Crime levels are generally low but there are higher levels of petty crime (particularly bag snatching and pick-pocketing) in the big city centres, such as Rome. Be aware that thieves can use a variety of methods to distract you.
Take care on public transport and in crowded areas in city centres, particularly in and around Termini station in Rome and at other main stations.
Be particularly vigilant on trains to and from the main airports in Italy (especially Fiumicino airport) and when unloading your baggage from trains and coaches.
Use a hotel safe for valuables where possible.
Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Don’t leave food or drinks unattended at any time. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.
Those in hire cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves, and robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa and on the road from Catania airport as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables on show and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time.
Make sure Euro notes received from any source other than banks or legitimate Bureaux de Change are genuine.
Only use officially licensed taxis. These will have a taxi sign on the roof. Make sure the meter in the taxi has been reset before you set off.
Tickets on public transport must be endorsed in a ticket machine before you start a journey. The machines are usually positioned at the entrance to platforms in railway stations, in the entrance hall to metro stations and on board some buses and trams. Officials patrol public transport and will issue an on the spot fine of Euros 100 to 500 (reduced to Euros 50 if paid immediately) if you don’t hold an endorsed ticket. Tickets can be purchased from shops displaying the ‘T’ sign, and are usually bars or tobacconists.
Pedestrians should take care at Zebra crossings. Vehicles don’t always stop, even though they are required to under the Italian Traffic Code.
Transport strikes are often called at short notice. For more information visit the Ministry of Transport website (in Italian).
You can drive in Italy with a UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. If you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may be required. On-the-spot fines can be issued for minor traffic offences.
In 2014 there were 3,381 road deaths in Italy (source: Department for Transport. This equates to 55.6 road deaths per 1,000,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 27.7 road deaths per 1,000,000.
Private and hire cars are not allowed to enter the historic centre of many Italian cities without an official pass. If your hotel is in the centre of one of these cities, you can buy a pass from most car hire companies. The boundaries of historic centres are usually marked with the letters ZTL in black on a yellow background. Don’t pass this sign as your registration number is likely to be caught on camera and you will be fined.
There is a congestion charge for Milan city centre. For further information see the Milan Municipality website.
To reduce pollution, the city authorities in Rome sometimes introduce traffic restrictions on specific days whereby vehicles with odd or even number plates are not allowed on the roads in the ‘fascia verde’ area (covering most of Rome). For further information, including exceptions, see the Rome Municipality website.
See the European Commission, AA, RAC and Italian Police guides on driving in Italy.
Trucks over 7.5 tonnes (75 quintali) are not allowed on Italian roads (including motorways) on Sundays from 7:00 am until midnight, local time. These restrictions don’t apply to trucks that have already been granted an exception (eg those carrying perishable goods and petrol supplies).
If you are planning a skiing holiday, you should contact the Italian State Tourist Board for advice on safety and weather conditions before you travel. Address: 1 Princes Street, London W1R 9AY. Telephone: 020 7355 1557 or 1439.
Off-piste skiing is highly dangerous. You should follow all safety instructions meticulously given the dangers of avalanches in some areas. Italy has introduced a law forcing skiers and snowboarders to carry tracking equipment if they go off-piste. The law also obliges under-14s to wear a helmet. There are plans for snowboarders to be banned from certain slopes.
ITALY TRAVEL GUIDE & SHOPPING SPREE
Spending a vacation in Rome on a low budget must surely have its inner difficulties, in particular due to the fact the capital of Italy allures visitors with uncountable temptations in terms of shopping opportunities. It’s true a tourist tool such as the Roma Pass can help visitors keep to their vacation budget, but the advantages of holding a document of this kind can only go that far. To actually experience the genuine thrill of shopping in Rome is to benefit from generous resources though, if truth be told, sometimes window shopping, occasionally seasoned with the thrill of purchasing a pleasant souvenir or gift, can be just as rewarding.
Rome caters for all sorts of tourists: from fashion victims to souvenir seekers, from adults to the little ones, from antiques aficionados to refined gourmets. The city is the perfect embodiment of a shopper’s dream, being crammed with stylish boutiques and grand glitzy fashion stores, tens of colorful picturesque markets and richly supplied antique shops, bookshops and toy stores. There are, however, streets and piazzas in Rome where shopping is at its best, giving tourists the opportunity to sample the peaks of the selling industry in a rewarding and timesaving manner.
Shopping streets in Rome
Via Borgognona is the hub of shopping for the rich. The street is dotted with shops which sell products out of the reach of the common travelers: it’s only the indecently wealthy, so to speak, who can afford to shop on Via Borgognona. The street is also a pleasant site for sightseeing: most of the shops have maintained the old neoclassical and baroque facades of the buildings which host them. If not for the pleasure of shopping, at least for the pleasure of admiring the buildings should the budget travelers stroll along Via Borgognona while in Rome. On top of that, Via Borgognona neighbors on Piazza di Spagna (which is, it too, replete with things to see and to do) and on yet another glitzy shopping thoroughfare: Via Condotti.
Roughly speaking, there is no difference between the shopping profiles of Via Condotti and Via Borgognona. This thoroughfare caters just as finely for the wealthy visitors of Rome, keeping away the common tourist whose resources don’t match their shopping ambitions. Starting, just like Via Borgognona, from Piazza di Spagna, it is a place were budget travelers can lose themselves in window shopping: there’s a lot to see here, though, architecturally speaking, the site is less rewarding, but just as spectacular by its array of shopping opportunities.
Via Sistina is, on the other hand, more accessible to the less endowed, from a financial point of view, tourist. This street begins, it too, from Piazza di Spagna, from the Spanish Steps, stretching all the way to Piazza Barberini (where Fontana del Tritone is located), which is a pleasant sightseeing sight ending an even more pleasant shopping spree on Via Sistina. The street is lined with small stylish boutiques, and it is also less crowded than other shopping streets.
Via dei Coronari
Via dei Coronari is ideal to explore by seekers of rare antiques. The street begins at the north end of the monumental Piazza Navona (notable for its three splendid fountains, namely, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno), stretching on Campo Marzio. It is a genuine Mecca of antiques aficionados, being lined with some 40 stores which sell a wide range of items, from chandeliers and vases to furniture and marble pedestals.
Via del Babuino
Via del Babuino is yet another excellent choice for tourists who want to shop for antiques. Here and there, the street is dotted with designers’ outlets, which is why, while browsing through the generous and splendid offers of the antiques shop owners, tourists can also consider exploring that certain je ne sais quoi characteristic of shopping for fashion in Rome. What is also worth noting is the prestigious Alberto di Castro, which sells precious and rare prints, is also located on Via del Babuino, a fact to be kept in mind by serious antiques aficionados.
Via del Corso
Via del Corso is a much more down to earth venue for shopping, as far as the prices are concerned. The street caters chiefly for the young, being doted with shops which sell sportswear, jeans, casual outfits and the like. Antiques stores and shops selling housewares can also be spotted here and there. Nonetheless, the stores clustered in Piazza del Popolo (notable, amongst others, for its classy cafes) tend to be the most popular with customers.
Via Cola di Renzo
Another thoroughfare ideal for shopping for fashion, jewelry, shoes and accessories is Via Cola di Renzo. This street stretches between Piazza Risorgimento and the Tiber River, running close to the Vatican. What is definitely noteworthy about the stores which line this street is they sell a wide range of items (clothing and accessories aside, they also sell culinary delights, books) at affordable prices. The popularity of this shopping backbone of Rome is proven, for instance, by the abundant pedestrian and motorized traffic in the area.
Via Frattina is yet another excellent choice for keen shoppers who want to explore Rome to the full extent of its shopping opportunities. The street does not necessarily cater for budget travelers, but prices are notably lower than the ones one has to pay in order to purchase goods from Via Condotti, for instance, which runs parallel to Via Frattina. An important feature of Via Frattina is wide parts of it are closed to the motorized traffic, being turned into pedestrian areas, which enhances its popularity with tourists who want to shop in a careless easygoing way.
Markets in Rome
Campo de Fiori Market
The Capo de Fiori Market is one of the oldest markets in Rome. This market if full of character, which is why it often appears in photographs which try to render the image of a typical Roman market. Prices, on the one hand, tend to be pretty high, but, on the other hand, they only reflect the quality of the products on sale. The stall here are said to sell the best bread and freshly caught fish, but visitors can also shop for flowers, pork delicacies, fruits and vegetables, housewares and even toys.
- Campo de Fiori Market (Mercato di Campo de Fiori)
- Piazza di Campo de Fiori, Rome, Italy
- Opening hours:
- Monday to Saturday: 6am to 2pm
Porta Portese Market
The Porta Portese Market is deemed the largest flea market in Rome, not to mention it is also one of the oldest in the capital. On top of that, it is one of the few held on Sundays, which is of no little importance for people who want to flavor their weekends with the thrill of an occasional shopping spree.
The merchandise sold here is quite miscellaneous, from antiques (genuine or fakes, for that matter) and furniture to clothing, books and paintings. The curious can buy both new and second hand items, and they can also bargain (though the sellers here are famed for their stubbornness of keeping to the initial price). Being a crowded venue, the Porta Portese Market is a favorite operation site for pickpockets, which is why visitors (in particular, tourists) are advised to keep an eye on their valuables.
- Porta Portese Market (Mercato di Porta Portese)
- Address:Via di Porta Portese, Rome, Italy
- Opening hours:
- Sundays: 5am to 2pm
Underground is an excellent site to explore in particular by antiques enthusiasts. This is a smaller flea market set up between Via Veneto and Via Sistina, filling an entire car park. Potential buyers can find here everything they can imagine, since the merchandise is quite miscellaneous. But the true character of this picturesque flea market lies in the fact that, at least as far as the antiques businesses are concerned, the items showcased and sold here belong to keen collectors, private individuals who want to share their wealth of valuables with the public.
The Best in Rome
Rome Shopping: Department Stores
We’ve listed easily accessible fashion stores within central Rome. Along the outskirts, the big shopping malls are anchored by mega stores, Panorama, Auchan and Ipercoop, selling everything from groceries to appliances.
The Spanish chain has taken Italy by storm. They now have stores at all the major malls that ring Rome, and three stores on the Via del Corso. The newly opened super-Zara, is the chain’s 5000th location worldwide. On the site of the former Rinascente department store, it’s a sleek, ecologically-correct five-story showcase, with a children’s department on the lower level, a men’s department on the top level, and three levels of women’s clothing and accessories in between. The merchandise changes constantly, and offers something for every taste and age group, from the mature professional to the hip teen, all at low prices.
Locations on Via del Corso in the Galleria Sordi at Piazza della Colonna
and next door at the Palazzo Bocconi in via del Corso 189
Via Tor Vergata at Via Schiavonetti
Porta di Roma Centro Commerciale, Bufalotto
Leonardo da Vinci Centro Commercial, Fiumicino
RomaEst Centro Commerciale (off the 24 towards Tivoli)
Euroma 2 Centro Commerciale (Eur)
For decades, the Rome branch of this national chain was the grand dame of the Via del Corso, occupying the venerable old palazzo that has recently become the Zara flagship store. There is a new, smaller version now in the Galleria Alberto Sordi, just next door, and a new, large store is currently being readied on the Via Tritone. The store carries such fashion brands as 7 for All Mankind, Burberry, Cachare, Caractère, Class, Roberto Cavalli, and Denim by Victoria Beckham, Diesel, French Connection, Guess, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Chloé and True Religion. Cosmetic brands include Laura Mercier, Ahava, Bulgari, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chloé, Roberto Cavalli, Clinique, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Estée Lauder, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jennifer Lopez, Lacoste, Lancôme, MAC, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Miss Sixty, Moschino, Ralph Lauren, Stella Mc Cartney and Tommy Hilfiger. Home and decoration brands offered are Alessi, Bellora, Bossi, Carrara, Casapoggesi, Delonghi, Guzzini, Kenwood, Seletti and Villeroy & Boch.
Via del Corso, Piazza Colonna
Also at Piazza Fiume (shown here)
Opening soon: Via del Tritone.
Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday, 10:30 am – 8 pm
With locations throughout Italy, Coin offers a selection of products for men, women and children. Accessories, beauty, home decoration and footwear are the main departments here, all offering prestigious brands. The Cola di Rienzo stores has an in-house MAC cosmetics boutique. Coin is the most upscale of three chains belonging to the same company: Coin, Upim, OVS Industry.
Centro Comm.le ”Cinecittà 2” – Viale P.Togliatti, 2
Centro Commerciale Porta di Roma – Via delle Vigne Nuove – Loc. Bufalotta
7 Piazzale Appio
Via Cola di Rienzo, 173 (Prati)
A smaller version of the store has just opened in the Stazione Termini, with an emphasis on younger fashions, especially wide selection of trendy jeans. Open non-stop.
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm Sun 10 am- 1 pm, 4pm-8pm
UPIM (“Unico Prezzo Italiano Milano”)One of the first chains of large Italian department stores, offers a wide variety of clothing for the whole family at low prices. There is also a large choice of perfumes. The home department, Upim Casa, offers products for the bathroom, kitchen, dining room and garden furniture, in this section. Nice styles at affordable prices. They chain has recently updated its image with Upim Pop-in-the-City stores, featuring younger and more cutting-edge items at several locations. Stores throughout the city in residential areas.
Monday, 3:30 pm – 7.30 pm; Tuesday, – Saturday, 10 am -7.30 pm
Via Gioberti, 64 (Upim Pop Santa Maria Maggiore)
Via Ponzio Cominio, 19 (Upim Pop Tuscalano)
Via Enea, 10 (Upim Pop Appia)
Corso Marconi, 259
Via Prati Fiscali, 63
Circ. Gianicolense, 78
A department store that offers contemporary style at low prices. The Baby Angel line, designed by Elio Fiorucci, is aimed at a young audience and offers up to the minute fashion. The extensive children’s section offers good quality for the price. There is also a small section of housewares. Located throughout throughout Italy, with stores in Rome’s residential neighborhoods and in all the malls.. Recently acquired by the same company that owns Upim and Coin, the chain has updated its image, with a flagship store on the Via del Tritone near Piazza Barberini. Separate OVS Kids stores are now open in the major malls and on the second floor of the Coin store at the Stazione Termini.
172 Via del Tritone, Rome, 00187
Via Tuscolana 893/899
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 108/112 00198 Roma
Via Tuscolana 893/899 00174 Roma
Corso Trieste 200/226 00198 Roma
Viale Trastevere 62/64 00153 Roma
Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am- 8 pm; Monday 4 – 8 pm