Italy International Travel Information

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and commercial flights)

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Politically motivated violence in Italy is most often connected to Italian internal developments or social issues. Italian authorities and foreign diplomatic facilities have found bombs outside public buildings, have received bomb threats, and have been targets of letter bombs, firebombs and Molotov cocktails in the past several years. These attacks generally occur at night, and although they have not targeted or injured U.S. citizens, you should remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.

Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy, and earthquakes are frequent. High tides in Venice, flooding, and avalanches in mountainous areas may occasionally occur. The Italian Civil Protection agency has a robust capability to assist Italians and foreigners in the area of a natural disaster. Information about crisis preparedness and on-going crises affecting parts of Italy can be found on the Civil Protection web site at: Civil Protection Italy. General information about disaster preparedness is also available online from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Detailed information on Italy’s fault lines is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Italy also has several active volcanoes, including Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily. Travelers to Sicily should be aware of the possibility for travel disruptions, including airport closures, in the event of volcanic activity, and are advised to check the website of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia for detailed information and daily updates. Italy has many other areas of potential volcanic activity especially in the vicinity of Naples. Any visit to an active volcano or volcanic field bears a certain amount of risk. Eruptions can occur with little to no warning. Travelers should exercise caution, follow posted instructions, stay on authorized trails, and use reputable tour operators. .

CRIME: Italy has a moderate rate of crime, especially for theft and economic crimes; violent crimes are rare. U.S. citizens should be aware of the following local circumstances:

  • Tourists can be fined or detained for buying counterfeit goods (usually fashion accessories).
  • Travelers must purchase train, bus, or metro tickets and validate them by punching them in validating machines prior to boarding (usually near the entrance of the train or metro or on the bus). Tickets may be purchased at tobacco stores or kiosks or, in some cities, via Apps or SMS. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train, bus, or metro. If the violator does not pay the fine on the spot, it will automatically double and be forwarded to the violator’s home address.
  • Be alert that many municipalities of cities in Italy have issued local restrictions banning certain activities in fountains or on monuments, such as eating, drinking, sitting, or bathing, as well as regarding the consumption of alcohol both indoors and outdoors after certain hours of the night.
  • Violating these regulations can result in fines. Tourists are advised to check the official website of each city they plan to visit to learn the details.
  • Thieves sometimes impersonate police officers. If you are stopped by a plainclothes policeman, ask for a uniformed officer or insist on seeing an officer’s identification card (documento). Do not hand over your wallet and immediately report the incident to the actual police at a police station or by dialing 112 from a local phone.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Most reported thefts occur at crowded tourist sites, at airports, car rental agencies, on public buses, metros and trains, and at the major railway stations. Never leave baggage alone in a car, including in a closed trunk. For more information on trains and security, please see the Italian railway police’s advice for travelers.
  • Be alert to criminal schemes. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate at major tourist destinations, in train stations, bars, and cafes. Some travelers have reported incidents in which criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. Thieves on motor scooters regularly snatch purses or bags off pedestrians. Resisting these thieves can be dangerous.
  • Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times to avoid car-jackings and thefts while you are waiting in traffic.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian law enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices. Here are some helpful hints to protect against and identify skimming devices:

  • Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or secured inside a bank/business.
  • Cover the keypad with one hand as you enter your PIN.
  • Look for gaps, tampered appearance, or other irregularities between the metal faceplate of the ATM and the card reader.
  • Avoid card readers that are not flush with the face of the ATM.
  • Closely monitor your account statements for unauthorized transactions.

Demonstrations occur frequently and can be anti-American in nature, especially in areas hosting U.S. military bases. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
  • Security Messages for U.S. citizens pertaining to demonstrations can be found on the Embassy’s website.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Italy. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:

  • Romance/Online dating
  • Money transfers
  • Lucrative sales
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting
  • Free Trip/Luggage
  • Lotteries
  • Inheritance notices
  • Work permits/job offers

VICTIMS OF CRIME: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention at the nearest public hospital as soon as possible. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are also encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at +(39) 06-4674-1. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local English-speaking attorneys
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Victim Compensation in Italy:

  • Italy has a program which provides financial compensation for victims of terrorism, organized crime, hit and run drivers and violent intentional crimes.
  • If you are a victim of terrorism or organized crime in Italy, you are entitled to economic (special compensation and a life income) and non-economic benefits (special access to certain state jobs).
  • In case of death, victims will include family members. You must file the application with the local Prefect’s office (Prefettura – the local representative for the Ministry of Interior) where the crime occurred, providing the date, location, injuries, and losses resulting from the crime.
  • If you are a victim of a hit and run driver, you can apply for compensation of damages to the Fondo Di Garanzia per le Vittime della Strada but only if: (i) the responsible vehicle cannot be identified, is not covered by car insurance, or it circulated against the owner’s will; (ii) if the car insurance company went bankrupt; or (iii) if the accident was caused by a foreign vehicle with a license number that does not match or does not match anymore that same vehicle. U.S. citizens should consult an attorney licensed to practice in Italy to clarify time limits for a specific legal action.

Victims of hit and run drivers and their families may seek assistance by reaching out to an Italian non-governmental organization (NGO) called Associazione Italiana Familiari e Vittime della Strada (AIFVS), “Association of Italian Family Members and Victims of Hit and Run Drivers”. AIFVS provides legal and psychological assistance through a network of professionals associated with the NGO. Please visit AIFVS for more details.

If you are a victim of a violent intentional crime, you are entitled to compensation from the Italian government to cover the medical and welfare expenses you incurred, except for sexual assaults and murders cases where the compensation is due even if no medical and welfare expense was sustained. To be eligible for the compensation, your annual income must be within a certain limit. In addition, you must prove that you have already unsuccessfully tried to enforce the decision ordering compensation for damages. We recommend you contact an attorney licensed to practice in Italy for more information.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or nearest Consulate for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

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