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Mobile Phones

Italy uses GSM 900/1800 (not compatible with North American GSM 1900). Currently about 50% of new US cell phones on the market function internationally, including in Italy, so check with your carrier to make sure yours is one of those that does. However, we recommend this option if you plan to use the phone only for emergencies. You will be roaming at approximately 1 dollar per minute (plus tax), and you will be paying for both outgoing and incoming calls.
A better option is to purchase an Italian SIM card for your cell phone. That way, you will pay at the Italian cell phone rates which are fractions of roaming rates, and all incoming calls are free from anywhere in the world. This option will only work if your phone has 900 or 1800 MHz. bands that are used in Italy. You must also make sure that your phone is unlocked, meaning that it will accept SIM cards other than those from just the U.S. carriers. While most carriers in the U.S. will unlock your cell phone, conditions vary from carrier to carrier as well as from handset to handset (see I-phone).
Besides not being charged for incoming calls, calls made within Italy are considered local. Italian SIM cards are available at any cell phone store in Italy. Prepaid cards can be purchased at newsstands, tobacconists, mobile phone stores.

TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), Vodafone and Wind are the major mobile phone companies. Mobile phone numbers start with a three-digit prefix, such as 338, 335 and others.

Telecom Italia Mobile web site:
Vodafone web site:

Phone Codes

In Italy the area code (i.e. 02 for Milan, 06 for Rome) is part of the phone number and must always be dialed. To call from abroad, dial the country code 39 + the telephone number (including the 0). To call the U.S. from Italy dial 001, the area code and telephone number.

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