telephones are available all over Italy. Some of them still require
coins, but most of them now use phone cards, which can be purchased
at any tobacco shop or newsstand. It is often advised that you purchase
your phone cards at either the airport or train station as soon as
you arrive in Italy.
To buy a phone card
you should ask for a "carta telefonica" or "una
sceda (pronounced SKEda) telefonica". The cards cost 1,2.5,
5, 8 or 10 euros. Make sure you snap off the perforated corner of
the card otherwise it will not work. Insert the card into the slot
on the telephone and then dial your number, including the area code
(even for local calls you must use the area code). All area codes
start with a ‘0' except those for mobile phones, which
never have a ‘0' and usually start with a ‘3'.
It is possible to make international calls using these cards. Local
calls cost approximately 0.40 euros for five minutes, or per unit.
It is quite likely that the telephone number published
in your guide book or phone book will have changed as Italian telephone
numbers seem to change with the seasons! If that is the case you
will either get a message telling you the number has changed or
it won't work at all. Dial 170 for English directory assistance.
Dial 113 for emergencies. In theory an English
speaking person should be available when you ring this number, which
incidentally is for emergencies only, not information.