Staying Connected in Italy

Public Telephones & International Phone cards

While Pay phones are still available throughout Italy, they’re becoming harder to find due to the ubiquity of cell phones and most often than not they require a prepaid card (scheda telefonica). Prepaid cards can be bought at any Tabacchi or often at Newspaper stands.

International pre-paid phone cards, with discounted international rates are also available in the same venues. Often they are the cheapest option to stay in touch with home while in Italy.

Cell Phones

Most North American phones do not work in Italy, unless they are built to use the GSM cellular phone system. Should you have a phone that works using the GSM system, you must set up global roaming service with your service provider before leaving North America, for your phone to work while in Italy. Roaming can be quite expensive, so make sure you understand fares and fees before you decide to activate this service.

An alternative is to rent a cellphone before leaving North America. Several companies provide this service with affordable rates.

Area Codes (Prefissi telefonici):

Both local (chiamata urbana) and long distance (chiamata interurbana) calls require the proper area code before dialing the number.

For example, to place a local call while in Rome you must dial 06 + phone number; to call a land-line in Milan while in Rome dial 02 + phone number.

Find all area codes here.

To call the USA or Canada from Italy dial 001 + area code + phone number.

Internet Access

While most hotels have internet access while staying at more off-the-beaten path accommodations or while on the go, the best way to stay connected via email is to locate an Internet Café. While not found on every street corner, their number is steadily growing.

A form of identification (with picture) is required by law when using the Internet from an Internet Café, so make sure you have one with you.

Buying Stamps

Stamps are sold at any Post office in Italy. However, this may not be your best or fastest choice (Italian Post offices are notorious for slow service and long lines). Instead look for a Tabacchi (tobacco store), or in the most tourist areas try asking in stores that sell postcards: you may be in luck!