How to Use Your Cell Phone in Italy (Yes, You Can!)

May 30, 2011

Smarter travel means better travel. That’s why we run the most comprehensive online guide to traveling Italy on the internet. To read more posts check out our Italian travel blog, or travel with us on our expert-guided walking tours

Brought your cell phone with you to Italy? Great. Now, how the heck do you use it?

First, let’s clear up a little misunderstanding many people have about their phones in Italy: Almost all of your cell phones should work. Yes, even American cell phones. To make sure, check to see if your cell phone supports GSM 900 and GSM 1800 frequencies.

Here, though, is the trick: Unless you’ve set up an international package with your provider, making phone calls in Italy could be pretty expensive. So make sure you call your provider before you go to figure out how to arrange cheaper calls while abroad.

Another option – and one that will probably be more economical, at least for calling Italian phone numbers – is getting an Italian SIM card. That gives you your own Italian number, which is very useful: If you’re calling Italian numbers, you’re obviously being charged domestic rates, and your provider back home has nothing to do with it. And although most people say “Wait, I’m on vacation. What Italian number would I be calling?,” trust us: It can come in handy. If, say, you’re trying to make restaurant reservations, find out museum hours, check your Google maps (which you invariably want to do in Rome and most other large cities,) or even if you’re, ahem, running late for an amazing walking tour and want to let the company know, you’ll be glad you got that Italian number.

Your cell phone has to be “unlocked” in order to install a new SIM card, but most American cell phones are. To check, make sure that you can open up the back of your phone and take out the little chip there yourself. Buying a SIM card is also a lot easier to do than it seems. Just walk into any cell phone store – TIM, Vodafone, and Wind are three of the most popular – and ask for a SIM card. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want a “prepayed” card, not a subscription card. Most Americans are on telephone plans that bill them monthly whereas, in Europe, it’s not uncommon to essentially charge a card with minutes/texts/data every so often and then top it up when it runs out. You can buy a SIM card for as little as 5 euros, which gives you 5 euros worth of calls, texts, and data. Make sure you bring some form of identification with you when you go. (Remember, if you’re non-E.U., you’re supposed to have a passport on you at all times in Italy anyway).

If, at any point during your stay, you find yourself running out of credit, you can simply walk into a tabaccaio, as well as many supermarkets and ATMs, to “top up” your phone. You only need to do three things 1.) ask for a ricarica, 2.) tell the clerk who the cell phone provider is provider is, 3.) tell the clerk how much money you want.

Another option you have is just buying an Italian cell phone. You can get a phone, with 10 euros already loaded as credit, for as cheap as 30 euros. That way, you don’t have to worry about unlocking your own phone or switching SIM cards back and forth. And if you ever travel elsewhere in Europe, Africa, or the Middle East, you can switch out the SIM card and use the same phone. Because having your own Italian phone number is so handy, and so much cheaper, we generally recommend that you get your own SIM card or Italian cell phone if you are in the country for five days or more.

But what if you haven’t bought a SIM card, or don’t want to, and you need to make a call from your U.S. cell phone to a non-Italian number? Here’s how you’d do it:

To call an Italian phone number from a U.S. or any other non-Italian cell phone:

  1. Dial +. Your cell phone “knows” to replace that + with the international access code that you need to dial out of the U.S. to another country. Every cell phone has a + button; it’s usually the same button as the 0 or the *. To access it, try holding down either the 0 or the *, or double-tapping one of the two buttons.
  2. Dial 39. That’s Italy’s country code.
  3. Dial the rest of the number. Include the first 0. (When calling other countries, you drop that 0).

So: If someone hands you a card that says their Italian number is 0123456789, then, from your U.S. cell phone, even if you’re in Italy, you dial +39 0123456789. Got it?

To call a U.S. or other non-Italian phone number from an Italian phone:

If you’ve bought an Italian SIM card and are now trying to call the United States or another country other than Italy, here’s what to do.

  1. Dial 00. That’s Italy’s international access code. If you’re dialing from an Italian cell phone (or your phone with an Italian SIM), you can often just dial the +, no access code needed.
  2. If you’re calling the U.S., dial 1, the U.S. country code. If you’re calling another country, dial that country’s code (61 for Australia, 44 for England, 00 for Canada).
  3. Dial the rest of the number.

Once you have done it once, its pretty easy!

Italian ruins make take you back in time, but it doesn't mean you can't use your cell phone. Find out how to ensure that your American phone works in Italy when you visit.

by Walks of Italy

View more by Walks ›

Show Comments

117 responses to “How to Use Your Cell Phone in Italy (Yes, You Can!)”

  1. Giovanna says:

    Just a key point – for Verizon Wireless Customers you will need to obtain a Global Ready in over 220 countries device. They still are only about a 1/3 of the device line up. If you don’t own one, and you are not eligible for an upgrade, you can BORROW a Global Ready Phone for your vacation. Dial *611 from your phone and tell the Customer Service Rep that you need to use the Global Travel Program. They will send you a device, you will be charged for your usage only. When you return, ship the device back and up re-activate your own phone. Make sure you get the Global Value Plan to keep costs down. These devices are not eligible for SIM Unlock with another carriers sim card.

    In general – experience my fiance and I had – AT & T would NOT unlock his iphone 3 for use with another carriers sim card. So the absolute best bet if you want in country calling rates is to go to Italy and by a prepaid simple cell phone if you are in the AT & T iPhone 3 donut hole where they never required Apple to provide them with the SIM Unlock process and codes for these devices.

    Good luck and happy travels!

    • walksofitaly says:

      Thanks for the extra tips, Giovanna! Different networks have peculiarities, network locking and phone locking example can both be troublesome… so there’s a lot more to be said on this subject. We’ll post more useful information on cell phones, data roaming, wifi, gps and more for travelers to Italy soon!

    • Matias Rey says:

      Hi, I have a question about getting a call from the United States while I have an American cell phone in Italy. I need to receive a business call while on my travels.

      Any ideas for that?

      Thank you in advance!

  2. Ja9 says:

    Maybe I didn’t read this right, but did you give guidance on how to call a U.S. number
    from a U.S. cell phone while in Italy? If not,
    could you enlighten me? I need all the help
    I can get. 🙂 Thanks, Janine E.

    • Hi Janine,
      We know it can be confusing! 🙂 You’re right, we didn’t explain it. Here’s what you would do:

      1. Dial +.
      2. Dial 1, the US country code.
      3. Dial the rest of the number.

      So, if you’re calling (202) 123-4567, from a US phone in Italy, you’d dial +1 2021234567.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

      • David Hostetler says:

        Will apps that are on my Verizon IPhone 4 work in Italy? I have some translation apps. Will they work? Angry Birds? Etc.

        Thanks in advance


        • Hi Dave,
          They should work as long as you’ve signed up for a data plan that works abroad. (Make sure you’ve looked into plans, as many international/travel plans can be quite expensive!). Let us know if we can answer anything else!

  3. Kenzie says:

    Before my trip to Italy, is there anything I need to make sure of so that I will be able to text my family that is in the U.S while I’m there?

    • Hi Kenzie,
      Only the same things you’d need to keep in mind to call the US from Italy; you’ll have to put in the same number in the same way whether it’s a text message or a call.
      Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  4. Bill says:

    What about a Trac Fone? How does that work in Italy, or does it?

    • Hi Bill,
      It doesn’t look like the Trac Fone works in Italy, but the pay-as-you-go system is easily replicated here—you’d just have to buy a cheap cell phone at any cell store (they cost as little as 29 euros), then a SIM card and top it up as you go (you can start at just 10 euros for the card + 5 euros of credit). Please let us know if we can help with anything else!

  5. Alex says:

    FYI, country code for Canada is 1, dial it like you would for the States.

  6. Angie says:

    Please could you confirm what is the correct input method to call the following number, whilst in italy, using my T-Mobile UK smart phone . If the number I will be calling is 0039 338******* do I enter 039 338******* or do I enter +39 338*******
    I would be greatful for any advice thank you

    • Hi Angie,
      Easiest is to enter + followed by 39 etc., as your cell phone “knows” what to put in instead of the +. So you’d enter +39 338… etc.
      Let us know if we can answer anything else!

  7. Anita Lanzi says:

    You don’t really cover how to call italian numbers -both land lines and cell phones -from an american phone that has an Italian sim card.

  8. Giovanni Smith says:

    Good article but I would like to add that more and more people, like myself, are interested in using their cell phones for data and less for making calls. I have an unlocked iPhone with Verizon. The year before when I went to Italy I just didn’t use the phone except for emergencies (and I STILL got a phone bill for a couple hundred bucks). So, doing some research, I found out that the best solution is to get a local SIM card which I did online before my trip.I got an Italian SIM that I think that is was something like $50 for 1GB of data which is certainly less than the $25 per 100 mb with Verizon. I used Skype to call back to the US by the way for $0.02 per minute. I ordered an Italian SIM card online at a company called Cellular Abroad. one caveat is that I didn’t know that I had to order a micro SIM card so I had to send mine back and get a micro SIM. Good experience and worth checking out.

    What do you recommend for my iPad, which is 3G?

    • Hi there,
      Your iPad will work on wireless; otherwise, you can actually go through the same process and get a micro SIM for your iPad, as far as we know.
      Let us know how it works out!

  9. Frank Vitale says:

    Hi, I want to give my ATT US iPhone 4s to a friend in Italy. Does the phone need to be jailbroke or something else before they can put their sim card in it and use it there? Thank you for your help.

  10. Merle says:

    I have smart talk cell plan. Can I use italy sims card in my smart phone or buy Italian phone on arrival.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Merle! If your cell phone is unlocked – meaning that it is not bound to one provider – you should be able to use an Italian sim card. We suggest contacting the cell company just to be sure. Let us know if you have any questions!

  11. allen says:

    What’s the best DATA plan I can purchase for 5 day stay in Italy? Any way to purchase a plan that Includes local, international calls and a lot of DATA?

    Thank you for your excellent post.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Allen, you can purchase a plan from your provider at home or buy an Italian SIM. If you do decide to go for an Italian SIM, we’d suggest Wind (a very popular chain with an orange sign and blue logo) and you can buy one for around 20 euros and add a rechargeable plan. Let us know if you have any questions!

  12. Karen Lehman says:

    If I have wifi in my hotel room can I nit text with my iPhone?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Karen, if you have a texting service via internet (such as iMessage or WhatsApp), you will not be charged when connected to WiFi. SMS traditional texts, however, will be considered as roaming depending on your plan. Let us know if you have any questions!

  13. Eleanor Huang says:

    I have a wind sim card in italian bought phone. I can receive calls but not make calls. Trying to call Italian numbers. Any advise.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Eleanor, have you tried putting the country code before the Italian numbers (+39)? Let us know if we can assist you!

  14. Diane says:

    I am going to Italy in 3 weeks. I will be taking my smart phone (verizon carrier) and plan to turn off data and use wifi while I’m there. In order to make phone calls can I buy an italian sim card and still use the phone for whats app texting and my drop box (which I’ve put reservations in) or does changing the sim card get rid of all my apps and stored info.

    If I buy a sim card I see you recommend Wind. I can buy an Italian sim card before I leave instead of waiting to do it in Italy? If I buy this online then go to the Verizon store will they be able to unlock my phone and put the sim card in? (do this the day before I leave)
    Thank you so much, Diane

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Diane, if you have an unlocked phone, you can put in an Italian sim card without losing your stored info. However, please note that Whatsapp may ask you to message with your Italian number and not your American number when the Italian SIM is inserted. We suggest waiting to purchase the SIM until you arrive in Italy so the provider can set up your phone number and register you. Let us know if you have any questions!

  15. Jillian says:

    Hi, my daughter is traveling to Italy next week. She is bringing her iphone 4s, and we have set up an international calling plan with ATT on that phone. When I want to text or call her on her cell phone from the US do I just enter the + sign and then 39 and then her full number?
    – Jillian

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jillian, if she will still be using her American number you do not have to add +39. If she is setting up an Italian number, you will have to add +39. Let us know if you have any questions!

      • Linda says:

        My daughter is in Italy and using her US iPhone which has a US number. I am in the US with a US iPhone. I did not add anything to her regular 10 digit number. It doesn’t seem like she is getting my text messages. I am receiving texts from her. I also tried adding +1 before the number, didn’t seem to work. I tried +39 and that didn’t work either. Can you help?

        • Walks of Italy says:

          Hi Linda,

          Often, US carriers don’t allow international texts or calls. You can call your phone carrier and set up an international plan to be able to contact your daughter and that should work!

  16. Deanna says:

    We purchased a “magic jack” from Best Buy prior to leaving the USA and can now easily make calls back to the USA for no cost by plugging the magic jack into my MacBook Pro. The cost is in the purchase of the Magic Jack and that was approx $60. I dial the number I am calling from my computer screen or key board and use the mic in my computer to talk. This has been a great solution for us at a very low cost.

  17. Cheryl says:

    I have booked an apartment for my stay in Italy during our upcoming trip and I have the contact phone number for the manager which I have programmed into my phone. You mention in your information to dial +39…then include the first 0…the number I have for him looks like this: +39 320 1234567. When you refer to the first 0, should there be a zero in front of the 320? or are you referring to the 0 in 320?

    Thanks for any advice you can provide!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Cheryl, the 0 refers to landlines. Since this is a mobile phone, you can dial +39 320 1234567 directly. Let us know if you have any questions!

  18. Robert says:

    Didn’t see the scenario where I’d like to have someone be able to call my US mobile phone, while it is in Italy with me, from an Italian landline or mobile. Would they dial it as they would if it is located in the US?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Robert, if you are using your US mobile phone in Italy, Italian landlines and mobiles can dial you as if you were located in the US. Let us know if you have any questions!

  19. Joan says:

    I need to call my parents land line in US while I am in France and Italy. What is the best and least expensive way to do this? Cell phone? Are there public phones? Buy a particular international cell phone? Thank you for your help.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Joan, if you have access to a computer, we suggest putting some credit on your Skype account from which you can call US cell phones and landlines very inexpensively. Let us know if you have any questions!

  20. David says:

    I was in Italy recently w/ a Consumer Cellular Motorola flip phone, bought a Wind sim card,unlocked the phone( succesful), used password, got validation that everything was correct up to that point… tried calling US with proper codes and #’s but the calls would not go through. Is this a problem w/ my phone network, or the phone/hardware, or the card?There’s got to be something that I’m not doing or don’t understand.
    Thanks for your help.
    David M. Fen

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao David, did you ask to enable international calling when you set up the SIM Card? If you didn’t, there’s a chance it may not let you make calls outside of Italy. Let us know if you have any questions!

  21. Joe says:

    We are going to Italy in 4 weeks for 10 days. Now to our problem and question. We are in our early 70’s and have no clue as to what sim cards skype and other terms mean. That’s our major problem.
    My wife has a phone that’s about one year old and I think a 4-G. We went to Egypt, Jordon, and Israel last March. We went to a full service Verizon store and a service person took our phone, said we had a sim card, and said we were ok. Nothing worked.
    What would you recommend for us.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Joe,

      We understand, that has happened to us as well. There’s probably two options for you: the first would be to simply use your hotel’s wifi to then utilize your phone (this will work for internet, messaging and skype, which is an application that allows you to make calls if you add credit to it). Otherwise, you’ll have to go to an Italian phone provider (Tim, Wind, or Vodafone) and buy an Italian sim card. They will help you insert it in your phone if possible. Other than that, you’ll have to talk with Verizon again. Good luck and happy travels!

      • Tom says:

        Hi I have a question .Can I forward my calls from the US phone to my italian phone?
        If my US phone is with out a sim card where will all my calls go why I am in Italy?
        I’ll be gone for over 2 mo.
        Thanks Tom

        • Walks of Italy says:

          Hi Tom,

          If your US phone is unlocked you can purchase an Italian sim card while in Italy. If you do this, your US calls should automatically go through to your now “Italian” phone. You will have to call US numbers using the international area codes (usually 001 plus area code). Have a great trip!

  22. Heather says:

    Sadly reading all this and wishing I had known this one week ago when I first moved here to Rome. The learning curve was staggering. But, now at least I have a fully operational Italian cell phone with a 39 prefix.

    Now if anyone out there could tell me how to get rid of the Italian-only text word suggestion problem. It’s a little disheartening and can take the fun right out of your entire day to try to type “and” to an American friend, and keep being forced in the direction of “anche”.

    I feel like screaming Augh like Charlie Brown.

  23. Andrew says:

    Today, I live in the US and work remotely from home with a US company. I am going to attempt to move permanently to Italy, but would like it to seem as though I am still in the US. Thus, I would like to keep my phone and its US number (although, any US number would do) such that when my company calls me they are none the wiser. In turn, I would like to keep my expenses as low as possible, both I calls I make and calls I receive. Can you recommend a calling plan that would work for these purposes?


    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Andrew,

      That sounds like a fun adventure! Unfortunately we can’t recommend a calling plan because it all depends on the individual provider and how many minutes you’d need and a host of other things. Your best bet is to contact different providers and see what they offer! That said, Italian phones typically have much, much lower prices than American plans (like 10-15 euro per month) and there are many different options for minutes abroad as well. We hope your move goes well and that you continue to follow Walks of Italy!

  24. Todd Page says:

    I’m going to Italy for about 3 weeks in June, but arriving first in Zurich. Any idea if I could buy a sim card for an unlocked iPhone when I arrive in Zurich and use it during my time in Italy as well?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Todd,
      You can buy a European SIM card (this article might help you with that) but fees are likely to be much higher crossing from Switzerland in to Italy. Usually, they are considered long distance and you will be charged as such. Probably the best thing to do is either ask in Zurich, where they typically speak English very well, or simply wait until you arrive in Italy.

  25. Kay says:

    Hi, I’ve traveled a lot in Europe, but never brought/bought a phone there. This time I will need to while in Italy for two weeks. I have a Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4. I think it’s unlocked and an Italian SIM card may work. I’m not very savvy on this topic, so I’m hesitant to do something wrong and get slammed with Verizon charges because I’m inadvertently ‘roaming’. I’m looking to mainly use data – Google Maps, etc., and not really the phone for calling very much.

    What do you recommend? I could buy an Italian phone and SIM card, but where do you recommend getting that and what would that generally cost? I’ve seen some online cell phone rental websites here in the States, but they don’t get into how much the SIM/data will cost, just the cost of the actual phone.

    Thanks for your advice!

  26. Kay says:

    Thank you! If you want to purchase a phone in Italy as a tourist to put a sim card in is that feasible/affordable (instead of bringing your U.S. phone)?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Kay,

      Many of the Italian phone carriers (TIM, Wind, Tre, among others) sell inexpensive flip phones or smartphones for around $100. After you have to purchase a SIM card and minutes. Most places have options for tourists. For example, TIM has a specific offer for tourists: it gives you 100 minutes within Italy and abroad and 4GB data that costs 20 euro for 30 days.

  27. Joann says:

    Sorry but I’m a little slow – still confused. My questions are:

    How do I call Uber in Rome from my American phone and American Uber app if my cell phone number is (650) 678-xxxx)

    How do I call a local business in Rome?

    If I want to leave my cell phone number with a merchant in Rome, what do I do?

    Thank you!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Joann,

      Your options to call an Italian number with an American phone (and phone number) are these:
      1. You call and pay exorbitant roaming fees (though some carriers don’t even allow you to make the call).
      2. You unlock your phone and buy an Italian SIM card once in Italy.
      3. You purchase some sort of plan with your American carrier before you leave that allows international calling.

      Italy’s country area code is 039. The United State’s country area code is 001. Hope that helps!

  28. miguel says:

    im traveling to italy one week france one week and uk one week what cell phone carriers can i use from there? i will need data plan if is any unlimited or good data plan im renting cars so i need to use maps and use internet access also need to call usa every day to my business any company who offers cheap international calls ? any tip will be appreciate it thanks

  29. Emma says:

    I am going to be studying abroad in Italy for a year, but I’d like to be able to use the same phone that I’ve used in the U.S. My phone is an IPhone 5s, however I use straighttalk. Would my phone be considered locked, or is because it is a pay-as-you-go plan, it is unlocked? Also I would like to buy an Italian SIM card when I go overseas, but because I am going to be there for so long, is there a way to not have such small increments of data and calling for the phone? Thank you so much

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Emma,

      Your operator can give you clearer information. If you’re phone is unlocked (check before coming) you can get an Italian SIM card from any of the major providers. There are excellent deals for calls, text and data for as little as 10 euro per month. Here you won’t sign any contracts, so you don’t need to worry about cancelling it, when you leave. Just be sure to use up the money you’ve charged on your account (it’s a bit like pay-as-you-go). Have a great time in Italy!

  30. Hannah says:

    Help! I’m in Italy and, to be safe, looked up the local emergency numbers for reference if needed in the future:

    12: Telephone Directory Assistance
    112: Carabinieri (military with police duties)
    113: Emergency Police/Fire/Ambulance
    115: Fire Dept.
    116: A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club) road assistance
    118: Medical Emergency

    I have a US cell phone, so do I dial them as I would any normal Italian number? For example, if I needed the Fire Dept, I think I would dial “+ 39 155.” Is that correct?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Hannah,

      First you’ll want to call your carrier and confirm that your US phone will work in Italy. If not, you’ll want to activate an international service (for example, Verizon doesn’t automatically allow international service, even if you’re willing to pay roaming). Once you do that, we’re honestly not sure if you need to dial the country area code before an emergency number, or if it will simply send anyway, seeing as how it’s an emergency. If you do need the country area code, it is +39 or 039 (the 0 stands in for the +).

      • Hannah Brooks says:

        We have international coverage, so phone usage isn’t an issue. Guess we’ll just try both ways if we ever need to call!

  31. Giovanni Guzzi says:

    Thank you, I will be in Rome, Abruzzo, then traveling to Calabria to visit more family, I know I will need a phone with GPS, and a Translator app from English to Italian, just in case, I will be there for a 1 month holiday in September 2017, seems the easiest for me would be to just buy a prepaid cell phone in Italy ? Thank you 🙂

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Giovanni,

      Actually, we think the easiest would be to travel to Italy with your American cell phone unlocked (your provider can explain more on that) so that you can purchase an Italian SIM card to use data in Italy. A SIM card is a small chip that you insert into your phone in order to use it in Italy. Most prepaid cell phones in Italy aren’t “smartphones”, so they won’t have access to GPS or applications, to get one that does you’d essentially be purchasing a brand new phone. Hope this helps.

  32. Bob Wieczorek says:

    I will be visiting Italy during April and May of 2017. The only cell phone I have is a Samsung SGH-t139 flip phone. My service provider is T-Mobile. I have a Pay-as-you-go plan with them.
    Will I be able to use this phone to make calls from Italy to the U.S.? Will it be expensive to do this? If so, is there a less expensive way to make phone calls (voice only, no text) from Italy to my wife’s cell phone in the U.S.? I would like to communicate with her by phone and not via computer. Can you help? Thanks in advance.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Bob,

      You’ll have to contact T-Mobile to double check if you’ll be able to make international phone calls and what the prices would be, as each carrier has different options. Often, phones without a SIM card cannot make international calls unless it’s set up beforehand.

  33. Mark J says:

    I may have missed this in all the previous replies, so my apologies if this is the case. My wife and I will be taking our iPhone 5S’s to Italy for a 2 1/2 week vacation. Our phones are unlocked, but since our carrier (Consumer Cellular) offers no international plan, we will probably buy Italian SIM cards, mainly to use in areas that have no wi-fi. It’s our understanding it’s best to wait until we get to Italy to buy them. Our concern is my mother-in-law will be house-sitting for us here in the U.S. and she only has a basic cell phone for voice and texting (no Internet), so if we need to communicate back and forth it will be via one of these methods. I have no idea how much this will cost, considering we will have an Italian phone number, which we can’t provide her until we get to Italy. Any information as to the rates for voice calls and texting between Italy and the U.S? Thanks in advance.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Mark,

      Each carrier has different rates, so we can’t tell you what it would cost, but you’ll want to specify when getting your Italian SIM card that you need an international plan to make calls to the U.S., so they can tell you what deals you can expect.

  34. Susan says:

    I’m a bit confused about your instructions to call an Italian phone number in Italy while using a US cell phone set up for international calling.

    I understand you must first dial +39. But then you say you should dial a zero, and the example phone number you give starts with a zero. I am not sure if in the example you give if that is the zero you are supposed to dial or if, in theory, the number started with a zero, you should add another zero in front of that.

    ie, if the Italian number was 123456789 with no zero as the first number (your example used 0123456789 which is confusing), would you dial +39 then 0 and then 123456789?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Susan,

      Sorry for the confusion! A + in phone numbers is the equivalent to a 0 (it dates back to rotary phones that didn’t have plus signs, we believe). So +39 is the equivalent to 039. You can type whichever you prefer and they will both work.

  35. Lora says:

    If I purchase an Italian sim card for my American phone, will my American number still work? For example, will someone from the states be able to call me while I am in Italy without knowing a new number?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lora,

      No, while you have an Italian SIM card your phone will work with the Italian number connected to that SIM card.

  36. Haley says:

    Wondering if it’s a better option to purchase a SIM card upon arrival in Italy, or to purchase an international plan for the two weeks we’re there?

    I will need to use a couple apps and check email.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Haley,

      We find that it’s usually cheaper to purchase a SIM card upon arrival. Just be sure that your phone is “unlocked” before you come so that you can insert the SIM card.

  37. venki says:

    i am going to stay in italy for 2-3 years for my higher studies,if i bring my mobile from india it will be useful or not otherwise any italian SIM will work in my phone or not at the time of purchasing my mobile phone there was a sticker like only indian SIM.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Venki,

      It’s probably best that you use an Italian SIM card. We can’t say if it will work in an Indian phone, but your phone carrier can probably help answer that question.

  38. Vicki Corwin says:

    I just want to verify what I believe to be true. If I am traveling with US companions and we all have US based phones, do we call each other using the whole exchange 1-234-567-8901 and if we have the same exchange do we call using just 567-8901.
    And, having a US based mobile phone do I make every call as if I am standing in the US even if I am in Italy?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Vicki,

      Usually, once you’re outside of the US your phone either 1) won’t work or 2) charge you roaming fees unless you’ve contacted your carrier in the US and signed up for an international plan. In any case, your phone company can tell you more.

  39. roy says:

    I visited italy last June and I tried a new solution.
    I rented MiFi a by a local provider in Rome and for a few euros for day I have got the connection for all my family, 6 devices at the same time without changing sim or configuration.
    About the calls, the 4G+ connection allowed me to use freely VOIP services as WhatsApp or Skype.
    Before departing I looked for many solutions and now i can confirm my right choice.
    I have read upon about Verizon, Tim or others…more o less suggested; I want to thank the WiTourist staff for their grand assistance.

  40. Reed Grady says:

    I am about to go to Italy and will be the ‘focal point’ for other visitors in our group. I have an iPhone 5S and will have an AT&T International Plan. Once they arrive, how do they call me using their US cell phone, and how do I call them. Do I just hit ‘call’ just like I’m in the States and let AT&T find them ?? — Are we paying local charges in addition to our Carrier International Plan ?? Same with text messages.. Thanks..

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Reed,

      We believe with an international plan you can simply call their numbers. You may have to dial the US area code first (001) but your AT&T carrier can answer that for you for sure. They won’t be able to call you, however, unless they have some sort of international plan as well.

  41. If I call a friend in Italy who has a U.S. cell phone with a European Plan, and it most assuredly will be a 001 plus a 10 digit cell number, how much will I be charged per minute to call him if we are in separate cars and I have an unblocked smart phone with an Italian SIM card?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Rino,

      Sorry, you’ll have to contact your phone company to know for sure about individual rates, but it seems to us that if both phones have Italian SIM cards/numbers, that the rates would be local.

  42. Gloria says:

    I am going to Cusago and Rome in 2 weeks for 8 days. On the way back we will be in London for a layover. We will be staying in different locations so being able to text is a must. My thought (never having been outside the US) is what if the hotel or other locations doesnt have WiFi for WhatsApp? Thats what we plan in using. Also what about taking pictures or private messaging someone on facebook? Will that cost? I currently have Metro Pcs but thinking of changing to WalMarts Straight Talk or Sprint. Would really appreciate your help

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Gloria,

      It’s rare that a hotel doesn’t have wifi these days, but it’s true that Italian cities aren’t so well-covered in free wifi like some US cities are, so when you’re out and about it can definitely be more difficult to find. Double check that your hotels offer wifi before you go! Taking pictures doesn’t use data, so you’re fine there, but going “online”, even Facebook messenger, or sending the pictures in any way will require data or wifi.

  43. Constance says:

    How do I shut off my emails while I am in Italy on my IPhone 6S? IT&T is my Carrier.

    With the SIM card, will I be able to use google maps or iPhone maps in Italy and Paris?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Constance,

      With an Italian SIM card you can use all your data, including google maps and emails etc. You won’t receive email without cellular data.

  44. Philip says:

    Hi what about things like business and toll free numbers

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Philip,

      With a regular US phone plan, calling a toll free number from abroad usually isn’t free and sometimes it may not even work. Calls to a toll free number are paid for by the receiver of the call but when calling from another country, you (the caller) might be charged international rates. This is the reason why some simply block receiving international calls and generally advise their international callers to contact them on a regular telephone number.

  45. ralph cadena says:

    Hi, my wife and I have a 10 day trip booked for Rome this coming August. I just purchased a unlocked moto e4. I know i need to purchase a sims card once we get there, but do i need a Italian service provider to activate the sims card and phone, or can i purchase sims card without provider, and if so, do you recommend any one particular sims card and provider?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ralph,

      SIM cards in Italy are from phone companies, so they are always connected with a provider. Once you get to Italy, you can purchase a card from any of the major carriers but the top companies are TIM, Vodafone and Wind-tre and they will help you activate it. For example, right now TIM has this offer for tourists with 200 minutes calling in Italy and abroad, 4G and unlimited chat for 20 euro for 30 days. Hope this helps!

  46. Kingbrion says:

    I bought this for my granddaughter when she got a new I-phone. She said it fits perfectly and she can charge her phone without taking it off. She really likes it.
    Hope this helps,

  47. s says:

    can i call collect to USA without a sim card on my android?
    i can use EMAIL but not phone
    if Yes
    How to do this
    do not want to do sim card

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi S,

      Talk with your US phone provider. Some don’t even allow calls to be made out, in any capacity.

  48. Gordon Sims says:

    In your phone dialing information, you list 00 as the country code for Italy and Canada.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Gordon,

      Italy’s country code is 039 (or +39) but the access code is 00, that allows you to call out. So, if you’re calling Canada or the US you’d dial 00 to call out, then 1 to call to those countries, hence 001 (or +1). Hope that helps!

  49. Sandra Brandel says:

    My son is being stationed in Italy for the next 2-4 years… suggestions? Should he use his current U.S. phone, purchase an Italian phone, or an Italian SIM card? Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Sandra,

      If your son will be in the country for that long he should definitely put his US carrier on standby and get an Italian SIM card. He can still use his actual US phone as long as its unlocked (ask your carrier before coming) but Italian SIMs are much less expensive and even have options for calling overseas! Iliad, a new Italian phone company, offers unlimited calls to the US for 6 euro per month (though prices may change).

  50. Deborah says:

    Hi, thank you for the article. My phone is so old that I’m considering purchasing an Italian pre-loaded cell phone there, as you mention above. Is this still a valid option, and if so, can you recommend where to purchase one? Will the phone be decent enough to use google maps for navigating? For that low price, I can only imagine that it’s a flip phone or something basic. Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Debora,

      Inexpensive cell phones can be found in Italian phone carrier shops, though they are becoming harder and harder to find. You’re right, they’d be something basic, not smartphones, meaning no google maps. We’d suggest coming with your own phone, whatever it may be, with an unlocked SIM card and purchasing an Italian SIM.

  51. Maria says:

    Hi, I am going to Italy for 2 weeks and I am trying to figure out my best option.
    I need my phone to receive calls and texting but I will be using WhatsApp when in Wifi, will need to do some emails, and again I will do them in a wifi location. But I will be driving and I need to use my Waze to find my way around, my question, should I get a SIM card ? and if someone is calling me with my canadian phone number, but now I have an italian SIM card, will I receive those calls or not ?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Maria,

      If you need to use your cellphone data when you don’t have wifi, you will either need an international cell plan or an Italian SIM card. We find that Italian SIM cards tend to be less expensive and tourist ones always have options to call abroad, so you can easily call home. People from Canada won’t be able to call you, however, unless they have that function on their phone/pay the fees but they could call you using Whatsapp and you just use data. Hope this helps!

  52. Judith C Fiebig says:

    I have straight talk via Walmart and pay monthly for all text, phone, and internet I need. I am going to Italy in a few days and I was told by straight talk that there is no international way to use my phone in Italy. My son said something about a sim card to buy a sim card and put it in my phone. I have a Galaxy 6s that is a used phone also from Walmart on line order. What is the best and easiest way you have found?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Judith,

      You have to verify if your phone is factory unlocked. If it is, you can buy a SIM card once in Italy and insert it into your phone to have call, text and internet.

  53. Harrison Crawford says:

    Hi I am currently in Italy right now and we are going to France at the end of the week. We have an American phone with a plan from verizon that allows you to make international calls and use data. The number we are trying to call in France will not work when we call. How di we make that call from Italy? Do we have to dial the +33 for France when we dial before? Thanks

  54. Judy Stoffman says:

    I still don’t understand how getting an Italian SIM card works, though I know many people do it.
    How do my contacts get transferred to the new SIM? How will my friends know my Italian phone number?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Judy,

      Your contacts are saved on your smartphone, so your contacts will still be available even with an Italian SIM card. You will, however, have to pass along your new Italian number to your friends if you want them to contact you! Remember, however, that any calls or texts to your phone from the United States are subject to long-distance fees (or might be blocked depending on the carrier). Better if you call them!

  55. Katerina says:

    we are planning a trip to catania palermo and positano is there a way to add another place for a 10 days trip?

    Can you help out our itenary for best place and food to visit and explore:)