallet or purse, keeping money beneath your clothes instead of in pockets. LIkewise, avoid wearing showy watches or jewelry.
Sometimes, the thieves in Rome take a more direct approach. Rather than waiting for an easy mark, they’ll come up to you with some story in simple English, such as needing a train ticket or having a sick relative. With your attention on them, someone else may open bags or pockets to grab a wallet or a passport, or the con man may try to sell you some knock-off clothes or bag or watch. If someone tries to get your attention, the best approach is to ignore them, especially if you cannot speak Italian well.
Some travelers love to take the time to walk through Rome’s crowded marketplaces in search of a perfect souvenir. However, some shop owners take advantage of visitors by pulling them in to stores, demanding that they pay for the privilege, or over-charging them for junk. Additionally, some may try to get a photo of travelers and then demand money for the service.
Due to the huge number of tourists and the huge number of thefts or cons that take place in Rome each day, police will do little, if anything, to help visitors. Reports of police ignoring tourists for hours or even days are not uncommon. Filling out a police report might be a waste of time at best, and may result in harassment at worst, as police rarely go out of their way to help foreigners. What’s more, police who guard the famous monuments of the city may bully tourists, so be careful not to come too close or talk too loudly if they’re nearby.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Rome.