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Public Telephones

Public 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.

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