How to call Italy from the U.S., how to make a phone call in Italy, and how to call from Italy to another country
How we treat phone numbers on this site
Since I’ve no idea where you’ll be when you call a given number, I try to present all telephone numbers in international dialing format: +[country code]-[old city code]-[number].
That means tel. +39-06-555-5555 will get you whomever answers the phone at 555-5555 in Rome (old city code 06) Italy (country code 39).
How to make a phone call to, from, or within Italy
How many of those numbers mentioned above you have to dial to get through depends on where you are in relation to where you’re trying to call:
- When calling within Italy (say calling Rome from anywhere else in Italy, whether from Florence, Venice, or even from another number within Rome itself), leave off the 39. Then dial the entire number, including the initial zero (there are no “city codes” anymore; see below).
- When calling Italy from outside the country (for instance, to call Italy from the U.S., the U.K. or Australia), start with your country’s international dialing prefix (US/CAN: 011, UK/IRE: 00, AUS 0011, NZ: 00), then dial the entire number as shown (including the initial 39).
- If you’re in Italy and trying to call home, you need first to dial the Italian international prefix (00), then your country code (US/CAN: 1, UK: 44, AUS: 61, NZ: 64), then the area code and local number. Note: this will be expensive. I advice going to an Internet cafe and using email (bonus: many Cybercafes now have Skype on some computers for just such situations) or using your own laptop or handheld and Skype.
I suggest using a service like Skype to call Italy (or anywhere in the world) from your computer for just 2.4¢ per minute. (That’s the cost to dial a land line anywhere; calls to other Skype users are free.
In fact, I use Skype and my laptop to make free video calls back home from WiFi hotspots around the world, which has been a lifesaver, especially now that I have a young son; now we can see and talk to each other almost every day, even when Daddy is over in Italy working.) » more
Yes, for decades there was a weird rule about dropping the initial zero on the city code when calling from abroad, and dropping the city code when dialing from within that city, but all that changed in Italy years ago.
Technically, there are no longer any “city codes” in Italy (even if all numbers in say, Rome, do still start—at least for now—with what used to be the separate city code of 06).
Now you dial all the numbers, initial zero included, no matter where you are (though if you’re already in Italy, you do drop the 39 country code). Think of it as just like the “plus-ten” dialing revolution in many U.S. metropolitan areas, where you now have to dial the area code even if you live within that area code.
Italian land line numbers all start with a “0” (06 for Rome, 055 for Florence, 02 for Milan, 041 for Venice, etc.).
If you see a number that starts with a 338, 339, 439, or any other trio of non-zero numbers, that’s an Italian cell phone number.
Be careful: your long distance provider may charge different (i.e. much, much higher) rates for calling a cell phone abroad.
Toll-free numbers in Italy now start with an “800.” The good news is that these calls are free within Italy. The bad news is that there’s no way to call these 800-numbers from outside Italy.
- Using the phones in Italy (including calling cards)
- Using cellphones in Italy
- Using Skype
- Finding cybercafes in Italy
- Finding WiFi in Italy
- All the ways to keep in touch on the road (phone, mail, email, cellphone)
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