Italy is part of the Euro zone. Euros come in coin denominations of .01, .02, .05, .10, .20, .50, 1 euro and 2 euros. The bills are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. For the most current exchange dollar/euro exchange rate visit here.
Euros can be obtained in Italy at any bank, ATM machine or Exchange Office (Ufficio di Cambio) at airports, railway stations and in several other locations in all the major cities.
Most shops in major Italian cities and tourist areas accept traveler checks. The rate of exchange is calculated on the official daily rate of exchange. Please note that this is not the case in smaller cities or in less tourist areas – which is often where the best local goods and the best bargain are.
Credit/Debit Cards & ATMs
The usage of Credit/Debit Cards is widely spread in Italy and most restaurants and shops will accept major credit/debit cards. If you’re planning to pay with a credit/Debit card, look at the front window of the establishment: the logos of the credit cards accepted will be posted (or simply ask: “Accettate carte di credito?”).
Usage of Credit/Debit cards is less common in cafés or smaller local stores especially for amounts of 20 euros or less. In other words, it may be hard to pay for your morning croissant (cornetto) and cappuccino with anything other than cash.
Bancomats (the Italian equivalent of ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) are ubiquitous and easy to find in all major cities. In smaller towns, they may be in shorter supply. Always look for the local bank (almost always located on the main square). Unlike in North America, Bancomats are never found in establishments or stores.
Before leaving for your trip, it’s a good idea to contact your Credit/Debit Card Company as well as your Bank and inquire about international credit card circuits your card is part of, the maximum daily amount that you can withdrawn in cash, charge fees for ATM withdrawals and/or cash advances.
Banks in Italy are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Modified hours may be observed (as a rule of thumb, the more tourist the area the longer the hours). Banks are closed all day Saturday and Sunday and on National holidays.
Tax refund for purchases made in Italy by non-resident visitors
The prices of goods in Italy already include the Value Added Tax (VAT) (or IVA – Imposta sul Valore Aggiunto) whenever applicable.
Non-EU visitors can claim a refund for the Value Added Tax [VAT] on all goods purchased in Italy and intended for personal use or as a gift. To obtain this refund, the store you made purchases in should provide and stamp a special VAT return form. Once stamped and filled out, this form and all receipts with clearly defined purchase prices and VAT information must be presented with your unopened purchases to the Customs Office at the airport in your city of departure.
For purchase eligibility and for more information on how to claim your refund visit here.