Is Milan safe? I’m sure this is the first thing you wanted to know after booking your Milan flight – especially if you are a woman, LGBTQ, or a person of color.
Milan is a large and diverse city. Most of it is safe, even at night – but as with every large city, there are some seedy areas and situations to avoid, especially at night. In this post, we want to share all our best tips about how to avoid crime in Milan and stay safe – between us, we have 40+ years of experience living in the city, so you can be sure our tips are valid!
After all, here at Milan and More we just want you to have a wonderful time in our city!
Dangers and Annoyances in Milan
Is Milan Metro Safe?
Short answer – yes. Milan’s metropolitana (subway) is safe. Ever since Expo 2015, you’ll often find security guards patrolling the metro, especially busy stations and trains during the night hours. At every metro station there is also an agente di stazione, ATM (Milan’s public transport company) staff members charged with overseeing station procedures. You may approach them if you feel unsafe or have issues.
The main issue on Milan metro are pickpockets, often targeting tourists on crowded trains and stations. Centrale is especially known for being rife with pickpockets, so pay extra attention when you transit through the station. Keep an eye on your bags and belongings at all times.
There’s another issue regarding Milan Metro, usually happening only at major stations like Centrale and Duomo. When purchasing tickets from automatic machines, you might be accosted by people offering ‘help’. They’ll operate the machine for you, but will harass you for a tip afterwards. Since the machines are easy to figure out and have instructions in many languages, just respond with a firm but polite ‘no grazie’ and do it yourself.
There’s also a common ‘urban myth’ all over Italy, that Roma/Sinti people tend to be pickpockets and petty criminals, and come up with elaborate scams to part you with your money. Roma/Sinti people often live in extreme poverty because they’ve been discriminated for centuries, so they sometimes resort to begging to survive.
You may see them on buses and trains in Milan, and you are not obliged to give them money, but please treat them with respect. And also, please don’t call them g*psies.
What About the Rest of Milan Transport?
The same rule applies for the rest of Milan public transport. Buses and trams are generally safe – there may be pickpocketing incidents when they get crowded, but just use your common sense and be mindful of your bags.
Just be careful of traveling on lines 90/91 at night. These trolleybus lines cover a large loop all over the city, traversing some seedy areas. So you may expect to see some ‘weird’ people, and being harassed is not uncommon. During the day these buses are usually fine though.
Taxis in Milan are safe, provided you use LICENSED ones. If you see them lined up at taxi ranks, just hop on the one at the front of the line. Alternatively, you can hail one off the street if the light is on, or call one – use 02/4040, 02/6969, 02/8585.
At airports or in stations you may be approached by unlicensed taxi touts, offering rides inside the terminal. Just refuse and head to the official taxi ranks outside – taxis to and from Malpensa charge a €95 flat fee, whereas for Linate and Orio al Serio they use the meter. Always insist for it to be turned on if it’s not.
Are Pickpockets Common in Milan?
They are as common as in any large city. As mentioned before, pickpockets target crowded places – especially buses/metro/trains, but also crowds gathering in occasion of football matches, protests, parades, you name it.
Are Muggings Common in Milan?
Being robbed at knife or gunpoint is very very rare – I have never heard of it happening to anyone in Milan. Snatch-and-grab crimes do occur, especially at night and in unsafe areas. Be very careful of parks after dark, especially away from the center.
Are House Break-Ins Common in Milan?
Yes. I have lived in 3 different houses in Milan, and they have all been burgled. Now, this shouldn’t concern you if you are just visiting and staying in a hotel, as normally they have security, but don’t leave your window wide open and use a safe if your room has one.
If you are staying in a rental/Airbnb, make sure you ALWAYS lock the door and windows any time you leave, and don’t leave valuables in your room – especially cash. Cards are widely accepted in Milan, so there’s really no need to carry lots of cash.
Are Scams Common in Milan?
Unfortunately, yes. The ‘friendship bracelet’ scam is a common one – you may be approached and given a string bracelet as a gift, and then harassed for payment (and no, they will not accept one or two euros). Something similar may happen with a flower instead of a bracelet, but the scam works similarly.
Another common scam are fake petitions, where you are asked to sign a document to support a cause (i.e. recovering drug addicts, deaf children, you name it) then pressured to leave a hefty donation. Just say no from the start, and you’ll be ok.
People too eager to help you are often scammers. I already explained about ticket machines – something similar may happen around stations if you have lots of luggage. However, at times people are only genuinely happy to help, so use your common sense!
Is Milan Safe for LGBTQ Travelers?
Ok, in theory Milan is one of the most LGBTQ friendly cities in Italy, with a ‘rainbow’ neighbourhood – Porta Venezia, full of LGBTQ-friendly bars and restaurants.
It is also true that as a large city home to 1.5 million people, there are also many idiots who target LGBTQ individuals. This happens more away from the center than in touristy areas, where same-sex displays of affection are common.
Is Milan Safe for Travelers of Color?
The same thing could be said for POC. Many Milanese will deny being racist, but the truth is that racism does exist. This often translates into micro-aggressions – poor service, being rude, not giving you a table when there are many tables available. Full-blown aggressions are less common, but not unheard of.
Asian people are targeted much more by thieves and pickpockets, because they are believed to be rich people who always carry lots of cash.
Is Milan Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Similarly to the groups mentioned above, Milan is mostly safe for solo female travelers, but annoyances do occur. Catcalling is very, very common – especially in summer. Just ignore them and they’ll move on.
Be careful for scammers and pickpockets, and avoid walking alone at night in unsavory areas – use an official taxi to reach your accommodation if you happen to be staying in one.
Is Milan Safe At Night?
In short, yes. Nightlife areas like Corso Como, Moscova and the Navigli are safe, and the city center is too. The metro and public transport are safe – just watch out for pickpockets when it gets crowded. Stations may be a little extra seedy compared to the daytime,
Basically, use the same level of attention as you would in other European cities, and you’ll be fine!
Are Natural Disasters Common in Milan?
No, they are very rare. Milan is not in a seismic area – you may feel light tremors if there are major earthquakes elsewhere in Italy, but it’s extremely rare.
Floodings do occur, as Milan is crossed by several rivers and waterways that tend to swell up after heavy rain. However, they are rarely dangerous, just annoying as they make traffic worse!
Is Milan Safe from Terrorism?
The most recent terror attacks in Milan have been the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombings and the 1993 Via Palestro massacre. However, the risk of terrorism does exist – tourist areas or transport hubs may be the target.
How To Stay Safe in Milan
Make a Note of Italian Safety Numbers
- 112 for police
- 113 for general emergencies
- 115 for the fire brigade
- 118 for a medical emergency
- 803116 (Italian phone) or 800116800 (international phone) for roadside assistance
Carry a Copy of Your Documents
In Italy, you are legally required to carry identification with you at all times, and police checks do take place especially around stations.
I understand you may not want to carry your passport with you at all times, but make sure you have a copy on you. A copy will also definitely help in case your passport gets stolen.
If you are from the EU, an ID card or driving licence should also be accepted in lieu of your passport in case of police checks.
Learn How to Ask for Help in Italian
I have one word for you – AIUTO! It means ‘help’. Make sure you learn it!
Avoid Carrying Cash
In Milan, cards are widely accepted so there’s no need to carry large amounts of cash. Most bars, restaurants and stores will accept cards, but some will have minimum payment requirements (usually €5/10).
Small amounts of cash will come in handy (say €20/50) – no need for more than that!
Register With Your Authorities
Some countries have specific websites where you can register your trip, so that authorities will be aware of where you are. For the United States, the site is STEP – Smarter Traveler Enrollment Program. If you are traveling from the United Kingdom, click here. Canadians can register here.
Avoid Certain Areas or Neighborhoods
As I mentioned above, most of Milan is indeed safe. However, there are some seedy neighbourhoods where we don’t recommend wandering around at night – Quarto Oggiaro, Corvetto, Barona, Lorenteggio, San Siro (around the stadium is usually fine!) and the area around Stazione Centrale.
Having said that, there are some very nice hotels near Centrale – just avoid the actual station and immediate surroundings, especially late at night.
Avoid Drugs or Excessive Drinking
Now, do I really need to explain why? The more you are visibly drunk or high, the more you’ll become a target for criminals.
On top of that, all drugs (including marijuana) are illegal in Italy, so if you are approached in the street and offered some, just say no and walk away!