Using phone cards or calling cards in Italy

Any suggestions for using one or the other?

Posted by Thomas
Indianapolis, IN, USA
143 posts

I used a Europa phone card to call the US and places in Italy from my hotel room. They cost 5 five euros for something like 180 or 200 minutes of calling - I didn't use all my time over two weeks. They can also be used from pay phones as well. They are sold at tobacco shops, which are all over the place. You dial an 800 number and enter the PIN on the card, then the international code and number you are calling. They are cheap, easy to buy, and easy to use. I was glad to leave my cell phone at home and not worry about where it was, how much it was costing me overseas, not to mention not having work call me while I was on vacation.

Posted by sam
14 posts

We did what Rick suggested in his book and bought a card at a Tabachi Store. We told the shopkeeper we wanted to call the United States--you'll need to choose which area of the Americas-- and we were able to call from our hotel room. It was remarkably cheap and worked easily in Venice and Florence. Follow Rick's instructions in the book.

However, it did not work in Lucca--but no problem. We went to a store that had internet and phone booths. Again, very cheap and reasonable.

Posted by Mark
Henson, Florida, USA
466 posts

The best thing to do is go to wal-mart here in the States and purchase an AT&T prepaid calling card. Call the 800 number on the back to get the international access code for Italy and you're set. If you need to add more time to it while in Italy you can call the 800 # and do that also. When you're travelling, it's reassuring to hear the operator say in English.....AT&T!!!!!! Have fun!

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
13231 posts

Mark are you sure about calling an 800 number from Europe. My experience is that 800 numbers do not work when called from Europe.

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
2700 posts

I can't speak for Mark, but I took it to mean that while you are in the US, call the 800 number and ask for the "local" phone number for access in Italy (or where ever). I know that my calling card used for business lists the 800 number for the US on the back, but has a separate piece of paper listing a number for access in each country.


Posted by Ron
Ron-in-Rome................................ Now, RPT in Vienna, Austria!
1763 posts

Years ago, before we purchased international cell phones with SIM cards, we used the Wal-mart or SAM cards. Once you get the correct access # it works GREAT!

Note a couple issues - some hotels will charge you a "surcharge" to dial international (or even a "by-the-minute" charge despite using this card) and that can get quite expensive. Know your hotel's policy or just use a pay phone on the street.

Also note that while the card you bought in the US at Wal-mart may say 500 minutes that's for calls in the US to other US numbers. Once you convert that to "Italian to US" conversations, you may only have 100 minutes! If you call AT&T I think they will give you an idea of the conversion (It's been a while since I've used one!)


Posted by Shauna
Perth, WA, Australia
75 posts

I'm in Italy now using a calling card that I bought in Italy. It's a 800 number not a 1-800 number that you need to call and it's written on the back of the card. You then pick 2 for English, enter in your pin and then the U.S or in my case Canadian number.

You dial 001 then the area code and number you are calling. It's as easy as that! :)

Posted by susan
40 posts

Just got back from Italy and we used the Europa card too. Bought it from the tabacchi shop for 5 euros. If you can, use it from your hotel room. A new card used from a pay phone will give you 40 minutes but if used from your room phone it gives you 263 minutes. A big difference. Also, there are several 800 numbers on the back. If you are having difficulty using the card, try one of the other numbers listed. There is even an english speaking number.

Posted by marina
Melbourne, Australia
20 posts

Can you use the Europa cards from pre paid mobile in Italy?
I plan to change my SIM card in Italy and then use the cards to call Australia. No phone available in the apartment we are renting.

Posted by Josh
Beervana, Oregon
65 posts

Marina, you can use a phone card with your cell. In fact, it's the best, least expensive way to use your cell phone. However, the Europa card isn't the right card. Ask in the tobacco shop for a card meant for cell phone use. These cards won't use up your expensive cell minutes.

Posted by Mark
Henson, Florida, USA
466 posts

The best and easiest thing is to go to a drugstore or a wal-mart here in the states and buy an AT&T prepaid phone card. Call the 800 # on the back to get the international access code for Italy and your set. If you need to put more money on the card while abroad, you can do that too.

Posted by Jean
Kenmore, Wa, USA
9 posts

I agree with Mark except that I got my MCI card at Costco.
I called the 1-800 number and told them the countries I was going to visit. The operator gave me three numbers, one for Italy, Austria, and Germany. The MCI card did not work in Slovenia but the internet was available in the library of every town I visited. When I got home, I still had long distance time on the card. I could use the time up on calls from home. That is not always possible on cards from other countries.

Posted by Greg
Kentwood, Michigan, USA
166 posts

I had purchased an international phone calling card for my trip to Italy last month and to use the card calling from Italy to the USA I had to dial an 800 number to get access, I did this and had no problem calling home to Michigan or Florida.


Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
13231 posts

I think Ken Vu just dug up an out dated, 5 year post to promote an out date phone card concept but will send it to web master.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
812 posts

If you buy an AT&T international calling card here in the states (e.g. Wal-Mart has them.) Go to the AT&T website and they will give you the exact digits you need to dial to call the US and while you are calling - the instructions are in English. Note there are different digits for each country you are calling from. I carry one with me for emergencies when I need to call back to the US.
(Rarely ever use it - but they never expire)

Posted by Jake
8 posts

There is a much easier way to do this. If you have an old or new quad-band phone, just buy an international SIM card. I bought one from and am using it in Europe. The card works in over 100countries. Check out their website for details. You need a phone that accepts a SIM card so that's t-mobile or AT&T. Also, the phone needs to be UNLOCKED. Supposedly, all incoming phone calls are FREE. I have not tested this yet.