top of page

Tricks of the Trade In Italy

Updated: Mar 23, 2023


Tricks of the Trade In Italy

As I was saying, after traveling for many years I am a great believer that as well as being a great teacher traveling also brings gratitude and understanding of the many cultures and issues that are going on in the world.

Being a regular traveler has not made me inaccessible to some of the trials and tribulations that can happen whilst traveling. I would like to share some of my learning curves with you that I hope you will enjoy and help you on your journey.

The next story takes us to the Mediterranean, the home of great food including pizza and pasta. Yes, the lovely country of Italy.

In the main tourist stops of Rome and Naples pick pocketing is strife. The thieves have got it down to a fine art form. It’s so quick you do not feel a thing, completely painless until you discover your wallet or purse has gone. Do not leave your bag on the ground inside a restaurant. Even at your feet, it is not safe! The back pocket of trousers and the inside of jacket pockets with no zips are other targeted areas. Be aware of your surroundings on tubes, in stations, and at airports.

I have been lucky to the extent that none of the above has happened to me. I have a very different story to tell.

As I traveled through Naples in my early teens, photography being very much a part of my life I came across a stall selling SLR digital cameras. The price was just too good to be true! The sales male and his assistant were very helpful in pointing out an atm. Upon return, I held the camera, watched it being put in the camera box, then wrapped it in brown paper and into a plastic bag. I was ecstatic! Brand new camera to play with and take some brilliant shots while in Italy. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and get it out of the box, load it with film, and get it working for its money. I was gutted to discover what I thought to be a camera turned out to be an expensive box of soap powder!

Vanilla ice cream cone in front of the Duomo Cathedral In Milan.
Ice Cream At The Duomo, Milan ©M D Harding Travel Photography

More recently I traveled to Milan for the first time, so excited to see the incredible architecture, discover more about Leonardo da Vinci, and of course for the pizza and ice cream.

My flight arrived late in Milan, so I opted to stay at the Moxy airport hotel. The following morning I headed for the bus that departs the airport and drops off at the train station. This was when things got interesting!

As I was waiting for the bus I had a conversation about how an older woman traveling alone was mugged by a group of girls. I was astonished!

After hearing such a horrifying story about the despicable act. I was off on the bus.

It's a short walk from the bus stop to the train station. Bought the ticket for the train from the tobacco/newsagent shop and was on my way down to the train platform.

The next thing I knew was that a group of girls were running for the same train and instead of going for the closest door, they all ran towards the end carriage door I was entering. One of the girls started talking quickly in Italian trying to confuse and disorientate me, while the others were behind her (not knowing they were trying to get into my handbag)! The doors were going to close and I was anxious about being separated from my handbag and suitcase. I had to pull my suitcase over her feet.

It all happened very quickly! I was so shocked, I asked "what was that all about?" The gentleman sitting next to the door replied "they were trying to get into your bag". I was shaken, upset, and in disbelief that everyone sat there on the train watching the event unfold, not saying anything or try to help. The story that I was told not so long ago, had manifested itself and I was now that woman, who had been mugged.

When I checked into my accommodation, still shaking. I told the story of what had happened, and it was very quickly dismissed. Feeling sad, outraged, disbelief, and angry, I needed to raise my vibration, get out and enjoy the sights. I was not going to allow the incident to ruin my trip to Milan.

I was soon back on the subway heading for one of the most iconic buildings in Milan, The Duomo. It wasn't overly busy but straight away I noticed the large police presence. I got my SLR camera out and was taking photos of the beautiful Duomo when a couple approached, asking if I could take their photograph. Of course! I know how difficult it is to get a good photograph of yourself. I was happy to help. I put my camera under my arm, bag on my shoulder, and proceeded to take their photo. After handing back their phone, they laughed.

It never dawned on me that they were hoping, I would leave my bag and camera on the ground. An easy target for someone to come and rob me, while I was distracted taking their photograph. How low will these people go? It makes me so sad, even now as I recall these events tears are welling up.

I love Italy and have so many fabulous Italian friends. These events will not stop me from returning. I share these stories not to stop you from traveling to Italy but to make you aware of what is happening. Be careful, watch your belongings, and be aware of what is happening around you. Not just in Italy but in any country and large tourist hotspot.

Stay safe, happy, and well x

Visiting Milan? Would you like to find out more about the city, and travel onwards to the Dolomites? Read more in Duomo To The Dolomites - Italy travel blog.

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page