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Is Rome Safe To Walk Around At Night For Tourists?

“Is Rome Safe?” is an important question for visitors, but Italy is typical of any European country where visitors shouldn’t be concerned for their safety.

Is Rome Safe - Police

Police Are Everywhere

Unlike in the US, most crime you could encounter is nonviolent, like purse-snatching or pickpocketing, and gun violence is exceedingly rare despite what you might see on TV. I’ve also seen my share of car windows smashed when someone leaves an inviting target in their backseat, so if you are renting a car, you should definitely hide your valuables. 

Is Rome Safe? It Is Safe According To The U.S. Department of State?

I was surprised to read an alert from the U.S. Department of State in which they issued a Travel Advisory in April 2022 at Level 2 (out of 4) indicating:

“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.”

Is Rome Safe For Tourists To Visit?

Th description from the U.S. Department of State seems a little extreme until you realize that most of the larger European countries, like Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands are also at Level 2. Also, the description of Level 2 includes: “Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.”, which is what you should be doing anyways, so don’t let that bother you too much.

Is Rome Safe - Traveling Alone

Traveling Alone Is Safe

Is Rome Safe For Travelers?

When you are riding the public transportation you should feel safe but alert. The types of petty crime in Rome that I mentioned above are exactly the types that are common on subways and buses for a reason. A helpful tip from the great Rick Steves is to pay close attention to your surroundings by making sure your purse or wallet is secured. One bus line, the 64, which runs from Termini to the Vatican is particularly dubious and according to Mr. Steves is nicknamed the Pickpocket Express, so please be careful.

Subways (Metropolitani) seem a little less safe, but there are cameras and police everywhere and they don’t run all night. This might seem like a negative, but bad things seem to happen at 2:00 am (or later) so their limitations actually improve their safety.

Things To Do In Rome To Stay Safe At Night

As mentioned above, the Public Transportation system is safe, both day or night, but is it safe to walk at night in Rome? Walking around in touristy areas is also safe if you are coming from or going to a bar or restaurant late in the evening because you typically will be surrounded by other people enjoying the city in the same way. You might also notice that there are Close-Circuit Cameras mounted all over the city keeping watch over you. As with any city, however, you should use a combination of your intuition and common sense. Dark desolate alleys should be avoided and strangers offering you gifts probably aren’t on the level. Don’t accept rides from unlicensed taxis and try to move in groups.

Travel Tips For Safe Travel In Rome

As with any big city, even the most safe, there are Rome locations that you might want to avoid while you are getting around Rome at night and be more alert during the day. In Rome, the three places that come to mind are:

Is Rome Safe - Police Presence

Police Presence Is Everywhere

What Are Unsafe Areas To Avoid In Rome?

  • EUR – This area is far removed from the center of Rome and if you would like to learn more about it, check out my previous blog post about EUR Rome. In another post I answered an FAQ about the existence of a red-light district in Rome. With regards to EUR: The answer is No, there is no designated area for sex-workers in Rome. However, there are areas with illegal prostitution in Rome and most people cite EUR as the city’s center of illegal sex-workers. There was a discussion back in 2015 about creating an Amsterdam-like district in EUR, but it went nowhere.

  • Tiber – Walking along the Tiber is something that shouldn’t be missed. At night, however beautiful may be, isn’t the right time for sightseeing. There are areas with floating bars that attract more of the drinking crowd, that also attract the type of person that is looking to take advantage of them. Also, if you walk along the walls far enough you will probably come across a homeless encampment under or around a bridge unexpectedly. 

  • Termini – This is probably obvious, but unless you are leaving Rome on a train in the middle of the night, Termini Station should probably be avoided. There are a lot of people looking to take advantage of the weary travelers that pass through those doors, so avoiding it would be prudent.

Is Rome Safe At Night For Solo Female Travelers?

I am not a female traveler, so I feel a little bit ill-equipped to make a comment on this topic. My first reaction would be to dismiss the safety concerns because overall I believe Rome is a safe city. But with that said, it is clear to me that I wouldn’t experience and probably can’t imagine all the risks that women face while traveling.

Instead, I will reframe the question to be: What would I be uncomfortable with my wife doing in Rome alone? Certainly walking alone late at night doesn’t make me feel tranquil, but beyond that, following the information above and the recommendations below would calm my jitters for her safety.

More Rome Safe Travel Tips

Here are some best practices, obvious suggestions or a bit of mansplaining about Rome safety that you might find helpful:

Is Rome Safe - Watching Out

Watching Out For You

  • Know 911 In Italy – Know the local equivalent of 911 and be ready with a few key phrases should the need present itself. The police in Italy can be reached by calling 112.

  • Maintain Control Of Yourself – Culturally speaking, getting drunk isn’t common, it will be frowned upon, but most importantly you will stick out as a target. Don’t overindulge and be in control while you are navigating the Roman streets. 

  • Stay Safe And Trust Your Instincts – If a situation is making you uncomfortable, do something about it (i.e. leave).

  • Watch Your Bags – This is one of the most common crimes that tourists might experience, so you should always beware of your bags, purses and cameras whenever you travel, walk around or stop to eat.

  • Travel With Your Passports Safely – Legally you are required to carry your passport at all times and I would recommend you do that, but only after you have made copies, stored them online and stashed printed copies in your hotel. Other writers I’ve read suggest the opposite, carry the copies and stash the passport. I wouldn’t recommend this because in addition to being illegal, the Police or Carabinieri could make your trip to Rome very inconvenient if you don’t have it with you.

  • Be Alert for ‘Helpers’ – We’ve encountered this in Termini, but it happens everywhere. Someone offers to help someone struggling with their bags and one of two things will happen: 1) They run off with your bags, or 2) after helping you they demand money. Just wave them off with a polite: “No, Grazie!” or a more aggressive and rude: “Vattene!”.

  • Safely Travel With Official Cabs – Make sure you are using only official cabs. These can be found at cabs stands, like at Termini, and other tourist spots scattered around the city. You can also request a taxi with the Taxi app on your phone. Unofficial, or Gypsy cabs, can rip you off and should be avoided regardless of how convenient they are.

More Rome Travel Cultural Tips

If you are wondering “Is Rome Safe?“, hopefully I didn’t scare you off from coming to Rome. It is a beautiful city that needs to be experienced by all! If you are planning to come to Rome, these posts will be helpful:

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