Best Italy SIM Cards for Tourists: Updated Prices & Where to Buy

Italy is a beautiful country with so much to see and experience. Having reliable internet access to map your way, look up information, and share your adventures is essential. Getting an Italy SIM card for your phone is the best way to get affordable data and calls during your trip. This guide has everything you need to know about choosing the right Italy SIM card before your visit and better alternatives (with conditions). Let’s delve into!


I. Should You Get a Sim Card in Italy?

Yes, getting an Italy SIM card is highly recommended for tourists visiting Italy. Here are some good reasons to get one:

  • Stay connected through calls, texts, and mobile data: A local Italy SIM card enables you to have a working phone number and mobile data to stay connected with your loved ones back home, access maps/transportation apps, translation apps, restaurant reviews, and more. 
  • Avoid expensive roaming charges: Using your home SIM card abroad can result in very high roaming fees for calls, texts, and data. A Italy SIM card helps you avoid these excessive charges.
  • Gain access to the best local networks: Italian SIMs connect you to top local network providers like TIM, Vodafone, and WindTre. This let you get the widest coverage and fastest speeds for the best connectivity experience across Italy.
  • Purchase a prepaid Italy SIM card: The prepaid SIM model is very popular in Italy. It allows you to pay upfront for just what you need – a set number of Voice, Texts, and Data. Top up or recharge when required. Convenient and budget-friendly.

Some alternatives like pocket WiFi devices or relying solely on free public WiFi have downsides like data limits, security risks, slower speeds, etc. Getting an Italy SIM card eliminates these issues so you have secure and unlimited mobile data 24/7. We highly recommend all tourists get one before their trip.

Our Recommendation and Tips:

II. Types of Italy Card for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

When choosing a way to stay connected in Italy, understanding the different SIM card options is crucial. Here’s a breakdown based on their form and function:

Physical vs. Virtual SIM (eSIM):

  • Physical SIM: A tangible card inserted into your phone.
  • eSIM: A digital SIM embedded directly into your phone, eliminating the need for a physical card.


  • Data-only: Provides internet access only, suitable for data-heavy users.
  • Data + Voice & Text: Offers internet access, calls, and text messages within the chosen plan.
  1. Prepaid Physical SIM Card:
    • Characteristics: Affordable, widely available at airports and stores.
    • Classification: Mostly data-only, some with data + voice & text options.
    • Ideal for: Tourists wanting a simple and affordable solution for data access.
  2. Prepaid Tourist Italy eSIM:
    • Characteristics: 100% online purchase and activation, convenient for immediate use upon arrival.
    • Classification: Mostly data-only, some with data + voice & text options.
    • Ideal for: Tech-savvy tourists with eSIM-compatible devices who want a hassle-free solution.

Based on the comparison, we recommend using an eSIM if your phone supports it and you primarily need data access. The convenience of online purchase and activation outweighs the slight price difference. Choose a data-only plan if you mainly rely on apps like WhatsApp or Telegram for calls and texts.

Tip: Double check your phone works with foreign SIMs - some models sold by US carriers have SIM locks. Unlock it beforehand if unsure!

III. Best Italy SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Prices

Here are the best Italy SIM card options and carrier packages with pricing specifically for tourists and visitors:

1. Best Fastweb Italy SIM Card Plans and Prices

Fastweb sim card and eSIM
  • SIM Card Price: Around $5.15 (5 EUR + 15 EUR mandatory top-up). Fastweb charges a 15 EUR mandatory top-up that cannot be used for calls/data.
  • Plans: Fastweb offers a Unlimited GB Plan for $28.35/month with truly unlimited 5G data and 100 minutes to landlines. It also has a Unlimited Plus Plan for $38.75/month with unlimited data and calls to all networks. 

2. Best Iliad Italy SIM Card Plans and Prices

You can get an Iliad SIM card for 9.99 EUR (approximately $10.50 USD) in Iliad stores.

Iliad offers two prepaid data plans: 

  • Flash 70: $12.70 USD for 70GB of data with 5G access and unlimited minutes/texts in Italy. The plan is valid for 30 days.
  • GIGA 120: $16.80 USD for 120GB of data with 5G access and unlimited minutes/texts in Italy. The plan also includes 9GB of data in Europe and unlimited minutes/texts in Europe. The plan is valid for 30 days.

Both plans include unlimited minutes/texts to countries like the US, Canada and numerous other international destinations.

3. Best TIM Italy SIM Card Plans and Prices

SIM Card Price: You can get a TIM SIM card for $10.50 USD in TIM stores.

Tourist SIM Card (TIM Tourist): Costs $26.50 USD with 50 GB of data, 13 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited chat data, 200 local/international minutes for 30 days.

Giga e Minuti Plans (Data and Minutes Combo):

  • $10.50 USD/month – 100 GB data, 20 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes and SMS
  • $13.80 USD/month – Unlimited data (shared with allowance), unlimited minutes and SMS
  • $15.90 USD/month – 50 GB data, 14 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes and SMS
  • $21.20 USD/month – 100 GB data, 19 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes and SMS
  • $42 USD/month – Unlimited data, 37 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes and SMS

Solo Giga Power Plans (Data only):

  • $10.50 USD/month – 50 GB data
  • $15.90 USD/month – 100 GB data
  • $21.20 USD/month – 150 GB data

Data Top Up Rate: $2.12 USD for 500MB of data until midnight if no plan is purchased.

4. Best Vodafone Italy SIM Card Plans and Prices

Vodafone SIM cards cost $10.70. The tourist SIM card called Dolce Vita costs $26.75 with unlimited data, 16.4 GB EU/EEA data, 150 international minutes and 200 local/EU minutes valid for 30 days.

Vodafone offers combo plans called Infinito with data, minutes and SMS. Plans include:

  • $31.41 per month for unlimited data (27.4 GB EU/EEA), minutes and SMS
  • $49.15 per month for unlimited data (37 GB EU/EEA), minutes and SMS

They also offer data-only Giga Power plans:

  • $21.40 per month for 100GB data (13.7 GB EU/EEA)
  • $35.70 per month for unlimited data (27.4 GB EU/EEA)

5. Best WindTre Italy SIM Card Plans and Prices

windtre sim

SIM card prices: $10.70 for a regular SIM card, $26.75 for a tourist SIM card called Tourist Pass

Di Più Plans (combo plans with data, minutes, SMS):

  • Young 5G: $10.50 for 100GB data, 9.1GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes and SMS valid for 1 month
  • Di Più Lite: $13.85 for 25GB data, 11.9GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes, 200 SMS valid for 1 month
  • Di Più Lite 5G: $13.85 for 50GB data, 11.9GB EU/EEA data, unlimited minutes, 200 SMS valid for 1 month

Solo Internet Plans (data only plans):

  • Cube Lite: $10.50 for 70GB data, 6.6GB EU/EEA data valid for 1 month
  • Cube Full: $13.85 for 150GB data, 8.6GB EU/EEA data valid for 1 month
  • Internet Card 150GB: $21.25 for 150GB data, 13.2GB EU/EEA data valid for 3 months
  • Internet Card 300GB: $26.45 for 300GB data, 16.4GB EU/EEA data valid for 3 months

As you can see, most Italy SIM card deals from top providers offer at least 50 GB data packages for 30 days validity in the 20 EUR price range – value!

Note: Plan prices and features can change overtime. For the most updated information, please visit the official websites of Italian mobile network carriers.

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Italy

Here are the best places you can purchase SIM cards for Italy:

1. Buy Italy SIM Card Online Before Arrival

You can buy prepaid SIM cards online from Italian mobile operators like Wind, TIM, Vodafone before arriving in Italy. They will mail the SIM card to your address.

Pros: You can start using the SIM as soon as you receive it and don’t have to worry about buying one after landing in Italy. This is convenient especially if you land late at night.

Cons: You may have to pay slightly higher price for the SIM compared to buying in Italy. There is also a risk of delays or loss in delivery. You need an Italian address which may not be suitable for short term travelers.

2. Buy Italy SIM at Airport After Arrival

All major Italy airports have SIM card kiosks or vending machines in the arrival halls at Rome Aiport and Milan Malpensa airport. Providers like TIM, Vodafone, and WindTre sell prepaid tourist Italy SIMs with packages ready to use. Just locate the provider shops after you exit the gates.

Pros: No need to search elsewhere after landing, can activate the SIM right away.

Cons: SIM cards at airports tend to be more expensive (around €20-25) compared to downtown retail shops. Limited options as well in terms of data plans.

3. Buy Italy SIM Card in City

If you missed purchasing at the airport, you can easily find Italy SIM card sellers in cities around the country. Electronic chain stores, carrier shops, supermarkets, and phone dealers commonly offer prepaid SIMs from various providers. 

Places to buy in cities:

  • TIM, Vodafone, WindTre official stores
  • MediaWorld, Unieuro, Euronics (electronics shops)
  • Coop supermarkets
  • Tabacchi (tobacco kiosks)

Pros: Cheapest option compared to airports. Can check availability of data plans. Ease of activation on the spot.

Cons: Requires finding a store location after reaching your destination in Italy. May need to show your passport for identity verification.

4. Buy Italy eSIM Online

Along with pre-trip online orders, you can also get Italy eSIMs once you arrive using cell data or WiFi for quick delivery. Scan the QR code and you’ll have the Italy eSIM activated instantly in your device. It beats having to go out and find a physical SIM card when you just want to get connected fast.

Pros: Convenient activation process online. Can be a cheaper option than physical SIMS. No wasting plastic SIM.

Cons: Still need an internet connection for activation. Limited to eSIM supported devices only like recent iPhones.

From above analysis, the best option would be buying a physical prepaid SIM card from one of the major carriers in the cities of Italy. It offers the right balance of convenience, best value for money in terms of price and plans. An eSIM could be another good alternative if your device supports it. Buying at airports should be avoided due to high prices.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Italy?

use cell phone in Italy

When deciding how much mobile data to get, here is an estimate of how much common travel activities normally use:

  • Google Maps navigation per hour: 75 MB
  • Social media scrolling per hour (Facebook, Instagram): 20-50 MB
  • HD Video streaming per hour (YouTube, Netflix): 700 MB – 1 GB
  • Music streaming per hour (Spotify): 100 MB
  • Basic web browsing per hour: 10-30 MB

As a baseline, most prepaid Italy tourist SIM cards start with at least 15-20 GB for around 20 EUR which is plenty for:

Heavy users (lots of video/music streaming): 50+ GB Moderate/regular users: 20-40 GB Light users (just maps/web browsing): 5-15 GB

For the average visitor using Google Maps, some Facebook, web searches etc – around 15-30 GB per month is recommended. If you stream shows non-stop or use hotspot extensively, go with a higher 50 GB allowance or unlimited data SIM. Most Italy SIMs can be topped up but start with a bigger plan just in case!

Business travelers may need more regular data while a short trip traveler can even get by on just a 5 GB Italy eSIM for absolute basics. Choose your SIM card data amount based on your expected usage!

Pro Tip: Italy SIM cards tend to use FUP (fair usage policies) that throttle speeds if you exceed the very generous 50+ GB allowances anyway. Opt for a medium data SIM and top up smaller amounts as needed.

VI. Italy eSIM by Gigago – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Italy

While regular mini-SIM and nano-SIM cards are prevalent across Italy shops, the newer eSIM standard offers some unique advantages:

Benefits of using Italy eSIM instead of physical SIM cards or roaming:

  • Works instantly on all smartphones and tablets released after 2018 – no need for SIM slots. Set up takes minutes with a QR code.
  • Single Italy eSIM works on multiple devices like phones, cellular iPads/tablets, laptops via scanning. Roaming only works on your existing phone while mini/nano-SIMs can only be used in one device at a time.
  • Flexible prepaid plans built for short trips – smaller data amounts (2GB+) on-demand bundles versus lengthy contracts.
  • Local Italy phone numbers optionally included on eSIM for affordable calls/texts. Roaming has expensive call charges while free WiFi lacks phone service.
  • Endless data options from 1 GB to Unlimited plans. Often better value than roaming limited connectivity.

Rather than old-school physical SIM cards or restrictive roaming, using GIGAGO Italy eSIM is highly recommended. Their tourist eSIMs come ready for any modern phones and tablets with cheap rates starting as low as $3.5. Excellent connectivity across Italy makes travel easier.

VII. Which Italy Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Analyzing Open Signal’s 2023 Italy mobile network audit, here is how the major Italian carriers compare for key metrics: 

Download Speed33.6 Mbps26.9 Mbps32 Mbps37.9 Mbps29.2 Mbps
Upload Speed8.9 Mbps7.3 Mbps8.8 Mbps10.4 Mbps9.4 Mbps
5G availibility21.1% of time21.5% of time5.5% of time12.4% of time24.8% of time

As you can see, all Italy network operators have excellent extensive coverage with competitive speeds. However TIM and Vodafone Italy tend to edge out on faster download speeds and overall performance metrics. Combine that with TIM’s competitively priced tourist SIM card deals and excellent connectivity, they are a top choice for many travelers’ Italy SIM cards.

1. Fastweb

Fastweb coverage
Source: nPerf

Coverage: Fastweb operates its own fiber network and national roaming agreements to provide 4G and 5G coverage.

Network: It has extended its network through infrastructure sharing deals, recently launching 5G services on Vodafone’s network.

Speed: Fastweb achieved the second fastest overall download speed at 33.8 Mbps. It shared the 5G coverage experience award jointly with WindTre.

2. Iliad

iliad coverage
Source: nPerf

Coverage: Iliad uses TIM’s mobile network infrastructure for coverage. It has access to TIM’s 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks.

Network: Iliad is an MVNO that does not operate its own radio access network. It relies on its national roaming agreement with TIM.

Speed: Though speeds are through another network, Iliad scored well on key measures like availability at 98.6%, winning this award.

3. TIM

TIM Italy coverage
Source: nPerf

Coverage: TIM has extensive 4G and 5G coverage across Italy, along with legacy 2G and 3G networks.

Network: TIM operates Italy’s largest mobile network by subscriber base. It has invested heavily in 4G and 5G infrastructure.

Speed: TIM scored 32 Mbps for download speed experience. It achieved 239.3 Mbps for 5G download speed, winning this category jointly with Vodafone.

4. Vodafone

Vodafone Italy coverage

Coverage: Vodafone has nationwide 4G and 5G coverage in Italy along with extensive 2G and 3G networks.

Network: It has a large 4G and 5G network and was an early 5G pioneer in Italy. Vodafone continues expanding and upgrading its infrastructure.

Speed: Vodafone achieved the fastest overall speeds – 37.9 Mbps download and 10.4 Mbps upload. Its 5G download and upload speeds were also among the highest at 202.2 Mbps and 22.8 Mbps.

5. Windtre

Windtre coverage
Source: nPerf

Coverage: WindTre provides nationwide 4G and expanding 5G coverage. It relies on 2G and 3G networks for legacy coverage.

Network: Through a merger in 2016, WindTre combined the networks of Wind and 3Italia to become Italy’s second largest operator by subscribers.

Speed: While not the fastest, WindTre achieved above-average speeds and scored joint first for 5G coverage experience with Fastweb.

VIII. How to Use Italy Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using Prepaid Italy Tourist SIM Cards

If you buy a standard mini or nano-SIM card in Italy, just follow these steps to get started:

  • Insert the SIM card into your phone’s SIM tray slot (may require SIM tool to open tray)
  • Turn on your device and accept configuration popup messages
  • Provider welcome SMS will ask to register your passport/ID details
  • Activate by calling activation hotline. Specify tourist prepaid SIM passport number and dates.
  • Recharge SIM as needed by buying top-up voucher codes and entering them in carrier recharge app or website.
  • Manage data/minutes checking the SIM carrier app. Turn off automatic video streaming quality and automatic app downloads to save data amounts. Most Italy SIM cards offer free calling between local SIMs.

2. Setting up and Activating Italy eSIM

If going with an Italy eSIM provider like GigaGo instead of physical SIM card:

  • Order Italy eSIM plan online and receive confirmation email & QR activation code.
  • Scan QR code eSIM app to install cellular plan securely onto device.
  • Follow quick setup prompts to activate eSIM and use phone number.
  • Monitor usage via eSIM app dashboard and top up data bundles from account as required. Share data amounts between devices by scanning same QR code again into other phones/tablets.

So while traditional mini/nano-SIMs have easy buying options across Italy, eSIMs provide the most convenient digital setup straight from your device screen and more flexibility. Either way, just follow the straighforward instructions to get Italy cell service ready on your trip!

IX. FAQs about Italy SIM cards

Can I use my regular phone plan SIM card in Italy?

Yes but not recommended besides emergencies as global roaming charges are very expensive (up to $10/GB). Get local Italy SIM card instead.

Is it easy to set up Italy prepaid SIM card?

Yes, very easy. Italy SIM cards are plug-and-play. Airport shops provide setup support too.

How fast is internet speed in Italy?

Italy has an excellent modern infrastructure with typical 4G LTE speeds around 35-55 Mbps down u0026amp; 5-15 Mbps up on local SIMs. Fast enough for video streaming and mobile usage without any issues.

Can I use Italy SIM card across Europe?

Technically yes due to EU roaming laws. But optimal network coverage is in Italy only. Better to swap other country SIM cards when traveling outside Italy for best connectivity.

How long is Italy tourist SIM card valid for?

A: Most Italy SIM card deals for visitors include 30 day validity periods. Italy eSIM of GIGAGO offer shorter 3/5/7/15/30 day plans. The allowance gets reset monthly with auto-renew if credit exists on the recharge account.

X. Conclusion

Getting an Italy SIM card is crucial for having reliable mobile data and affordable local calls/texts during your travels. But now you’re equipped with everything needed to choose the right plan:

  • Get Italy SIM card from on-site carrier stores or vending machines
  • Choose an eSIM plan based on your device capability
  • Pick a suitable data amount from 15-50+ GB for 30 days
  • Top up more high-speed data if needed via vouchers or self-serve apps
  • Access Google Maps, WhatsApp, social media, transport & translation apps smoothly

We recommend TIM, Vodafone, and WindTre Italy SIMs from top stores. Just don’t forget to purchase your Italy SIM card ahead or immediately upon airport arrival. To have more convenient trip, buy eSIM from GIGAGO for the best experience ever!