Stay Safe in Rome

Wondering how to be safe in Rome or if Rome is a safe city?

Crossing Street SafeOne way to keep yourself safe when you visit Rome is to obey traffic and pedestrian rules. So many people flit across streets against the light or even without a light. Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists are often hit in Rome and across Italy because they are crossing when and where they shouldn't. This is a very preventable danger!

Rome IS a safe city. 

But there are things that you can do to help make you feel even safer.

What it Means To Be Safe in Rome

I hear this question a lot, "Is Rome a safe place to visit?"

I think that question pertains in part to local crime like pickpocketing, as well as to the remote possibility of a terrorist attack.

For a time, people were asking if Rome was safe because of how hard Italy was hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

My stock answer, without trying to over-simplify, is that Rome is a pretty safe city.

For a capital 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 a terrorist attack 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.

Tips for Staying Safe in Rome Italy

I’d group the different ways to be safe in Rome into these categories:

Finally, here's how to get help if you need it.


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Avoid hurting yourself

I realize that most people are worried about pickpockets when it comes to saftey in Rome.

And we'll get to that.

This may be surprising, but I believe the best way to be safe in the Italian capital is to avoid hurting yourself.

The way most people hurt themselves is simply by being distracted and not being aware of their surroundings, which could be applied anywhere, not just when they're traveling.

Be careful about these:


Late night taxi for women:

Whether you are out late drinking or not, there is a special taxi service for women: Call 0635701 between 1am and 5am, and a cab will show up as quickly as possible, and wait to make sure you get inside safely, especially helpful for solo female travelers.

Rome does have a nighttime public transport service but this isn't always reliable.

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.

Only accept drinks in a safe environment, use your common sense about when you've had enough and never leave your drink unattended.

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 hospitalizations and even deaths due to alcohol so please be careful!

Avoid sunstroke

Dog Cooling in The FountainStay cool in Rome by using public transport where possible, drinking lots of water and following common sense tips

Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

It’s very easy to get overheated in Rome in summer.

You're walking a lot, the cobblestones can get super hot, and you may not realize how dehydrated you are.

Here's my page with simple steps you can take to stay cool in Rome.

One way to look after yourself 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 when it's really hot, it’s better if you carry a water bottle with you.

Be careful when Crossing the Street

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. 

Crossing streets In RomeI snapped this picture at one of the many crosswalks near the Colosseum. The pedestrian light is red, and many people see no cars coming so nonchalantly cross against the light. However, the street is curved and cars tend to come zooming up from behind the curve so this is a very dangerous way to cross this street.

Sometimes this is just at a random spot in the street where someone feels like crossing, even if vehicles are in plain sight.

Both of these activities are dangerous.

An easy way to be safe in Rome is to simply follow traffic and pedestrian rules, especially in certain areas which are extra busy, such as around Termini station.

Cell phones

I have seen many people bump into other people and even walk out into traffic, while taking selfies or looking at their phones. 

Crossing street in RomeThis is literally an accident waiting to happen.

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.

Driving in Rome

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.

Bad Traffic in RomeDriving in Rome

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.

Cycling in the ParkCycling in the park is wonderful and very safe. Cycling out on Rome's streets is another matter entirely!

Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes

I say this on all my pages about what to expect in Rome each month.

I say this when I tell you what to pack for Rome.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear comfortable shoes. 

Cobblestones Downtown RomeAn easy way to be safe in Rome is simply to wear sturdy, comfy shoes.

The wrong shoes can cause painful blisters, aching feet or worse.

And flimsy shoes can easily break and leave you shoe-less in the middle of a big, busy city.

Best Shoes for cobblesYou cannot go wrong wearing sturdy, comfortable athletic or walking shoes when you walk around Rome.

carry your own first aid kit

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.

Traveling alone?

Rome is a great city for solo travelers to explore, with lots of places to meet people and options for dining alone.

With relatively low levels of petty crime, follow the common sense tips on this page and you should have a fantastic trip!

How to Avoid Being Pick-pocketed

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?

  • The best prevention is to be aware, and more importantly, look like a difficult target. Skilled pickpockets look for easy targets so they can collect as much as possible without being noticed. Easy targets are people who are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Stay vigilant when using public transport, especially if the bus or train is very busy. I try to stand with my back to a wall in these cases.
  • Do not walk around with a lot of cash.
  • Travel with bags that close with a single, central zipper. If you carry it with the zipper facing front and directly under your arm, you should be fine. 
  • Men should keep their wallets in their front, not back, pockets. But that doesn't mean not paying attention. Continue to be aware of your surroundings and anyone trying to "bump" into you or "shove" you accidentally.
  • There are also lots of excellent pickpocket-proof bags and even clothes out there now.
  • While drinking or eating outside, I advise against putting your purse/bag on the ground or hanging it on the chair behind you. Even if you are eating inside, if the place is jam-packed and bustling, keep your bag in your lap.

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How to avoid being a con artist victim

How can you avoid con artists? 

This is another low-risk possibility but just be street-smart.

Here are a few examples:

  • Don't allow yourself to get invited by strangers to a club or bar where you will be encouraged to buy expensive drinks, or be convinced to accept drinks that you don't know the price of beforehand.
  • People may try to distract you so they can pickpocket you. Be aware of people shoving newspapers or maps in your face.
  • If you are in a car, do not allow anyone to make you get out of your car by bumping you from behind. 
  • Make sure you know how to deal with an unscrupulous taxi driver who tries to rip you off.
  • Ignore any offers of tours that do not come from a reputable source e.g. people approaching you on the street. Always book with a known company or agency - all the tour link on this site are from high-quality providers such as Get Your Guide, Tiqets and Viator.

How to avoid being an identity theft victim

Also, always remember to clear cache and log out of any devices you use that are not yours, such as a common computer in a hotel lobby.

While you are at pretty low risk for identity theft, you should exercise caution where your credit cards and passport are concerned:

  • Make a photocopy or scan of your credit cards, front and back, and keep this separate from the credit cards. You can even leave a copy at home with someone you can easily contact. In case your wallet is lost or stolen, you will be able to cancel all your cards quickly.
  • Make a physical photocopy of your passport and any other important documents, and carry these with you. You can also keep a scanned copy of your passport on your mobile device. I do this for when I purchase items and plan to get the tax back. You need your passport information but you do not need to show your actual passport. Leave your actual passport in the safe at your hotel or apartment.
  • While walking around Rome or using public transport, consider carrying just one or two credit cards, and leaving another Visa or Debit card in your hotel or apartment as backup. Or, have your travel companion carry different cards. (Do not carry only an American Express card, as many places in Rome and Italy don’t take Amex, and only accept Visa/Mastercard.)
  • Consider purchasing a RFID clocking wallet or money belt.
  • You may want to use a VPN (virtual private network) when browsing the internet on your phone or laptop. This masks your current location.

Know how and where to get help

First of all, you should know the emergency numbers to call:

  • General Emergency: 113
  • Ambulance: 118
  • Police (Carabinieri): 112
  • Fire (Vigili del fuoco): 115

If you do not need emergency medical help, you can also visit an Italian pharmacy or an English-speaking doctor in Rome for assistance.

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.

Here is the link to the American Embassy.

Here is the link to the Canadian Embassy.

The Italian Government website has travel information for all visitors, including details of general emergencies and your nearest embassy.

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.

Be safe in Rome - above all, use common sense

Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of the pitfalls of traveling, but relax and have fun.

Limit your vulnerability rather than your travels.

Leave precious valuables at home and wear your money belt on the road.

Most people in every country are on your side.

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.

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