My parents land in Sardegna today, where Marmee will be until Lamb's wedding.
They took a single-engine airplane to get there, and crossed the Atlantic the old-fashioned way: Florida to Maine to Greenland to Iceland to Scotland to France to Italy. My dad's done this at least a dozen times and marmee's quickly catching up. Someday I would love to tag along, maybe they could stick me in the baggage compartment? (hint hint)
I had to laugh reading part of the information bulletin my dad sent out to the rest of the people going in their group. If you know him you know this is classic Paps.
When in Italy (especially large cities, if you will visit them during our stay), stay alert in public places with large crowds. Beware especially of beggars (especially gypsies, even if they are women with babies) and DO NOT let them come close to you. They are professional thieves, and they are very good at their trade. Never lose sight or control of your luggage, even for a few seconds.
Beware also of motorcycles or mopeds approaching you in a busy street. This is the most common MO of purse snatchers.
Do not carry jewelry or your passport/important papers (the hotel safe is a better place). For guys, a simple way of making your wallet harder to pick from your pocket is to slip a couple of wide rubber bands around it. For ladies, carry a small purse (with a zipper) or no purse at all. Remember, any purse, backpack, or fanny pack can be cut (and the contents removed) without you even realizing it.
Make a paper copy of your passport and all your credit cards (front and back) with a number to call in case they are stolen.
This is not meant to scare you in any way, just to prepare you for the reality out there and to prevent ruining an exciting trip.
Notwithstanding all this, Italy is by far the most beautiful country in Europe. I am not saying this because I was born there, but because I have been all over Europe, and nothing else compares.