Wear a bag or camera slung across your body bandolier style, and don't rest your bag or camera on a table or underneath your chair at a sidewalk café or restaurant. If you have to bring a purse, make sure to keep it within sight by wearing it toward the front. Women should avoid wearing purses that don't have a zipper or that don't snap shut. Men should always keep their wallet in one of their front pockets with their hand in the same pocket. In Rome, beware of pickpockets on buses, especially Line 64 (Termini–St. Peter's train station); the Line 40 Express, which takes a faster route, and Bus 46 which takes you closer to St. Peter’s Basilica; on subways and in subway stations; and on trains, when making your way through the corridors of crowded cars. Pickpockets often work in teams and zero in on tourists who look distracted or are in large groups. Pickpockets may be active wherever tourists gather, including the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and Piazza di San Pietro. Purse snatchers work in teams on a single motor scooter or motorcycle: one drives and the other grabs.
Groups of gypsy children and young women (often with babies in arms and a scarf or a shawl wrapped around their shoulders) are present around sights popular with tourists and on buses and are adept pickpockets. One well-tried method is to approach a tourist and proffer a piece of cardboard with writing on it. While the unsuspecting victim attempts to read the message on it, the children's hands are busy under it, trying to make off with wallets and valuables. If you see such a group, do not even allow them near you—they are quick and know more tricks than you do. The phrases Vai via! (Go away!) and Chiamo la polizia (I'll call the police) usually keep them at bay. The colorful characters dressed as Roman legionaries, who hover around the Colosseum and other monuments, expect a tip if you photograph them. A €5 tip is quite sufficient.
The difficulties encountered by women traveling alone in Italy are often overstated. Younger women have to put up with much male attention, but it's rarely dangerous or hostile. Ignoring whistling and questions is the best way to get rid of unwanted attention. Women who care to avoid uncomfortable eye contact with strangers tend to wear big sunglasses. Women should also be aware that smiling at others can sometimes be viewed as a sign of flirtation in Italy. Do be careful of gropers on the Metro and on Buses 64 and 46 (Vatican buses) and 218 and 660 (Catacombs). They're known to take advantage of the cramped space. React like the locals: forcefully and loudly. Distribute your cash, credit cards, IDs, and other valuables between a deep front pocket, an inside jacket or vest pocket, and a hidden money pouch. Don't reach for the money pouch once you're in public.