Italy travel advice
Latest updates: Removal of COVID-19 information
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Italy - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Italy.
Safety and security
Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs, and tourists are frequently targeted.
Organized groups of thieves often use distraction techniques and are particularly active:
- at tourist sites and attractions
- in hotels, restaurants and bars
- on public transportation
- at airports and railway stations
- on beaches
While you’re in Italy:
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport, are secure at all times
- don’t keep your passport and other types of ID at the same place and carry a photocopy rather than the original when you’re out
- avoid showing signs of affluence
- avoid carrying large sums of cash or unnecessary valuables
- pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
- be wary of unsolicited offers or advice from strangers
On the road
The theft of items from vehicles is common, and thieves often target rental cars. They may use distraction techniques or simulate accidents. Thefts can occur at gas stations, highway service areas, and parking lots.
Be especially vigilant when stopped at traffic lights. Thieves on scooters or on foot often snatch bags from passenger seats.
- Keep your windows and doors locked at all times
- Keep your belongings out of reach
- Use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
- Never leave belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk
On public transportation
Thefts on public transportation and passenger trains are common, particularly on those servicing major tourist sites, main cities and airports. Thieves will often steal your belongings while you’re asleep or distracted and may hassle or crowd you.
Keep your valuables secure and out of sight.
Home burglaries occur mainly in main cities and coastal areas and sometimes affect holiday rental accommodation.
Whether staying in private or commercial accommodation, make sure you lock windows and doors at night and when you are away.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Victims of crime
If you are a victim of a theft, go to the nearest police station (Carabinieri or Polizia di Stato) to report it. Keep a copy of your report, as you may need it to make a claim to your insurance provider.
It’s possible to file a preliminary complaint online, in Italian, for certain types of minor crimes, such as theft of belongings. This could help speed up the process at the police station.
If you are a victim of sexual assault:
- seek medical assistance, whether or not you appear to have been physically harmed
- contact the local police immediately and ensure they file a report
- inform consular officials at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate
- Online preliminary complaint - Arma dei Carabinieri (in Italian)
- Closest police station - Polizia di Stato, Italy’s national police (in Italian)
- Safe-travel guide for women
Credit card and ATM fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs.
When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
- use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime occurs. Criminals may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks
- Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
- Be cautious when posting information on social media
- Be particularly vigilant when contacting or meeting individuals known over the internet
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.
The Government of Italy maintains a public alert system on terrorism. Alert level changes are communicated mainly through local media. Enhanced security measures are also deployed in various strategic locations and transport hubs.
Expect an increased presence of police and military forces during holidays and in public places, including tourist locations and major landmarks.
Demonstrations and strikes
Demonstrations and strikes occur regularly, particularly in larger cities and often with little notice.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
- In case of a transportation strike, contact your provider or tour operator to make alternate arrangements
- Information on planned strike action - Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (in Italian)
- More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Swimming and water activities
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Always take into account warning flags at beaches.
In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking on the shore, as waves can be unpredictable, breaking further than expected and causing strong undertows.
- Avoid visiting beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
- Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion and falling rocks
- Don’t dive into unknown water, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
- Exercise caution and follow the advice of local authorities
If you intend to go hiking, mountaineering or skiing:
- never do so alone
- consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped
- stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out
- do not venture off marked trails or slopes
Information on avalanche risk - Meteomont, Arma dei Carabinieri
Stray dogs are common in certain areas.
Don’t approach or feed them as they could be aggressive.
Road conditions and road safety vary throughout the country.
City streets can be narrow and congested. Signage, traffic lights and road markings may not be visible, especially in the southern areas of the country.
In mountainous areas, roads are often winding and narrow. Weather conditions can make driving conditions dangerous. Avalanches or landslides can occur and block access routes to small isolated towns. In northern Italy, particularly in winter, fog can substantially reduce visibility.
Drivers do not always respect traffic laws. They may drive at excessive speeds and be reckless.
- Be cautious when using pedestrian crossings or where there are no sidewalks; drivers may not see you, especially where street lights are limited
- Pay close attention to motorcycles and electric scooters
- Monitor local news and weather forecast
- Refrain from driving during or immediately after severe storms
- Follow the advice and warnings issued by local authorities
The quality and availability of public transportation vary across the country.
In urban areas, buses can be over capacity during rush hours, impacting your transit time. Metro stations are sometimes closed for maintenance. Strike actions may also affect train service.
The inter-city train system is extensive, well-connected and reliable.
In Italy, drivers start the meter at the point of departure rather than at pick-up. Ride-sharing services are available but may operate differently.
Use only officially licensed taxis from a stand or requested by phone or app.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Italian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Italy is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required for stays up 90 days
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
Information for foreign nationals - Polizia di Stato, Italy’s national police
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
Declaration of presence
If you plan to spend fewer than 90 days in Italy for visits, business, tourism or study, you don’t need to apply for a residence permit. However, you must report your presence in the country. Commercial accommodations will generally file the declaration on your behalf, but you are responsible for making sure it's done. Request a copy of this record.
If you’re staying in a non-commercial accommodation and:
- arriving from a Schengen country, you must file a declaration of presence with the local police office within 8 days of arrival
- arriving from a non-Schengen country, make sure border officials stamp your passport upon arrival, as this is the equivalent to a declaration of presence
Failure to comply with this regulation could result in expulsion.
Entering Italy - Polizia di Stato, Italy’s national police
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is available throughout the country. However, hospital services may be limited in rural areas and medical staff may not be able to communicate in English or French.
Medical treatment and emergency room visits are free of charge but only for life-threatening emergencies, as determined by the treating physician. Hospitals charge upfront for any convalescence or follow-up care.
There are also numerous private clinics and hospitals that cater to foreign travellers.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons
Canada and Italy are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Italy to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Italian authorities. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.
Certain municipalities, particularly those with a high number of visitors, such as Rome, Florence and Venice, have adopted strict public conduct rules. Certain behaviours are illegal and may include:
- sitting, eating or drinking on a monument or an archaeological landmark
- bathing in fountains or canals
- walking in an urban setting in swimwear or without a shirt/T-shirt
- feeding the pigeons
- putting locks on bridges or monuments
- dropping litter or using single-use plastic
Comply with public notices about conduct, which are usually found in and around tourist areas in major cities. You may be fined if you fail to do so.
Buying counterfeit merchandise, such as sunglasses or purses, is illegal. You may receive heavy fines if you’re caught buying counterfeit merchandise.
Natural objects and flora
Removing pebbles, shells, or sand from the beaches in Sardinia and other coastal regions is prohibited.
In mountainous areas, it’s illegal to cut certain types of endangered flowers.
Avoid removing natural objects and flora from their natural setting. You could be fined if you do.
Photography of military installations and critical infrastructure is regulated.
Request permission from local authorities before taking photographs of such installations.
Recreational and commercial flying of drones is regulated.
You must register your drone to use it across the European Union. If you don’t comply, you may be fined and your drone confiscated.
- Civil drones - European Union Aviation Safety Agency
- Use of drones - Italian Civil Aviation Authority (in Italian)
Authorities may request to see your ID at any time.
- Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it’s lost or seized
Hotels and other commercial accommodation providers must provide the Italian authorities with personal details on their guests. As such, you’ll have to present a passport upon check-in.
Wait at the reception until the hotel staff has taken the required from your passport.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Italy.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Italy, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Italy.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Italy, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Italian court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Italy to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You may drive for up to one year with a valid Canadian driver’s licence and an international driving permit or a certified translation of your Canadian licence.
You must also have an international car insurance plan.
If driving a foreign car, an adhesive sticker indicating country of origin must be displayed on the back of the car. It’s illegal to drive a vehicle registered abroad for more than 60 days. If you plan to stay in Italy for more than 60 days, you must obtain Italian plates.
Vehicles must be equipped with safety equipment, including a warning triangle and reflective jacket.
Local authorities may request immediate cash payment for minor traffic violations.
Limited traffic zones and low-emission zones
Historic centres of many Italian cities have restricted traffic zones marked as ZTL, which stands for “Zona Traffico Limitato”, or low-emission zones, to reduce air pollution.
You need a special permit to access limited traffic zones. This permit is usually issued to residents. To be granted access to a low-emission zone, your car must meet certain environmental standards. Authorities may use cameras to record the licence plate of vehicles that violate these restrictions.
If you enter these zones without a permit, you could be fined. If your vehicle is rented, the rental agency could receive the fine and provide your contact details to the local authorities.
Some municipalities use the services of a private company to collect the fines abroad. You could receive traffic tickets by mail several months after returning to Canada.
- Pay close attention to street signage
- Obtain instructions from your hotel on how to access it by vehicle if it’s located in a ZTL
Seasonal and regional regulations
Rules on the mandatory use of snow tires or snow chains differ regionally. Pay attention to road signage in mountainous regions or other parts of the country prone to snow.
Certain islands restrict or prohibit the entry and use of vehicles belonging to non-residents during the high tourism season and holiday season. These include:
- the Aeolian Islands (Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, Vulcano)
- the Aegadian Islands (Favignana)
- the Campanian Archipelago (Capri, Ischia, Procida)
- the Pelagie Islands (Linosa)
- the Tuscan Archipelago (Giannutri, Giglio)
Other islands could enforce similar regulations. Confirm before travelling.
On route 163 of the Amalfi Coast, between Positano and Vietri sul Mare, it’s prohibited to use campervans or large recreational vehicles.
You must purchase bus, metro and tram tickets in advance at kiosks in stations or at tobacco shops and validate them at machines located on board or in the station.
If you don’t validate your ticket, you may receive a fine requiring immediate payment.
The currency of Italy is the euro (EUR).
Payment in cash is restricted to transactions under €1000.
If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:
- banknotes and coins
- bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
- bonds, shares
- gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
- gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
- any other convertible asset
This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.
EU cash controls - European Commission
Natural disasters and climate
Forest and maquis fires often occur during the summer months, particularly in Sicily and Sardinia.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Storms and flooding
In fall and winter, strong rainfall and winds may cause landslides and flash flooding, resulting in significant damage in coastal regions and certain cities such as:
- Campania (Amalfi Coast)
- Liguria (Cinque Terre)
The Italian Civil Protection Department publishes weather alerts on its website.
- Monitor local news and weather reports regularly
- Refrain from driving during or immediately after severe storms
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Latest alerts - Italian Civil Protection Department
Venice is subject to tidal flooding (acqua alta), particularly during fall and spring. During episodes of severe flooding, some streets and squares become impassable, and certain businesses and landmarks may temporarily suspend their activities. Local authorities typically install raised pedestrian platforms to facilitate crossing in strategic locations.
The city of Venice warns citizens and tourists of episodes of high tide through a system of acoustic alerts.
In case of high tide:
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- contact your hotel, travel agent or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel arrangements
- Tidal forecast - City of Venice (in Italian)
- Interpreting tidal forecast - City of Venice
- @ICPSMVenezia - Tide Forecasting and Reporting Centre (in Italian)
In mountainous areas, avalanches present a risk. They can make roads impassable and cause power disruptions. These conditions can affect access to isolated areas, including tourist resorts, and limit the ability of emergency services to respond.
If you plan on skiing or mountaineering:
- stay informed of weather and safety conditions
- follow the instructions of local authorities
Information on avalanche risk - Meteomont, Arma dei Carabinieri
Italy is located in an active seismic zone. Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage. Volcano eruptions occur.
Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano. Periods of high activity can bring significant ash fall, earthquakes and emission of harmful gases.
The Stromboli and Vulcano islands are active volcanoes. Eruptions, ash fall and lava flow occur regularly.
Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields in the Naples area are active volcanoes. They are both located near densely populated areas and are continually monitored by the local authorities.
There are several other dormant volcanoes throughout the country.
If you’re travelling near an active volcano or are practising volcano tourism:
- closely monitor volcanic activity levels through local media and official sources
- ensure that you’re well informed about conditions that may pose a hazard
- follow the advice of local authorities
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Rome - Embassy of Canada
Albania, Malta, San Marino
Holy See - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Rome and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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