Italian Emergency Numbers – All You Need to Know

The only idea of traveling implies getting out of your comfort zone. This means that apart from having valid travel insurance, it’s useful to know the numbers you should call in case of an emergency. So if you are planning a trip to Italy, it’s good practice to take note of the Italian emergency numbers to have them handy if needed (hopefully, never!).

All the Italian emergency numbers are free of charge and are to be dialed without any local area code.

Image: Italian emergency numbers.

Italian emergency numbers – Health and hospital

It can always happen when you are abroad and you get sick. If it’s only a flu or upset stomach, you can just pop in the closest pharmacy and they will give you an over-the-counter remedy. But if

Pronto Soccorso Sanitario (ambulance) – 118

If you dial 118 in Italy, you call the ambulance services that will take you to the nearest ER if needed. Over the phone, the operator will immediately ask you what’s the issue and what’s your location so that they can start arranging the ambulance. They will then ask you who’s sick, what happened, and what’s the current state or situation.

If there is something you can or should do while they are on their way, they will say so. Usually, a doctor will arrive with the paramedic’s team, especially when the case appears to be serious.

Italian emergency numbers – Safety and police

Have you been robbed? Do you need to report something? Are you in the middle of a riot and feel unsafe? Here are the Italian emergency numbers if you need to call the authorities with a breakdown of the different bodies and agencies.

If your documents are missing, you should just go to the closest police station and file a report there. Over the phone, there’s not much they can do. If your passport is missing, you should probably also go to your own embassy.

Carabinieri – 112

By dialing 112, you are essentially calling the Carabinieri. In Italy, Carabinieri is the Army police but they also serve the civilians. In recent years, the number 112 has become the universal emergency number. So if you are not sure who to call, dial 112 and a team will direct you to the most competent services, whether it’s the fire department or the health service.

Polizia – 113

Polizia di Stato is the Italian police, the officers you see in the blue cars. Just like Carabinieri, they will help you if you are the victim of an offense.

Vigili Urbani / Polizia Municipale

What in Italy we call Vigili Urbani or Polizia Municipale is the local police of the city or town you are visiting. You would call them in case of traffic issues, sometimes if you feel you have been cheated on or charged too much at a bar/restaurant.

Usually, you can address Polizia Municipale directly from the street as you will see them all over the place, especially in touristy areas. Calling them might not be very straightforward because there is not a nationwide number like for the police or Carabinieri.

Each council has its own traffic police and a specific local number to contact them. So if you are in Rome, the number of the Polizia Municipale won’t be the same as if you are in any town in Sardinia or other Italian regions.

Vigili del Fuoco / Pompieri (Fire department) – 115

This is pretty straightforward. You would dial 115 if you see a fire starting off or if you see someone stuck in a building due to fire. If you are unsure whether you should call the firefighters or not, call the police or Carabinieri and they will call them if needed.

This, however, is also the right number to call in case of missing persons, especially in hostile environments like mountains or rivers, or in case of people needing immediate assistance.

If you are traveling to mountainous regions and are planning to climb high peaks, make sure you read this guide on how to acclimate to altitude.

Viaggiare informati (Street information) – 1518

You would call this Italian emergency number to have detailed and up-to-date information on the traffic in the area you are in or where you are traveling to in Italy. The service is active 24/7.

Guardia forestale (Forest ranger) – 1515

You can call the Italian guardia forestale if you see some danger near a forest, a wood, or in the countryside in general, such as fire. For this, however, I still recommend you call 115 or the universal 112 emergency number.

Soccorso in mare (Sea rescue) – 1530

Similar to guardia forestale, but this is related to sea disasters, so you should call them in case of someone missing or needing assistance at sea. In this case, too, I suggest dialing the universal Italian emergency number 112 they will know how to arrange the rescue.

Italian emergency numbers – Roadside assistance

ESA – 800 584 811

This is one of the main Italian emergency numbers you should dial if you need road assistance on the highway. If you are on a road trip in Italy, chances are that from one region to another, you are going to drive through the highway.

Whether you are in need of assistance yourself or you see someone in trouble, you can call ESA, the acronym for Euro Service Assistance, and let them know. On the highway, you are actually not allowed to stop yourself to help others but you are required to call the authorities.

AXA Assistance – 800 111 911

When you call them, they will ask you where you are, the license plate of the car you are driving, the model, and the personal details of the owner or who rented the car. The same operator will kick off the procedure to assist you.

ACI Soccorso Stradale – 803 116

This is another free number to call if you need road assistance while driving in Italy. Just like ESA and AXA, there is a charge for the services. If you are an associate, you get some discounts.

In any case, check out with your insurance to see what they cover and what’s on you.

Emergency numbers in Italy – FAQ

What happens if you call 911 from Italy?

Although 911 is not one of the Italian emergency numbers, if you dial it, the system will understand that you want to call for help and transfers you directly to 112, which will connect you to the Carabinieri. Once you are in line with the Carabinieri, whichever is your issue, they will assist you either by intervening themselves or by calling an ambulance if this is what you need.

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