Visiting Rome soon? Tell your friends and they might warn you about crowds, pickpockets, or other problems tourists usually face abroad. They might say to avoid going out after dark for your safety. Big cities in Western Europe have a reputation for high crime rates in some neighborhoods where there’s heavy tourist traffic.
But is Rome actually dangerous at night? Or is it just a generalization about these cities? How much crime is there really, and who is affected by it? Read more to find out an answer to a question: is Rome safe at night?
Crime in Rome
In general, Rome has a relatively low crime rate for such a large city. It’s Italy’s biggest metropolitan area but ranks the seventh place in crime rates. Milan is the most dangerous in the country! Violent crime is low in the city center. If visiting for a short time, you won’t have time to see the rougher sides of the city.
They’re located far away from any major points of interest. There are some genuine risks to be aware of as a tourist. A lot of petty crimes occur in densely populated areas such as around tourist attractions like the Colosseum. Visitors in these areas should be careful of a few things which can happen even in broad daylight.
You’re highly unlikely to be mugged, but as in many big cities, Rome is full of crafty thieves who will pickpocket you in broad daylight! It’s a problem that has plagued tourist areas for decades, but it still happens. Rome’s ATMs and transport ticket machines even warn you to be careful of thieves when you make a transaction.
Locals are familiar with their tricks and can even recognize some of the more prolific pickpocketers who hang around the same places. They prey on tourists on public transport and crowded areas near attractions and shopping centers. They’re so good that you might walk several streets before noticing your wallet or purse is gone!
Pay attention to whose car you get in here. Fake taxis scam tourists every day in Rome, running up bills over €100 for short rides. You can avoid this by checking to see that the driver has a certification displayed somewhere in the cab, or by using a taxi application, or a trusted rideshare application like Uber. Hailing a taxi is riskier since anyone can stop for you.
Unfortunately, many tourist scams begin in the form of a friendly offer. People stand outside of big attractions and offer some kind of “free” gift, like keychains or bracelets. Don’t take them! You will soon discover that they’re not free and you will be pestered into paying a ridiculous amount for some cheap knick-knack.
Some people also bring paintings or other handmade products to places with lots of foot traffic. They will quickly push one of them out into someone’s path anticipating them to step on it. They will accuse you of damaging their work and demand compensation, and will even follow you to get it.
Safety at Night
Rome is generally safe at night. The bulk of crimes that happen in the city is petty crimes against tourists. When walking around at night, keep your guard up as you would anywhere and enjoy the city’s amazing nightlife! Keep these things in mind and you will be safe:
Local Drinking Culture
Italians like to drink like anyone else, but there’s a much lower rate of binge drinking than in other countries. Seeing someone stumbling and falling over in the streets after a night out is unusual, so going overboard on alcohol will make you an easy target to get robbed or attacked. Loudmouthed, drunken behavior both in bars and on the streets isn’t received well and will also make you a target.
Some places are safer than others. There aren’t many “no-go” zones in the center, but unless you have a train to catch, there’s no reason to hang around Termini Train Station. Search for the station on Google and read hundreds of reviews from people who felt unsafe in the area and saw fights or drug deals.
The interior is perfectly safe, but it closes late at night. If you were planning to camp out for your early morning train, you will be asked to leave by security. If you wait on a bench outside, you will share the area with drunkards and drifters who congregate there. Many homeless people sleep around the station at night, too.
If walking at night, you might have to pass this area at some point. Don’t worry! Just walk with purpose through the area and no one will bother you. If someone tries to talk to you, don’t engage in conversation and they will leave you alone.
Watch Your Drinks and Who you Drink With
Unfortunately, Italy has higher rates of GHB usage than other EU countries. Male or female, watch your drinks and don’t accept them from strangers. Go out with a trusted friend group and watch out for each other. Traveling solo, but want to enjoy the nightlife? Join an official pub crawl! You can connect with locals and fellow travelers and feel safe with the local staff who take care of their guests.
Is Rome safe to walk around at night? In a word, yes! Don’t let a few scary stories have you watching the city’s nightlife from your hotel window. Just keep your wits about you, practice the same amount of caution as you would in any other city, and you will have a great time. Since many locals go out for dinner at 9:00 PM (21:00 hours) and later, it’s normal to be out after dark. Until about 1:00 or 2:00 AM (1:00 or 2:00 hours), you can expect a small but steady crowd of people milling around on weekends.
Big attractions like the Roman Forum are always crowded during the daytime. It’s impossible to get in there and enjoy the place in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. However, at night, when everyone heads home or to bars and restaurants, these places are empty! Even if you can’t go inside most attractions after hours, don’t be afraid to explore the city streets at night and take in the sights without all the crowds.
The areas where crimes happen aren’t places of interest at night anyway. You’re not missing anything by avoiding them. However, if your route back to your hotel takes you past an infamous place like Termini station, don’t panic. You can pass by safely.
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