About Italy - Money Considerations

Italian currency and Italian money considerations
Italian Money / Monetary Currency

The Euro (Symbol = €) is now the official Italian currency and in the 12 nations that comprise the European Union.   These 12 nations are: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.   Notably, the United Kingdom has not adopted the Euro.  They are still using the Pound. 

The Euro has replaced the Lira (Symbol = £) since January 1, 2002, after an implementation period which began in 1999.  To aid in the transition, sometimes you will still see prices quoted in the Lira equivalent (1 Euro = 1936.27 Lira), along with the Euro price.  However, it is more of a convenience, or for information purposes to assist people with the transition.  The European Union also accepted the old currency up through February 28, 2002 to further assist in the transition. 

The new currency consists of 7 bank notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro (dollars). 

The eight coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Euro cents plus a 1 Euro (dollar) and 2 Euro (dollars).   The "heads" side of the coin will display a common European Community symbol.   However, the "tails" side of the coin will have a design unique to each country in the union.  

100 Euro Cents = 1 Euro Dollar

Note that commas and periods are reversed when differentiating between dollars and cents and the thousands. 

For example € 3.100,50 would be expressed in the US as $ 3,100.50
intending to mean three thousand one hundred dollars and fifty cents.

ATM Machines / Banco Mat
updated August 2, 2009

Many ATM machines (Banco Mat) are available for retrieving funds in Euros.   Most of them will have an English menu selection.   Check with your bank to determine whether there are any fees involved.  Usually the exchange rate will be more favorable than using an exchange (Cambio) in a train station or airport.   The more common ATM networks that we use in the United States, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also widely accepted in Italy. 
Note - many ATM's in Europe only accept a 4-digit PIN number. If your PIN is more than 4-digits, check with your bank to see if you can change it to 4-digits prior to your trip

Credit Cards

Credit cards are gaining acceptance in all parts of Italy.   Most of your hotels, restaurants, upscale shops, etc. in the tourist areas will usually accept MasterCard and Visa, with American Express not too far behind.   Discover and Diner's Club are not as readily accepted. 

Keep in mind that cash is king for some merchants.   Some gas stations, for example, will only accept cash.   And some hotels will even add a surcharge (usually 3 - 4%) if you are using a credit card. 

Links of Interest

Venere.com - hotels, hotel reservations, discount hotels in Italy and all over Europe.

Italy Rail Pass - the best way to get around Italy and Europe.

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