Italy Travel Tips: How to Safeguard Your Money

Avoiding Pickpockets and Petty Theft

Pick pocket taking wallet.
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Tourists rarely become victims of violent crime in Italy, but traveling in big cities such as Rome, Naples, and Florence, and to other popular tourist spots such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Cinque Terre, turns you into a target for pickpockets and purse snatchers.

However, with smart planning and vigilance, you can avoid an unpleasant encounter with petty theft. By using street smarts, a few great anti-theft items like money holders for travel, and being aware of your surroundings, you can better safeguard your money while touring the city to avoid any unnecessary complications to your vacation in Italy.

Read on to discover some valuable tips, tricks, and words of advice on how to avoid pickpockets, con artists, and petty thieves while touring this beautiful country.

Keep Your Valuables Close

To avoid loss, carry important documents (such as your passport), your credit and ATM cards, and most of your money in a travel security wallet or passport holder under your clothing. While it may be slightly uncomfortable, you're much less likely to lose anything of value. For convenience, carry a small amount of cash and one credit card in your purse, pocket, or pack where you can get to it easily—though also expect that it might be pickpocketed if you're not constantly aware of your surroundings.

We recommend getting the Zero Grid Money Belt 2-in-1 Travel Wallet and Hidden Pouch from Amazon or the Landing Gear Passport Holder Neck Pouch with RFID Blocking from  Amazon as both of these items are almost certainly going to stop most petty thieves in their tracks.

When you travel with a companion, divide your credit and ATM cards between you so that if one person's wallet gets stolen, you still have access to money. You may also want to leave an emergency cash stash in the safe at your hotel.

Use Your Street Smarts

Use the same common sense you would use in a big city anywhere in the world to avoid getting pickpocketed in Italy.

In crowds, such as at the Rome metro Termini station or in Venice around the Rialto, carry your pack or purse in front of you where you can easily see it and always be aware of your surroundings. Don't put your purse, daypack, or camera down where someone could snatch it, and if you have zippers on your purse or pack, keep them closed.

Be wary of people asking you for money or asking you to do something for them. Scammers sometimes approach tourists, especially in crowded train stations and bus terminals, holding a newspaper or a piece of cardboard that they put in front of you to read. With your attention on this diversion, a child or another person picks your pocket. Or someone may approach you holding a map and ask you for directions on the map, using it as cover for an accomplice to pickpocket you. If someone "accidentally" bumps into you in a crowd, check immediately to see if they got away with something of yours.

Before you depart on your trip, write down the foreign phone number for each ATM and credit card for reporting lost or stolen cards and photocopy the front and back of all your cards. Make a photocopy of your passport, too, and keep both separate from the originals and leave another copy with someone at home.

Then if the unthinkable does happen, you can immediately report the theft, cancel your cards, and minimize the damage.