Planning your trip to Italy and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Avoid high roaming charges and get yourself a local prepaid sim card in Italy. This is the ultimate guide for buying a sim card for Italy with where to buy a sim card, the best 4G/5G network in Italy, up to date prices as per March 2023, my recommendation and even information about international and e-sim cards for Italy.
Whenever I get to a new country the first thing I do is buying a local sim card with data to avoid extremely high roaming costs. As I am also aiming to travel to every country in the world I get to a lot of new countries constantly and therefore on Traveltomtom you can find almost 200 prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: Europe, USA, Costa Rica, South Africa, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Canada, Colombia, Thailand, Egypt, Israel, Dubai, New York, Bali and many more.
Therefore when planning your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice. Bookmark this website!
Buying a prepaid sim card in Italy is very easy and also very affordable. All you need to do is locate a store of your preferred provider, hop into their shop, bring your passport and 5 minutes later you walk away with a ton of data on your new local sim card.
Flying into one of the main an international airports in Italy? Click on the links for a detailed guide for buying a sim card at the airports of Milan, Venice or Rome. Are you traveling onwards to other countries in Europe then you might wanna look into the best sim cards for a Europe trip in 2023.
Traveltomtom recommends travelers to get a sim card from TIM or Iliad. Iliad has limited data roaming in Europe and their stores are much harder to locate. TIM offers a prepaid sim card for €20 with 40 GB data, they have a great network in Italy and they provide free EU roaming.
Another great option for staying connected when traveling is a so called world travel sim card with global coverage. Not all are worth it, but there are some amazing sim card deals for traveling in Italy. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2023 and pick the one that suits your trip the best.
If you want to make it very easy for yourself than consider an e-sim card for Italy so you don't even have to swap physical sim cards anymore. More info below or check the link.
E-sim cards for Italy
The most convenient way to stay connected in 2023 is an e-sim card for Italy. In short: you order an e-sim card online, receive a code, you enter this QR code on your mobile and you will get access to a network provider in Italy in just a couple simple steps. The whole process takes just a few minutes and can be done from anywhere in the world. No need to physically swap sim cards or visiting a store.
Check out the following Italy e-sim card deals:
- 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 = $33.5 USD
You can order one of the above e-sim cards for Italy directly through this link or find more info about it.
The above Italy e-sim cards are data-only and only valid in Italy. That means they are not the best sim card for traveling to Europe.
There are international e-sim card deals that are valid in more than 70 countries, including Italy. These e-sim cards also support calls all over Europe and in fact are the best e-sim card deal for Italy I found on the internet:
- 8 GB data + unlimited calls for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited calls for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order one of the above Italy e-sim card deals or find more offers. In my opinion this is the best buy sim card for Italy travel.
Want to order a physical sim card online that is perfect for traveling in Europe and get it shipped to your home address? For $30 you get 12 GB and unlimited calls/sms in Europe. Click here to check out all the Italy sim card deals for tourists and order directly online.
Why buying a sim card in Italy
Everyone is dreaming about that romantic road trip in Italy! The food, the people, the coastline, the rolling hills, the gorgeous landscapes and the cheap Italian wines and data plans on prepaid sim cards. When traveling to Italy you want to share your romantic getaway with the world and buying a sim card for Italy is the best way to avoid high roaming costs and staying connected.
Having data on your phone when when traveling abroad makes life so much easier. I can come up with a ton of reasons, but simply ordering a taxi through an app, finding a restaurant, phone number, rooftop bar, nearby friends, whatever.
Italy sim cards are CHEAP! Why get an expensive overseas roaming bundle that limits your data speed when you can get 3 GB data for €1 with an Italy sim card?
Also keep in mind that surfing the web on public WiFi is through an unsecured network. The use of a VPN is recommended in these cases. Just don't rely on WiFi in Italy!
Where to buy a sim card for Italy
Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card for Italy in the city center at an official retail store of one of the mobile internet providers in Italy and NOT at the international airport on arrival in Italy.
International Airport on arrival
Although the airport is the most convenient place to buy a sim card for Italy, prices for these tourist sim cards are also a tourist trap, especially at Milan Airport and Venice Airport. Prices for Italy tourist sim cards at Rome Airport are much more reasonable.
Every tourist destination in Italy has multiple mobile phone shops, just find them on Google Maps. Go to the store, bring your passport and get yourself a local prepaid sim card for Italy.
Another option is to buy your sim card for Italy online before your trip. This way you arrive prepared and as soon as the plane lands you are online. There are some amazing e-sim card deals for Italy that start from just $5 USD already and you can arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. No more visiting a store. If your phone is not compatible for an e-sim card then you want to look into ordering a physical sim card for Italy online.
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When buying a sim card in Italy you will have to bring a valid photo ID or your passport. The sim card will be registered on your name and passport number. In the store they will take a copy of your passport or you can send them an email with a photo of your passport.
Most important when buying a sim card in Italy is that your phone needs to be unlocked. Foreign sim cards only work in unlocked phones! If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your provider in your home country. This also counts for international and e-sim cards. In general phones from Europe, Asia and Australia are unlocked. Phones from the Americas are mostly locked.
Italy sim cards and EU roaming
Good news is that all the prepaid sim card in Italy allow FREE EU roaming. That means that if you buy a sim card in Rome and travel to Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona onwards you can use your voice, text and data allowance at no extra costs. Basically there are no roaming costs within the EU. However, always check with your provider as most operators in Italy limit the EU data roaming allowance on prepaid sim cards for tourists.
For more info about free EU roaming read my guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Europe on arrival.
Mobile internet operators Italy
There are 4 different mobile internet providers in Italy:
- Windtre (former Wind &3)
Since March 2020 Wind and 3 Italy joined forces and became WINDTRE. Iliad is a fairly new mobile internet operator in Italy. More providers, means more competition, means cheaper prices! Prices for data sim cards in Italy are heaven and tourist sim cards give you a lot of data for little money.
Prices prepaid sim card Italy in 2023
Now let's look at the most important thing for Italy sim cards: the prices of prepaid sim cards plans and data bundles. All the info below info is updated per March 2023. Check out the below prepaid sim card deals for tourists in Italy.
Tim Italy prepaid sim card
Tim Italy offers a tourist prepaid sim card for Italy:
- 50 GB data only valid in Italy + 200 minutes worldwide = €14.99
The above sim card deal is exclusive €10 activation costs. Tim does NOT offer free EU data roaming and their prepaid sim cards are NOT 5G ready, that means the max data speed is just 4G.
This Tim Italy tourist prepaid sim card is valid for 30 days. For more info check the TIM Italy website.
Windtre is a merge of Wind and 3, the mobile internet provider from the UK. Since March 2020 they are operating under the new name: Windtre. They offer the following prepaid sim card deal for tourists in Italy:
- 20 GB data (13.7 GB EU roaming) + 100 minutes in Italy and 100 international minutes for 30 days = €14.99
What it doesn't day in the above offer is that the sim card registration costs €10 extra. The Windtre prepaid sim cards for tourists are 5G ready.
Great offer, that personally would be one of my preferred sim card deal for Italy in 2023. For more info check this WindTre webiste.
Vodafone Italy offers only one prepaid sim card for tourists:
- 30 GB data (15 GB in EU) + Unlimited social media + 600 minutes in all Europe - valid for 30 days = €24.99
This Vodafone prepaid sim card is 5G ready.
For more info check the Vodafone Italy website.
Iliad Italy is a relatively new company (2018) and they do not have that many stores around Italy. Buying an Iliad prepaid sim card cost €9.99 (registration fee) and they offer the following prepaid sim card data deals:
- 100 GB data in Italy (8 GB EU roaming) + unlimited minutes/sms in Europe, USA, Canada and 70 other countries - valid for 1 month = €7.99
- 150 GB data in Italy (10 GB EU roaming) + unlimited minutes/sms in Europe, USA, Canada and 70 other countries - valid for 1 month = €9.99
Be aware that there is an EU data cap outside Italy. Therefore I would not recommend an Iliad prepaid sim card for traveling in Europe. For more info check the Iliad website. Sucks that they limit the data usage in Europe, otherwise it would even be one of the best prepaid sim cards in Europe.
The iliad Giga 150 sim card deal offers 5G, the Giga 100 sim card deal only offers a max data speed of 4G.
Based on all the previous Italy prepaid sim card deals we have seen it is an easy comparison that iliad offers the best prepaid sim card deal in Italy in 2023. However, there is a little catch as iliad users have reported to have been charged consecutive months after their Italy holiday. Therefore when buying a iliad sim card in Italy, always make sure that you buy a prepaid sim card and there are NO recurring payments after one month. The best would be to pay in cash and not leave your credit card details with iliad.
Some things that seem to good to be true, sometimes are, so be careful and double check in the iliad store when buying a sim card for Italy!
Best 4G/5G network in Italy in 2023
Not only the prices and data packages are important for determining the best sim card for Italy. I also had a look at the mobile network. How is the 4G coverage and which mobile internet provider has the best 4G/5G network in Italy?
Is there 5G in Italy?
Yes, there is 5G in Italy however, it is very limited to the big cities. The Italy 5G network is poor compared to other countries in Europe. As you can see in the mobile internet coverage maps for Italy below below updated per March 2023, Vodafone, TIM and Iliad have 5G, but by far the best 5G network in Italy is Windtre.
Tim 4G/5G network coverage
Vodafone 4G/5G network coverage
Windtre 4G/5G network coverage
Iliad 4G/5G network coverage
What we can see from the above 4G/5G network comparison for Italy is that that all operators provide excellent 4G coverage throughout the country. However, the 5G network of some mobile providers is pretty limited, especially for TIM. Most important for tourists is that all Italy tourist destinations have great network coverage! Even when traveling off the beaten path in Italy you will always find a phone signal regardless your network operator.
Planning a trip to Sardinia? Then you want to buy a Vodafone or Windtre Italy sim card as they have much better network coverage in Sardinia then iliad and Tim.
From the above comparison it leaves no doubt that Windtre has the best 4G/5G network in Italy in 2023.
Best sim card for Italy in 2023
The cheapest way to get connected when traveling to Italy is an e-sim card. On top of that an e-sim card is also the easiest way to stay connected as you arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. For already $4.5 USD you get 1 GB data for traveling in Italy. Especially for people that don't need much data on their phone when traveling to Italy this is the best and cheapest option to stay connected in Italy.
There are also e-sim cards with much bigger data plans. These plans are very convenient to buy online, but more expensive than a local prepaid sim card in Italy.
Vodafone, Tim and Windtre all offer only 1 Italy prepaid sim card deal for tourists, which makes their prices for prepaid sim cards more or less set to the same price of €24.99, apart from iliad which is significantly cheaper.
The catch is that an iliad store is harder to find and for example in Rome city center there are only a few, compared to TIM, Vodafone and Windtre which you can find all over the city center. As of March 2023 I have never seen an Iliad kiosk at any international airport in Italy.
iliad is the cheapest prepaid sim card in Italy for tourists in 2023. They offer the best value for money and cover every tourist destination in Italy with a 4G signal. For €9.99 you get 150 GB data on their 5G network including unlimited calling minutes in Italy.
However, as said before Traveltomtom readers have reported that they were charged recurring payments from iliad on their credit card after their Italy holiday. Therefore when buying an iliad sim card in Italy, always make sure it is a prepaid sim card with a one time payment or pay cash.
If Italy is one of the stops on a trip to Europe then Traveltomtom recommends a Vodafone Italy tourist sim card. They offer 30 GB data in Italy + 15 GB free EU roaming for €24.99. However, you can find better Europe sim card deals online, check the link to see my comparison of the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
Order a sim card for Italy online
If you don't want to waste your precious holiday time for Italy standing in line for buying an Italy sim card then order one online. Besides e-sim cards there are also international sim cards for Italy. They will be shipped to your home address, you put them in your phone in the plane and when you land they automatically connect and you are online.
Check out the following travel sim card deals for Italy:
1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90
- 8 GB data in all of Europe
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- 30 minutes worldwide
- 200 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
2. O2 Go Card - $24.90
- 10 GB data in all of Europe
- $2 calling credit in Europe
- Valid for 30 days
3. Three Data Pack 12 GB - $29.90
- 12 GB data in all of Eurooe
- Unlimited calls/sms within Europe
- Valid 30 days
4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90
- 20 GB data
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
Click here to order one of the above Italy sim card deals directly online or find more info.
The above pre-activated international sim cards will be send to your home address and work like plug and play.
Also another reminder that there are amazing e-sim card deals for Italy available online. For example an e-sim card with 10 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD or an international e-sim card with 15 GB data for $29.90 USD including unlimited calls in Europe.
I hope the above tips for staying connected in Italy, tips for e-sim cards for Italy and buying a prepaid sim card in Italy are useful for your upcoming trip. May you have any questions please leave me a comment below, Im more than happy to assist you with any travel tips for Italy.
Also for some Italy travel inspiration or to check out my road to visit every country in the world I can recommend you to take a quick look at my Instagram account @traveltomtom. As of March 2023 I have been to more than 150 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Italy!