Travel SOS: should I reconsider my Italian travel plans?

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Euan has been planning his trip to Italy for several months but the recent earthquake has left him uncertain. In this week’s Travel SOS, we outline what he should consider before he leaves.  

Q. Euan
I’ve had a trip to Italy – Rome, Venice and Florence – planned for several months and am devastated by the news of the earthquake that happened last week. I should be departing in two weeks time and, although the danger seems to have passed, I am wondering if I should still go. Is it safe?

scooter in italian alley

A. What happened was indeed devastating for the people of Italy but in regards to travel there, you should be fine to go ahead with your trip.

The affected areas of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo each have their own websites that give details and information to people who are planning to travel in these regions. Although published in Italian, Google offers a translation of the page if you’re not fluent in the language.

If you purchased travel insurance before the event, then you should be covered should your travel plans be disrupted while in Italy. However, as many insurance companies have clauses on natural disasters, it’s worth checking with your provider about what they cover.

You may also wish to register your travel details on Smartraveller.gov.au and keep up-to-date with any advice issued.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

17 Comments

Total Comments: 17
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    Sounds like the Italian travel industry in panic mode Debbie. You are of course correct that only Central Italy was devastated whilst all other areas are unaffected.
    Italy was on our agenda for 2018 but will probably wait and see about that one now. Plenty of other nice destinations in Europe apart from Italy so not a problem really. It will be interesting to hear the accounts of travellers who do the destination though.

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    I’m in Italy now. Was in Switzerland when the earthquake occurred, arrived in Venice 2 days later. Have since been to Rome, now in Florence.
    There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t go to Italy, from the point of view of earthquakes. Might there be another one? Of course. But there might be one in New Zealand, doesn’t stop people from going there.
    Have seen no effects of the earthquake on our travels. People will talk about it, if you ask, and shake their heads in sorrow – but as far as they are concerned it happened somewhere else.
    There are many perils to be avoided in Italy, the local beer being one of them, pickpockets another. I’d like to say Rome drivers as well, but with five taxis, and two tour pickups, I’m afraid I found them no worse than Sydney or Melbourne. Was disappointed, really!
    So I’d be saying, if your reasons for wanting to go in the first place are still valid, do it. You will find the place incredible.
    Actually, looking at this week’s selfie, you might be in more danger from pigeons crapping on your head!

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      Fair comment.
      I read that pickpockets operate in Rome only. Is that correct?
      Italy is certainly on our ‘to do’ list but will give it a bit of time.

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    Fair suck of the sauce bottle! I’d rather take my chances (if I really HAVE TO) amongst all the Itie’s in Carlton if I MUST! There are probably a lot fewer pickpockets, better tasting pots in the pubs, less pigeon shit, and a chance to meet a celebrity like Nick Gatto. Better for our struggling economy to spend your foldin’ in Oz than some chocolate frog land.

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      But find me some cobbled 500 year old streets with history and scenic beauty to boot. Horses for courses Eddie. You only live once mate.

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      Yes, MICK, I have heard some good reports on the place and my best friend is from Sicily. I have heard that the cost of a night out is relatively expensive compared to the same sorts of places here. Whatever, a place is largely what you make of it with the company you are with. Good luck.

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      Why on earth don’t they tarmac over those ridiculous cobbled streets, they shake one to pieces,500 years old and still cobbled. what’s wrong with them?

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      The money for such projects may have been squandered by some of the 56 prime ministers Italy has had since WWII.

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      Mostly Labour or commie!

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      Pretty right Eddie. People are at least 50% of a place…….which is why I am dreading France next year.

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    Hi Mick, don’t seem to be able to reply to you question, directly, guess you’ll make the connection
    There are more written warnings about pickpockets in Rome, but I think you’ll find them anywhere. Didn’t see or hear of any in Rome, but did see one nabbed in Venice, on the Rialto Bridge, where people are really concentrated in a small area, and looking at the scenery. A man had his bag over his shoulder to the back, and not zipped or buckled. Another tourist started shouting “hey, pickpocket, this woman’s a pickpocket, watch out” and had a hand on her shoulder. She waved her hands, backing away saying No, no, no, then melted away through the crowd! The man was still checking his bag, looking worried, a couple of minutes later when we moved on.
    But take sensible precautions and you don’t have a problem. I use a bag, always in front of me, and zipped. Nothing in my back pockets, things of value secure. Pickpockets only go for “easy pickings”, and if you look around you see a remarkae amount of them. Mobile phones, wallets, in back pockets, bothe men and women with shoulder bags behind and open or loose, camera dangling from hands only. In street cafés, bags slung over backs of chairs, sometimes wide open, even.
    Simple, easy precautions and they will leave you alone, go for other people – there are lots of easy marks to be seen. It takes very little effort and sense to be safe.

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    Euan, what are you, man or mouse?

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    I am in the Norcia area about 40 kms from centre of quake and it is very much a localised situation due to the shallow depth ad isolated nature of the country side…… It is a tragedy and affects these microcosmic village scenes that we as Ozzers perhaps may not understand.
    The comments re Rome and Italy are puerile and shows why the Italians may be better off with the style of tourist you may well be….. The money stays in the hands of tour operators and their acolytes and does not benefit the average resident.
    I feel far more likely to be robbed et al at home in Oz.

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      As I’m the only one to have talked about pickpockets, and in Rome, I assume your comments are directed at me. I went through what I wrote, and I’m quite surprised at your nasty, superior, holier than thou response.
      Firstly – you know nothing about me, how I have travelled, or what I am doing. You are seemingly either living like a local, or on an experience of that sort. Fine. Most of us do not have the time, though in the past I have lived for up to four years at a time in Europe. And not in Paris, London, or any other major city. But if you think many places in Italy would not survive without tourists “like me” you have obviously learned very little in your so superior travels. If you did one of the tours, you would find the local guides – the acolytes, possibly? – will tell you about life where they live. That the average wage in Italy is 1,200 €, that bad weather, or earthquakes, scares away tourists and many locals do not have work, that a poor season has many young people having to leave home for cities to find work. But if course, don’t let that stand in the way of your type of tourism, or your desire to look down your nose at the rest of us.
      As to the other part of your comments, about theft. I am standing on an Italian railway station looking at a sign, which I have seen in many places in Italy – yes, mostly, but not all, tourist spots – of two graphic figures inside a triangle, rather like a give way sign. Around the outside it says Security Warning, and has one of the figures with its hand inside the other figure’s shoulder bag. It also has the words Polizia di Stato in it along with the railway name. You know, that looks like a pickpocket to me, and a warning to be careful. But I guess you wouldn’t have seen them, as these are only areas for undesirable tourists. I have a photo, if you’re interested, but I can’t upload here. Provide an email, I’d be happy to send to you.
      Crime is an issue in any area of any country where there is unemployment, under employment, prejudice and lack of hope, whether it be Australia, Italy, or any other place you care to name.
      I’m not wealthy, but always tip the waitresses, waiters, drivers, guides – ordinary people, I would have thought, but they must be those you regard as acolytes.
      And of course we Ozzers – other than yourself, of course – wouldn’t understand how tragedy affects these microcosmic village scenes. Lovely word, by the way, microcosmic.
      Unless of course you come from a place like Rainbow, about 450 residents last time I was there. Or maybe Beulah? Or possibly one of the small towns destroyed in the bushfires last year, the year before, or the year before that? But of course, they’re in Australia, they don’t really count, do they, in your view of the world.
      My name is Brett. You don’t see fit to put yours up here. You know nothing about me, how I live, where I have been, what I have done, and you have the absolute gall to criticise not just the statements, but me personally, all from the great heights of your superior tourist activities.
      You should be ashamed of yourself.

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      Brett, we, of course, do not know one another, either, but I do want to say that your reply to the above comment is an absolute wonderfully worded, to-the-point retort to the senseless drivel aimed at you and hope it is taken to heart and head by the writer. I trust the remainder of your travels are safe and enjoyable. Good luck.

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      Brett, fantastic post from you, well said.


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