Italy Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Italy
How safe is Italy?
Threat level: Low
The threat level for Italy is relatively low, however visitors to the country should be cautious of the wider global risk. Although minor crime does occur in the country, providing all the correct precautions are taken, most visits to Italy should be pleasant and risk-free.
For specific security threat information with regards to Rome, see our: Rome Travel Advice.
There is a general threat of terrorist activity in Italy, although a terrorist incident has not occurred in the country for some time.
There have been a number of people arrested with regards to plotting terrorist attacks in other parts of the world. In April 2016, arrests were made of suspects plotting attacks against the Vatican and the Israeli Embassy.
In 2015, a number of police raids were carried out on the Italian island of Sardinia. Italian government officials have made clear they take seriously “the threat of the Islamic State group to conquer Rome and the seat of Christianity”.
In August 2016, a large earthquake struck near the city of Rieti, central Italy. The epicentre is said to be Norcia in Umbria, about 105 miles northeast of the Italian capital, Rome. The areas that suffered the most damage are the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Norcia. In January 2017, the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola was covered by an avalanche after four powerful earthquakes struck the region; 29 people were killed.
The general level of crime across the country is quite low, however there is an increased risk of robbery, pick-pocketing, or bag-snatching in the popular tourist cities. Tourists should ensure that they keep their valuables safe at all times; aim to leave passports and other important documents in a safe when possible, or close to you if you need to travel with them.
There is a history of home-grown terrorism involving left-wing extremists, who have shown violent behaviour with the use of incendiary devices and targeted small bombs. A plot was foiled in 2005 to carry out an attack on the funeral of Pope John Paul II in Italy and arrests made in Bosnia with regards to this.
Italy's International Relations
Italy has respectable international relations throughout the world, especially with Russia and Germany. The country acts as an international mediator for the Israeli-Palestine conflict, with Italian forces deployed in and around the Middle East region. Italy is a founding member of G7, NATO and the EU.
Travelling around Italy
Road travel around Italy is very good. Cars can be hired with an EU Member State driver’s license or International Driving Permit. Italian cities' historic centres have ZTL zones, you will require a car pass to drive in these protected areas or you will be fined.
Travel tickets on the public transport need to be endorsed in the ticket machine at the start of the journey, there is an on-the-spot fine for disobeying.
Italian law states that Photo Identification must be carried at all times. This can be a photocopy of the photo page of your passport, but you should ensure that the original is accessible for presentation if required.
Eating and drinking in the vicinity of monuments, churches and public buildings, and sitting down on monument steps is prohibited.
Earthquakes in Italy
Italy has a history of major earthquakes, with the country suffering frequently for minor quakes. Large earthquakes of over magnitude 5 and 6 do occur every few years. 2016 saw the last major earthquake of note, a 6.2 magnitude quake struck on the 24th of August, near the town of Accumoli. This earthquake did substantial damage and caused the death of 299 people across the central Italian regions of Lazio, Umbria and Marche.
The worse earthquake in recent history to hit Italy was the 1908 Messina earthquake in southern Italy, which had a magnitude of 7.1 and claimed 70,000 lives.
If during your stay to Italy you experience an earthquake, the best advice is to take cover in a reinforced stairwell, doorway or under a table. Exit the building after the quake is over and monitor local news and social media.
Emergency services in Italy:
Police emergency: 112 or 113
Fire emergency: 115
Fire emergency: 1515 (Woodland/Forest fire service)
Medical emergency: 118
Maritime emergency: 530 or 800 090090
International Operator: 170 (English speaking)
Brakedown service: 116 A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Association) gives roadside assistance.
Time now in Rome:
Consular information for Italy
U.S. Embassy Rome
Via Vittorio Veneto,
Telephone: +39 06 46741
Emergency Telephone: +39 06 46741
Telephone: +39 02 290 351 (Milan)
Telephone: +39 05 5266 951 (Florence)
Telephone: +39 08 1583 8111 (Naples)
British Embassy Rome
Via XX Settembre 80/a,
Telephone: +39 06 4220 000
Telephone: +39 06 4220 0001
Visa requirements for Italy
Visitors to Italy from the UK, EU and US can enter Italy visa-free. If you are unsure of entry requirements, contact your local Italian Embassy or more advice can be found here: Visa advice Italy
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Italy are up-to-date with primary boosters, such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
EU nationals who visit Italy, should apply for an EHIC card, which will entitle them to the same healthcare services and costs that are available to Italian nationals.
Healthcare facilities in Italy are generally of an excellent standard but may be limited in rural areas, and some doctors may not be able to communicate in English. Emergency treatment is free, but you may be charged for follow-up treatment. Ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover this.