Wondering how to stay safe in Rome or if Rome is a safe city?
Rome IS a safe city. But there are things that you can do to help make you feel even safer.
I hear this question a lot, "Is Rome a safe place to visit?"
I think that question pertains in part to local crime, as well as how Italy and Rome has handled the Covid-19 pandemic, which is understandable.
My stock answer, without trying to over-simplify, is that Rome is a pretty safe city. For a city.
While it’s beyond the scope of this website for me to speak about possible terrorist attacks, I will say that I think Rick Steves put it best in this well-thought out Q&A about not letting fear take over and make us change our lives.
I don’t mean to downplay the possibility of something happening. But I can’t, and hope you won’t, let fear of this remote possibility stop us from doing the things we want to do.
I’d group the different ways to stay safe in Rome into these categories:
Is Rome a safe place to visit in the time of Coronavirus? I have a whole page dedicated to the impact of Covid-19 on Rome here.
To answer specifically how to stay safe in Rome while Coronavirus is still a risk, here's what I know:
At the moment it is mandatory for everyone over the age of 6 to wear a face mask at all times indoors. (From June 28, this was relaxed slightly to allow you to take off your mask when outdoors and at a distance from other people.)
Whether you are visiting museums, outdoor sites like the Colosseum, or churches, you will need to wear a mask while sight-seeing, which will keep both you and others around you safe.
Regularly sanitize your hands - you will find plenty of hand sanitizer available at all sites - and ensure you maintain social distancing.
There are various rules and regulations that sites have to enforce for visitors to keep everyone safe, so always follow the advice and directions from the staff throughout your visit.
Whether you're grabbing a quick sandwich or sitting down for a long dinner, some simple steps will keep you safe in Rome when eating out.
All eating establishments are required to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene, as well as limiting the number of people per table and ensuring tables are distanced. Some have also changed to online menus, reduced the table decorations and taken other steps to keep their customers safe.
Always sanitize your hands as you enter the bar or restaurant, and ensure you maintain a 1-meter distance from other diners when seated and moving around.
Face masks can, obviously, be removed while you are eating and drinking.
Hotels in Rome have to maintain high standards of cleanliness, so your room and all items inside it, including towels and bed linen will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to your arrival.
All staff members are required to wear face masks and maintain high levels of hygiene while working in the hotel, whether they are bar staff, housekeeping or on the front desk.
If breakfast is available, the hotel will make you aware of their procedure for serving this - self-serve buffets are not currently permitted.
Face masks are required while in all common areas of the hotel unless you are eating or drinking, but you do not have to wear them while in your room.
Hand sanitizer will be available, and you should remember to respect the social distancing rules in place throughout the common areas of the hotel. Some hotels may also take your temperature on arrival.
This may be surprising, but I believe the best way to stay safe in Rome is to avoid hurting yourself.
The way most people hurt themselves is simply by being distracted, which could be applied anywhere, not just when you're travelling.
Be careful about these:
Firstly, I am not preaching. There are lots of bars and nightclubs in Rome where people party, and that's normal. I sure did when I was in school.
I am not saying don't party! But be safe, just as you would at home.
Always go out with a friend and watch out for each other.
If you are visiting Rome alone, and want to go out and meet new people, exercise caution and try not to overdo it on the alcohol, and drink plenty of water.
I say all this because unfortunately, being drunk is one of the most common ways for people to have accidents. Rome has had incidents of hospitalisations and even deaths due to alcohol so please be careful!
It’s very easy to get overheated in Rome. You're walking a lot, the cobblestones can get super hot, and you may not realise how dehydrated you are. Here's my page with simple steps you can take to stay cool in Rome.
One way to stay safe in Rome in hot weather is to ensure you apply sunscreen and wear a hat, and carry water with you.
It’s easy to find drinking fountains in Rome, but it’s better if you carry a water bottle with you.
I often see people running across a street when they think no traffic is coming. Sometimes this is at a crosswalk, against a red light.
Sometimes this is just at a random spot in the street where someone feels like crossing.
Both of these activities are dangerous. An easy way to stay safe in Rome is to simply follow traffic and pedestrian rules.
I have seen many people bump into other people and even walk out into traffic, while taking selfies or looking at their phones.
You can easily hurt yourself if you're too absorbed, so to stay safe in Rome while walking around, just be aware that Rome traffic can be intense. Drivers can be aggressive so as a pedestrian or cyclist, you need to stay alert.
If you drive in Rome, especially on a bicycle or moped, be ultra cautious and obey all traffic signs. Many other drivers don’t, and sometimes make right turns from the left lane, run reds, etc.
If you ride a bicycle around Rome, you should also use a lot of caution when riding in traffic.
Always stay far to the right.
Go slowly so you can brake quickly if you need to.
When you see cobblestones ahead, slow down and be prepared for a bumpy ride.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear comfortable shoes.
The wrong shoes can cause painful blisters, aching feet or worse.
And flimsy shoes can easily break and leave you shoeless in the middle of a big, busy city.
As someone who travels a lot, and who also hikes a lot, I can tell you that taking along my own well-stocked first-aid kit gives me enormous peace of mind.
Most of the time, I don't need it.
But it's nice to know it's there.
Pickpockets don't generally have any interest in physically harming anyone. They want to steal and get away quickly.
Being the victim of a pickpocket would likely still put a damper on your trip and can make you feel vulnerable and unsafe.
So how can you avoid being pick-pocketed?
How can you avoid con artists?
This is another low-risk possibility but just be street-smart. Here are a few examples:
While you are at pretty low risk for identity theft, you should exercise caution where your credit cards and passport are concerned:
First of all, you should know the emergency numbers to call:
If you are American or Canadian, you can sign up with the Smart Traveler program that allows your embassy to contact you for emergencies or other warnings.
If you are staying at a hotel or someplace with a reception, find out if the reception is open 24/7 and if not, make sure to find out the hours. Find out how to reach your hotel, both physically, and also by phone, so if you get lost, you can make your way back.
If you are staying at a B&B or apartment without a reception, make sure you have a phone number of someone to contact in case of emergency. Make sure you know the address and how to find it if you get lost.
If you exercise adequate discretion, aren't overly trusting, and don't put yourself into risky situations, your travels should be about as dangerous as hometown grocery shopping.
Don't travel afraid — travel carefully.