Wondering how to stay safe in Rome or even 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, and also to fear of a terrorist attack.
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 here. I hope nothing ever happens here or anyplace else for that matter. But I can’t, and hope you won’t, let fear of the possibility of something happening, stop us from doing the things we want to do.
Other than the extremely remote possibility of anything happening to you in a terrorist attack, I’d group the different ways to stay safe in Rome (or any city) in three groups:
Is Rome a safe place to visit in the time of Coronavirus? I have a whole page dedicated to this here.
But to answer specifically how to stay safe in Rome while Coronavirus is still spreading around the world, here's what I know:
This may not have seemed like the answer you were looking for but I believe the best way to stay safe in Rome is to avoid hurting yourself.
By far the way most people hurt themselves is simply by being distracted or not paying close attention to what you are doing. And frankly, this could be applied almost anywhere, and not just when you are travelling.
Be careful about these:
I know this is obvious, and I do not mean to preach. There are lots of bars and nightclubs in Rome, and you can easily find a party atmosphere if you want to. There are pub crawls, and there are foreign universities with campuses here. Students want to party, and that's normal. I sure did when I was in school.
So I am not saying don't party. But be safe.
Try to 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, just exercise caution and try not to overdo it on the drinking. Drink plenty of water.
I say all this because unfortunately, one of the most common ways for people to have accidents is to be too drunk to take care of themselves. We have had incidents of hospitalisations and even deaths so please please be careful!
I have been in the emergency room in Rome on several occasions, and have often seen people coming in on stretchers due to sun stroke.
It’s very easy to get over-heated in Rome. You are 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 make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat, and carry water with you.
It’s easy to find drinking fountains in Rome, but it’s better if you have water right at hand in case you feel thirsty.
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 many people run into other people and even walk out into traffic, while taking selfies or looking at their phones.
You can easily hurt yourself if you are too absorbed, so to stay safe in Rome while walking around is to just be aware that Rome is usually crowded and busy.
Rome traffic can be intense. Some Rome drivers can be aggressive so as a pedestrian or cyclist, you need to be on the defense. See below:
If you drive anything at all, especially 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 drive 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 even further 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, plantar fasciitis, or worse.
And flimsy shoes like basic beach flip flops can easily break and leave you shoeless in the middle of a big, busy city with who knows what underneath your feet.
As someone who travels a lot, and who also hikes a lot, I can tell you that just 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.
This may not be a safety issue although it can be. Usually pickpockets have no interest in physically harming anyone. They mostly have an interest in stealing and getting away with it.
But it could still get ugly. You might realize what's happening and in a moment of panic, try to fight them off.
But more likely, being the victim of a pickpocket will at a minimum put a damper on your trip and can even make you feel very 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 of cons that I’ve heard of, and how to avoid them:
While you are at pretty low risk for identity theft, you should also exercise caution where your credit cards and passport are concerned:
First of all, you should know 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 with any emergency 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.