Italian men are known for paying compliments to women. You will often hear them say ‘ciao bella’ which means ‘hi beautiful’ and is never said in a derogatory tone. Culturally, these comments are not seen as insults. However as in any country, if there are any cases of being pursued further, or touched in anyway that upsets you or makes you feel uncomfortable then report it to the local ‘carabinieri’ or alternatively speak to your nearest Embassy/Consulate for advice on how to deal with the matter.
Any kind of violence or sexual harassment against women is not acceptable in any country and the best way to avoid these situations is by taking the same safety precautions as you would in your own country. Avoid being out alone at night but if you have to then be sure to stay on main pathways and roads. Always carry your mobile phone with you and ensure that you have a note of the local hotel and taxi number with you. Even if you are not staying in a hotel, take down the number of one of the hotels in the area where you are staying. As an extra precaution, you could carry an alarm or whistle in your bag.