Emergency in Italy: What to Do and Who to Call

Obviously we hope during your visit to Italy that you won’t need one of these numbers. But in the case something happens, better to be prepared. Also for those of you who have lived here, you might find a few numbers you didn’t know. So let’s get into what to do and who to call if you have an emergency in Italy.

The primary number you will need for emergencies in Italy is 112. This is the equivalent to the US 911, a service number that connects to Police, Ambulances, and Fire Rescue. Whoever is necessary given the situation. They’ll be able to send the proper services your way.

In theory, these numbers will speak English or at least be able to understand the basics. However, I don’t recommend just assuming they will. If you can, especially if you know you have a pre-existing condition, keep your Italian phrasebook handy and get a few sayings ready.

Medical Emergency in Italy –

If you know it is a medical emergency, you can call directly 118, rather than 112.

If you’d rather not deal with calling an ambulance, or calling, and can hold on a minute, you can take yourself to any “Pronto Soccorso”. This is the emergency room in Italy. When being admitted patients are often given a different color code to determine the urgency, then they are called in one at a time. Obviously, if you are bleeding everywhere or throwing up, they’ll try to admit you faster. But if they can’t automatically see your pain, know you might have to wait a minute.

For a few simple phrases:

Mi fa male.…. – It hurts (and you can indicate where)

Ha battuto la testa – he hit is head

Lui/lei è svenuto/a – He or She fainted

Non respira – They aren’t breathing

Police or Crime Emergency –

If you are just reporting a crime, and know you want to be connected with the Police, you can call the number 113, rather than 112.

In some cases, if you need the police, but wouldn’t consider it an emergency, for example, I’ve had to call for stray dogs. You can instead call the local office, this number differs you’ll just have to look it up on Google Maps for your closest office.

Do I need the police or carabinieri?

Truth is either police force can respond and help out. The emergency numbers will send who is available. However it is a small local matter, you can choose to call the local police immediately. Learn more about the difference between police and carabinieri here.

Fire –

to get in touch with the fire brigade instantly call the number 115.

Who to call about abandoned animals?

In the case of a stray or abandoned animal, you should first call the local police. They will activate the proper procedure and call the closest shelter to come to pick them up. If you call the shelter on your own you may have to pay.

Who to call regarding stalking, or domestic abuse?

If you are feeling threatened and you are experiencing any degree of domestic abuse, know of someone who is, or even are experiencing stalking, you can call 1522. They speak multiple languages and will be able to direct you for the nearest shelters, get in touch with relevant authorities, or even just be there to talk through solutions.

If you yourself cannot call this number, by mentioning the number to any medical professional or in a pharmacy, they will be able to call for you as well.

That should be a good start to help you navigate an emergency in Italy, you might also find this article about women’s health in Italy useful. If you have any other questions let me know and I will try to update the blog over time!

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And if you are looking for more help on your journey of making Italy home or looking for local insight to plan the best trip, get in touch, let me help you experience authentic Italy.