- Reviewed: 28 February 2020, 11:23 NZDT
- Still current at: 29 February 2020
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Exercise increased caution
Exercise increased caution in Italy due to the threat of terrorism and the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and associated health risks primarily affecting the Lombardia, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna regions.View Larger Map Close/Open map
For travel advice and information about Covid-19, please see our news feature here.
Terrorist groups, including those based in Syria and Iraq, continue to make threats to conduct attacks in Italy and across Europe. There is also a threat from domestic-based extremists. Right-wing, left-wing and anarchist groups have conducted attacks in the past.
The Italian government takes a proactive approach to counter-terrorism and has strengthened measures at borders, airports and transport hubs. Italian security is highly visible: visitors should not be surprised or alarmed to see armed police at metro stations, large squares and important public buildings.
New Zealanders in Italy are advised to keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. We recommend following any instructions issued by the local authorities and exercising vigilance in public places.
Opportunistic petty crime like pickpocketing, bag snatching and passport theft is common in crowded and tourist areas, in larger cities and on public transport. Professional thieves often work together and may distract victims and rob them while their attention is diverted including in restaurants and shops. Motorcyclists may grab bags from pedestrians.
Travellers are often targeted on long distance and night trains and public transport facilities including airports, railway stations and bus terminals (especially to and from Fiumicino Airport and around Rome’s Termini station). Theft from vehicles is also common, particularly from unattended vehicles, including at rest stops and service stations. Travellers should also avoid leaving valuables in hotel rooms or rented accommodation due to the risk of burglary and opportunistic theft.
New Zealanders are advised to be security conscious in public places, guard belongings carefully and never leave bags open or unattended. Extra care should be taken to ensure food and drink is never left unobserved. Victims of spiked food and drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.
Credit card and ATM fraud involving ‘skimming’ machines is a risk to travellers. Check for any unauthorised transactions on your bank statements.
Strikes and demonstrations occur frequently in Italy particularly in larger cities and can cause disruption to air, bus, rail and taxi services. New Zealanders are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and rallies as they have the potential to turn violent.
Several major fault lines cross Italy, and earthquakes are frequent. A series of earthquakes ranging up to magnitude 6.6 struck central Italy in late 2016-early 2017, causing hundreds of deaths. Unlike in New Zealand, it is standard practice in Italy to leave the building when an earthquake strikes and to move towards open ground where there is less chance of being hit by falling debris. There are also several active volcanoes in Italy, including Mount Etna in eastern Sicily. Travellers should be aware of the possibility for travel disruptions in the event of seismic or volcanic activity.
General travel advice
Due to the high risk of theft, lost and stolen passports are not uncommon. Travellers should report the theft to police and apply immediately for a new passport online. It is illegal to travel without a valid document.
Recent hot summers have caused some disruption to travellers due to drought, forest fires and mosquito-borne illnesses. Check with local authorities if you’re considering travel to affected areas, and adopt measures to protect yourself against insect bites.
It is illegal to purchase counterfeit goods (including fashion accessories). If caught, you could be heavily fined or detained by local authorities.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Italy should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Italy are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Rome, Italy
New Zealand Consulate-General Milan, Italy
Street Address Via Terraggio 17, Milan 20123, Italy Telephone +39 02 721 7001 Fax + 39 2 4801 2577 Email email@example.com
See our regional advice for Europe