is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in central Italy.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Italy country page for
original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of
which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC
current U.S. Department of State at the date of this report’s publication
travel to Italy due to a recent outbreak of COVID-19. However, the
Advisory in effect prior to the outbreak assessed Italy at Level 2,
indicating travelers should exercise increased caution in Italy due to terrorism.
Do not travel to Lombardy and Veneto due to the level of community
transmission of the virus and imposition of local quarantine procedures. Review
OSAC’s report, Understanding the
Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and Safety
U.S. Department of State has assessed Rome as being a MEDIUM-threat
location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
There has been a decrease in non-violent crime in 2019 (with the exception of
extortion, which had a stark increase). Consult with credible local experts and
local law enforcement to ensure your organization is not impacted by, infiltrated
by, or inadvertently doing business with a criminal organization.
visitors are generally safe in Italy, and are not specific targets based on
nationality; however, criminals do often target foreigners for petty theft such
as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and thefts from parked vehicles. Passport
theft is of particular concern.
commonly employ diversion techniques. One common example involves criminals who
ask unsuspecting victims for directions. While the victim is offering assistance,
an accomplice will covertly take an unattended piece of luggage or bag. Thieves
will offer assistance when checking into hotels with bags or strollers, picking
up one of the bags and disappearing into the crowd. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels:
The Inns and Outs and Considerations
for Hotel Security. The large crowds and chaotic
atmosphere provide an ideal environment for criminals. Review OSAC’s reports, All
That You Should Leave Behind.
identified as being at higher risk for criminal activity include the area near
the Termini Train Station, the neighborhoods of Tor Bella Monaca, Romanina, San
Basilio, and Corviale. Pickpockets and bag snatchers are more common near the
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Termini Train Station. These are
well-known tourist locations and transportation hubs. Car thieves prefer the
areas outside of the Centro Storico, like Giovanni and the Appia areas, where
there is less of a police presence.
extra care and attention when visiting tourist areas. Exercise heightened
security awareness while visiting public parks, especially after dark. While
parks are attractive locations for exercise, it is a good idea to travel with
another person or with a group in twilight or evening hours. Do not venture
down isolated or dark alleyways.
to Italian National Police reports, there has been a slight decrease from
previous years in home burglaries and vehicle break-ins involving the Roman
public in general. Vehicle break-ins are more likely to occur when parking on
the street. Perpetrators target electronics and other valuables left in plain
sight. Park cars in a garage or in a well-illuminated area.
rate of violent crime (e.g. homicides, aggravated assault, rape) in Rome is below
the U.S. national average. Violent crimes in Rome involving U.S. nationals
account for less 2% of the total average of all reported criminal incidents in 2019.
incidents of crime against U.S. Embassy employees include:
- While driving in Rome, an Embassy
employee’s vehicle was hit by an unknown object intended to simulate a vehicle
collision. The perpetrators claimed the employee had hit their vehicle and
demanded the employee pull over to assess the damage. The employee stopped,
exited the vehicle, and engaged in an argument with the other driver. While the
employee was distracted, another individual took the employee’s purse from
inside the vehicle. Stolen items included identification documents, cash,
credit cards, and house keys.
- An intruder broke into an Embassy
employee’s residence, gaining access through an open balcony door. They escaped
unnoticed with an estimated US$3,300 worth of property.
- An intruder broke into an Embassy
employee’s residence, gaining access through an unlocked door. Stolen items
included jewelry, wallets, and a coin collection.
- A thief broke into an Embassy
employee’s vehicle by smashing the passenger side window. Among the items taken
were a wallet, work phone, portfolio, and keys.
- A thief stole an Embassy
employee’s bankcard information at a retail location. The thief used the
information to withdraw money fraudulently from the employee’s account.
taxi driver assaulted an Embassy employee after a dispute over a taxi fare. It
was only when the employee told the driver, in Italian, that he was a U.S.
diplomat, that the driver stopped and fled.
Cybercrime is a growing concern
for Italian authorities, and should be a priority for anyone conducting
business in Rome. According to authorities, credit card fraud, ATM skimming,
and identity hacking account for 75% of all financial crime in the city. The
U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian law enforcement authorities in
investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices. Use ATMs
located in well-lighted 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. Review
OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
Internet romance and financial
scams are prevalent in Italy. Scams are often initiated through Internet
postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always
pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams
include Romance/Online dating; Money transfers; Lucrative sales; Contracts with
promises of large commissions; Grandparent/Relative targeting; Free
Trip/Luggage; Lotteries; Inheritance notices; and Work permits/job offers. Use
common sense, avoid deals that are “too good to be true,” and never give money
to someone you do not know.
Protect sensitive computer-based
programs and operations. It is not uncommon for private corporations or
government agencies to fall victim to hackers or other cyber-related attacks
regardless of their location worldwide. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics,
Best Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-Fi, and Traveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices.
Road Safety and Road Conditions
conditions in Rome meet U.S standards. Roads are well maintained, and extensive
lighting exists. Vehicle accidents are common, as are accidents involving
in Italy can be stressful. Drivers often do not follow traffic laws. Traffic
enforcement includes extensive use of cameras, but enforcement by local traffic
officials is limited and inconsistent. Scooters and motorcycles do not often
follow the rules of the road, and use the sidewalks and median to get around
vehicles at traffic lights and in moving traffic. Drive defensively and prepare
to brake quickly and avoid scooters and other cars that can cut quickly across
lanes or turn across traffic. Pedestrians frequently cross the street outside
of crosswalks. Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad,
Driving Overseas: Best
Practices, and Evasive Driving
Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Drivers frequently pass on superhighways
(autostrada) at very high speeds. Rural roads are generally narrow, often have
no guardrails, and inconsistent speed limits. Seat belt use is compulsory. You
must use headlights year-round, and at all times, outside of urban areas. During
the autumn/winter months, you must have either winter tires or carry snow
chains if driving outside urban areas. Be careful when crossing streets, even
when using a marked crosswalk with a green walk light illuminated.
Police traffic control checkpoints
are common; police can pull you over without probable cause. If this happens,
do not be alarmed or assume you have done something wrong, simply cooperate and
present them with your driver’s license. If police stop you, under certain conditions
you may pay the police officer issuing the ticket immediately. Be prepared to
pay in cash in local currency. Local police can confiscate your car if you
cannot pay the fine. Police impose fines for those driving without the proper
permits in historic downtown areas of cities and towns throughout Italy.
Cameras photograph the license plates of cars illegally driving in parts of the
city that require a permit. Authorities forward the fines imposed for these
violations to the driver’s home in the United States to request payment. For
definitive legal guidance or to contest a fine, consult a lawyer licensed to
practice in Italy.
involved in a traffic accident should take the following suggested actions:
- Car Accident with Injuries
Call 112 to inform the dispatcher of your location, details
regarding injuries, and the accident. Wait for emergency services to arrive.
They will provide care and transport of the injured, reestablish traffic flow,
and complete an accident report form. Note the name and destination of any
injured persons to be transported by ambulance from the scene. A police report
will be helpful in this regard. Do not sign any documents that you do not
clearly understand or that do not conform to your grasp of the factors
surrounding the accident.
- Car Accident
without Injuries and No Agreement on the
Facts Relating to the Accident
If vehicles are blocking traffic, Italian law requires you move the vehicles if possible. Before moving your vehicle, document the
position of the vehicle by any means possible. Extensive photographs can help,
but do not consider this the sole source of evidence. Search for skid marks,
broken glass, debris, or any other evidence that may help in determining the
facts of the accident. Take photographs of all damage to both vehicles and pay
particular attention to any pre-existing damage. Try to establish a third-party witness; even if this person is
another motorist who cannot wait for the police to arrive, obtain names and
phone numbers of actual witnesses who the police can contact. Witness
fabrication is not uncommon. There
have been reported cases of family members who were not actually present acting
as witnesses to accident scenes. In incidents without injury, the police will
not issue a police report. The expectation is that the parties will exchange
insurance information and the insurance agencies will assign fault.
- Car Accident
without Injuries and Agreement on
the Facts Relating to the Accident
Consider the above paragraph first. Wait for the
police to arrive and document the incident. Complete
the Constatazione Amichevole di Incidente Automobilistico (CAIA, Agreed
Statement of Facts on Motor Vehicle Accident). Give a copy to each party. Do not sign
the completed form if there is disagreement regarding the version/sequence of
events represented. Contact your
insurance company; obtain
guidance on how to send them the CAIA and inquire about further steps
regarding damages/related expenses.
Public Transportation Conditions
The public transportation system (with trains,
metro, trams, and buses) in Rome is modern, extensive, and an accepted means of
travel. Authorized taxis are white and metered. Only use licensed taxis or a
reputable transportation service. Anyone inexperienced in driving in Rome
should use public transportation or taxis.
extra caution while in/around train stations and transit points, and aboard
public transport. There are numerous reports of
pickpocketing and purse slashing on public transportation. During rush hour,
buses and trains tend to be very crowded, and many victims do not realize they
have been targets of robbery. Victims have reported their handbags cut open and
their valuables removed, while men have lost items from inner jacket pockets.
ATAC Bus Route No. 64 from Termini to St. Peter’s Basilica is a problematic
route for skilled theft. Review OSAC’s Report, Security
in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
Travelers should be alert for transit strikes,
which occur often, generally on Fridays.
major U.S. airlines service the Rome Fiumincino (FCO), and Ciampino Airport
(CIA) international airports. Airline safety is on par with other Western
European countries, and meets U.S. aviation security
screening and logistic standards. Contract security and various local and
national police agencies are responsible for security at airports. Modern
equipment helps with passenger, document, and cargo screening. General labor
strikes occur throughout Italy, occasionally affecting Milan and surrounding
Other Travel Conditions
tour organizations arrange travel throughout the country, with varying degrees
of service. None are off-limits for U.S. Embassy employees.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Rome as being a HIGH-threat
location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government
interests. ISIS, al-Qa’ida, their affiliated
organizations, and other terrorist groups aspire to commit terrorist attacks
against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Local security authorities
believe threats and attacks are likely to be a security concern as European
members of ISIS return from Syria and Iraq. There is a general continuing
threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major
terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. European
governments have acted to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made
official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.
concerns for terrorism are exacerbated by its proximity to North Africa and the
Middle East. Additionally, Italy has figured prominently in the rhetoric of
groups such as ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and al-Shabaab. The Government of Italy has a
robust counterterrorism program and actively monitors known or suspected
foreign fighters and terrorists.
groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S.
citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods
of attack – including knives, firearms, improvised explosive devices (IEDs),
and vehicles – to target crowds more effectively. 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.
also faces several indigenous terrorist groups and radical elements, primarily
consisting of extremist and or anarchist movements. Government institutions and
diplomatic facilities have received bomb threats and actual explosive devices.
Buildings/offices have been the target of firebombs or Molotov cocktails,
although generally at night; such incidents are rare and instigated by
organized crime or anarchist movements.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Rome as being a LOW-threat
location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S.
government interests. Politically motivated violence in Italy most often involves
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, firebombs, and Molotov
cocktails in the past several years. These attacks generally occur at night,
and have not targeted or injured U.S. citizens.
occur regularly in Rome. However, most are small and well controlled by
security forces. There are several common locations for demonstrations listed
- The Ministry of Economic
Development on Via Molise;
- The Ministry of Labor on Via
- The Ministry of Economy and
Finance on Via XX Settembre; and
del Popolo, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza San Giovanni, and Circo Massimo
OSAC’s report, Surviving
rhetoric comes from groups opposing specific “establishment” referendums that
have U.S. cooperation, for example: Mobile User Objective System (MUOS)
satellite communications system, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
Partnership (T-TIP). Demonstrations occur frequently and can be anti-U.S.
in nature, especially in areas hosting U.S. military bases.
2016, there has been increased earthquake activity in the northern region of
Lazio, approximately 80 miles northeast of Rome. According to Italy’s Civil
Protection Agency, a 5.7-magnitude quake occurred near Amatrice in 2017. The
tremors were felt in Rome, and although very little damage was recorded,
schools, metro stations, and trains closed in order to check for possible
damage. The region has suffered hundreds of smaller quakes since the seismic
activity began. Most recently, Stromboli volcano (small island near Sicily)
erupted in July and August 2019; and Mount Etna (in Sicily) erupted in December
2018. According to USGS reporting, activity in this area continues.
General information about disaster preparedness is
available online from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA). The “Io non rischio” campaign by Italy’s Department of Civil
Protection has information on how to avoid risks including floods, earthquakes,
and tsunamis, and has information in English. The interactive maps
for each category may be especially useful for determining levels of risk for
personnel working or living in Italy.
catastrophic event will likely disrupt response services significantly. Develop
a personal plan to overcome an expected disruption.
Personal Identity Concerns
are often targets of theft or sexual assault. Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female
are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of
LGBTI events in Italy. Same sex civil unions are legally recognized in
Italy. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+
Narrow, streets with cobbled
stones are pervasive in Italy. Many sidewalks lack ramps, and some streets lack
sidewalks altogether or, as in Venice, feature stairs and narrow pedestrian
bridges. Many hotels, attractions and means of public transportation do not
have ramps, elevators, or accessible bathrooms.
stations in Italy have accommodations for wheelchair riders; with advanced
notice, those with a disability can receive
assistance when transiting through a station. Hand-controlled rental cars
are available in Italy from major car rental companies; contact the car rental
company well in advance of your trip to reserve the vehicle. Guide dog owners
must present the
documentation required by European Union Member States in order to enter Italy
with a dog. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers
Travelers have reported incidents in which criminals used
drugs to assault or rob them.
Do not discount the threat of being
kidnapped. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
line for emergencies and carabinieri in Italy is 112.
The police line is 113, and the fire emergency
line is 115. The services have location
detection and multi-lingual operators. Police response and services throughout
Italy are good. The Polizia di Stato (state police) and the Carabinieri
(military police) are well trained and equipped. These two police groups offer
the full range of police services. For local first responders, please refer to
the Embassy’s Emergency
Italy has a higher level of police
presence than most countries. In 2008, Operazione Strade Sicure began adding
military patrols throughout major cities to supplement civilian police patrols
and to deter both crime and terrorist attacks. Today, it is common to see
police and military patrolling areas throughout the city, especially at popular
sometimes impersonate police officers. If a plainclothes police officer stops
you, ask for a uniformed officer or insist on seeing an officer's
identification card (documento). Do not hand over your wallet. Immediately
report the incident to the actual police at a police station or by dialing 112 from a local
phone. Download the State Department’s Crime Victims Assistance brochure.
The emergency line for ambulances (First Aid only) is 118. Adequate health facilities and ambulance
services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency
responders may be below U.S. standards, and facilities may
be limited outside urban areas. Medical staff may speak little or
no English. Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available
overnight in non-emergency wards.
Public hospitals, though generally free of charge for emergency
services, may not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the United States.
Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate
insurance before admitting a patient. Travelers should make efforts to obtain
complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures
before agreeing to any medical care. In most cases, patients bear costs for
transfer to or between hospitals. Find
contact information for available medical services and available air ambulance
services on the U.S. Embassy website.
U.S. Department of State strongly recommends purchasing international health
insurance before traveling internationally. Review the State Departments
webpage on insurance
Italian Health Ministry sets rules defining importation of prescriptions and
medications into Italy. However, the Health Ministry website does not have
information in English. According to the Health Ministry, foreigners entering
Italy may bring personal medications for a period of 30 days, but should also
bring a copy of their prescription with them. Travelers should not bring excess
supplies of prescription drugs into the country, and cannot bring prescription
drugs for other people. Italian Customs laws strictly regulate the importation
of medications into Italy by courier services or by mail. Italian customs
clears all incoming shipments of medications -- even small amounts for personal
use -- and will allow them to clear customs only upon presentation from the
receiving party of a statement signed by a physician licensed in Italy,
certifying that the medication is essential for the patient; that he/she would
be put in a life-threatening situation without it; and that there is no substitute
or equivalent medication available on the Italian market. Delays in the release
of medications by Italian Customs received by mail or by courier services are
common. Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with
parts of Italy, the lack of adequate trash disposal and incineration sites has
led to periodic accumulations of garbage in urban and rural areas. In some
cases, residents have burned garbage, resulting in toxic emissions that can
aggravate respiratory problems.
CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Italy.
OSAC Country Council
is currently no active Country Council in Rome. Contact OSAC’s Europe team for more information.
U.S. Embassy Contact
Via Veneto 119/A, 00187 Rome
Regular hours: 0830 – 1730, Monday
– Friday; Closed Saturday and Sunday, and on U.S. and Italian holidays.
Embassy Operator: (+39) 06-4674-1
Marine Post One: (+39)
Other U.S. Diplomatic Posts In Italy
you travel, consider the following resources: