WiFi in Italy?

Apr 30th, 2010, 01:43 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,010
WiFi in Italy?

We'll be in Italy for almost three weeks in June, staying MOSTLY at two houses, which won't have WiFi, so I am wondering if the highways have free WiFi, as I guess is the case in some places.

I will have my iPhone, and will do all the things AT&T tell me to.
taconictraveler is offline  
Apr 30th, 2010, 02:01 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 46,351
The highways? Not sure what you mean, but my experience with trying to find wifi in Italy compared to other places I travel in Europe has been pretty much maddening. Maybe in big cities it's easy to find (I'm usually too busy in big cities to think much about wifi), but out in the countryside it's very hit or miss, mostly miss.
StCirq is online now  
Apr 30th, 2010, 07:07 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,010
Yeah, thanks St.Cirq, that's what I was afraid of from what I've seen on the internet on places like jtwire -maybe at the couple of hotels we'll stop at on the way, but certainly not at the houses we are renting in Umbria and Southern Tuscany.

Anybody got any other ideas??
taconictraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 04:41 AM
  #4  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,009
You can buy a wireless USB dongle from the Italian cell phone co TIM. Here's the link for the Italian language webpage - I don't see an English page, but this gives you an idea of what they offer.

http://www.tim.it/consumer/c56088/canalestandard.do

you can use google translation tools to get a rough english translation.

Here's the 100hr per mo rechargeable plan.
http://translate.google.com/translat...alestandard.do

You can bring you laptop into a TIM office in the city of your arrival and they can set you up.

TIM also has hotspots, similar to T-Mobile has at many US locations like airports, hotels, etc.
J62 is online now  
May 1st, 2010, 06:46 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,010
j62: what I'll have with me is an iPhone, so I will want to use WiFi if I can ever find it - (probably only in hotels, which we are using only at beginning and end of trip)

I can't tell if that TIM would work with an AT&T iPhone. Do you know?

Thanks for your input.
taconictraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 07:45 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,513
It kills me to say this and I choke with the words, but many McDonald's have wifi. At least one in Rome does. You can check on their website. Wifi in Italy is improving, but it still isn't easy. We just returned from 3 weeks.
Ann1 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 12:01 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 118
Well, I guess I'm the exception to the rule - I was 3 months in Italy in the fall of 2008, all over, except big cities - from the Lakes to Amalfi, and there was only one place I stayed which did not have wifi - a convent in Chiavari.
bellalinda is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 12:33 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 485
I took my new Motorola Razr cell phone to Italy last year. It had the ability to be used internationally and had used my old razr in years past there. This time I had no coverage at all in many area (Lakes, Florence, CT). After 30 minutes on the phone with AT&T we figured out it was newer technology than Italy had. My husbands older cell phone worked. I apologize for not remembering the actual term for the issue, but I am wondering if an Iphone would run into the same problem.
travel52 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 01:05 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,010
Ann1 - thanks, I know about McDonald's - but hopefully there are no McDonald's where we are going to stay. However, I think I can probably go to the hotels in towns nearby, and there is at least one hotel (Tifernia) in Citta di Castello, near our house, that has WiFi. I hope that you can just tag on to theirs without actually staying in the hotel.

Bellalinda: Where were you staying in Italy: in hotels? cuz I think they would have wifi... it's just that we are renting two different houses, which won't have WiFi

traval52: I wonder if I could take my son's old European Nokia, and get a sim card for it. It's pretty old and he doesn't think it would work any more, what with new technology.
We have used it in the past with success.
taconictraveler is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 01:07 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,759
travel52, I think AT&T may have misled you slightly. It's not a matter of your phone having "newer" technology than Italy uses, it's a matter of compatible radio frequencies. (Europe and Asia are generally ahead of the US in cell phone technology actually.) Europe and the US don't use all the same frequencies for cell phones. Generally, you need a "quad band" phone to work in the US or Europe, but many US phones are "tri band" (three frequencies) and lack one of the popular frequencies used in Europe.

My old Motorola GSM phone was one of these US tri-band phones, but I found a hack to get it use the three GSM frequencies used in Europe. I bought an Italian SIM card for it once I got to Italy and it worked beautifully everywhere in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia that I needed to use it. My phone also had a modem and I'm fairly sure I could have figured out how to tether it to my netbook to get internet access everywhere, though that would have probably been more expensive than I was willing to pay. I generally found WiFi where I needed it in Italian cities. In the smaller towns, maybe not so much. I always book lodgings when I travel based on their advertised availability of WiFi.
Andrew is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 02:34 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 118
Yes I did stay in a few hotels, but also farm stays & B&B's. You will find once you get there that wifi is everywhere
bellalinda is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 02:36 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 485
Andrew: I think mine is a quad and my husband's a tri. Friends were coming to meet us, so I had them bring my old razr that had been unlocked. I had a sim card from Italy and it worked fine. I don't mean to "muddy the waters" but it was so frustrating to get there with a new phone and no way to use it.
travel52 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 03:41 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,513
taconictraveler: Hope for the best but don't expect much. When we turned on our little laptop we got a lot of very strong signals from hotels in the area but they were all locked. Maybe you can make friends and get the password.
Ann1 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 04:43 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,848
I used a USB stick in Italy last month. It was a godsend to be able to access Internet from anywhere during the volcano eruption using the 3G network. I used one from Vodafone. I did not specifically choose Vodafone over TIM; a Vodafone store happened to be around the corner from my hotel while the TIM store was further away.
greg is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 09:02 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,513
Greg: We were thinking of that this time. Can you get a Vodafone or TIM for periodic use....like a couple of months a year?
Ann1 is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 09:28 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,513
PS..We have Go-Sims for our cell phone. They have the USB stick also and the phone and the USB stick never expire even if you don't use them within 12 months. So we're looking into everything before we decide.
Ann1 is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 10:02 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,735
I am sitting at my laptop, in Rome, and this is the first place we've been with "reliable" internet. In Venice, it was hit or miss and the same in Florence.

Our apartment in Venice advertised that they had wifi, but the truth was that it might work for 30 seconds at a time and then dropped you due to week signal. The actual signal went from extremely strong to non-existent totally willy-nilly. We pretty much found it useless at the apt.

We then took the laptop to St. Mark's square where the signal was supposed to be really strong. Same issue. We tried to Skype my daughter's kids and were not very successful.

Even in our hotel in Florence, the wifi was good, for short periods of time. We were only there three nights and the third we had no access at all. Servers down or something.

We have tried to Skype the kids several times from this apt in Rome, which certainly allows a constant connection when you are sending email. But if Skyping, it disconnects every two minutes or so.

We have found it very frustrating.

Re phones= If you have an I-phone, there is free access in Venice for all I-phone users. Ask your hotel or apt for a password.

I have a Samsung Impression and service from AT&T. We made three calls to AT&T before we left about how to use our phones in Italy, and not once did the idiots explain to us that we had to ask to have the "international calling feature" option turned on. So we got to Rome with no service and could not contact our apt owner to meet us (we were dumb and waited til we were on the train for Venice before we checked the phones. Well- sh*t, AT&T said they would "work fine" in Italy! Morons!) Once we were able to use the free I=phone hookup (my daughter, thank heavens has one)in Venice, we called AT&T, who finally fixed my ability to use my phone.

However, in Rome, I have to lean out the window of my apartment in order to get a phone signal.

Totally frustrating experiences, all around.

Good luck!
sarge56 is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 11:06 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,759
I was definitely able to Skype from Italy all over the place; in fact I used Skype as a phone and used it quite a lot. (I have a US Skype phone number that my US cell phone forwarded to, so if people called my US cell phone it would "ring" on my computer if I was online with Skype). Of course, it's important to have a good internet connection, but even then I've found Skype to be pretty forgiving of a weak connection; you might not be able to Skype for a half hour uninterrupted every time, but for a few minutes it wasn't a problem for me.

Not all laptop and netbook wireless cards are equal and get the same reception. Some are definitely better than others. More than once I've been sitting next to someone who absolutely could not pull in a wireless signal with their laptop, after a few minutes of trying, while I was able to pull it immediately and well enough with my laptop.

Still - yes, it can be frustrating trying to get on a WiFi at all in Europe. While the McDonalds in Venice did seem to have free WiFi, none of the people working there could understand what I was asking enough to tell me how to use it. There was an open WiFi signal from some other source that I used from there instead. (In Paris, WiFi at McDonalds is easy, you just login to it and agree to use it, blah blah blah, not so in Italy at least for me, I think you need a password or something.)
Andrew is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 12:29 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,010
"Free access to iPhone users in Venice" ??? - Maybe I wish I were going there this time.

"Hope for the best but don't expect too much" is very good advice. thanks.

Now, my dumb questions will prove that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but
HOW do you use a USB with an iPhone? What am I missing? I think of a USB as one of those thumb drives? (don't tell my son I'm asking this question, he already thinks I'm beyond redemption.)

I really just want to know the easiest way to be in some kind of telephone contact with restaurants and our other friends who will also be in Italy, without it costing a fortune.

I too found all sorts of WiFi while we drove to Florida from NY this winter, but almost every one turned out to be locked, when I tried access. Frustrating.

I'm not concerned about calling back home from Italy. I can find a way to use email, if the iPhone is too expensive for that.

By the way, thanks to all of you for trying to help. I guess we're all a little in the dark. We always had a good time in Italy, even before the Internet, didn't we??
taconictraveler is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 12:38 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,588
Still - yes, it can be frustrating trying to get on a WiFi at all in Europe.

IN the Uk it's pretty easy...many coffee shops, bars and pubs have free wifi.
Italy are rather behind on all that....have used a USB (mobile broadband) in Italy from Vodafone but was way more expensive than our one that we use in the UK.
alihutch is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:21 AM.