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Unofficial Survey--Have you been pickpocketed in Italy?

Yes, No? And where?

Posted by
867 posts

I have been to Italy twice and was never pick pocketed.

Posted by
7173 posts

I've been all over Italy on at least 7 trips, and I've never had anything pickpocketed. That includes several trips on the dreaded Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Sorrento.

Posted by
204 posts

Yes. On our first trip together to Italy my wife was pickpocketed and they got our passports, airline tickets and some Am/Ex checks. I had made copies of everything and so was able to replace everything, including the plane tickets, in a couple of hours.

they used the mustard trick. We have been there dozens of times since and it has never happened again altho I have seen dozens of others robbed. Some I was able to stop and some not. Three rules: Wear a money belt somewhere under your clothes, Be alert, and do not underestimate the skill of the pickpocket.

Posted by
35 posts

I was siting in Campo de Fiora sketching and my whole bag was taken. It was my fault as I let my guard down and was not paying attention. I have been to Italy many times and this was the only time it happened. Several times gypsy children tried but failed. Or there was the time in the train station but again they failed. You must be on your guard at all times.

Posted by
114 posts

No. We've had 4 trips to Italy and one coming up.

Did see someone on the train from Ravenna to Venice. She was sitting across from me and started asking people if they had the time. Most everyone said no. But I think she was watching to see where they kept their cellphones. After a while, she got up and left, and when she came back, she had changed her look! Big sunglasses, different hairstyle, the works! It was actually funny. I figured she had her "marks" and would try to pickpocket them later.

Someone also came through the train and put a little card with a message on the window ledge. It was poorly written and hard to read. I gathered it was a plea for cash. She came along later and collected the cards. I thought it important to keep my eyes on everyone around me rather than to look at the card.

We bury any valuables under layers of clothes. Most importantly, we carry almost nothing of value.

Posted by
20624 posts

Nope, never. We have spent close to a month in Italy and nearly 300 days elsewhere including some of the reported pickpocket capitols of the world -- Barcelona,Madrid flea market, etc., and have never a problem or even been close to problem from our perspective. According to a recent Interpol report about one Am in four will have problems.

However, just remember that I did have an encountered with the pack of kids. Saw them coming and ran the other way. Thata is the closest.

Posted by
844 posts

Four trips to Italy & France and on this last trip my husband caught a man with his hand in my husbands front pocket. Mind you we keep almost everything in the moneybelts, just a bit of cash in the pocket. This was on the bus in Rome, crowded, we were standing and pretty close to the door. This man looked dirty & was acting drunk, but didn't smell like alcohol.My hubby caught him around the wrist and held on while he fussed at him. He tried saying No, No mistake, but my husband said "You had your hand in my pocket" An Italian passenger chewed the pickpocket out and he got off at the next stop. We told him thank you, and went on our way. Didn't lose a thing.

Posted by
8293 posts

No, not anywhere in Europe but an attempt was made in a supermarket right here in Montreal.

Posted by
1085 posts

Not in Italy but someone attempted it on the Underground in London. I got off the train to see my jacket pocket was turned inside out. Of course I didn't have anything in it so no worries!

Posted by
9110 posts

No, not even in dreaded Naples. Dozens of trips over a lot more years.

Posted by
1446 posts

Been to Italy twice & never been pickpocketed however a man that we met at our agriturismo last year had been pickpocketed on a bus in Rome. He was wearing a vest with velcro pockets & he had his wallet in the front pocket & was pickpocketed.

Posted by
1737 posts

Been there 7x. Never been pick pocketed. DID however see a pickpocket in action on a Metro train in Rome working the zipper of a purse on a woman standing next to me...My stuff was very safe, so I guess he went to the next person. I had my hand on my PacSafe bag that was slung over my shoulder and LOCKED.

Posted by
850 posts

Gnope. Wear a money belt. Did have someone in Venice on one of the boats who was getting off unzip the outer pocket of my camera bag. He had a coat draped over his right arm and I was sitting on the aisle seat when he walked by and conveniently let his coat cover my camera bag and he unzipped the pocket. I Only had a bottle of water in it so I guess he was not very thirsty since he left it. It was a full unopened bottle of water. What more could he want? Maybe a beer. In all seriousness though he was pretty smooth. I felt just a slight movement of my bag and did not notice the zipper opened until he had exited. I do remember he had a New York Mets hat on. He must have known I was a Braves and Red Sox fan.

Posted by
20624 posts

IMO, you have to be doing something wrong if you have been subject to multi attempts.

Stephanie, the mustard trick, bird droppings, -- it is all the same -- something is squirted on you and a kind person (who probably did the squirting) offers to help you remove it. It is all a distraction so he or someone else can grab your bags or clean your pockets.

Posted by
1003 posts

Spent a total of more than 30 days in Italy and nope, never even seen anything shady. Didn't see anything in Barcelona or Lisbon either. Only place I experienced anything suspicious was waiting in line in a Brussels chocolate shop and a little gypsy girl tapped on my hand, I presume to distract me but I didn't let her. But my hand was already on my bag and everything important was safely in the money belt anyway.

Posted by
2 posts

I have been to Europe twice, and I wore a moneybelt, so I never had anything stolen. I did see a pickpocket in action in Madrid, however, although I did not realize it at the time. I was with several people, and we were in a souvenir shop just off Puorto Del Sol, I believe. There was this business woman, who was bending down alongide several business men, who were looking at souvenirs on low shelves.

We left the shop, and a couple of minutes later, I saw this "business" woman walk towards two scruffy looking men. When she reached them, she dropped a bunch of wallets into their shopping bags! They were all in it together. After seeing that, I know I will always wear a moneybelt in Europe.

Posted by
4444 posts

Never in Italy (6 trips and 10+ weeks travel in Italy).

I had my wallet nicked in London coming out of the Notting Hill tube station. Had my wallet in my shoulder bag dangling behind me and noticed it was unclasped when I got to the top of the steps. I lived in London at the time. It turned out to just be a minor annoyance. One call to Visa International (the London Transit Police had their number in the office at the tube station) and I had 3 cards from banks in 3 different countries cancelled. I received the replacement for the first one in less than 48 hours (and that was without emergency service). Ended up getting the wallet back two days later with all its contents except the cash ( a local business found it and called the number on my business card).

It can happen anywhere:

  • A colleague had her wallet stolen off the belt at St Louis airport while she was being patted down by security

-A friend had her purse stolen from under the table at a Munich beer hall.

-On a London Walk, one of the women on my walk had her wallet lifted while she was in the cattle gate-like thing in the center of the intersection.

-On a RS tour in Rome, one of the tour members had his wallet lifted in the metro. It just had a small bit of cash.

Posted by
2871 posts

We've been to Italy about 5 times in the last 10 years and only once in Rome on the Metro did my husband find a hand in his pocket. We don't carry anything of value in our pockets.

Posted by
30957 posts

Not so far and hopefully never! However, a colleague was pickpocketed on the Rome Metro, and he lost a "substantial amount of cash" (he wouldn't tell me the amount).

In addition to the "usual precautions", I always try to be aware of those around me, and especially vigilant if there's any kind of disturbance.

Posted by
483 posts

At the bus stop in Siena we were being crowded and my husband felt a hand going into his pocket. My husband yelled at him and he slinked away. We've had the children using the Heinekin Beer box routine try us and were definitely being considered at a bus stop in Rome. We keep a space around us and say "Via". We were on a cruise from Italy once and someone onboard told us their father in his 70's had three strikes.

Posted by
1449 posts

no; never had anything stolen either from my pockets or luggage. Have been shortchanged a few times, though; I suggest always counting your change carefully and with the money held in plain sight to get the smile and "oops!" with your missing change.

Posted by
129 posts

no but i had a few people with interesting stories asking me for money...like i need money to get to my embassy across town so i can then get back to my home...i always wear a money belt

Posted by
518 posts

Nope. Italy was our first adventure across the pond and we were highly vigilent because of everything I had read. Money belts and only enough cash in my pocket that we could afford to lose if we were pick-pocketed.

Our own worst enemies have been ourselves though. Forgetting stuff in train stations - DOH!

For places that I "felt" the most at risk though...Rome, Avignon (France) and Prague (Czech Repub). Nothing ever happened, but in each of these places I felt like I had to keep my bag a little closer and like we were being sized up for booty.

Posted by
212 posts

YES. Well actually to be precise I was "fanny-pack-pocketed" in Rome ten years ago.

And had a cell phone snatched from my pocket about 7 years ago.

And had a gypsy steal another phone right out from under my nose about 4 months ago.

And I consider myself "aware" as far as these things go....they're pretty damned good at it!

Posted by
1085 posts

In 4 trips to Italy I have never been pickpocketed. However, I wear a money belt and try to stay aware of my surroundings. When I am in the metro I keep my zipped shoulder bag (containing nothing valuable)crossed over my shoulder & in front of me. I usually keep my small camera in one hand with the strap around my wrist. I actually worry more about losing that than anything-it contains all my trip memories!

Posted by
492 posts

Nope. Couple of trips now, we also do the money belt and anything else of value is watched very closely. I have one friend who has been there twice and pick-pocketed both times.

Posted by
468 posts

In eleven trips to Europe, Italy seven times, Paris four times, and Madrid and Barcelona, I have never had anyting taken. However, I was on the "wallet eater" bus in Rome when a lady's wallet was taken, and once in the Metro a woman put her hand in my husband's pocket. He looked straight at her and yelled, "pickpocket," and she and her two small children immediately exited the subway car. Once they got off, I noticed that the outer zipper of my purse was partially open. I guess the child tried to unzip it. I never felt it. There was nothing in there of value to steal, but not even the odds and ends in there were taken.

Posted by
1313 posts

Two trips to Italy, nothing taken (and no attempts as far as I know). Like other posters, I use my money belt and keep only a small amount of the day's spending money in a jacket pocket on my breast. I expect a pickpocket could get into that pocket but they would have to be exceptionally good to do it literally right under my nose. My daybag is a tote that I carry tucked under my arm, with a zipper across the top and a velcroed pocket. I don't keep anything of value in there either.

Like Ken, I try to be aware of my surroundings and keep a circle of 'personal' space. They have to get within arms' reach to pick your pockets after all! This is often a challenge on the bus/subways, but so far, so good.

Posted by
773 posts

No, and no attempts that me or husband has ever noticed, in about 7 trips to Italy and 7 trips elsewhere in Europe.

I don't consider myself to look particularly like a local, but it's become the family joke: On every trip, in the U.S. or Europe, I seem to be the person that others approach to ask for directions. (And no, I don't think they're potential pickpockets - they've always been foreigners to the country we're in.) So maybe I just look really confident!

Posted by
20624 posts

So far the score is NO - 19, YES - 7, KIND OF -4. That is 31 responses, lets round to 32 -- math is easier. Earlier I quote an Interpol report that said about one in four American would have some theft problems. I know there were some Canadian responses so lets lump everyone under North Americans. The ratio is pretty close.

Posted by
430 posts

No.

Witnessed a failed attempt by two gypsy kids with the pizza box trick -- tried to get my Dad in front of Rome Termini Station. He took their box away... that was in 2000.

Witnessed a successful pickpocket -- gypsy kids using a newspaper as a distraction. Got two girls' passports. That was in 1992. Also in front of Rome Termini.

My opinion is that Rome was much worse about pickpockets / purse snatchers in the early 90's than today.

Closest I came was on a subway in Prague. Kid unzipped my backpack before I noticed he was behind me, but I heard her before she could get anything (not that anything valuable was in my backpack).

Posted by
4821 posts

No, but I personally know several that have. In each case, they increased their chances by not taking precautions. One thought nothing of parading around with a 2" thick wallet in his back pocket, plus, he just "looked" like a target.

Posted by
35 posts

We had an attempt on the metro in Rome.

My husband was wearing cargo pants, and someone started to go into one of the leg pockets (where there was nothing of value), but my husband stopped the offender. We never did see the culprit as the train was so crowded.

Posted by
1620 posts

No, not in Italy. However, we had a zipper pulled open on our backpack. Also, while waiting for me to shop along the canal in Venice, my husband observed a pickpocketer taking a wallet and then handing it over to a vendor. As someone previously noted, they work together.

Posted by
934 posts

Ive never had anything taken but then we have nothing in our pockets and my wife doesnt carry a purse.In Rome on the bus a small girl had her hand in my wifes pocket.My wife grabbed the hand and loudly let everyone know what was happening.They left the car quickly.

Posted by
11 posts

not in Italy, but I will NEVER go to Lisbon again in a million years. On a trip with 50 other couples our rooms were broken into and they stole a lot of stuff.

Italy is great, just be cautious, as you would in NYC or anyother large city.

Posted by
881 posts

Two attempts last trip to Italy (Rome), but I had set myself up as an absolute target - not intentionally. lol (Standing in the middle of a square, with a camera, and a tripod, with a shoulder bag, taking long distance photos of the Pope.)

But, I had all the zippers on my bag secured, the main draw tied shut with a difficult knot, and had run the shoulder strap through my belt, so I wouldn't have to worry about the bag while I took photos.

Undoing one fastening clip is as far as they got, and I was able to focus on the photos, rather than the bag.

2 Previous trips to Italy - no problems.

Posted by
466 posts

Never......and if you're smart you should never be pickpocketed.

Posted by
36 posts

Nope. And I never felt unsafe anywhere in the cities of Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena, at any time of day or night.

Posted by
1487 posts

Eight trips to Italy, about 24 weeks total. My husband lost 50 euros on a bus in Palermo. That's the only attempt we've even been aware of. Most of the money is kept tucked away undercover.

Posted by
251 posts

I've spent about a year collectively in Italy, and no, no pickpockets. I've been to Paris a couple of times and have dodged a couple of attempts there by younger kids (who just ran off after they were unsuccessful); but that's the only place I've ever come across any pickpocket attempts.

Just as a tip though, if you're staying in an apartment, hotel, etc. in Italy be sure your door is locked and shut. One time I was in Rome, I was staying at a hotel on the west side of the city (outside the center/main area) that has an area where several of its rooms are accessed outside the main building on their own around this very nice garden area. There's an exit (not locked) from the garden onto the main street, so really anyone can just walk in if they chose to do so. Anyway, the room doors didn't lock automatically (as many are accustomed to at hotels); you had to do it yourself. But one of the people I was traveling with closed her door thinking it was locked (which it wasn't) and left for the day, only to come back and find her camera, money, and other valuables gone because someone apparently just walked in and took it. She still had her passport and clothes and stuff, but you just have to be careful. I also heard a similar story from a friend who was also in Rome, locked the door to his hotel room (which was a similar setup), then left for the day. Only, when he pulled it shut, he didn't quite shut it all the way, so while he was gone someone just walked in and took a few things.

Anyway, these aren't pickpocket attempts or anything, but just a reminder that when you are leaving your hotel or apartment or whatever, make sure the door is fully closed and locked before you leave (same, I guess if you rent a car) because someone might just come right on in if its not.

Posted by
89 posts

I have been to Italy three times and neither myself or my travel companions were ever pickpocketed. But we travel cautiously by using money belts and even stash some cash in our bras. We did witness a terrible scene in Florence. An older woman had her purse snatched right off her shoulder by two thugs in a drive-by on a moped. Her mistake . . . she had her passport and all her cash and credit cards in her purse. We felt terrible for her. Leave your passports at your hotel and carry a copy of it with you if you're worried about it. Stash your cash and credit cards in a money belt and your bra (keep small amounts handy for the day). Carry a purse of bag messenger style, over one shoulder and across your chest.

Posted by
35 posts

no, been to italy 3 times and have always worn a money belt.
tk

Posted by
157 posts

Nope! I was in Italy twice and visited 12 different cities. I had my purse in front of me with my hand on it at all times.

Posted by
255 posts

Nope. Wear money belts or neck bags. What little money my husband keeps out goes into a front pocket and is usually less than $50. We've made trips to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Israel, and all over the Mediterranean.

Posted by
216 posts

Never--in at least 7 trips over the past 8 years. I've been with students two of those times and none of them have been pick-pocketed, either.

Posted by
175 posts

No but a woman in our hotel was - talk about asking
for it - she had a backpack and was carrying all the
important belongings for four people. Mother and
father in law, husband and herself. Luckily for
them, they had left all their passports at the hotel.

The backpack was slashed from behind and everything
stolen.

The four of them were frantically phoning home to get
new bankcards, Visa cancellations, etc, etc. Not a
happy quartet to say the least - and certainly not
the way you want to explore Rome.

Posted by
125 posts

Sort of, last spring, while boarding the Circumvesuviana in Naples for the trip to Sorrento. He tried to slip his hand into my right pocket from behind me but he brushed my wrist so I pinned his hand against my hip and he retreated. There wasn't anything in my pocket anyhow since I keep my stuff elsewhere.

We stayed in the open area by the door with our suitcases. An older guy who had been sitting decided to come up and stand with us. For most of the trip to Sorrento he watched us out of the corner of his eyes, I assume waiting for an opportunity. Eventually he gave up and got off the train.

I've never had anything taken because I keep everything well hidden, but I wonder how many attempts have been made that I didn't feel . . .

Posted by
8607 posts

Someone needs to design a pocket-size mousetrap. You carefully put it in your pocket, and if someone tries to take what's in there......SNAP.

I think it would be funny.

Posted by
2765 posts

Never in Italy but once there saw a man sizing up 3 older ladies who were sitting eating ice cream cones. It was quite funny actually, in a sort of perverted way, to watch him for a while. Eventually, I went over and placed myself (6'3"/220#) between him and the ladies, who had placed their purses on the table, and watched his reaction. He did scurry away immediately. We always ware our money belts, either waist or neck, under our clothing, and try to watch each others back side. We move our RS day bags around to the front of us whenever we are in a crowd. Keep aware of your surroundings always, even here in Hawaii.

Posted by
252 posts

Yup, multiple Italian visits and one pickpocket. It was a small backpack but nothing of significant value taken.

But, before anyone proudly states they have never been pickpocketed...that doesn't mean there wasn't an attempt. They just might not have found anything on your persons, you would never know.

Posted by
1136 posts

I haven't. And I keep a few dollars in my pocket so that I will know if I was every targeted. So far, it has never been taken. However, I watched 2 pickpockets work a crowd in Florence, and have happened upon people who have just discovered their wallet missing (and were quite upset). That happened in both Rome and Venice. And I have ridden trains and metros that were so crowded they were a pickpockets dream come true. So far, I have only been squished in with honest people minding their own business (which I believe the majority of people are) Sooner or later, it might happen. But they will get less than 5 euros for their trouble since everything else is in my money belt.

Posted by
114 posts

No--been there 5 times now. My husband and I keep $ in a small wallet which is double-clipped to a pocket on the inside of our travel vests. Same for any other valuables. Since we travel in March, there is at least a coat zipped up over this, and this year, several other layers :) Aside from ticket stubs and kleenex, nothing important goes in any of the outer pockets.

Posted by
850 posts

Love the mouse trap idea, Frank II. I probably couldn't do it though since I sometimes cannot remember where I park my car. I would forget it was there and put my hand in the pocket and it "snaps" the wrong mouse.

Posted by
506 posts

No, in three trips. However, on my first trip I was "shown" a knife in a youth hostel in Milan. I've hated Milan ever since. But that was 30 years ago. I'll get past it someday...

Posted by
3 posts

No and I lived there for 10 months, be smart keep everyhing within your reach. I love money belts that go low on the waist and sit very flat.Keeping visibility down is key as I know people who've had over the head under the clothes pouches cut off of them.

Posted by
401 posts

I don't understand the point of this survey, but I'll add my own: I've live here in Italy for more than 10 years and I've never been pick-pocketed, had my bag slashed, or my hotel room (when I have stayed in them) broken into. And I've never used a money belt. And here's a story, not too long ago I dropped my husband's wallet in the middle of the street by accident, and within 20 minutes a man called to tell us he had found it. With all the money, IDs, and credit cards in it.

Posted by
389 posts

Have made 3 trips all over Europe and only pickpocketed once. They might have been watching us buy some earrings and put the small bag inside the back pouch of our backpack. When we returned back at the hotel, we found the small bag gone. This was in Austria and never even realized they went into it. We don't store anything of value there anymore.

Posted by
215 posts

No, but three failed attempts. Have been to Italy twice and over 100 days in Europe last few years. One attempt similar to Georges on train from Naples to Sorrento. A half hearted try in Bologona and
more serious one in Prague. Just pay attention to your surroundings and you should be OK.

Posted by
999 posts

Been to Italy 5x and never been pickpocketed nor have my husband or 2 sons. Also did not have any problems on trips to France, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, C. Republic or Germany and we were in some of the large cities. Just be aware of your surroundings and keep nothing valuable in your pockets.

Posted by
187 posts

Claire asked the point of the survey? Well, I was in the planning stages of my trip to Italy and I wanted a realistic idea of what to expect. I had heard so many horror stories and wanted a real estimation of risk.

Honestly, we just arrived home last night from 10 days in Italy and my experience was no different than being downtown Minneapolis or in Manhattan.

I had one failed attempt on the Rome metro our first day when we were so obviously new (looking at the route maps, etc) The culprit was so obviously sizing us up while we waited for the train it was funny. Her hand was in and out of my coat pocket quicker than you can imagine. I would doubt most people would have noticed--and if the metro was more crowded I wouldn't have either. After her attempt, I looked her in the eye until the metro stopped and she got off.

Honestly, I felt sorry for her. And, not knowing what the social programs are like in Italy (I'll need to do more research on that) I don't know if she had hungry kids or what. We had an interesting discussion with another American family in Vernazza and the mother of that family said that "everyone has a choice" (not to steal). But, the game of life may be different there and for that particular pickpocket.

I don't know if I can say for sure that if my son were crying with hunger I wouldn't make the same choice if there was no other options. And I can't even say that from my warm, safe home with a full stomach and all that I need that I even have the right to offer an opinion.

Posted by
1170 posts

No attempts that I know of, however, on the ferry from Amalfi to Capri we were chatted up by a woman who said that she was from Naples. She sat next to my cousin. I knew there was something fishy and warned my cousin not to talk to her. Just forward of us and on the left side of the boat, there was a line of elderly tourists who had a contingent of "Goth" girls seated directly behind them. I kept my eye closely on the girls, STARING at them constantly. They noticed me keeping watch and didn't try anything, but I knew what they were up to. I really made them squirm. Oh, and the woman from Naples...why was she on the ferry from Amalfi to Capri if she lived in Naples?? Yeah right.

Just a quick trivia question: Does anyone know the origin of Gypsies in Europe? A hint: They didn't originate in Europe.

One thing that is just as bad, if not worse, than gypsies is taxi drivers. What a dishonest lot they are, especially in Rome. I was the victim of a quick-change artist taxi driver once and was taken the "long way" to my destination twice. What is it with the meter anyway? You get to your destination and the meter reads one thing, and the next thing you know, the driver has flipped a switch and bumped the fare up several Euros.

Posted by
168 posts

No. Someone did try to short change us when we were buying our vaporetto ticket in Venice, so just double check you are getting the correct amount of change back.

My husband always wears a money pouch (around neck and under shirt) and I always have a messenger type bag that I wear crossbody. I always keep me hand over the zipper and we both watch each other if we are in a crammed bus/subway. We have never had anyone try to pick pocket us.

I think just keep an eye out and use common sense and you'll be fine.

Posted by
638 posts

No, but 2 kids came up right behind me in Rome about 8PM with that idea. I shooed them off, and too late I realized I should have smacked them!

Posted by
1075 posts

No, never in Italy.
Here at home in Canada though, yes!
I just heard of a new scam: you are on a train when it pulls into a station.
Someone taps on the window from outside on the platform to get your attention; and when you turn back your daypack/purse is gone.
This was a new one I'd never heard of before.
ALWAYS wear your money belt under your clothes, then you can relax.

Posted by
41 posts

No, we have had no trouble with pick pockets however I have seen one in action in Rome outside of the train station where you catch the public buses....

Posted by
41 posts

Rick Steves says stick a deoderant in your pocket...I actually have tissue in mine....

Posted by
102 posts

yes and no! Encountered a group of gypsy urchins aboard a crowded Rome subway. They rifled though my wife's purse, that consisted of a series of zippers. All valuables were safely stashed in a money belt so they got nothing but gum, breath mints, perfume, lipstick, and feminine hygiene products. Gone back to Italy twice since with no issues whatsoever.

Posted by
11738 posts

I lost a camera on a bus in Munich the first day of Oktoberfest. Since then I've been much more careful and haven't lost anything.

Posted by
32 posts

To you experienced travellers: is it inconvenient but worth it to get into your moneybelt when it's under clothing & you need to pay for things? I'm thinking the belt would be for the majority of cash but daily cash needs to be more accessible. How do you ladies carry your cash & cameras?

Posted by
18 posts

No. I've been on three trips (planning a forth!)in Italy. I wear a money belt and my purse slung across me in front with one hand usually on it in certain areas and crowds. I've also travelled alone and taken the so called "pick-pocket" buses in Rome - no problems!!!

Posted by
114 posts

I wanted to add, though I have not ever had anything taken, I think someone made an attempt at the Firenze airport this month. After checking in, we headed for the gate, but stopped at the first coffee shop we saw along the way. It was pretty busy and there were some teenagers crowded up at the bar getting coffee. My husband stayed at a table, but I went up to place my order, and the barista gave me the wrong thing; a girl next to me told me what to call it in Italian, and I think in that moment in which she had my attention, her pal unzipped my carry on bag. Nothing interesting aside from old papers with Suduku and a beat up paperback book was in there, so nothing disappeared, but the zipper was undone. So, I've decided next time I will wait until I get through security to grab my coffee. I am guessing the kids were just hanging out at the coffee bar to see what kinds of goods they might score.

Posted by
1 posts

We were in Naples, Rome, Pisa, Florence and Venice as part of our cruise. We had several problems as follows: in Naples on the Circumvesuviana train there were some teens crowding too close and trying engage us in small talk. I warned my wife out loud to hang onto her stuff. One guy asked the time. I had my wallet in my front left pocket with my left hand over it for protection. My wristwatch was also on my left hand. He wanted me to remove my hand to look at the time and then someone behind me would lift my wallet. I told him the approximate time without looking at my watch and smiled. His friend then asked me the time and I said "I know what you're up to so @#$% off!" They got the idea.

In Rome we had several incidents: 1) Near the Colosseum a group of beggar kids swarmed us. We just kept moving as if wading through water, gently shoving them aside as we walked, hands firmly on belongings; 2) Also near the Colosseum, my wife took a photo of some "goofy gladiators" Rick warns about. They noticed and tried to extort money from us through intimidation. One of them then offered to take our picture with his friends but we declined. He would have used our camera as collateral to demand money; 3) At the Fountain of Trevi, a gypsy woman offered to take our photo. She was not going to run off with our camera as she was 50-ish and heavy-set. Plus she had friendly, compassionate eyes. I figured that was her thing... people would give her a buck or two and why not? At least she was providing a service. Well just as she seemed ready to snap the photo, two kids passed in front of her. She held the camera out as if she were trying to figure out how to use it and one of them snatched it from her and took off. No question she was working with them. We were flabbergasted. We lost all our vacation photos so this selfish *$$h0le could steal a mere $100 camera. She then insulted our intelligence by insisting on her innocence and she even had the nerve to ask us for money!

Posted by
92 posts

Children "using the Heinekin Beer box routine" means what exactly?

Posted by
1018 posts

Last summer a Peruvian Indian lady tried and I caught her. So, I did the next right thing...I beat her with the water bottle I was carrying. The only thing she took from me was bruises. She must have been an apprentice because pickpocketing in Italy is an art form. This occurred on the Metro at Stazione Termini.

Buon viaggio,

RB

Posted by
9110 posts

Frank II, us rednecks carry rattlesnakes in our pockets when we travel for that very purpose.

Posted by
6 posts

No, never, in a couple dozen trips. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Posted by
3 posts

never ,if you act like a local ,dress propely like an italian not like and american tourist with tennis shoes istead of walking shoes you will never be pickpocket

Posted by
351 posts

Yes, on the way to the Borghese Gardens, Rome. My husband was pickpocketed by gypsies with babies in their arms at a place where the sidewalk narrowed and we had to get close to them. He had no cash in his pocket but they got his credit card. A young gypsy girl then returned it to him almost immediately, expecting a tip as a reward. She got none. What a scam!
Carry nothing in your pockets!!!