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Internet access

Are there any places in Rome with free Internet access?

Posted by
20732 posts

McDonalds is often recommended. May require a small purchase. Starbucks is nearly universal with free internet. And many hotels, especially, the small ones have free access although sometimes a code is required for access.

Posted by
7737 posts

FWIW, there are no Starbucks in Italy. It's a point of pride with most Italians. :-)

Posted by
10 posts

Looks then as if it's McDonalds or maybe our hotel......Hmmmm. (I am really glad, though, that Italy has no Starbucks!)

Posted by
20732 posts

Michael is probably correct as I don't remember seeing Starbucks in Italy a couple of years ago. We are just back from a Christmas market tour of France, German, and Czech Republic, and, of course, there was a Starbucks on every corner which what I was thinking when I posted that comment earlier. Starbucks is also the place to find locals. They love it.

Posted by
4512 posts

No where is it "free" that I know of. Hotels may include it free with a room. McDonalds may offer it but you cannot just grab a table and sit - you have to purchase something.

Posted by
31076 posts

Judi, Using Wi-Fi at your Hotel will probably be the most realistic method for internet access. Net Cafés are becoming less common, so it's not likely you'll find much access except in McDonald's (as someone else mentioned, you'll have to buy something - that's often true for bathroom access as well).

Posted by
23983 posts

This is a tangent, and I am aware that this is the Boot board, but mebbe you're interested? I have recently converted to St**bucks coffee for one of my cups in the morning. I've always thought they were overpriced and poncy. I shudder every time I have to refer to the smallest cup as "tall". Their pseudo speak name for the large of attempting to convince us that "Venti" fits with the size of a too-large cup grates. Nevertheless they have pretty tasty coffee and they have a shop over my office. I do walk past 4 other coffee sellers (4 more just around the corner) to get up to them. Why? Mostly a good advertising campaign, I guess. They spent enough money on daily ads in the free newspaper everybody reads on the train in the mornings going to work and they finally got me. They also have a prepaid loyalty card, and Brits love loyalty cards, so I can get a grande filter coffee to take away for £1.20. I've gone down-market to filter, away from cappuccinos because my Rewards filter is a third of the price. And best of all, its easier to get skim milk than all the other places, and I also get free (included) sugar-free hazelnut syrup thown in - actually that may be the straw that broke the camel's back and got me into the place.... Oh, and you think the British drink tea? Think again... fwiw

Posted by
7737 posts

Doug, that ABC story is from April 30 of an unspecified year. Don't hold your breath on Starbucks appearing in Italy. As for Starbucks, the smallest coffee is actually a Short, at least here in the States. They just don't display it among the listed sizes because they want people to order at least a Tall. And Venti is the for 20 ounce size. Hence "venti" - Italian for 20. Businesses have been doing this renaming thing for years. It reminds me of my very first job in the 70s. The owner had us stop calling the drink sizes small and large but instead call them regular and King-size. :-)

Posted by
6 posts

I was there last spring and it seemed to me that every hotel has a large fee, 15 Eu/day for wifi access. Really could not find an internet cafe, I did walk through a McD's and never noticed any wifi!
Seems like a business opportunity!

Posted by
782 posts

Their coffee tastes so burnt they ought to change their name to Charbucks.

Posted by
31076 posts

chooch, What type of Hotels were you staying in??? A charge of €15 seems a bit "steep"! In my experience, I've found that ironically the larger and more expensive Hotels charge a fee for Wi-Fi, while many of the smaller Hotels offer this with the cost of the room. This was certainly the case with the Hotel I used on my trip last year, as free Internet was provided.

Posted by
83 posts

I've wondered about libraries in Italy. I love to visit libraries ANYWHERE during travels, and during a very brief visit to Amsterdam (less than four hours) found a fabulous library there, which also allowed me to log on immediately and send a message home. We're used to internet access and computer availability in the US; does anyone know about Italy? I haven't done extensive searching yet for the towns we'll be in (Rome, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terre, Genoa, Venice, and Bologna) - anyone know about the public library system?

Posted by
7749 posts

Of the 8 places we stayed in Italy last September the only place without free wifi was in the Cinque Terre. Starbucks now has a new size...trenta. It's bigger than the venti!

Posted by
7737 posts

The trenta is only for iced drinks, so it's not like you're getting 30 ounces of coffee. :-)

Posted by
782 posts

Bear in mind as well that if you use the internet cafes you must present a valid ID (usually a passport) - which they will photocopy - in order to get access. It's Italian law. @ Ken - I travel quite on my job and I originally wondered the same thing (why the big hotels charge for internet access while the small ones don't) and it eventually dawned on me: the bigger hotels get a larger share of business travelers from big companies and they are able to write off the expense on their travel claims so it's a way for the hotels to make more money. Pretty shrewd actually.

Posted by
31076 posts

Rik, Good point! It always seemed a bit odd that the larger Hotels would charge for something that is provided free by smaller Hotels. I'm sure they're making a nice profit from business travellers that have the advantage of an expense account!

Posted by
31076 posts

One more article on the possibility of Starbucks appearing in Italy...... Have a look at This article from October 2010. It could happen.....

Posted by
782 posts

Starbucks would definitely be successful here if they opened in the big touristy areas like Rome, Florence or Venice.

Posted by
1898 posts

A good friend of ours is a Deputy of Commerce at the Embassy. Although he speaks little of his job, it is apparent how dificlut it is for foreign companies to "break into" Italy. Despite his, and others' efforts, there are many roadblocks to "outsiders." Throw in the Italian Union issues - which my wife dealt with firsthand in her profession as a teacher - and the difficulties (and thus costs) are tremendous. Many US companies are thinking of pulling out of Italy due to the challenges of non-EU personnel maintaining legal documentation. I helped a young man start a business in Rome. He is a dual citizen with Italian and Candian citizenship. It took him about 18 months of meetings, paperwork, and "stamps" to make his business legal. He had to hire an Italian lawyer (and team) to help him wade through the bureacracy. Although Starbuck claims in the posted article they've avoided Italy due to respect, etc. I think the last statement is more true - finding an Italian partner who they can work with .... and help them work through the difficulties. As far as Rome wireless, as suggested by Michael, it's a great option. They have hotspots all over town. The restrictions are primarily, two. First, you must register in order to use the service. To do so you have to have a valid cell number. That could be a problem for many travelers. We borrowed a friends cell (ask your hotel!!) and used it our first time to Italy and later registered with our own cell numbers. Second, you only get one free hour per day. But we were able to follow both requirements and did use this service often. To be able to Skype friends from cafes, street corners, and sites in Rome is kinda cool - as you hold up your laptop, spin it and show off your Roman surroundings.

Posted by
1898 posts

Many cafe's like "Friend's" offer free, unlimited internet when you purchase a cornetto or espresso. We've often used these all over town. So there are many options, besides (ugh) McDonald's. I agree with Rik. Unfortunately, Starbucks would be quite popular in the touristy areas of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Some of the most popular "pedestrian" streets in Europe all have the same stores! Familiarity breeds comfort. Too bad, as our best "coffee" experiences have not happened in a Starbucks. But to be honest, we do have two Starbucks in the CPH airport - the only ones in Copenhagen. One is inside the secured area; the other outside and available to the public. I have to admit I have used their wireless when I'm at the airport waiting for someone. My wife is a big Starbucks fan and always STOPS at one or the other as we go in and out of the airport. And she buys a "bag of beans" to take Starbucks home with her! Next week we're headed to Italy and I know she will stop. I'll hold out for espresso at my old neighborhood bar!

Posted by
8906 posts

"...Bear in mind as well that if you use the internet cafes you must present a valid ID (usually a passport) - which they will photocopy - in order to get access. It's Italian law..." This law was rescinded last year. The ID requirements are no longer in effect effective next month. It's unlikely it's still being enforced even now.

Posted by
782 posts

That's good to know, thanks Mike. I've been avoiding the internet cafes in Venice for a few years now because of that idiotic law, I might start reusing them now.

Posted by
27 posts

Opening a Starbucks in Italy will be as opening Pork Ham shop in Teheran....

Posted by
782 posts

I wouldn't go quite that far Dragan. As I said, it would actually be very successful in the tourist cities (like Rome).