Filled with culture, history, and some of the best food on the planet, Italy is one of the most popular travel destinations. Everyone should visit this bucket-list country at least once, but there are enough amazing Italian cities that you could visit several times and still not see everything.
As a whole country, Italy is pretty safe by world standards. It’s number 32 on the 2023 list of Safest Countries in the World, beating South Korea, Greece, and the United States. However, some cities in Italy are safer than others.
According to the information we have available, some Italian cities are considered “dangerous.” Keep in mind, though, that the lived experiences of people don’t always match up to the data.
I’ve spent time in several of the below cities that are classified as dangerous and did not feel unsafe. Italy is generally a very safe country to travel to as long as you’re practicing basic safety precautions, and the following cities are no exception.
The 11 Most Dangerous Cities in Italy
Numerous sources list Catania, at the base of Mount Etna on the island of Sicily, as the most dangerous city in Italy. According to Numbeo, Catania has a higher crime rate than other statistically dangerous Italian cities, including Naples.
Interestingly, Numbeo categorizes Catania as being a dangerous city primarily because of corruption and bribery, while several other indicators that may be problematic in other cities, such as violent crimes and hate crimes, are less likely.
Despite its reputation, Catania receives thousands of visitors every year, and many of them find it to be a beautiful port city. You should be extra vigilant when walking alone at night, or around train stations. Also avoid showing off valuables, as you may become a mugging target.
The south of Italy, including Sicily, has traditionally been associated with organized crime groups, such as La Cosa Nostra. However, in the majority of southern Italian cities, this is no longer a problem, and certainly not a problem for those just visiting.
One area to avoid in Catania is the neighborhood of Librino, which is known for the trafficking of weapons and drugs.
Another Italian city with a less-than-stellar reputation is Naples, in the region of Campania. Numbeo also lists Naples as one of the most dangerous cities in Italy, owing to ill-feeling of those in the city and worries about potential crimes.
However, Travel Safe Abroad actually categorizes Naples as a relatively safe Italian city—safer even than the major tourist hotspot of Pisa!
There’s a high risk of pickpocketing in Naples and a medium risk of being mugged or facing a terrorist attack. Petty crime is particularly common on public transport and around the Piazza Garibaldi train station.
While there are more dangerous areas of Naples, including Scampia and Secondigliano, these aren’t likely to be visited by tourists since they’re too far out of the city center.
While in Naples, it’s also important to avoid looking like a tourist, as this will make you the target of theft and scamming. Hide your valuables, don’t use a map in public, and try to learn some basic Italian phrases to blend in.
All in all, thousands of people visit Naples every year without an issue, and many people love the authentic feel of a city that hasn’t been consumed by tourism.
The negative reputation in part comes from the city’s history relating to organized crime and corruption, however, as with many southern Italian cities, this is unlikely to still affect tourists.
Rome is the Italian capital, the Eternal City, and one of the most popular destinations (if not the most popular destination) in Italy. While it’s still a safe city by world standards and was listed as the 30th safest city on the globe by World Population Review, you are more likely to experience certain crimes in Rome than elsewhere in Italy.
One of the busiest cities in Europe, Rome received more than 15 million tourists in 2022. With these crowds come petty crimes such as pickpocketing, scamming, and mugging.
It’s imperative to keep an eye on your belongings at all times when in Rome, securing your valuables. While most areas of the city are safe at night, practice caution when walking alone or through poorly lit areas.
I’ve never felt unsafe in Rome, though I did make a point of securing all my belongings, particularly when using the metro or at the train station.
Suggested Reading: The Most Dangerous Cities In The World
When it comes to crime, the more industrial and prosperous cities in the north of Italy tend to have a better reputation than those in the south. However, Turin in Piedmont has made Numbeo’s list of the most dangerous cities in Italy.
Travel Safe Abroad confirms that the overall risk to travelers in Turin is medium, mainly due to the frequent pickpocketing activity. Again, I never felt unsafe in Turin, but I would be extra vigilant when using public transport or around tourist attractions.
Despite the high risk of pickpocketing, Travel Safe Abroad categorizes other common safety issues, including scamming, mugging, terrorism, and natural disasters as being low risk, and also confirms that female travelers aren’t at particular risk when traveling to Turin.
When it comes to female travelers in particular, however, Travel Ladies advises avoiding walking alone at night, staying in a safe area, and carrying a safety whistle or alarm, as well as your phone, when traveling to Turin. As with all cities, also be sure not to accept drinks from strangers, as they may be laced with alcohol or drugs.
The southern region of Puglia has increased in popularity in recent years, thanks to previously hidden gems such as the village of Alberobello, which have gone viral on social media for their beauty.
While Puglia as a whole is considered to be a safe destination, some of the cities within Puglia are statistically more dangerous. One of them is Bari.
Pickpocketing is a common occurrence in Bari, especially on public transport. However, tourists are unlikely to face more violent crimes, and this shouldn’t deter you from visiting. As long as you exercise caution and common sense, you’re likely to have a hassle-free trip.
If you’re a solo female traveler in Bari, you may receive unwanted male attention, but the best way to deal with this is to ignore any catcalls and walk away. It’s a good idea to stay central when in Bari to avoid long walks back to your accommodation late at night.
While Puglia has traditionally been associated with organized crime, the presence of groups like Sacra Corona Unita isn’t likely to impact tourists.
Milan is thought of by some to be the fashion capital of the world. With stunning architecture and trendy neighborhoods, it’s one of Italy’s most popular travel destinations. However, Numbeo categorizes Milan as one of Italy’s most dangerous cities.
Other online sources classify Milan as a safe city, and it’s even listed as one of the safest cities in the world on World Population Review, so that’s definitely not a reason to cross Milan off your bucket list.
The main issue that tourists are likely to run into here is pickpocketing, so as always, keep your belongings secure. This is most likely to happen near tourist hotspots, such as around the Duomo di Milano and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Some of the most dangerous streets in Milan to avoid are Via Padova, Via Giambellino, and Viale Monza.
If you’re a foodie traveling to Italy, Bologna should definitely be on your itinerary. The central Italian city is the home of Bolognese sauce (although they don’t eat it with spaghetti!), and is a global exporter of mortadella, prosciutto, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (via Cookly).
But if you are traveling to Bologna, be aware that Numbeo lists it as the seventh most dangerous city in Italy.
Bologna has a moderate level of crime, indexing at 49.48. There are particularly high levels of drug crimes, vandalism, and theft, and moderate levels of corruption.
Unfortunately, crime has also increased in the past three years. Keep in mind, though, that crime has increased in many places over the past three years due to activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these warnings, some consider Bologna a safe place to travel to, even for solo travelers. If you are on your own, you may have to exercise more caution when it comes to situations like walking at night.
Suggested Reading: The Safest Cities in Europe to Visit
Catania isn’t the only Sicilian destination to make Numbeo’s list. Palermo is also classified as one of Italy’s most dangerous cities. There is the association with Sicilian organized crime, which may have contributed to Palermo’s reputation, but again, this doesn’t pose a real risk to tourists visiting in modern times.
Rather, the issues you’re likely to face in Palermo are pickpocketing and mugging. The standard safety rules apply, and if you exercise caution, the chances are you won’t become a victim in Palermo.
There are a few areas to avoid in Palermo, including the Brancaccio district in the city center (via Sacavoyage). The Ballaro area in the city center should be avoided at night, but you should have no problem walking through there in the middle of the day.
Italy has many beautiful cities, but Florence is definitely among the top few. With marvelous architecture and a selection of museums and galleries, Florence is the height of culture in Italy. However, it is also listed as one of the most dangerous cities.
As Florence is a major tourist destination, the higher crime levels may come down to regular occurrences of petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and scamming. The Ponte Vecchio, outside the Uffizi Gallery and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, are all places where you should be on high alert for pickpockets.
Despite the petty crime levels, Florence is actually quite safe as far as violent crimes go. The overall risk of running into trouble in Florence is low. There’s a low chance of both mugging and natural disasters, and it also makes a great destination for solo female travelers.
Suggested Reading: The Best Time To Visit Florence, Italy
The northern city of Trieste has also landed itself on the list of most dangerous cities in Italy. However, the good news is the levels of violent crimes and hate crimes remain very low, and overall, you can still feel safe when visiting Trieste as long as you exercise a reasonable amount of caution.
The area around the train station can be a little unsettling, particularly for solo female travelers and those walking at night, but there are many parts of Trieste that feel totally safe (via Roads and Kingdoms).
For additional safety advice, Travel Ladies recommends dressing modestly so as not to attract unwanted attention, and also not traveling with large amounts of cash or flashing your valuables.
According to Statista, Prato was one of the leading provinces with the highest crime rate in Italy in 2020. You may come across petty theft here, just as you would in any other European city, but these statistics shouldn’t put you off the picturesque Tuscan town.
Having studied in Prato, I felt safer there than in busier, more touristy destinations, such as Venice.
As long as you keep your wits about you, there’s no reason not to visit Prato. It’s a particularly great destination for those who want to experience the beauty of Tuscany without the many crowds.
Monash University explains that the cost of living in Prato is actually lower than it is in Florence. If you are a foreigner, you are more likely to be targeted by perpetrators of petty crimes, so staying vigilant, not flashing your valuables, and learning to speak some Italian can help you to stay extra safe in Prato.