Italy Safety, security and travel

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Things To Do in Italy
  3. Safety and Travelling in Italy
  4. Weather in Italy

Safety And Security

The idea of safety and security is quite vague, meaning something different to various groups. But overall, the term refers to a condition of being protected from potential danger or injury. These dangers range from accidents to exposure to criminal activities. Notably, the law enforcement agencies in a country could only do so much to protect citizens and tourists from risks. Hence, individuals are often required to take responsibility for their safety by playing it safe at all times.

For this reason, safety and security are major concerns of tourists hoping to visit Italy. Questions like, “Is Italy safe for tourists,” and “how can tourists stay safe in Italy,” keep flooding media platforms. Here we look into some of these questions, along with tips to help families maintain safety and security while enjoying holidays in Italy.

Is Italy Safe?

Italy boasts of a fairly low crime rate, with little or no violence. The majority of the crimes recorded are petty, with activities like pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, and thefts making the list. However, more violent variants like gang fights, gun violence, or drug-related crimes rarely occur. Additionally, few cases of kidnappings have been recorded, whether involving citizens or tourists, while terrorist activities are between rare to non-existent. Given the low records of crimes and insecurity, one can safely say Italy is a relatively safe place to visit all year round for individuals, friend groups, and families.

Criminal Activities In Italy

As mentioned earlier, criminal activities in Italy are very low, with few recorded cases. These cases can be grouped into petty or non-violent crimes, and violent crimes. Accidents do occur as well, especially on major roads, with the majority of cases resulting from breaking traffic rules.

Petty Crimes: Petty crimes are mostly opportunistic, with perpetrators committing them only when the chance presents itself. Purse-snatching for instance mostly occurs in populated places, especially where a crowd is gathered. Tourists engrossed in sightseeing or other distracting activities often fall victim to these petty criminals. Pick-pockets also apply the same strategy, preying on unsuspecting tourists. The subways, buses or other public means of transportation are hotspots for these crimes.

Petty crimes like sales of counterfeit items, bait-and-switch of items, giving incorrect changes and other petty scams are common. Home break-ins also occur, with vacation homes often targeted. Some of these petty crimes can be prevented easily by paying attention to your surroundings at all times or choosing vacation homes with a working security system.

Violent Crimes In Italy 

Cases of criminals brandishing a weapon hardly occur, with even fewer cases of homicide recorded yearly. This alone ranks it among the safest countries to live in. However, the country records an alarming number of sex-related crimes, with up to 5,018 cases of sexual assaults reported in 2019 alone. While these crimes are relatively uncommon, adhering to certain safety measures could help you and your loved ones avoid such encounters throughout your Italian vacation.

Tips For Staying Safe While Vacationing In Italy

Families visiting Italy on holidays deserve the best experience, and falling prey to security-compromising situations would rob them of that. The following tips can help guarantee maximum safety and security for you and your family throughout your stay in Italy.

Double-check Euro notes received from currency exchange sources other than legitimate bureaux de change or banks.

When traveling locally, endeavor to use only officially-licensed taxis, marked by the “Taxi” sign on the roof.

Whether busy or not, always cross highways and freeways with caution, making sure to utilize zebra crossings. Also pay attention to oncoming vehicles, as most tend to jump the stop signs.

Adhere to all traffic rules and restrictions to ensure your safety and that of other commuters.

If you plan to engage in outdoor activities like skiing and hiking, seek the service of companies established in the industry. Also, ensure the tour guide provided is well-experienced.

Store valuable items in a hotel safe rather than carrying them around or leaving them lying unguarded in the lodge.

Minimize intake of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicating substances as they make you less alert and more prone to the activities of criminals.

Leave your vehicles locked at all times, whether or not it is occupied. This helps mitigate incidents of car robberies that have become prevalent in recent times.

Even after employing these safety measures, tourists may still fall victim to criminals. This is because most tourists are unaware of their environment, landmarks, or the activities of people in certain areas. Using the services of a tour guide can help reduce this risk to a minimum. However, families that opt to explore Italy on their terms could still keep safe by knowing the areas more susceptible to criminal activities. A rule of theirs is to stick to the city centres, small towns, the countryside, and leafy suburbs. These areas are safe and secure, posing no threat to tourists.

Health, Medical, Insurance, And Emergency Resources In Italy

Health is perhaps the most important factor to consider when deciding to embark on a dream vacation. This is because good health is key when it comes to having fun and making the most out of the vacation. Hence, the benefits of seeking out plans that ensure you stay safe and healthy throughout your vacation can not be overstressed.

A great way of checking all the boxes is by considering all available insurance options for travellers, equipping yourself with the necessary information to access the best healthcare at will, and becoming acclimated to the emergency network within the country. This is best done even before embarking on your trip as it ensures you and your family stay prepared for any emergency situation.

Medical And Healthcare For Tourists In Italy

The Italian healthcare system is not as complicated when researched beforehand. Some of the most common questions tourists tend to ask include, Is healthcare free in Italy? “Do I need health insurance to access healthcare in Italy? And what are the available emergency medical assistant resources for travellers? Luckily, this travel guide has it all covered.

Italy boasts of one of the best healthcare systems, ranking second-best in the world in terms of performance. While healthcare in the region is not free, the fees are quite affordable both for residents and tourists. Additionally, hospitals offer Emergency Medical Assistance to anyone, irrespective of nationality, without asking for upfront payment.

Italy recognizes health as a fundamental human right. The health system renders fundamental Assistance to anyone, irrespective of nationality, without asking for upfront payment. By implication, healthcare service is available to anyone present in the country at any given time, with mixed public and private systems. To make it more accessible, some healthcare services are completely free, while others fall under affordable basic healthcare plans like co-sharing. It is worth noting that foreigners in the country with a regular stay permit enjoy the same rights and treatment as any other Italian citizen.

How To Handle Emergencies

Emergencies happen unexpectedly, hence the name. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tourist visiting the city or a resident, these incidents can put one in potentially life-threatening situations if not properly mitigated. Therefore, before embarking on that trip with your family, it is important to equip yourself with the necessary emergency phone numbers within the city, as well as other tips to scale through any emergency during your Italian tour.

Notably, these emergencies are not restricted to medical issues alone, but also cover accidents, fire, or other forms requiring police intervention. As pressing as these situations could be, the law deems it a crime to offer medical assistance if you are not a doctor or qualified first aider. Likewise, failure to offer assistance during emergencies is also an offence in the city. This is not as confusing as it may look.

For non-qualified personnel, assisting in an emergency case involves calling the appropriate emergency service to the scene. Those qualified, who are present must offer first aid after witnessing such incidents. Emergency numbers are usually displayed at the front of all telephone directories making them easily accessible. Below are some life-saving tips to adhere to when visiting Italy.

  • Always have records of doctors, local hospitals or ambulance services on hand when in need of an ambulance, call the local ambulance service.
  • In times of life-threatening emergencies, call the free public first-aid number and give your personal details, where you are calling from and the nature of the emergency. Stay on the line until the operator says otherwise.
  • For medical emergencies occurring outside working hours, call the local duty doctor service, (Guardia Medica).
  • Those with pre-existing medical conditions can subscribe to MedicAlert to have access to a special internationally-recognized identification bracelet or necklace. These contain the necessary information about your medical history, and phone numbers to help medics obtain vital medical information in dire situations.
  • When confused about the required course of action, just dial 113, the free national emergency number.

Insurance Plans During Your Italian Vacation

What could make that long-anticipated Italian trip more glam? The assurance that you and your family are protected every step of the journey. Luckily, having a working travel insurance plan could guarantee that and so much more. Hence, before embarking on that vacation, consider purchasing one of numerous travel insurance policies available to Italian tourists. Pretty sure you would find just the right fit.

Why Get Insured?

No matter how prepared one might be, predicting when troubles or hiccups may come is near impossible. From flight delays to touring accidents, you can't rule out the possibility of encountering certain hitches that could disrupt your trip or cut into your travel investments or vacation budget. But with the right policy, tourists can rest assured they are protected at every front.

How To Pick the Right Travel Insurance Plan For Vacations To Italy

Seeing as the whole idea of an insurance policy revolves around unpredictable situations, the right insurance policy must cater to the most common hiccups tourists have been known to encounter. These include trip disruption, delay or cancellation, accidents or other medical emergencies and any baggage mix-ups.

It is advisable to purchase a plan as early as possible before the trip so you could enjoy the benefits for longer periods. The recommended time is within15 days of making an initial deposit for the trip, especially when using the services of agencies like AIG Travel, which offer specified waivers for early birds. Generally, purchases must be made at least 24 hours before the trip departure date. Here are some of the insurance policies available to travellers in Italy.

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance: This type of plan enables travellers to cancel a trip at will and get reimbursement provided the reason for the cancellation is covered by the policy. Purchasing a travel insurance plan while paying for the said trip offers maximum coverage. Usually, these reasons are either health-related. Some also cover cancellation due to grief, perhaps involving the loss of a loved one. However, those looking to cancel a trip for any other reason could upgrade to the “cancel for any reason coverage.”

As the name implies, this allows travellers to get some reimbursement for reasons not covered in the base policy.

  • Trip Interruption Coverage: One major setback to a long-anticipated vacation is a trip interruption. This ranges from a sudden health scare to unforeseen work emergencies requiring you to cut short the vacation. The trip interruption coverage ensures you get some reimbursement on that trip in such a situation. Hence, many liken this type of insurance to “having a safety net in place.”
  • Trip Delay Insurance: The trip delay insurance covers any expenses accrued due to a flight delay, including feeding, lodging, local transportation and sometimes booking a new flight. Delays may result from inclement weather conditions, stop-over flight delays, or faults from an airline.
  • Winter Sports Liability Insurance: The whole point of a vacation is to relax and have fun, and winter sports happen to be a major tourist attraction. Therefore, if you plan to hit the slopes with your family while vacationing, note that Italy requires all skiers to have winter sports liability insurance. This can be purchased easily at any ski resort in the country, costing about $3 per day for each person.
  • Baggage Troubles Insurance: As with most tourist destinations, Italy is a hot hub for thieves, especially the city areas overflowing with tourists and residents going about their daily lives. Hence, the possibility of baggage mix-ups or losing one’s properties is very high. While being vigilant at all times, especially in crowded areas like metro stations is the best way of keeping your belongings safe, having travel insurance that reimburses you for lost items can save you a lot of trouble. Luckily, several agencies offer baggage coverage as secondary coverage in a travel insurance policy. Usually, claimants must have filed a loss or theft report with local law enforcement authorities or a representative of the prime location.
  • Travel Insurance With Medical Coverage: The importance of having working health insurance coverage, especially during international travels, cannot be overstressed. To avoid accruing bogus medical expenses after suffering an injury or illness during a vacation, endeavour to purchase a travel insurance plan with medical coverage. This guarantees you access to free or subsidized medical care throughout the trip. In more adverse situations, tourists could also get emergency medical evacuation coverage, which covers the cost of medevac to an adequate facility during travels.

Getting Around Italy

Navigating your way as a tourist in Italy can prove very daunting, especially if you are completely dependent on public transportation. Most tourists opt for rental cars upon reaching the country to enable them to get around more seamlessly. This option can prove more expensive compared to the public transport system, but the overall convenience makes it worthwhile especially when traveling as a big family.

Most times, using a rental car might also require you to hire the services of a driver, as being road-worthy in Italy requires the individual to meet certain standards which differ greatly from the laws in your home country. And if you meet these criteria, all the better for you and your family. With these facts in mind, let’s explore all the available options for commuting within Italy and its environs.

1. Private Drivers And Airport Transfers In Italy

As previously mentioned, if you do not meet the necessary criteria to drive in Italy, or simply find the road-use laws incomprehensible, feel free to employ the service of private drivers. Italian drivers have a reputation for speed when it comes to reaching your destination timely. This makes it easier to commute between regions timeously throughout your stay.

Right from your arrival at the airport, you have choices of booking airport transfer services from the comfort of your mobile phone or PC. Many find that having a third party drive them around takes the bulk of the stress off them, thereby making the vacation all the more enjoyable.

2. Renting A Car

Travel experts recommend renting a car to make the most of your Italian vacation. While this option is not always feasible, it sometimes proves to be the most cost-effective means of getting to some regions that have no public transportation links. Some examples of rental companies many tourists swear by include Auto Europe and offering competitive prices.

3. Public Buses In Italy

Another road travel option Italian tourists could explore is the public bus system, which is a budget-friendly alternative. This option works best for routes that are not served by the metro system. Note that the Italian Peninsula has no national bus service. Hence, all public buses are owned and operated by individual companies.

A good example of such a service company is Flixbus, which services major and minor routes linking main cities and small towns alike. The buses under their network boast comfortable seats with onboard wifi to keep commuters engaged and comfortable even during long trips. Cities like Puglia, which are not well-served by trains, thrive on the local buses plying the region. However, before opting for bus travels, ensure you have lots of time on your hands, as they take noticeably longer periods to complete a trip.

4. Flying Within Italy

Tourists can navigate the various states in Italy using the air transport system. However, this option is not pocket-friendly. Additionally, they take the fun of sightseeing out of your trip. This is because while flying, tourists get to miss major marking points in the surrounding city, which they would have seen or passed through if travelling by bus. Not to mention the fulfillment one derives from a successful family road trip.

Notwithstanding, plying some routes may necessitate the use of flights due to convenience, time frame or unavailability of motorable roads. These include:

  • Mainland to Sardinia: A ferry is required to cross into the Island of Sardinia from the mainland, which may take up to 8 hours. However, flights can cover the same route within minutes, making it more convenient.
  • Mainland to Sicily: Like Sardinia, Sicily is also surrounded by water, and requires a ferry ride to navigate. Therefore, a flight can save lots of time and is more convenient and surprisingly inexpensive.
  • Rome to Reggio Calabria: Going to and fro this route may necessitate the use of an air travel system for convenience.
  • Milan to Puglia or Vice versa is more convenient by air.
  • Vernice to Southern Italy or vice versa: Given the distance, opting for air travel is advisable.

5. Ferries In Italy

Being a region marked by numerous water bodies, Italy relies on various ferry services to commute between the mainland and the Islands. Tourists hoping to get to Sicily by water can board a short car ferry ride from Reggio Calabria to Messina. Overnight ferry services are also available and are best for lengthy journeys. You can easily book rides online at Direct Ferries.

6. Traveling By Train In Italy

The metro system represents one of the best ways of travelling around Italy, especially when touring cities like Vernice, Rome, and Florence. Italy has a network of inter-city trains and regional services linking small towns and cities. This commuting option is fast, reliable, affordable, convenient, and time-efficient. The average speed of 300km per hour beats the speed of any other form of land transportation. Train stations are readily available in major cities, and easy to locate, making them a go-to option for most tourists.

Go To
  1. Introduction
  2. Things To Do in Italy
  3. Safety and Travelling in Italy
  4. Weather in Italy

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