Safety Information for Americans (and others) Wanting to Avoid the Mafia in Italy

Felicia Impastato was the mother of Peppino Impastato, a sicilian man who was killed because of his continuous protesting against mafia, a criminal organization. Creative Commons.

Many people will tell you to not worry about the Mafia in Italy. For the most part, especially in the North, this is true, the Mafia are generally not so strong.

A completely different story applies however in South, where the Mafia pretty much runs the show and the government is almost non existent except on a surface level.

An American friend of mine and his girlfriend from the State of Maine hitchhiked their way around Europe for an entire year and had no problems at all. Infact, it renewed their faith in humanity in a way.

Unfortunately, this new found faith did not last so long when when they were hitchhiking in Sicily together. They get into a truck

 and had the guy drop them off at a motel in the next town.

That night, they were robbed in their motel room at gunpoint. All their posessions were taken, but what was worse is that it left them with a long term fear and shock and strong general lack of trust in everything. Possibly Post Traumatic Stress Dissorder. It also led to the break up of their relationship.

There is no way to know for sure if the Mafia robbing was connected to the truck driver, but he seemed to believe it was.

So the moral of that story is, don't let your guard down in Southern Italy - it may not be a truck driver who robs you, but being a loud tourist in a non touristy place is probably not a good idea.

Also a note about hitchhiking, the guy continues to hitchike to this day and had done so from Germany all the way down to Jordan - which is where I met him. Don't let this scare you off hitchhiking (if you are with at least 1 more person) - 99% of his experiences were good :)

It's also worth being aware of a Safety Rating and the honest user comments of a hotel/hostel you are thinking about staying it. For example, if you are planning to visit a hostel like New York B&B in Rome, there is a tab you can click on called ratings and reviews - once you've clicked on that tab, look at the Safety rating and user comments. I'd stay away from anything below 70%. 

Also, I wanted to mention  that occasionally I send out a unique newsletter with my secret and unique money saving tips, great deals on flights, and special locations unknown to the average tourist (at bargain prices). You really can travel on a super small budget to exotic locations if you have all the information the travel companies don't want you to know about!
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