For travel alerts updates for Italy and other European countries, see: travel.state.gov.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible near-term attacks in Europe. All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations. In the past year, there have been multiple terrorist attacks in Europe. Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations.
Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy, and earthquakes are frequent. 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 daily updates. Italy has many other areas of potential volcanic activity especially in the vicinity of Naples. Detailed information on volcano activity in Italy is available from the website of the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.
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, fire bombs 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.
Demonstrations may have an anti-U.S. character, especially in areas hosting U.S. military bases. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. You should take common sense precautions and follow news reports carefully. Security Messages for U.S. citizens pertaining to demonstrations can be found on the Embassy’s website.
CRIME AND TRAVELERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES: 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. 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.
- Thieves 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 walletand 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 pick-pockets 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 as they ride by. Resisting these thieves can be dangerous.
- Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times to avoid carjackings 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.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention at the nearest public hospital as soon as possible.
Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (+39) 06-4674-1 or after-hours (+39) 06-4674-1.
- Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- 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 U.S.
- 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
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism
Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.
If you decide to travel to Italy:
• Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
• Follow the instructions of local authorities.
• Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
• Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
• Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Italy.
• U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.