Worst Neighborhoods in Rome

Rome is Italy’s capital and known as the Eternal City. It’s one of the most visited places in the world. Rome has a rich history, art, architecture, and food. Many moves and literary pieces have a penchant for romanticizing Rome, which is why many people aspire to live in this city. However, there are two sides to a coin, as there are good and bad in every place. 

Despite being a tourist favorite, not all parts of Rome are welcoming and peaceful. The city is full of thieves and pick-pocketers targeting foreigners. Crime is prevalent in Esquilino, Tor Bella Monaco, Romania, San Basilio, and Corviale, among other neighborhoods.

Of course, if you decide to stay in a country, you want someplace where you can live safely and peacefully. If you are among those, read this article to know which neighborhoods you should avoid in Rome. 

Safety in Rome

The safety index of Rome is 64, which is pretty decent and higher than other cities in Italy. But, there are some petty crimes like bag snatching, pickpocketing, and car theft that take place in Rome. 

In order to distract their victims, the thieves often work in groups. As they attempt to get your attention, one of them might ask you for directions or drop attractive items on the floor of the train. Then, the other person will take your stuff while you’re trying to help.

Here’s a list of common scams and crimes in Rome. Make sure to familiarize yourself so you will be aware when you go to the Eternal City. 

Taxi scam and car theft

Rome’s official taxis are white, and it’s not recommended to negotiate the price when you’re in the city center. Nevertheless, some drivers skip the meter. Thus upon you enter the car, be sure to ask them to activate it. 

A number of unlicensed “taxi” drivers will try to entice you into their cars and make money from you. You should ignore them if they try to get your attention. Ensure that you only ride in official taxis if you want to avoid any issues.

If you want to keep yourself away from the taxi scam, you may also want to have your car. Driving around Rome is a breeze, but remember that car theft is common in the city and the whole of Italy. 

Their tactic is to slash your tire or do anything that would make you go out of your vehicle during a red light. Then, when you step out of the car, they will push you away and take the vehicle off. 

Pickpocketing

Pickpocketing is more prevalent during Rome’s summer and autumn tourist seasons when the number of tourists peaks. Among the most vulnerable to theft are the Italian trains that travel between Rome and the Fiumicino Airport.

There are a number of methods that thieves use in order to distract their victims and steal from them.

Gold rings, fake petitions, and other scams

Rome is home to numerous scams, including “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, fraudulent credit cards, and ATMs. Moreover, many tourists have been duped by counterfeit European currency, so be careful with your change. 

Food or drinks laced with illegal substances are a common scam in Rome, especially around Termini station and tourist areas such as the Colosseum. Victims of this scam are targeted for money theft. There have even been cases of sexual assaults. 

To avoid these scams, locals recommend you to:

  • Make sure you remain alert in crowded places: Be on the lookout for pickpockets, especially at train stations or popular tourist attractions. 
  • Pay attention to your belongings: Keep your phone and wallet out of your back pocket. Crossbody purses are a great investment. They keep your belongings in a place where you can easily see and protect them. 

Is Rome safe for solo travelers?

There’s nothing to worry about when you’re alone in Italy, including its capital. Having said that, here are some things solo travelers should know: 

  • If you are offered a drink by someone you don’t know, do not accept it: The same applies everywhere. Make sure you see how the Aperol Spritz is made before you drink it. 
  • It’s all about faking it until you make it: The sprawling, intense city of Rome makes it easy to get lost if you don’t know where you are. In that case, don’t worry about it. Don’t let anyone know you’re nervous until you’ve gotten your bearings. Scammers can target you if you look lost. 

List of unsafe neighborhoods in Rome

1. Esquilino

Esquilino is the most criminally active region in Rome. 13.8% of Romans selected Esquilino as the city’s least safe neighborhood in a survey conducted by the Censis institute of research in May 2015. 

It’s in the 15th region of Rome and not too far from the center. There are several tourist attractions in this neighborhood, such as the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, the Santa Maria Maggiore church, and the Termini train station.

The region is divided among several mafia families. Their primary source of income is knockoff branded goods such as Louis Vitton, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, and many others. The fine for buying or selling knockoffs can be up to €7000 for both buyer and seller!

2. San Basilio

San Basilio comes 2nd to Esquilino in terms of being an unsafe neighborhood. According to the same survey, 12.3% of Rome’s residents think this neighborhood is dangerous. 

There aren’t many tourists in this part of Rome, since it’s in the north-west corner of the city. In San Basilio, a few tourist sites with historical value are worth a visit, but they aren’t necessary. Furthermore, the area is known for making and selling drugs and prostitution.

3. Corviale

Based on the survey conducted by the Censis institute of research in May 2015, 11.2% of Romans think Corviale is unsafe.

A city within a building- Corviale was once a utopian vision. This building represents the ideals of 1960s and 1970s architecture, such as the idea of creating an egalitarian and self-sufficient community.

According to many critics, the Corviale resembles infrastructure because it consists of four interconnected buildings. 

Unfortunately, stories about drug addiction and squatting made Corviale a place to avoid. The district was cut off from Rome, isolating the residents. As a result, Corviale has become a symbol of the decay of the capital’s peripherals over time. 

4. Via del Trullo

Trullo is at par with Corviale in the survey results. There are also 11.2% of Rome’s population who think that this is a dangerous neighborhood. 

There are many social housing units in this neighborhood, but it’s sadly associated with the criminal organization Banda Della Magliana which originated in this area during the 1970s.

The Banda Della Magliana was an Italian mafia criminal organization operating in Lazo. Their illegal activities include kidnapping, gambling and horse racing, robberies, and drug trafficking.

Over time, the gang developed a network of contacts with the most important Italian criminal organizations, such as the Cosa Nostra and Camorra, as well as Freemasonry in Italy and numerous other collaborations.

5. Centocelle

11.1% of Romans think the Centocelle neighborhood is unsafe. The word centocelle is literally translated as “one hundred cells.” It has a lot of tourist spots that are worth visiting. However, since many are coming to this place, pickpocketers and thieves are also prominent around this neighborhood. 

6. Torpignattara

Torpignattara places 6th on the most unsafe neighborhoods in Rome, scoring 10.4% on the survey.

Today, Torpignattara is distinguished by the fact that it was initially portrayed by the media as a symbol of the Roman periphery and, more recently, as a multi-ethnic ghetto that fosters Islamic terrorism.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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