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ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 12:37 PM

Please assist this technophobe!
As some of you may know from my past posts, I am not tech savvy, to say the least. Since the hotel I am trying to reserve in Italy has not responded to my repeated e-mails, I would like to phone them regarding a reservation. Once and for all, I would like to know how to phone Italy, (and all other countries outside the US.)

The number in question begins with a 39-081. There are 6 digits after those.

From my home phone, what do I dial? I have to use a 1 before the area code when making all domestic calls from here. Many thanks!

ellenem Nov 27th, 2007 12:45 PM

011 + 39 + 81 + six-digit number

By the way, the Italian system still allows for the actual phone number (in this case the last six digits) to be anything from five to seven digits. Older numbers have less digits.

111op Nov 27th, 2007 12:46 PM

One thing you should be sure first is that you've a long-distance dialing plan. By default, there's none, and if you simply dial a foreign number, then you could be charged a very exorbitant rate.

One way to get around it is to dial some other number first (I'm sure people here can supply that) and then dial the number you need to dial.

If you do have long-distance plan, then you dial 011 39 081 xxx xxx.

The issue with the 0 for the area code (i.e. 081) is that with some of these you omit that 0. However my experience with Italy is that you usually need to include it.

In any case, to dial long distance it's always 011 + country code + area code + number. But as I said, don't use this method unless you know that you've signed up for cheap long-distance calling.

111op Nov 27th, 2007 12:48 PM

See this page from SlowTrav:

The page goes on to give a reference page for when you need to drop the leading zero in the area code.


If the Italian phone number is 0577-707-555, dial the following:

Do NOT drop the leading zero in city code for Italy phone numbers.

If the England phone number is 01823-555555, dial the following:

Drop the leading zero in city code for United Kingdom phone numbers.

Zerlina Nov 27th, 2007 12:50 PM

011 before the 39 and the rest.

Have you checked your junk or spam mailbox to make sure that the hotel has not replied? Very often, e-mails with .it in the URL get diverted there.

111op Nov 27th, 2007 12:54 PM

Another option you can sign up for is Skype, where international calls are about 2c a minute. I forget if there's an initial minimum charge. You may need to spend $10 initially.

If you're a technophobe, this may not be for you. I'm not tech savvy either, and I only downloaded Skype about half a year ago. (I still keep my land line and friends have laughed at me for it.)

In any case, one problem with Skype is that sound quality can be poor -- it can seem as if you're calling from under water somewhere from outerspace. I use it mainly as an IM program (like Yahoo or MSN Messenger). Recently there were some posts here on Fodor's on Skype. I think someone even takes French lessons by talking to his/her instructor on Skype.

If the party you're calling has Skype, you can call up the computer and chat with that party. That call is actually free. IM/Chat is of course free as well.

ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 01:03 PM

Thanks to all..I will get back to this as soon as I have read it a few times!

Zerlina I did check the mailbox; no response even though I e-mailed quite a few times..

We do not have a long-distance you have a number I can use prior to dialing the hotel? In that case, exactly what do I dial? (Sorry to be so dense..)

Hotel number is: 30-081-41-52-78

daveesl Nov 27th, 2007 01:17 PM

The dialing number would be, from the states...

011 39 081 41 52 78

As others have mentioned, be certain you have the ability to direct dial international, if not you may either not get connected or get charged some crazy rate.

luv2cthings Nov 27th, 2007 01:23 PM

You can use a dial around number such as 1010987. In this case, you would dial 1010987 011 39 081 415 278. You can Google &quot;dial around numbers&quot; to compare different operators. <i>(Thanks, Ira.)</i>

cheryllj Nov 27th, 2007 01:24 PM

Definitely don't make the call without finding out what you will be charged. If you don't have a regular international plan, use one of the &quot;dial around&quot; services.

I am told that 10-10-987 has reasonable international rates. (This is Telecom USA/MCI, which also owns the better known 10-10-321 and 10-10-220, but don't use those numbers b/c they are more expensive.)

It should cost about $1.13 for a 15-minute call to Italy. (Please don't hold me to this, but that's what they say.)

So you would dial:
10-10-987 then

More info on 10-10 plans:

ira Nov 27th, 2007 01:28 PM

Hi ek,

Dial 1010987 (a call around number that gives you low rates - $0.59 to connect and a few cents per minute)

Then 011 this gets you international dialing

Then 39 this gets you to Italy

DO NOT dial &quot;0&quot; that's only for calls within Italy

Then 81 XXXXXX

Remember that Italy is 6 hrs ahead of the EST. (02:00 in NYC is 08:00 in Italy)

Good luck.


cheryllj Nov 27th, 2007 01:28 PM

Yeah, what luv2cthings said. :)

Oops, I left out the leading zero on the city code (081, not 81). If you need it in Italy, then include it. But I think I've gotten away without it, although maybe I'm forgetting wrong.

ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 01:43 PM

Thanks again, everyone!

But am I correct in reading that Ira and Cheryl are disagreeing about including the 0 before the 81??

cheryllj Nov 27th, 2007 01:49 PM

No, I'm not disagreeing! Scratch that.

What Ira said is right, you do NOT need a leading zero. What I typed originally was correct. (I've never used a leading zero, so I was confused by your OP with the zero.)


luv2cthings Nov 27th, 2007 01:54 PM

I'm not so sure. Both SlowTravel and Rick Steves indicate you do NOT drop the leading zero. Ira, I notice you don't drop the leading zero for Florence or Venice...

ekscrunchy Nov 27th, 2007 02:10 PM

The Zero in the OP was copied off the hotel's website; perhaps the number is intended mostly for those within the country...(??)

Well I will give them a call in the morning and report back...hopefully I will get it right on the first try!! If not, I know where to turn!

Many thanks to all who took the time to respond.

Cowboy1968 Nov 27th, 2007 02:14 PM

The leading zero must not be omitted in Italy.

Italy's phone system does not have seperate area/city codes plus telephone numbers but both elements have been amalgamated into one number.
So, even when you are in the same city or area you have to dial the full number.

So the full number from the U.S. is
011 39 081 41 52 78

When in Italy (even when in same town where the hotel is):
081 41 52 78

cheryllj Nov 27th, 2007 02:18 PM

I thought the general rule was that the leading zero was NOT needed when calling from the USA, but that rule varies by country, so I don't know if the rule is different in Italy.

Sorry about that! If Slowtrav says you need the leading zero, then try that first. If it doesn't work, drop it.

LoveItaly Nov 27th, 2007 02:20 PM

I call Italy from the US about once a week or so. I dial 011-39 and then the 0 plus the area code. Then of course the phone number. That is when I call a land phone at a residence.

If I call a cell phone in Italy again I dial 011-39-and the area code but with calling a cellphone there is NO 0 before dialing the area.

And I am chucking..the term dialing I am using is so out of date, lol, but you get the drift. Dialing = punch in the numbers.

Anyway, use the 0 if calling a land phone and do not use the 0 if calling a cell phone.

Ekscruncy I would think that in that you are calling a hotel you will be calling their land phone. So you would dial (punch of course) 011-39-081 plus the additional 6 digits. 011 is to make an international phone call. 39 it to call Italy. 081 is for the area code to Italy when calling a land (non cellphone) number and than the six digits.

daveesl Nov 27th, 2007 03:14 PM

I just dialed the number using my Skype acct. I had to use the 081. 81 is deemed a non-valid number.

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