Would it be better to exchange your dollars for euro's in the US or when you get to Italy at the airport?
You'll get the best rate using an ATM at the airport that is affiliated with a bank. Bank ATMs in Europe have no fees so the only ones you'll pay are those charged by your home bank. Private ATMs have fees. Read this helpful article by Rick Steves.
Never change actual money. Put all of your money into a debit account and use an ATM while in Italy. This is where you'll get the best rate. You'll get horrible rates if you change money. Be sure to tell your bank when and where you're traveling to so they don't put a fraud hold on your card. You can also have them raise the daily limit that you can take out. Donna
Your question gets asked at least once a week. Use the "Search" feature in the upper right hand corner and also check out "Graffiti Wall > Money/Communication
> ATMs: Minimizing Fees" for a summary of some of the thoughts of the folks here. There seems to be a real divide between some who choose to buy local European currency here in the US (and pay the high price)and those who almost always wait until they land in Europe to get local currency from an ATM machine using a debit card. I went to Italy this year for the month of September and waited until I arrived at the Venice airport to get Euros. No problem - never had one.