Rome, the Eternal City, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a reason. Up to 10 million visitors come to the city each year.
It has a history dating back thousands of years, from the Roman Empire through the ornate Renaissance down to the present day.
There’s no other place where you can see well-preserved Roman sites, such as the Forum and Colosseum, then go visit a country within a city, Vatican City.
Rome is also a bustling modern metropolis with plenty of attractions to keep you entertained, from an amazing food scene to shopping.
With so many things to see and do, you might be tempted to book a ticket to Rome immediately, but what is the reality like on the ground? Don’t worry — Our travel experts did the research for you.
Let us be your guide!
Is Rome Safe to Visit in 2023?
Rome is mostly a safe place to visit — otherwise, millions of people wouldn’t visit it each year. However, Rome has a high petty crime rate, especially directed at tourists.
Make sure that you keep an eye on your valuables and use common sense when moving around the city. Overall, Italy is a safe place to visit, so it makes sense that Rome is a safe place to visit as well.
When I went a few years back, I felt totally safe, in both the day and night.
The State Department does put Italy under a Level 2 travel advisory, citing the risk of terrorism. There is an elevated risk of terrorism throughout Europe, and it makes sense that the capital of Italy, Rome, might be a target.
However, there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in Italy or Rome in decades. Historically, terrorism in Italy is political in nature instead of religious extremist.
Rome, as well as all of Italy, did have a problem with terrorism during the “Years of Lead” from the late 1960s to the 1980s, when there were frequent attacks by radical, mostly far-right political groups, but the situation has thankfully calmed down.
That being said, an unfortunate legacy of Italy’s fascist and neofascist past is the prevalence of far-right groups, which have seen a resurgence over the past few years. They sometimes hold demonstrations in Rome.
Ethnic minorities sometimes experience hostility when visiting Rome, and the Italian police recorded over 1,000 hate crimes in 2020. Whether or not you will feel safe in Rome might have to do with who you are.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t visit Rome if you are not white, but keep in mind that incidents do sometimes happen. Despite the travel advisories talking about terrorism, a far more common, although less glamorous, threat is petty crime.
Common crimes in Rome include:
- Bag snatching
- Sexual harassment
Violent crime in Rome is surprisingly rare, especially when you consider that this is a city of several million people. With a few precautions, you can easily have a safe time in Rome.
Crime in Rome
The most common concern for visitors to Rome is crime. There is good reason for this, as there’s nothing like being the victim of a crime to ruin your vacation.
Anecdotally, Rome is a common place where tourists are the victims of crime. Many travel sites that do round-ups of the worst cities for pickpockets include Rome in the top 10.
It is frequent that tourists go to Rome and have their valuables stolen while on public transportation or around tourist attractions. When the tourist season is in full swing in the summer and early fall, that is also when pickpocket season picks up.
Sexual harassment is also common in Rome. Female travelers experience catcalling from Italian men of all ages — even old grandpas!
Most harassers will leave it at just catcalling, but there are situations when catcallers might get more aggressive with female travelers and their actions escalate to other forms of harassment.
It is common for tourists to come in contact with crime in Rome, although finding exact numbers for pickpocketing incidents is difficult. Residents also report concerns with theft.
According to Numbeo, residents report a moderate risk of crime, especially muggings, car thefts, and theft, but also assault and attacks. The crime they report struggling with the most is corruption and bribery (which might explain why crime can thrive in Rome).
However, it is important to put anecdotes about crime in Rome in perspective.
The crimes people talk about the most are pickpocketing and petty theft, not just because these are the ones tourists are most likely to experience but because more violent crimes rarely happen.
The overall homicide rate in Italy is very low, about 0.47 incidents per 100,000 people, and Rome is on par with the national average. Rome is, in fact, very safe for such a big city.
Although it is Italy’s biggest city in terms of population, it is only #7 in terms of overall crime rate — surprisingly, Florence experiences more crime! Rome also ranked #29 on The Economist’s 2021 Safe Cities Index, which is a great achievement.
That makes the city a great place to live free from violence.
Although you will have to watch your valuables while you are out and about, overall, your risk of being the victim of a crime in Rome is fairly low.
The most likely crime a visitor experiences in Rome is petty theft in the form of pickpocketing or sometimes bag snatching. Thieves like to take advantage of distracted tourists to help themselves to your valuables.
Pickpockets operate wherever there are crowds and wherever they are likely to find distracted people. Be on the lookout while on public transportation, in intercity train or bus stations, and around popular tourist attractions such as the Spanish Steps.
The Rome Metro and buses even have signs alerting people to the risk of pickpockets. It’s difficult to eliminate your risk of pickpocketing completely because unfortunate accidents can still happen.
However, you can reduce your risk with a few precautions. Make sure that you keep your valuables in a secure place at all times. Opt for a zippered bag that you can hold close to your body or even place the straps across your chest instead of a loose tote bag.
Never, ever put your wallet in the front pocket of your backpack, and in crowded places, you might want to wear your backpack in the front. You also don’t want to provide people with the incentive to rob you.
Leave your accommodations with the amount of cash you need for the day and a card, leaving the rest of your valuables in a hotel or room safe. Don’t flash your valuables.
You can take a photo, but put your phone or camera away afterward instead of holding it in your hand. Thefts will sometimes escalate into more violent forms of robbery, such as mugging, but these are relatively rare in Rome.
Muggings and armed robberies, when they occur, occur mostly at night. Avoid traveling alone at night to unknown areas (although a quick stroll in a well-trafficked street is fine). If you need to get back to your accommodations, take a taxi instead of public transportation.
Travel with groups if possible. If you are the victim of a mugging attempt, focus on getting away safely instead of holding on to your valuables.
Some criminals prefer to take an indirect route to getting their ill-gotten gains instead of outright stealing from people. Rome has plenty of scammers who like to take advantage of tourists.
Taxi drivers are common sources of scams in Rome, like elsewhere. Make sure that you are taking an authorized taxi, which is all in white, or one from a ride-hailing app where the price is in the app.
When you get into the taxi, make sure that the taxi meter is on. During the day, you can avoid taxis and take public transportation since the network in Rome is very good.
Also, beware of people coming up to you at tourist sites asking you to sign petitions or offering you a free trinket, such as a bracelet. The bracelets are rarely free, and after you accept, the “vendor” will loudly accost you to pay them for their gift.
The charity petitions also wind up loudly demanding a donation after you sign. Be firm when you say no, and don’t be afraid to walk away. In general, be careful when people are too interested in talking to you or are coming up to you.
Italians are friendly, but not so much that they would come up to random strangers (especially not in a big city such as Rome).
Scammers often approach victims to gain their trust and ask for money later, or you might be interacting with a group of pickpockets using distraction techniques to get at your valuables. Trust your instincts and get out of the situation as soon as you can.
Avoiding Bad Areas
There aren’t that many bad areas in Rome, but there are still a few neighborhoods that you should avoid. Rome has a few neighborhoods further away from the center, usually in the southwest of the city, that are impoverished and have a higher rate of crime.
These include Corviale, San Basilio, and Tor Sapienza. There aren’t many tourist attractions in the area, and these neighborhoods are far from the center, so it’s unlikely that you’ll wander here by accident.
The areas around Rome’s train stations, such as Termini and Tiburtina, are also a little sketchy, especially at night. Be careful of pickpockets in the area nearby.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other safety tips for Rome:
- Only use a secure ATM connected to a bank. Some ATMs have skimmers or hidden cameras to try to get your PIN, and you don’t want to be the victim of identity theft.
- Always keep an eye out when you’re drinking, especially if you are a female traveler. Incidents of spiked drinks are pretty rare, but they do still happen.
- E-scooters are becoming a popular way to see Rome, but they are also the source of accidents, some even fatal. Avoid using them, and if you decide that you want to take one out for a spin, make sure that you get insurance.
- The reputation that Italian drivers have for being aggressive is true, so make sure that you look carefully before crossing the street!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few other questions that you also might want answered before visiting Rome:
Is it safe to be a tourist in Rome?
Generally, it is safe to be a tourist in Rome as the risk of violent incidents is very low and there is plenty of infrastructure for visitors in place. However, you should know that rates of petty theft are high and that incidents often target tourists.
Is Rome safe at night for tourists?
Yes, Rome is safe at night for tourists! Especially during warm summer evenings, the streets and piazzas of the city come alive with locals and visitors alike strolling and enjoying the beautiful atmosphere.
Walking at night is not just safe but recommended. The only caveat is that if you are far from your hotel, take a taxi instead of public transportation home.
Is Rome safe for female tourists?
Rome is mostly safe for female tourists, but due to the culture, you might get a lot of unwanted attention as you walk around. Be prepared for some catcalling and practice your best neutral face for ignoring harassment.
What to avoid when visiting Rome?
When visiting Rome, avoid anything that might cause you trouble. That includes accepting “free” bracelets from street scammers, riding public transportation without a ticket (that attracts inspectors), and leaving your valuables unattended.
Do people get mugged in Rome?
Muggings are rare, but people do get mugged in Rome. Make sure you are not walking down sketchy streets alone at night and always be aware of your surroundings.
So, Is It Safe to Visit Rome?
Yes, Rome is safe to visit. Just take some precautions against pickpockets, such as keeping your valuables in a secure location, and you should have a great time. Happy travels!