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Texting/Calling/FaceTime to and from Italy

I have family in Italy and would
Like to reach out to them during this uncertain time. What is the lowest cost way for me and them to communicate via text, voice and video chat?

Posted by
5019 posts

If everyone has an iPhone/iPad/Mac (and internet access, of course), you can use Facetime. It's free, easy and works great.

I have lots of family oveseas. We routinely Facetime with them (like, every day). It's no more difficult than yelling at your TV.

Posted by
1862 posts

Skype or better yet Google Hangouts (works with your Gmail account), these video chat services do not cost money. If they are in Italy they most likely use Whatsapp as the communication app of choice, you can text messages, voice message, make voice and video calls all over wifi, also free on the app store.

Posted by
255 posts

WhatsApp. Your Italy already has it for sure, and you can message, talk and videochat.

Posted by
30932 posts


If you're able to text or Email your relatives, take a poll to find out which devices and apps everyone is using. Look for a common trend (ie: most of the group uses Apple devices, everyone is using Whatsapp, Viber or Skype, etc.). Once you've established which platform will work for everyone, you'll have a better idea on what to use.

Some of the possibilities that might work.....

  • Viber - similar to Whatsapp.... allows free voice or video calls via WiFi at no cost. If you're using cellular data, there may be a charge.
  • Skype - I believe this is also free using WiFi or a wired internet connection.
  • Google hangouts - if everyone has a Gmail account, this might be a good option.
  • FaceTime - if the majority of the group uses iPads / iPhones, this would probably be the easiest solution.
Posted by
868 posts

I second WhatsApp. It's ubiquitous in Europe, and it works over WiFi. You'll need the recipient's telephone number (include the + character, the country code, and the local code) and you are home free.

Posted by
2662 posts

Zoom seems to be pretty popular right now and is easy to use. There also Facebook messenger. Seems you have plenty of options.

Posted by
11677 posts

When we were in Venice for a month I used FaceTime to see and talk to my grandchildren. It worked great (need good WiFi).

Posted by
7585 posts

I've used FaceTime, Facebook messenger and Whatsapp to video chat with friends and relatives in Europe. It's all free. I also text with iMessage to family with iPhones and on Whatsapp.

Posted by
126 posts

My sisters and I have been using Facebook video chat - of course it is free. We fix our drinks and call it our "Tipsy Talks"
One of my sisters has to stay at home because she works in health care and her husband works with someone who is currently being tested for the virus. So she can't go to work until the results are in.

Posted by
963 posts

We used WhatsApp when we were in Europe to see and talk to our grandkids and children. But that is one connection, if you would like to have multiple households on one screen then use Zoom. During this time I am do happy hours with my friends through there, it's like a Brady Bunch view with multiple squares on your screen. I think the app will give you a free 40 min meeting, anything longer than that you pay for, which may be worth it to you. I can use the app on my phone and tablet.

Posted by
3283 posts

I have Verizon. Normally my plan does not include international calls. I received a message from Verizon last night that during Covid, they were not charging for international calls to Covid affected countries. I don't have need so I didn't pursue it further, but perhaps it would help you.

Posted by
1510 posts

WhatsApp is very common here. Free to text or call. I stay in touch with most people in the US thus way.