The 7 Most Surprisingly Dangerous Places In Italy

Italian policeman standing on a street
Photo by Philip Schroeder on Unsplash
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Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest works of art, historically significant architecture, and flavors to tantalize tastebuds across the globe. However, there’s a dark underbelly running through Italy that is not often seen by the masses. But where are these most dangerous places in Italy?

Italy is a nation with both a rich and dark history, spanning from the fierce Romans and Da Vinci’s Last Supper to the powerful Mafia bosses ruling organized crime. Modern-day crime levels shift between low to moderate, but crime is present in several serious forms including murder, sexual violence, and corruption. Italy has the 8th highest percentage of law enforcement per 100,000 inhabitants with 453 units, compared to the European average at 335 units per 100,000.

From Milan to Rome, there is a dark network of crime operating throughout Italy that most of us will never witness. We’ve done the research, pulled the statistics, and found the seven most surprisingly dangerous places in Italy. Keep reading if you’re planning a trip to the pasta capital of the world – you never know when you may need to keep your wits about you.

Milan

A crowded galleria vittorio emanuele ii in Milan, Italy
Photo by Kristijan Arsov on Unsplash

Milan is the fashion capital of the world, home of Giorgio Armani, Prada, and Versace. It’s also the city in Italy with the highest crime rate for theft with approximately 7,800 reported thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. Extremely slick pickpocketers work the main tourist attractions and public transport networks, working together in groups or pairs to distract the unsuspecting target.

As with many cities around the world, scammers prey on tourists. One of the most common scams involves someone asking you to sign a petition, getting close to you or your bags, slipping off your watch, or snatching your wallet. You are more likely to encounter this around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II; you may be approached by women who would ask you for petition signatures for an “anti-drug, anti-AIDS for youth” organization, it’s best to keep walking.

So, is Milan safe? Overall, Milan is generally considered safe, you just need to err on the side of caution in crowded areas. Some hotspots for pickpocketing are:

  • Central Station’s main exit
  • Piazza Duca D’Aosta
  • Parco Sempione
Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingModerate
VandalismModerate
TheftModerate
Assault or armed robberyLow
Corruption and briberyHigh

Bologna

A man in a hoody leaning against the wall in an alley in Bologna Italy, in black and white
Photo by Paolo D’Andrea on Unsplash

Bologna is one of Italy’s most popular university towns. It can get pretty busy with crowds, so just like Milan, pickpocketing and petty theft is a real problem you should be aware of if you travel to this city. In fact, Bologna has the second-highest theft rate of 7,600 per 100,000 inhabitants, just falling short of Milan.

However, it’s the risk of sexual assault that is truly worrying in Bologna. In 2019, this Northern Italian region recorded 17.6 cases of sexual violence per 100,000, the highest in the country. It’s always recommended to use taxis at night, instead of walking alone through the streets, and maintain a level of common sense along with usual precautions.

There are some areas of Bologna that you should avoid after dark. These three spots are renowned for drug deals and other shady crimes after the sun goes down:

  • Central train station
  • Montagnola park
  • Piazza Verdi
Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingHigh
VandalismHigh
TheftHigh
Assault or armed robberyLow
Corruption and briberyModerate

Florence

Canal bridge and downtown Florence with a sunset in the background
Photo by Giuseppe Mondì on Unsplash

Florence is a small and quaint town in the center of the Northern region of Italy. It’s often named as the most beautiful part of Italy with the strong Renaissance history and culture coursing through the streets. Although Florence is generally safe, street-smart rules do still apply.

Underneath the charming town surface is one of the highest rates of sexual assault in Italy. While prostitution is illegal in Italy, brothels and pimping are not.

To stay out of trouble when visiting Florence, avoid walking alone at night – especially down narrow and dark alleys. Be wary of pickpocketers in busy tourist hotspots, in particular markets and train stations. Districts to be wary of after dark:

  • Santa Maria Novella
  • San Lorenzo market
  • Piazzale del Michelangelo
Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingModerate
VandalismHigh
TheftModerate
Assault or armed robberyLow
Corruption and briberyModerate

Turin

Turin center with cathedral spire illuminated with a pink sky background
Photo by Massimiliano Morosinotto on Unsplash

Turin is a northwestern town nestled under the shadow of the Alps. In recent years, violent crime has dropped making it generally a safe place for tourists to visit. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t petty crime still taking place.

The statistics for theft in Turin show approximately 5,900 thefts per 100,000 residents, and 231 specifically as robberies.

Unfortunately, as Turin is a popular tourist destination, there is a naturally high risk of pickpocketing. The train station and busy tourist attractions are where most incidents take place, so just be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close. Theft and pickpocketing hotspots are:

  • Porta Nuova (train station)
  • Le Vallette
  • Barriera di Milano
Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingHigh
VandalismModerate
TheftModerate
Assault or armed robberyModerate
Corruption and briberyModerate

Catania

A man at a local market buying fruit and vegetables in Catania Italy
Photo by Melanie Vaz on Unsplash

Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily and is one of the most dangerous places in Italy with high cases of illicit activity. Robbery, theft, and prostitution-related crimes are some of the most prevalent in Catania, along with an underbelly of organized crime run by the Mafia. Catania has a staggering statistic of 7,000 prostitute-related crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

Ride-by thefts are extremely common; using mopeds or bikes, the attackers snatch bystanders’ bags off their shoulders before fleeing. Places to avoid at night:

  • Castello Ursino

There is another high risk that you may encounter in Catania – the road. Catania’s drivers are famous for being a little crazy behind the wheel. Whether you’re a pedestrian or have rented some wheels to get around, be warned you need to keep your wits about you. Pedestrian crossings don’t always stop the oncoming traffic, and neither does a give way!

Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingHigh
VandalismHigh
TheftHigh
Assault or armed robberyModerate
Corruption and briberyVery high

Rome

A view across Rome and the beautiful architecture
Photo by Carlos Ibáñez on Unsplash

Rome, the Italian capital, is actually pretty safe in the grand scheme of things. However, as with the other top tourist destinations in Italy, tourists are often targeted for pickpocketing. There are key attractions that you should be careful when visiting, including Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Just like every city across the globe, there are some districts in Rome that are best avoided, especially after dark. These high risks spots are:

  • Tor Bella Monaca
  • Romanina
  • San Basilio
  • Corviale

Scammers also operate at a high capacity in Italy’s capital. From ATM fraud to petition tricks, these scammers can see unsuspecting tourists a mile off. There have also been cases of spiked drinks in bars and clubs, resulting in either robberies or sexual assault. It’s down to this why (parts of) Rome is listed as one of the dangerous places in Italy.

Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingModerate
VandalismHigh
TheftHigh
Assault or armed robberyModerate
Corruption and briberyHigh

Naples

A panoramic view of the metropolitan center of naples, italy
Photo by Zsolt Cserna on Unsplash

Last, but by no mean least, we have Naples – a southern city in Italy filled with cultural significance. While the theft rates don’t compete with the northern areas of Italy, Naples is still up there as one of the most dangerous places in Italy due to the slight problem of organized crime. Camorra is a secret crime organization, somewhat similar to the Mafia, which has been conducting unlawful work since the 19th century.

Forcella is the main area of Naples that tourists would do well to avoid at night. The Camorra are highly influential in Naples, although you are unlikely to have any issues with them as a tourist. Pickpocketers, muggers, and drug dealers also roam these streets; now these people will target tourists.

Type of CrimeSeverity
Drug use or dealingHigh
VandalismHigh
TheftHigh
Assault or armed robberyHigh
Corruption and briberyHigh
A close up of a police truck side in Italy
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

What is the most dangerous city in Italy?

Milan is statistically the most dangerous city in Italy. Crime rates have been recorded at roughly 6.8 thousand crime cases per every 100,000 inhabitants. These crimes are anything from petty theft to armed robbery and sexual assault.

Is Italy a dangerous place to live?

Despite the staggering crime rate statistics, Italy is voted as the 31st safest country to live in the world. Police and military police do a fantastic job of maintaining order and protecting the masses. As long as you keep a level of common sense to your daily routines, Italy is not a dangerous place to live.

Which part of Italy has the most crime?

The northern and central regions of Italy have the highest crime rate, with Milan taking the mantel as the city with the highest crime rate. Theft and robbery are prevalent problems in the northern cities of Italy. Sexual assault and prostitute-related crime is an issue in central Italian cities.

Where is the safest place in Italy?

Many of the Italian cities are perfectly safe for smart travelers. Treviso is named the safest place in Italy. However, besides making prosecco wine, there is not a lot to do to keep many tourists occupied. Rome, Florence, and Milan all have safe neighborhoods and remember to keep your belongings close in a secure bag at tourist attractions.

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Hi! I'm Abigail, a surfer, traveller, and nature lover. I'm from the UK but have been able to call Bali home for several years. I've backpacked across Australia on a shoestring budget, explored European coastlines, and taken in the sights across the pond and down into South America. My travel wishlist keeps growing the more I explore our perfect planet!