Avoiding Pickpockets in Florence

One of the most touristy areas in all of Italy is easily Florence. The city is practically an outdoor museum, where nearly every structure doesn’t look a day older than the Renaissance. You can’t blame so many for wanting to come to Tuscany and see Florence first hand and there are plenty of hotel options in Florence to choose from. And frankly, pickpockets are glad you are going. Petty thieves aim to take advantage of the tourists with their heads up in the clouds and their fanny packs on their waists.

Flickr:  slack12

Even though Florence is touristy and the pickpockets are reported frequently, you can get out of this Renaissance dream with all of your cash and credit cards if you know what to do. Being a budget traveler, you can’t afford to lose any of those travel funds. Here are a few rules of the road for avoiding pickpockets specifically in Florence.

Rule #1: Don’t Keep Valuables Behind You

If you have lived in Florence, you have probably seen many tourists fall prey to easy pickpocketing. The easiest way for a thief to get after your wallet or purse is to keep it behind you. If you keep your wallets and purses behind you, out of sight and out of mind, they are just that. Pickpockets pick up on this and will see you as a target for cash. For women, keeping a hand on your purse works well, along with slash proof bags. Men should carry their wallets in a front pocket and never behind them.

Rule #2: Don’t Get Distracted By Street Performers

Like in any tourist town, Florence covers in street performers, artists drawing on cobblestone with chalk and plastic toys set up for selling in the streets. Throughout dozens of various piazzas in Florence, these street acts are welcome distractions for tourists and for pickpockets. Pickpockets in the city watch you watching that SpongeBob Square Pants dancing magnet. When crowds are drawn, it becomes easier and easier to become a target.

Rule #3: Be On Alert in Certain Areas

The Duomo in Florence is a church one never tires of staring at while in town. Head into Piazza Duomo in Florence and you will encounter many like-minded travelers, looking up. Look around and you might notice some other characters watching those looking up. Most people are unaware they are being watched here for they are looking up at all of the details of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. In Florence’s most famous spaces, you have to be on extra alert for those that hang out here all the time, hoping to snatch up your wallet. The line for the Uffizi and to see the David can also be dangerous places for travelers.

Rule #4: Avoid Stretches in the City

In Florence, there are certain places pickpockets prey that you can avoid altogether. The area around the Santa Maria Novella train station, the main train station in Florence can at times be a breeding ground for pickpockets looking to catch you off guard. The congested and curving bends to get to the station will usually always have a character that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere but here. Florence also features underground passageways to avoid the traffic filled intersections surrounding the train station. These tunnels are not always the safest places to travel. The area surrounding Piazza Santa Croce can also be dangerous for travelers. At night, drug dealers and the like come out here. This is not one area you should be walking alone.

Rule #5: Know Your Target Factors

In such a touristy city, there are target factors that will open you up to vulnerabilities. Many of those who have to deal with pickpocket crime are either young or old. The elderly are targeted for not always being completely aware due to slower reaction times. Backpackers can also fit this target stereotype for pickpockets, carefree in attitude and not always on guard. If you know what factors might make you a target while in Florence, you can quiet the risks by simply being more aware.

Written by: Suzy Guese

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