Are you planning to travel to Italy and looking for an e-sim card for your trip to stay connected and not waste money on high roaming charges? This is a complete guide for finding the best e-sim card for traveling to Italy in 2024.

In this guide you can find a comparison of the best e-sim cards for Italy with up to date prices as per January 2024, specifications per Italy e-sim card, my recommendation and everything you need to know about using e-sim cards for traveling in Italy.

Also find out where and when to order an e-sim card, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Italy on the internet.

Ever since 2012 I am a full time nomadic travel blogger traveling the world continuously. I constantly get to different countries and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card. In 2022 I visited 62 countries and in 2023 I traveled to 34 countries so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used in the last two years.

In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards for staying connected when traveling abroad. 

Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides for every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.

Of course I also wrote a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Italy in 2024 including a comparison of the prepaid sim cards you can buy on arrival in Italy.

Traveltomtom also wrote specific guides for buying e-sim cards in: USA, CanadaThailand, Germany, Spain, Greece, France, Portugal, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, SingaporeAustralia, Europe, Asiainternational travel e-sims and many more. 

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination.

Let me first give you my e-sim card recommendation and a comparison of all the e-sim card plans for Italy with up to date prices as per January 2024. Then I will explain you how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G network, some FAQ about e-sim cards, the difference between e-sim cards and local prepaid sim cards and everything else you need to know.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom rates the following e-sim cards as the best e-sim cards for traveling to Italy in 2024:

1. My European eSIM from Bouygues Telecom - $44.90 USD

bouygues telecom esim card for italy 2024

  • 30 GB data in all of Europe
  • Unlimited calling/texting in all of Europe
  • 4G/LTE
  • Valid for 30 days
  • $1.5 USD per Gigabyte

You can order this Bouygues Telecom e-sim card via SimOptions.

2. Nomad 20 GB data-only - $33 USD

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in Italy only
  • 5G ready
  • Valid for 30 days
  • $1.65 USD per Gigabyte

3. Airalo 20 GB data-only - $33 USD

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in Italy only
  • 4G/LTE
  • Valid for 30 days
  • $1.65 USD per Gigabyte

The Nomad and Airalo e-sim cards for Italy are data-only and do not support calls and sms and does not come with a phone number.

My first preference for an Italy e-sim card would be the Bouygues Telecom e-sim card. This e-sim card comes with unlimited calls in Europe and free EU data roaming.

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Italy or in general before using an e-sim card.

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country. 

In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.

If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.

E-sim compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: a-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly. 

If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Italy.

However, you can still order a sim card for Italy on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a sim card for Italy in 2024 or find out everything about international prepaid sim cards for traveling abroad and how to order them.

Comparison of the best Italy e-sim cards

There are multiple website on the internet that sell e-sim cards for Italy. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Italy from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators.

These are the 3 big e-sim card providers and they sell great Italy e-sim card plans:

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.

SimOptions also offers international prepaid sim cards for Italy. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Italy and it is plug and play when you arrive in Italy. 

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Italy.

SimOptions

SimOptions is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using SimOptions for ordering your Italy e-sim card.

simoptions esim card plans for italy 2024

Here are the SimOptions data-only e-sim card plans for Italy for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.90 USD
  • 3 GB data for 15 days = $9.90 USD

Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for Italy.

These data-only e-sim cards are provided by SimOptions. Unfortunately they don’t specify which mobile network operator in Italy they use, neither is there information if these e-sim cards are 5G ready. Trust me, when they would be 5G ready they would mention it, so these the max data speed on these Italy e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE. 

The SimOptions e-sim cards for Italy do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer any incoming/outgoing calls or sms. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Italy.

SimOptions also offers international e-sim cards for traveling to Italy.

simoptions international esim cards for italy 2024

  • 15 GB data + unlimited calls in Europe for 15 days = $21.90 USD
  • 10 GB data (5G ready) + $2 calling credit for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 12 GB data + 30 minutes international calls + unlimited calls in Europe for 14 days = $29.90 USD
  • 30 GB data + unlimited calls in Europe for 30 days = $44.90 USD
  • 30 GB data + 120 minutes international calls + unlimited calls in Europe for 14 days = $49.90 USD
  • 50 GB data (5G ready) + 120 minutes international calls + unlimited calls in Europe for 28 days = $59.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for Italy via SimOptions.

These e-sim cards are valid all over Europe and include free EU-roaming and some are even 5G ready!

The best thing about these e-sim cards for Italy is that they also include calling and texting. Some support 5G, others only 4G/LTE. These international e-sim cards for Italy are also valid for 1 year, but the the credit validity starts only when the e-sim card connects the first time to a supported network. So you can instal the e-sim card even when you are not in Europe yet. For more info check the SimOptions website.

Traveltomtom also wrote a complete guide for the best prepaid and e-sim cards for traveling to Europe in 2024 with more info about EU roaming and where to order a sim card for traveling in Europe.

Airalo

Airalo is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your e-sim card for Italy through Airalo is done fast and easy. Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.

Why using Airalo? I found out that Airalo has sometimes cheaper e-sim card deals compared to SimOptions. 

Especially if you only use a little bit of data while traveling and need just 1 or 2 GB data to stay in touch through WhatsApp, check your email sometimes and get directions from Google Maps, Airalo is a great e-sim card for traveling in Italy.

airalo esim card plans for italy 2024

Here are Italy e-sim card plans for 2024 from Airalo:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Italy from Airalo.

Definitely check out Airalo as they often have ongoing promotions and recently offered 50% off their Italy e-sim card plans.

The above Mamma Mia e-sim cards for Italy operate on the Wind Tre, TIM and Vodafone 4G/LTE network in Italy. Unfortunately the Airalo e-sim cards for Italy are not 5G ready.

The Mamma Mia e-sims are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

Nomad

nomad esim card plans for italy 2024

Another trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad and they sometimes have amazing e-sim card deals. Traveltomtom has used Nomad e-sims in more than 10 countries around the world.

When looking for the best e-sim card plans for Italy Traveltomtom found out that Nomad has very competitive e-sim card plans. Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Italy in 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 30 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $8 USD
  • 5 GB data for 15 days = $14 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Italy from Nomad.

The Nomad e-sim cards for Italy are either from TIM, Wind or Iliad. The TIM and Wind plans are only 4G/LTE, but the Iliad e-sim cards are 5G ready.

The Nomad Italy e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Italy. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.

Why did Traveltomtom already used more than 100s of e-sim cards? Since I travel full time and I am on the road constantly I use about 30 - 40 different sim cards per year.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still more than 40 to go! 

What is the cheapest e-sim card for Italy?

cheapest esim card for italy 2024

The cheapest e-sim card for Italy is an Airalo e-sim card plan with 1 GB data for 7 days for just $4.5 USD.

If you just want to keep in touch through WhatsApp, get directions from Google Maps and don't use high data volume consuming apps like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Facebook much 1 GB data could last for a week.

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Italy

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Italy in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes.

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Italy without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app (Uber is Grab in Italy), finding nearby friends, restaurants, bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply stay in touch with family back home, check out social media apps on long bus rides or check your banking apps when paying contactless.

One of the best things about arriving in Italy with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands and you connect to a network. More about when to instal your e-sim card later.

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Italy, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Italy so much more convenient and fun!

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $2 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 25 MB * $2 USD = $50 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.

E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges.

International Data Roaming plans

So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed, but there is 4G/LTE and even 5G in Italy everywhere!

Uncountable times (mostly American) travel friends asked me: “can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or if your phone is not e-sim compatible check out my article about everything you need to know about buying an international prepaid sim card for traveling abroad in 2024.

Where to buy an e-sim card for Italy? 

Online

You can only buy an e-sim card for Italy on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Italy. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones are the best e-sim card providers for traveling to Italy in 2024. 

On arrival in Italy

When you arrive in Italy and you want to buy an e-sim card for tourists then you will have to go to an official retail store of an internet provider. How to locate the nearest one to you hotel? Use Google Maps. Not all providers in Italy offer e-sim cards for tourists. Most tourist sim card plans are only available as a physical sim card, some stores/operators provide e-sim cards for tourists.

For the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Italy in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Italy, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network. 

How to activate an e-sim card

Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email.

When you order an e-sim card plan for Italy you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed. 

You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Italy e-sim card.

But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your Italy e-sim card.

Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed. Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur.

Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.

When to oder an e-sim card for your trip to Italy?

You can order an e-sim card for Italy pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.

More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.

Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Italy. Or if you want to maximise your validity then activate your Italy e-sim card on arrival after you connect to the free WiFi of the airport on arrival in Italy. All international airports in Italy have free public WiFi.

Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Italy

Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Italy e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.

If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Italy. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone.

If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a pocket WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Italy or bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Italy and use it as a portable WiFi device. 

Which smartphones support e-sim cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest mobile phones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones support e-sim cards. 

The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!

Can I trust these e-sim card providers?

All the e-sim card providers for Italy recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Italy.

Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund.

Traveltomtom does NOT sell Italy e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to Italy.

Can I keep my phone number from home with an e-sim card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Italy. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.

So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!

For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Italy e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs. 

If your Italy e-sim card also allows you to make phone calls and you want to make a local call in Italy, you simply switch between the sim cards and make a local phone call with your Italy e-sim card.

Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings.

Can I make phone calls with an Italy e-sim card?

This depends on the type of e-sim card that you order. Only the international e-sim cards for Italy from SimOptions offer calling and texting. All the Italy e-sim cards from Nomad and Airalo are data-only.

If you are looking for sim cards for traveling in Europe then check out my list of the best prepaid and e-sim cards for Europe in 2024.

Does an Italy e-sim card come with a phone number?

This also depends on the type of e-sim card that you buy. E-sims that support calls and sms they come with a phone number. All the Airalo and Nomad e-sim cards for Italy are data-only and do not come with a phone number. The international e-sim cards from SimOptions all come with a phone number. That means these international e-sim cards support incoming and outgoing calls/sms.

In the above Italy e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.

Can I use 5G on an Italy e-sim card?

Yes, some of the Italy e-sim cards are 5G ready, but only some of the international e-sim cards sold by SimOptions. On all other Italy e-sim cards the max data speed is 4G/LTE.

In fact SimOptions offers an amazing e-sim card deal for Italy that supports 5G.

orange 5g esim card for italy 2024

Orange Holiday Europe with 50 GB data for 28 days and unlimited calling and texting for $59.90 USD.

This e-sim card is valid in all of Europe and therefore also rated as one of the best sim cards for traveling to Europe.

Are there e-sim cards for Italy with unlimited data?

None of the by Traveltomtom recommended Italy e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.

Even if you would come across e-sim card providers that offer e-sim cards for Italy with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed. Mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes.

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP).

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Italy e-sim cards with unlimited data plans. There are always restrictions. And on Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. When I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal. 

Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media apps were not even loading!

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for Italy with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card. But ask yourself what is then the point of having an e-sim card with 'unlimited' data!

There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close look at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Italy in 2024 before choosing your favorite. 

Best way to stay connected when traveling to Italy

E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Italy, but are they also the best way to stay connected when traveling to Italy?

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Italy:

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • E-sim cards

Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards for you to make understand what is your preferred way to stay connected.

Local prepaid sim cards

If you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards are probably a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. Local prepaid sim cards in Italy offer bigger data plans than e-sim cards for Italy. However, local prepaid sim cards can only be purchased on arrival in Italy.

If this sounds like something you want then be prepared to find a sim card store on arrival because buying a sim card for Italy on an international airport is very overpriced or often not even possible.

On Traveltomtom you can also find sim card guides for: Milan Malpensa Airport, Venice Airport and Rome Airport. Unfortunately at none of these airports they offer e-sim cards, only physical sim cards.

More info about the best Italy sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a tourist sim card for Italy in 2024.

The advantage of local prepaid sim cards is that you buy them directly from the mobile internet provider. You get the cheapest prices, unlimited local calls & sms included, the biggest data packages and the fastest data speed. Local prepaid sim cards for tourists in Italy all offer 5G data speed.

International prepaid sim cards

international prepaid sim card for italy

If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you need to buy a physical sim card for Italy. There are multiple international prepaid sim cards that you can buy on the internet before your trip to Italy.

A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play!

Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Italy directly online.

The advantage of an international prepaid sim card is that it often includes calling and texting. E-sim cards are mostly data-only sim cards. 

E-sim cards

There are two different e-sim cards:

  • E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • E-sim cards that you buy in Italy in a mobile internet provider store

The big difference is that e-sim cards provided by the local internet operators in Italy: Iliad, Vodafone, Wind Tre and TIM can only be purchased at one of their phone stores around Italy. 

As said before, as per January 2024, not all mobile internet providers offer e-sim cards for tourists. Mostly only physical prepaid sim cards are available. It is a hit or miss per provider per store. I have been in Vodafone stores in Rome where they said no e-sims for tourists and a Vodafone store in Milan that said yes they offer e-sim cards for tourists.

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim card for Italy on the internet is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Italy, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple click. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Italy. You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop. As soon as the plane lands, you are online.

But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists? When we compare Italy e-sim card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Italy Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that in fact e-sim cards for Italy are better value for money.

On Italy e-sim cards you get more data for the same price. However, if you want a sim card for traveling in Italy with unlimited data or you want a sim card that includes calling and texting in Italy then buying a local prepaid sim card in Italy is a better deal.

After a long flight you just want to go to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected. And you also want to avoid the crazy tourist prices for sim cards at airports in Italy.

Therefore a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for Italy. Faster, easier and less stress!

Data speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth. 

This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.

Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid sim card.

I am sure some of the above tips for finding an e-sim card for your trip to Italy were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison of the best e-sim cards for Italy it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card right away.

If you still have any questions then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media and I am more than happy to help you out.

Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

Enjoy your trip to Italy!

Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for Italy are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!