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Stay Safe in Rome

Wondering how to stay 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, 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.

Tips for how you can stay safe in Rome

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

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

TRAVEL INSURANCE AND WHY YOU SHOULD GET IT

Without a doubt, one of the best things you can travel with is some form of travel insurance.

I never travel anywhere without it.

For very little money up front, you travel with peace of mind.

You can get coverage for just about anything from lost luggage to medical evacuation.

You can browse options and pricing here.

Don't leave home without it!!

How to stay safe in Rome in the time of Coronavirus

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:

How to stay safe in Rome sight-seeing during coronavirus

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.

How to stay safe in Rome eating out

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.

How to stay safe in Rome in your hotel during coronavirus

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.



Stay safe in Rome - avoid hurting yourself

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:

Drinking

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.

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!

Avoid sunstroke

Dog Cooling in The FountainStay Cool

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

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.

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.

Both of these activities are dangerous. An easy way to stay safe in Rome is to simply follow traffic and pedestrian rules.

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 RomeWhile Driving 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 stay safe in Rome is simply to wear sturdy, 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.

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

Stay safe in Rome with 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.


Stay safe in Rome - how to avoid being pickpocketed

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. The best pickpockets pick 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.
  • Do not walk around with a lot of cash.
  • Travel with bags that close with a single, central zipperIf 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
  • There are also lots of excellent pickpocket-proof bags and even clothes out there now

Stay safe in Rome - how to avoid being the victim of a con artist

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. 
  • 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.

Stay safe in Rome - how to avoid being the victim of identity theft

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 carry this 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, 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). This masks your current location.

Stay safe in Rome - 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 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.

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.

Stay safe in Rome - above all, use common sense

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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