I was already having a bad experience in Italy thanks to the racist Italians I met in Rome and at the border of Switzerland. Quite honestly, getting robbed in Italy was the last thing that I wanted to happen. I didn’t want my experience in this country to be entirely bad.
Robbery attempt at the Bologna train station
I was on my way to Rimini, Italy, where I plan on visiting San Marino. In the process, I had to switch trains in Bologna to reach Rimini.
That’s when things started to go bad.
An overweight Italian man started following me and tryed to talk to me in Italian. The look on his face clearly says he wants money.
I ignored him and kept walking.
He decides to follow me and began talking to me some more. While following me, he tells me a bogus story how he needs money for the train. I tell him “No dinero” and he looks at me and says “Si dinero” while looking at me with an evil grin.
This Italian hooligan just won’t leave me alone.
After harassing me for over 30 minutes, he finally points at the bunch of bananas I was holding, which I bought earlier at a grocery store, and asks me if he can have it instead.
So I give him one piece of banana just to make him go away and he happily takes it and walks away.
As he was walking away, I realized what just happened. He was setting a trap to rob me. As soon as he began walking away, many of his gang members hiding behind pillars came out and started following him from behind. There must have been about 6-7 of his fellow hooligans following him.
I think he was waiting for me to open my wallet or money belt and that’s when his gang would ambush me.
He wasn’t going to leave unless I gave him something. The banana saved me from getting robbed in Italy.
How to prevent getting robbed in Italy
People always tell you to not look flashy when travelling in order to avoid getting attention. However, in Italy, many of the thieves are smart and know those backpackers do have some money.
One neat trick is to have small snacks handy to give them just to make them go away. The Italian hooligans just want to get something from you so be ready to throw these scumbags a piece of bone like a banana or some potato chips.
When my sisters went to Italy, they had a similar experience where some Italian hooligans followed them around and refused to leave them alone until they got something from them. Finally, one of these idiots grabbed my sister’s ass and started laughing because at least he got “something”.
Keep yourself safe from thieves and refuse to give them money. Try to stay near crowded places because you are less likely to get robbed in Italy with many people watching. Thankfully, I met friendlier Italians when I reached Rimini which partially salvaged my trip in Italy.