Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Memorize the following emergency numbers: 112 carabinieri (local police); 113 polizia (state police); 115 vigili del fuoco (fire department); 116 soccorso stradale (highway emergency); 118 ambulanza (ambulance).

If you want to report a disturbance such as noise, illegal activity or loitering, call the vigili urbani (urban police) at 051.266626. If you call to report a loud party or other minor public disturbance, the police may also stop by your house to hear your version of events. The polizia municipale (city police) have an informative website in Italian with how-to information on most safety issues:


Pick-pocketing is probably the most prevalent street crime in Bologna. Keep in mind that when many people leave the city in August, the crime rate goes up. Be extra careful when closing up your house in this period whether you're going on an extended vacation or just running down to the latteria (dairy). Watch your belongings and keep purses and bags zipped, especially while riding the bus.

Many people avoid walking alone at night in the area around the train station and in some parts of the university district, especially around Piazza Verdi and the end of Via San Vitale, near the gate. At night, the street that runs from Piazza Verdi to Via San Vitale (Via Giuseppe Petroni) is frequently the site of fights and other drug and alcoholrelated crime.

Walkers should be aware that motorists rarely stop at pedestrian crosswalks. Always look both ways for traffic before crossing any street, no matter what the traffic signals say. Given the frenetic pace of traffic, you might be wondering how people manage to survive riding a bike around town. Riding with attitude will only get you in trouble. You can try to hog more space in the practically fictitious bike lanes and look menacingly over your left shoulder at the motorini (scooters) zipping between you and moving traffic, but by so doing, you risk slamming into something yourself. When motorists roar by, leaving little margin for error, stay calm and use prudence.