I mean, nothing changed in the Cinque Terre! You can stay calm 🙂 The level of theft in the Cinque Terre didn’t increase recently. So there are pickpockets and you have to be watchful of them. As in any tourist place. I decided to write this post after some tourists from some of my groups have been robbed in the Cinque Terre. Even though each time, with each group, I had repeated a million times to watch out for pickpockets and they were robbed anyway …
Crowds in the Cinque Terre
Those who have been there in the high season already know, and those who haven’t been yet will find out quickly! The Cinque Terre from May to October are very, very, very crowded. Especially in train stations, in the main streets of villages, in underground passages, in restaurants, souvenir shops, on trails …. in a word: EVERYWHERE! And as usually happens, the crowds attract thieves waiting for an opportunity. Of course, it’s not like they rob everyone! And they certainly don’t rob those who are watchful and do or don’t do the following things:
Trains and ships
You must pay attention when boarding and disembarking from a train/ship. It is at this point when everyone is a little pushing to the exit, a little squeezing to see the villages as soon as possible. That is the moment when the pickpockets have their hands full. I am sensitizing you to these situations! Always keep close to you, preferably in front of you, all the most valuable stuff.
It’s a real-life situation: my customer was robbed while lining up for fried fish. Pickpockets watched her, saw where she was putting money, made a fake crowd moment … and voilà! The lady was left without money. What is more, she realized only after an hour that she had been robbed and that her purse was open. And the lines in the Cinque Terre are for everything so the opportunities are endless!
It is very comfortable and useful, especially on trails but very risky in villages and stations. If you want to use a backpack (I want to add that I am always in the Cinque Terre with a backpack … ) then keep it in front of you and don’t carry valuable things in it.
Never in the back or even the side pocket of trousers and never in a place easily accessible to pickpockets (such as the outer pocket of a bag or backpack). The safest is the inner pockets – handbags, jackets, or backpacks.
Take only the essentials with you – leave the rest at the hotel.
Never leave your bags or backpacks unattended. In this way, one of my customers lost his backpack. He was sitting in an external area of a restaurant. He put his backpack on the ground, next to his chair … and that was the last time he saw his backpack. Therefore, it is safest to keep backpacks and handbags on your lap or under the table. Also on a chair next to you, but in such a way that people passing by can’t grab them.
Button up, everything!
I mean handbags, backpacks, sachets, etc. Unfortunately, often I see tourists taking pictures of the views of the Cinque Terre and walking around with open backpacks and handbags because they just took out from them their phones … and it’s like inviting pickpockets …
If they rob you … what to do?
In Italy, as in all of Europe, there is a collective emergency number: 112. However, to report a theft and especially the loss of documents or credit cards, you have to go to the Polizia or Carabinieri station, where “Denuncia di smarrimento” is made, and only with this document, you can apply for a new one or to have an appointment with the embassy or consulate to issue you temporary ones, needed to return to your country.
Carabinieri and Polizia
The closest Caserma dei Carabinieri is in Monterosso (address here). However, it is a small station and the main task of its staff is to work for the Cinque Terre National Park. The “full-size” Caserma dei Carabinieri you can find in La Spezia. Out there carabinieri deal with issues such as theft or lost documents (address here). The nearest Polizia station is also in La Spezia (address here).
Of course, the Cinque Terre are not some far wild west and you don’t have to worry about your safety. But surely, if you are watchful, your trip will pass without surprises!
p.s. These notes apply to ALL POPULAR TOURIST destinations worldwide! Remember this! 🙂