Sexual violence in Italy is a phenomenon that has only recently became a relevant social issue. The most important characteristic is that it is strictly related to the geographic/cultural context. Not only do rates of reported sexual violence vary at a regional level, but so do the types of violence, the characteristics of victims and aggressors, the places and circumstances in which the violence takes place. The data presented are part of a wider research effort and concern the characteristics of violence reported to the police in three big Italian cities in 1988. Besides some common traits, such as the high incidence of sexual abuse within the family, the three cities have specific characteristics. In Milan there is a higher rate of "stranger rape", which usually takes places in the late afternoon or evening and in which the victim is usually a student or a worker going or returning from some activity (leisure included). In Venice there are a considerable number of sexual assaults committed against tourists (young women in their twenties that accept an invitation from a local male). In Naples there remains a high incidence (but it was much higher in the past) of fiancés brought to court for having had sexual intercourse with a girl they refuse to marry.