Health & safety in Italy

Dealing frankly with the health, safety, and crime concerns of an Italian vacation: pickpockets, health insurance, terrorism, scams, gypsies, travel warnings, hospitals, and other safety issues

This is really two sections masquerading as one: health concerns (everything from travel insurance to Italian hospitals), and safety concerns (from pickpockets to terrorists, scams to issues for women, gays, and minorities).

Keep in mind that this section is devoted to setting your mind at ease and passing along some good safety tips. It is not intended to scare you away from an Italian vacation, or make you feel as if you are taking your life into your hands when you step out the front door.

Travel to Italy is an overwhelmingly safe enterprise. The truth is that, in the vast majority of cases, the worst thing to befall the typical tourist in Italy is to have their wallet stolen. That's it. In the grand scheme of things, a non-violentpickpocketing is not too terrible (especially if you follow my advice and keep all the truly important stuff in your moneybelt).

So, before I get into the lists of detailed pages—each devoted to a serious and legitimate safety and health issue for travel in Italy—let me make one thing clear: Read this section thoroughly...and then try to forget about it.

I'm serious. Take the few handy tips and advice to heart (like wearing a moneybelt, and how to recognize pickpockets and scam artists), promise yourself to be alert (and not do anything too foolish) on your trip, and then move past it all and concentrate on enjoying your vacation.

Reading the 20 or so pages in this section might be a little scary, but that's only because we're concentrating on all the bad stuff. Take into consideration the fact that the other 1,000-odd pages of this Web site are all devoted to the good stuff.

Yep. That's about the right balance for an Italian vacation: 2% honest and legitimate concerns, 98% fun.

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