National and international phone numbers can be requested at 1254 (or online at www.1254.it).
- Italian telephone area codes all begin with 0 and consist of up to four digits. The area code is followed by anything from four to eight digits. Area codes are an integral part of all Italian phone numbers and must be dialled even when calling locally.
- Mobile-phone numbers begin with a three-digit prefix starting with a 3.
- Toll-free (free-phone) numbers are known as numeri verdi and usually start with 800.
- Nongeographical numbers start with 840, 841, 848, 892, 899, 163, 166 or 199.
- Some six-digit national rate numbers are also in use (such as those for Alitalia and Trenitalia).
- To call Italy from abroad, call your international access number, then Italy's country code (39) and then the area code of the location you want, including the leading 0.
- Avoid making international calls from a hotel, as rates are high.
- The cheapest options are free or low-cost apps such as Skype and Viber, connecting by using the wi-fi at your accommodation or at a cafe or other venue offering free wi-fi.
- Another cheap option is to use an international calling card. Note, however, that there are very few public payphones left, so consider a pre-paid card that allows you to call from any phone. Cards are available at newsstands and tobacconists.
- To call abroad from Italy dial 00, then the country and area codes, followed by the telephone number.
- To make a reverse-charge (collect) international call from a public telephone, dial 170. All phone operators speak English.
Local SIM cards can be used in European, Australian and some unlocked US phones. Other phones must be set to roaming.
- Italian mobile phones operate on the GSM 900/1800 network, which is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia but not always with the North American GSM or CDMA systems – check with your service provider.
- The cheapest way of using your mobile is to buy a prepaid (prepagato) Italian SIM card. TIM (www.tim.it), Wind (www.wind.it), Vodafone (www.vodafone.it) and Tre (www.tre.it) all offer SIM cards and have retail outlets in most Italian cities and towns. All SIM cards must be registered in Italy, so make sure you have a passport or ID card with you when you buy one.
- You can easily top up your Italian SIM with a recharge card (ricarica), available from most tobacconists, some bars, supermarkets and banks.
Payphones & Phonecards
Although public payphones still exist across Italy, their numbers continue to decrease. Those that are still working take telephone cards (schede telefoniche), which are available from tobacconists and newsstands.