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Venice, Italy is a beloved romantic destination for tourists from all over the world. With its picturesque canals, stunning architecture, and rich history, it’s no wonder why so many flock to this city each year.
However, some of you may be wondering, is Venice safe to visit? After all, if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been, you’re out of your comfort zone and may not feel 100% safe.
I’ll save you the suspense and tell you right away that it is absolutely safe to visit Venice and is definitely worth visiting. There are some things to bear in mind when you visit this popular tourist destination regarding safety, however.
In this article, I will explore the safety of Venice for tourists and provide tips on how to stay safe while enjoying all that this magical city has to offer.
How Safe is Venice?
Before I can answer the question, I have to clarify what I mean by Venice. Everybody is familiar with Venice proper being built on a series of islands in a lagoon in northeast Italy. However, the Metropolitan City of Venice extends onto the mainland of the Veneto region with areas such as Mestre and Marghera included.
When you see crime statistics about Venice, it includes those areas and that skews the numbers somewhat. Many of the reported crimes are property crimes such as break-ins where that doesn’t happen much in Venice proper.
The islands themselves without including any of the mainland areas of the city are some of the safest places you can be in Italy which is itself an extremely safe country.
Below are some statistics about the crime rate in Venice.
Venice Crime Rate
This puts it in the low category. Numbeo’s crime index considers crime levels lower than 20 as “very low.” Meanwhile, it classifies crime levels between 20 and 40 as “low.” The index sees crime levels between 40 and 60 as “moderate,” while levels between 60 and 80 are “high”.
To put these numbers into perspective, Paris is rated 57.10 and London at 53.72.
You are very unlikely to be the victim of a violent crime anywhere in Italy but particularly not in Venice as it is a very safe destination.
Is Venice Safe for Tourists?
In general, Venice is a safe city for tourists. However, like any major tourist destination, it’s important to take precautions to avoid potential incidents. Pickpocketing is a major concern in Venice, especially in crowded areas such as St. Mark’s Square and on public transportation.
You may also be the victim of a scam while in Venice. Besides pickpocketing, there are scammers who will try to trick you into handing over money.
Common scams in Venice
The scams you could possibly encounter will not be much different than any other major city, particularly one with as many tourists as Venice.
However, understand that if you are approached by somebody you should be aware of these scams so you can avoid losing money.
- Unofficial tour guides: People posing as official tour guides may approach visitors offering tours at lower prices than certified guides. These individuals often lack proper knowledge and training about the city’s history and landmarks.
- Charity collectors: Individuals claiming to collect donations for charity organizations can be seen around tourist hotspots like St Mark’s Square; however many such schemes end up being fraudulent with the collected money not reaching those who need it.
- Rose sellers: Flower sellers will frequently offer roses to couples walking hand-in-hand throughout the main tourist areas of Venice but beware as they will then charge an inflated price when you accept them! If you’re looking for the romantic side of Venice, this is not it.
- Lost money: If somebody yells to you that you dropped some money, ignore it. They will often be working in a team so if they draw your attention to some bills on the ground and tell you that you dropped it, if you take the money, somebody else will come and insist it is theirs and then try to get you in “trouble” for taking their money. They will “kindly” offer to not go to the police for a small fee.
- Overpriced restaurants: Some restaurants may overcharge unsuspecting tourists by adding hidden costs to the bill or charging exorbitant prices for dishes. Having a cover charge or “coperto” is a very common thing at every restaurant in Italy. It’s usually one or two euro at most places. All menu prices must be clearly displayed by law including the cover charge. Make sure to ask what it is before sitting down.
- Shady street vendors: If you want to buy some nice things in Venice, go to the boutique stores and avoid the open market stalls. That is where they sell counterfeit designer bags and other knockoffs. Make sure to go to the source when shopping in Venice by visiting the brand store.
Is Venice Safe for Women to Travel Alone?
Venice can be a great destination for solo travelers, but it’s important to take some precautions when traveling alone. As with any major tourist destination, there are risks such as pickpocketing and scams that solo travelers should be aware of.
Solo travelers can benefit from staying in well-reviewed hotels or hostels located near popular tourist sights so they are never too far away from crowds and assistance if needed.
If you are visiting Venice during the day and staying in a hotel on the mainland such as Mestre, you will want to be careful and be extra attentive when walking there at night. Stay on well-lit streets and where there are other people walking around.
Try to avoid being alone on a quiet, poorly lit street at night, especially near the train station.
Women should definitely try to stick with other people whether in the historic center or on the mainland. However, there are few places safer to walk around at night as a single woman traveler than the historic center of Venice.
It is much safer than other cities both day and night.
Is Venice safe at night?
Venice at night is just as safe as it is during the day. It can feel eerily quiet when you are walking back to your hotel after a night out when the tourists leave. However, this quiet is what will help you stay safe as nobody would try to mug you, or worse where any noise would draw immediate attention.
You should still be aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you, especially on crowded, narrow streets.Booking.com
6 Venice Safety Tips
1 – Avoid Overcrowded Areas
Venice can become extremely crowded during peak tourist seasons. Try to visit popular sites during off-peak hours, such as early mornings or evenings, to minimize your risk of getting caught in a crowd. Additionally, consider exploring some lesser-known attractions that attract fewer tourists for a more authentic experience.
2 – Use Caution Using an ATM
Try to use ATMs located in well-lit areas that are visible to others. Avoid using ATMs in secluded or dimly lit areas. Before using an ATM, scan the area and make sure there is no one suspicious around.
If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, don’t use the ATM. If someone offers to help you with your transaction, decline politely and do not share your card or PIN with anyone. Before using the ATM, check for any skimming devices that may have been installed to steal your card information. Skimming devices can be disguised as part of the ATM, so look closely at the card reader and keypad.
3 – Be Aware of Pickpockets
Just like any other popular tourist destination, Venice can attract pickpockets. Avoid getting distracted as this is usually when a pickpocketing will occur. For instance, if you see a fight break out near you, this is generally a diversion tactic.
Or, if somebody is trying to get you to give them money in an aggressive way, there is generally somebody else already grabbing your wallet. Getting on and off the water bus is also usually when they strike.
To minimize your risk, always keep all your important belongings secure pockets and avoid carrying too much cash or valuables. Wear clothes that conceal money belts, hidden pouches, or bags with lockable zippers to keep your possessions safe.
4 – Be Cautious of Scams
Scams can target tourists in most popular European cities, including Venice. Some common scams include overcharging at restaurants and by street vendors, asking you to sign fake petitions, and street gambling. To avoid falling victim to scams, always research prices beforehand, decline to sign petitions or play games, and trust your instincts.
5 – Be Mindful of the Water
The canals in Venice can pose a risk, especially for those who are not strong swimmers. Avoid walking or standing too close to the edge, and be careful when boarding and disembarking from gondolas and vaporettos.
6 – Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can help protect you from unexpected costs related to medical emergencies, lost luggage, or trip cancellations. Choose a plan that best suits your needs, and ensure it covers your planned activities in Venice.
Areas to avoid in Venice
There are no dangerous areas where you should stay away from. Every area is going to be safe for you. With that said, there are areas where you need to be extra attentive as you are at a higher risk of being pickpocketed or scammed. Generally, any tourist attractions that are crowded with so many tourists and where you will be easily distracted.
- The Santa Lucia Train Station Area: Pickpocketing activity has been reported around the Santa Lucia railway station so it’s important to keep your belongings close by when arriving and departing.
- Rialto Bridge: While the bridge itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, pickpockets tend to work their craft on unsuspecting tourists who are taking pictures of the bridge, especially during peak touring times.
- St Mark’s Square: The Piazza San Marco area can be so congested and with so many distractions happening all around you that you are marked as a good target. If you are going to be pickpocketed anywhere, it is likely going to be in San Marco.
- Public Transportation: Another area where you are a target is on a vaporetto, or water bus, as they are often packed with people and there is a lot of movement so you wouldn’t notice a sly hand go into your pocket.
- Lido Beach After Dark: Lido Island’s beachfront is infamous for escort services offered by women late into the night which could lead solo travelers into potentially sketchy situations if unaccompanied.
- Mestre: This is the mainland part of Venice that is connected by a causeway. It is generally safe, but the area around the train station can be sketchy. Definitely exercise caution if you are traveling to Mestre at night.
These tips could really be used anywhere you are a tourist as they are the usual precautions to use nearby any major landmarks. However, it is always a good idea to keep them in mind.
What to do in case of an emergency in Venice
In case of an emergency in Venice, it’s important to know what to do and who to contact. Here are some steps to take:
- Call the emergency services: If you require urgent medical attention, dial 118 to contact an ambulance. For the police, call 113, and for the fire department, call 115. These numbers are free to call from any phone. They will answer in Italian, but will find an English speaker for you so you can communicate without issues.
- Contact your embassy or consulate: If you’re a foreign national and require assistance or advice, such as a lost or stolen passport, contact the U.S. Embassy in Rome at (+39) 06-467411.
- Find a hospital or clinic: If you need medical assistance, find the nearest hospital or clinic. Ospedale dell’Angelo and Ospedale Civile di Venezia are two hospitals in Venice that offer emergency services.
- Report any crime: If you are a victim of crime, report it to the police as soon as possible. In Venice, there is a Carabinieri station for foreigners located at Calle San Zaccaria, Castello 4693/A 30122 Venice. It is near the Hotel Danieli and can be easily found from the Riva degli Schiavoni which is along the Grand Canal near St. Mark’s Square. The phone number for this station is +39 041 520 47 77.
- Know the address of your accommodation: It’s important to know the address of your accommodation in case you need to provide it to emergency services.
- Be prepared with essential information: Keep important information, such as your passport, medical history, and emergency contacts, with you at all times.
- Stay calm: In case of an emergency, try to stay calm and follow the instructions of emergency services personnel.
Remember that Venice has a well-equipped emergency response system, so don’t hesitate to call for help if you need it.
Wrapping It Up
So, is Venice safe? Of all the things to worry about when you visit Venice, crime is not really one of them. Overall with the right planning and common sense measures in place, travelers will have an unforgettable experience exploring this historical city, whether solo or accompanied!
A Venice trip can be a challenge as it is so unique and mass tourism has added to the complexity. You may not worry about crime, but you do need to plan your trip well.
As a local, I can help you make sure to have the trip of a lifetime so check out some of the helpful articles below when planning your itinerary.