There is nothing worse than losing your purse, camera, or other valuables while traveling through Italy. Well, it can be worse if you lose them due to a picket pocket or thief.
And then there is the hassle of dealing with the time and attention needed to notify authorities in both countries. All of this takes away from the Italian experience you dreamed of, right?
I'm a "proactive" (rather than reactive) kind of gal. So here are a few places I know of where pickpockets love to hang out in Italy
In the station tickets area -whether ita a train or bus depot, be aware of people watching you. They watch where you pull your money from and/or where you put your money back into (wallet, pocket, etc.) Knowing this gives the thief a direct target to aim for.
Pickpockets also target unsuspecting tourists by generously offering to help you operate the self-ticketing kiosk. Generously (loudly) tell them to “Go away!” "Allontanarsi!" (ah-loan-tah-nar-si). Any language works as long as it is loud and forceful.
Getting on and off -everyone converges at the entrance/exit doors to buses and trains. No lines mean a massive amount of chaos which is a breeding ground for pickpockets. Public transportation won't leave until every passenger on the platform is on board, so let the others manage the crowd. The same goes for exiting the train or bus.
Crowded aisles - sometimes this cant be avoided. If this happens to you, put your belongings inside your coat, sweater, or shirt. And move your backpack to your front side.
Street Musicians, Performers
Everyone loves a great magic act or street band in the middle of a piazza. So much so that when it’s crowded, the pickpockets join in the fun as well. Enjoy the show, but please put a hand on your valuables so others can't.
Papal Audiences -not so much if you have a seat, but if you are one of the ones standing with a plethora of onlookers-watch out.
Processions - street processions are in every city, small town, and village in Italy. If you are fortunate to stumble upon one, all your safety awareness goes out the door. I know, I remember the first historical reenactment I experienced. It is so exciting you forget that pickpockets of local towns are waiting for you to be distracted. While you are busy taking photos or mesmerized by the historical outfits, the thieves are busy stealing your valuables.
Markets - markets are a great way to see how the locals live. Pickpockets visit the markets at the busiest times. They look for the tourists, watch where you put your money, distract you, or easily bump into you, and boom.
Tiny Bars, Cafes
Again, because of its popularity and tiny space chances are a pickpocket is lurking nearby.
And outdoor cafes on the streets are popular now. Don't leave your purse, camera, or phone on your chair, or near the end of the table closest to the street or walkway. Thieves have been known to drive a bike or scooter right past your table and snatch whatever is free.
Please note that I am not telling you to avoid these places. No, I am telling you these pickpocket places so you will be more aware of your possessions while you are there. We call it “situational awareness.”
If avoidance is preferred, here's a blog I wrote on How to Avoid Pickpockets