This McDonald's in Sicily offers free and unlimited WiFi (not that you should eat there, but you can pick up its signal just fine sitting on the sea wall across the street), WiFi in Italy, Italy, Italy (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
This McDonald's in Sicily offers free and unlimited WiFi (not that you should eat there, but you can pick up its signal just fine sitting on the sea wall across the street)

WiFi floats all around Italy's major cities these days

Travel telecom—e-mail, web surfing, Skyping—can be free if you know how to find these free-range WiFi hotspots.

Italy's free WiFi networks and app

Many Italian cities have launched free municipal WiFi networks, and in 2017, Italy's Ministries for Economic Development and for Culture launched a new app called Wi-Fi-Italia for iTunes and Google Play (Wifi.italia.it) that let's you log into any participating free municipal WiFi spot with a single log-in.

It works... kinda. 

First of all, those free municipal WiFi networks are, indeed, free, but they can be spotty and slow (especially if you're used to 4G). That won't be a problem for doing email and chat apps, and basic Googling, but Skype might be dodgy—and forget streaming (which you should forget about anyway; you're here to see Italy, not catch up on your shows!).

Also, all free WiFi comes with security concerns—avoid entering usernames and passwords, and consider using a VPN.

This Wi-Fi-Italia is currently available in Rome, FlorenceMilan, Bari, Trento, the major towns of Emilia Romagna (Bologna, Modena, Parma), and around 70 towns in Tuscany (Pisa, Siena, Lucca, Prato, San Gimignano, etc, etc. etc.).

Finding other WiFi hotspots

  • Many cafés offer free WiFi.
  • Many hotels offer WiFi. At some (usually the cheaper hotels) the WiFi is free. At others (usually pricer hotels) there is a modest fee.
  • Hotspot finder sites (free and paid) are listed in the Links section.

Carry your own WiFi

The easiest alternative is simply to carry your own portable WiFi hotspot for up to five devices.

Prices to rent one start around $20 per day for a week's rental ($12 per day or less if you rent one for more than a week).

You can rent one from Cellularabroad.com.

WiFi In Italy tours
 
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Portable WiFi hotspots links
Paid WiFi networks links