French actor Daniel Auteuil had his £34,000 Patek Philippe watch stolen from a taxi in Naples last week. Two men on a moped grabbed the watch as he rested his arm on the open window.
The mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfreid, apologized for the theft and offered Auteuil an alternative of 100 euros.
The cheaper Swatch watch was given to the actor who was in the Italian city for a theater show.
Cesare Foà, president of the Aidit tourism association, suggested that hotels offer tourists a cheap alternative watch made of plastic.
Foà told local media: “I have asked the councilors to make plastic watches with the symbol of our region to be distributed to tourists who stay for several days in hotels, in the Bed and Breakfasts of the area.
“They leave their valuables in a safe and we provide the courtesy watch.”
The city had a similar policy in 2006, but stopped it when the cheap watches ran out.
The tourism organization said the watches could be made attractive to encourage tourists to make the switch.
Meanwhile, Flavio Briatore, the ex-F1 chief, said the “crooks” were just “doing their job”.
Elsewhere in Fiumicino, near Rome airport, two Chinese tourists were robbed of their watches at gunpoint in a restaurant.
One of the stolen watches was worth £1.2 million, while another was a £17,000 Rolex.
Italy welcomes about 60 million tourists a year and often has problems with pickpockets in popular areas.
Milan is the most dangerous city in Italy, according to figures from the Italian National Institute of Statistics.
In 2016, there were 7,800 complaints to the police per 100,000 inhabitants, while Naples was not in the top five most dangerous cities.
However, the southern Italian city had a high percentage of robberies with 291 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants.
Crowded tourist areas such as popular attractions and plazas are probably the worst pickpocket hotspots.
Train stations and the area around an airport are also likely to attract thieves as tourists can be distracted.
It is best not to walk around with a map or Google maps as this can attract the attention of pickpockets.