Are you wondering how to get wifi in Italy? Here we share our favourite strategies with you, including our very own special trick to get cheap unlimited connection (pretty much) anywhere in the world!
Picture this. You’re planning to travel to Italy – for a quick jaunt to Florence or Milan, or for a longer trip around the country by train. Maybe you’re planning to travel by train all over Europe, covering different countries. Or perhaps you’re a digital nomad, wanting to spend some time in one of Italy’s quaint towns and villages. By the way, have you ever heard of Vico del Gargano?
Whatever your plan is, I’m sure you’ll be wondering how to get wifi in Italy. To be honest, how to get wifi in [enter destination] is one of the first things I Google once I decide to go somewhere. Blame it on being a blogger, a digital nomad, and (almost) a millennial – I can go a few days without connection, but any longer than that drives me insane.
Since I spent so much time looking at how to get connection in other countries, I thought I should help those who travel to my country. So, I’ve decided to put together this simple guide on how to stay connected in Italy, covering the most common ‘strategies’ – including using a portable wifi in Europe, our favourite trick to get reliable, unlimited and affordable wifi connection!
5 Ways to Get Wifi in Italy
1) Wifi in Your Hotel/Hostel/Apartment
Sure, you can always use free wifi at your accommodation. Most hotels, hostels and apartment rentals in Italy will include free wifi – at least in major cities.
But. There is a but. First of all, having wifi in your hotel doesn’t help when you’re out! Unless you plan exactly where to go before you leave for the day and get all info saved up on your phone, or use paper maps and guidebooks (does anyone still do that?), relying on hotel wifi is not enough.
On top of that, Internet speed in Italy is amongst the slowest in Europe, with an average speed of 8.5Mbit/s in download and 2.0Mbit/s in upload. Less than 1% of the population has access to fibre optic connection, and more often than not in hotels, one modem is shared among all guests.
Do you know what that means? SLOW. Yes, that’s right. Hotel wifi is good to check WhatsApp, update Insta and not much else. If you need to stream, download attachments, do live videos, or Skype calls… Forget it.
2) Wifi in Restaurants/Cafés
Hipsters and proper millennials will hate me for this. Italy doesn’t really have many ‘grammable cafés where you can spend a day tapping away on your Mac. There are some in Milan and in the other major cities, but generally speaking coffee in Italy is a grab and go kind of business. As a result, you can’t really rely on cafés to get wifi in Italy – especially if you’re planning to spend most of your time away from cities.
Same goes for restaurants. Some restaurants will have wifi, but not all, and definitely not in the countryside and in villages. Besides, if you were to rely on cafés and restaurants to get your Internet fix, it would probably end up costing you a lot (both in terms of time and money)! So, let’s move on and examine other alternatives.
3) Wifi in Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are on the rise in Italy – but once again, they are few and far between outside of the main cities. The upside is that coworking spaces usually have excellent wifi connection, but they are usually quite pricey – usually between €25 and €35 a day. So they could be an alternative for digital nomads, but not really for travellers.
4) Free City Wifi
Many cities in Italy also offer free wifi connection sponsored by the local municipality in various ‘hotspot’ locations around town. For example, Milan offers a free public wifi network named ‘Open Wifi Milano’ – you need to register, then you can enjoy free connection in over 1000 locations around town.
Sounds great, right? Are you thinking you may well stop reading now? Well, free city wifi sounds very good in theory – but it rarely works. Sometimes it’s hard to register, hard to connect, and once you are connected you’ll find yourself browsing at 1996-like speed.
5) Get Your Own SIM Card
Naturally, the easiest thing to do to stay connected in Italy would be getting your own SIM card and use your phone as a hotspot.
Easiest, you say? Enter Italian bureaucracy. Getting an Italian SIM is no walk in the park! First of all, you need to get to an official phone company retailer – newsagents and tobacconists won’t do. Luckily, there are many phone retailers at airports and stations, as well as on the high street of major cities.
You’ll also need to have identification with you, and you’ll be asked to enter your ‘codice fiscale’. This is basically the Italian version of a national insurance or social security number, and it’s determined by an algorithm. Phone store sellers should be able to help you with that, provided they speak English. They should also be able to help you select a data plan that suits your needs – IF they speak English.
TIM and Vodafone are the two most reliable phone operators, and they both offer pretty good deals to visitors – TIM for Visitors, including 4GB for €30, and Vodafone Holiday, including 2GB for €30.
To sum up, getting a SIM card in Italy is definitely convenient, but it can also be a pain, especially if you’re not in one of the main cities. We recommend getting an Italian SIM card if you’re planning to spend a good amount of time in Italy (say three weeks or so). Otherwise, read on!
5) Pocket Wifi in Italy
Meet Teppy, our favourite gadget EVER! It’s a portable wifi that gives you unlimited 4G connection anywhere you go. It works in over 100 countries worldwide, including all European countries, using local mobile networks and roaming on the best available one.
For instance, mobile connectivity in remote parts of Italy can be unreliable – in some places, TIM is better, whereas others are Vodafone hotspots. With Teppy, you get the best of both worlds!
You can rent Teppy and get unlimited data anywhere you like for only €7.95 a day – or you can purchase the device and get data for €7 per day.
Remember, the buzzword here is UNLIMITED – you can Skype, upload a whole bunch of files to your Dropbox and the latest season of Orange is the New Black, and Facebook Live all of the above if you so wish. One Teppy works with 5 devices, so you can also split the rental fee with others in your group.
We used Teppy during our month-long road trip around South Africa, and got decent connection even in the remotest places. We also use it regularly when we are in Italy in between trips, and it never lets us down. If you’re planning to head elsewhere in Europe, Teppy is a great deal, especially in locations like Germany that have notoriously expensive phone service.
Really, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Besides, doesn’t it look cool?
In collaboration with TEP Wireless – however, all opinions remain our own. WE LOVE TEPPY and will recommend it to anyone!
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