Who does not want to go road tripping in Italy right? The food, the people, the coastline, the landscapes and the cheap Italy data sim cards! When traveling to Italy you want to share your romantic getaway with the world and buying a sim card in Italy is the best way to avoid high roaming cost. In this article I will show you where you can get an Italy sim card, why you should get one, how much it costs, the best 4G/5G network in Italy, tell you about free EU roaming and even help you to order one online.

Whenever I get to a new country the first thing I do is buying a local sim card with data to avoid extremely high roaming costs. Buying a prepaid sim card in Italy is very easy and also very affordable. All you need to do is locate a store of your preferred provider, hop into their shop, bring your passport and 5 minutes later you walk away with a ton of data on your local sim card.

Forget about slow overseas data bundles, when planning a trip to Italy getting a local sim card should on your things to do list.

Flying into one of the main an international airports in Italy? Click on the links for a detailed guide for buying a sim card at the airports of Milan, Venice or Rome. Are you traveling onwards to other countries in Europe then you might wanna look into the best sim cards for a Europe trip or have a look at my complete guide for buying a local sim card in Europe. In this last article you can find all my tips and tricks and I specify the best prepaid sim card for tourists per EU country.

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My recommendation

I recommend travelers to get a sim card from TIM or Iliad. Iliad has limited data roaming in Europe though and their stores are much harder to locate. TIM offers a prepaid sim card for €20 with 40 GB data, they have a great network in Italy and they provide free EU roaming.

Why buying a sim card in Italy

First and foremost reason is to stay connected when abroad. It makes traveling so much easier. I can come up with a ton of reasons, but simply ordering a taxi through an app, or finding a restaurant, phone number, rooftop bar, whatever. No need to tell you that internet simply makes are life so much more convenient. Second, Italy sim cards are CHEAP! Why get an expensive overseas roaming bundle when you can get 2 GB data for €1 in Italy?

If you are considering to buy an international sim card then please read my global sim card comparison. I researched all of the international sim cards available and I can already tell you that most of them are a SCAM! Prices for data roaming are insanely expensive compared to local sim cards. Curious? Click on the link to read the complete guide for international sim cards.

Italy sim cards and EU roaming

Good news is that all the prepaid sim card in Italy allow FREE EU roaming. That means that if you buy a sim card in Rome and travel to Frankfurt, Germany onwards, you can use your voice, text and data allowance in Germany as well. Basically there are no roaming costs within the EU. However, always check with your provider as some operators in Italy limit they EU data roaming allowance.

Buy a Europe sim card online

You can now also order a sim card for traveling in Europe online and get it shipped to your home address. Simoptions is a website specialized in sim cards for travelers. They offer more than a handful Italy sim cards for tourists. Click on the link or the banner below for more info. For $30 you already get 12 GB and unlimited calls/sms in Europe.

europe sim card orange 728x90

Mobile internet operators Italy

There are 4 different mobile internet providers in Italy:

  • Vodafone
  • Windtre (former Wind &3)
  • Tim
  • iliad

Since March 2020 Wind and 3 Italy joined forces and became WINDTRE. Iliad is a fairly new mobile internet operator in Italy. More providers, means more competition, means cheaper prices! Prices for data sim cards in Italy are heaven!

Prices prepaid sim card Italy in 2021

Now let's look at the most important thing for Italy sim cards: the prices of prepaid sim cards and data bundles. All the below info os updated per June 2021.

Tim Italy prepaid sim card

With a Tim Italy prepaid sim card you can use a hotspot and all prepaid data packages are valid for 30 days. You can't order a sim card on their website, but you can top-up/recharge online through the TIM website with your credit card. For more info check the TIM Italy website.

tim italy prepaid sim card 2021

Tim Italy is a pretty good sim card when traveling in Italy as they have the best network coverage and already a 5G network. According to their website you can use 20 GB of the above prepaid sim cards in Europe. If on arrival you see a TIM store, this is not a bad prepaid sim card for Italy to buy.

Windtre Italy

This provider is a merge of Wind and 3, the mobile internet provider from the UK. Since March 2020 they are operating under the new name: Windtre.

Windtre Italy offers a large scale of prepaid sim cards for tourists in Italy. See the picture below.

wind italy prepaid sim card 2021

You can top up/recharge through the Wind Italy website, but you can NOT order a prepaid sim card online. The usage of data is limited in Europe to only 1/6 of your data package, but Wind is a great data sim card for traveling in Italy. Check their website for the latest offers in the link above.

Vodafone Italy 

Vodafone Italy offers one prepaid sim card for tourists.

  • €30 15 GB data in EU + 500 minutes in Europe - valid for 30 days

vodafone italy prepaid sim card

Vodafone Italy does NOT have any EU data limits so you can use 15 GB in all of Europe! Texting is not included, you can use a hotspot on your Vodafone Italy prepaid sim card and Whatsapp, Messenger and Viber is free. Every additional month costs €10 only and you can easily recharge through the Vodafone Italy website by credit card. Pretty great deal for those looking for simplicity.

Iliad Italy

Iliad Italy is a relatively new company and they do not have that many stores around Italy. Buying an Iliad prepaid sim card cost €9.99 (registration fee) and they offer the following data package:

  • €9.99 = 70 GB data in Italy + Unlimited minutes/sms in Europe, USA, Canada, etc. - valid for 1 month.

Be aware that there is a data cap outside Italy of 6 GB! Therefore I would not recommend an Iliad prepaid sim card for a trip to Europe, but just for Italy it is the best value for money sim card deal in Italy. For the latest Iliad prepaid sim card deals check the Iliad website.

iliad italy prepaid sim card price 2021

All in all of course a great deal, especially when traveling to the standard tourist destinations in Italy. The Iliad network is not the best but covers all the major destinations in the country. Sucks that they also limit the data usage in Europe.

Best 5G network in Italy in 2021

Not only the prices and data packages are important for determining the best Italy sim card. I also had a look at the mobile network. How is the 4G coverage and which mobile internet provider in Italy has the best network?

Is there 5G in Italy?

Yes there is 5G in Italy however, it is very limited to the big cities. The Italy 5G network is poor compared to other countries in Europe. As you can see in the mobile internet coverage maps below, Vodafone and TIM are rolling 5G, but Iliad and Windtre are left behind.

Tim 4G/5G network coverage

tim italy network coverage map

Vodafone 4G/5G network coverage

vodafone italy network coverage map

Windtre 4G/5G network coverage

wind italy network coverage

Iliad 4G/5G network coverage

iliad italy network coverage map

What you can see from the above data (source nperf.com) is that Tim Italy has the largest network, although Vodafone has a more advanced 4G network.

But most important for tourists: all Italy tourist destinations have great network coverage! Even when traveling off the beaten path in Italy you will find a phone signal regardless your network operator.

Planning a trip to Sardinia? Then you want to buy a Vodafone Italy sim card for sure, see the above maps! :)

Where to buy a sim card for Italy in 2021

My recommendation is to buy a sim card in the city and NOT at the airport. I totally understand that the airport is the most convenient place to buy a sim card in Italy, but prices for Italy sim cards are a tourist trap at Milan Airport and at Venice Airport. Click on the link to read my sim card guides for those airports.

May you fly to Rome then I recommend you to buy a sim card at Rome Airport, as prices are moderate compared to what stores in the city offer. Click on the link to read my complete guide.

In any tourist destination in Italy there are multiple mobile phone shops. Go to Google Maps and simply type in the by you preferred mobile internet operator and walk to the nearest shops to buy your Italy tourist sim card.

tim italy shop

What to bring when buying an Italy sim card for tourists

Always make sure you carry a passport on you when buying a sim card for Italy. You can register up to at least 3 Italy sim cards on 1 passport.

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Best sim card in Italy in 2021

The best sim card in Italy for tourists is TIM prepaid sim card! TIM offers amazing value for money, a great network, 5G and even 20 GB data roaming in Europe. For €20 you get 40 GB data. Isn't that a great start of your trip to Italy?

If you only travel in Italy and you manage to find an Iliad store then that is definitely not a bad choice. Their network is a bit weaker and there are not that many stores to buy their prepaid sim cards are great value for money.

Buy an Italy sim card online

If you don't want to waste your precious holiday time standing in line for buying an Italy sim card then order one online. On top of the above mentioned Orange sim card for Europe, the following prepaid sim cards are perfect for traveling in Italy:

1. Lycamobile Unlimited Talk Text Data

  • price $23
  • Unlimited data*
  • Unlimited calling + texting

*Lycamobile unlimited data is ONLY 2 GB at 4G/LTE speed and then reduced to 3G speed! They are masters in sales, not performance! 3G speed is awful.

2. TravSIM European SIM Card

  • price $21.99
  • 6 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • Unlimited sms in Europe

3. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90

  • 8 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 30 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 200 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

4. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90

  • 5 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

5. Three PAYG AIO20 - $39.90

  • 12 GB data
  • Unlimited calls within Europe
  • Unlimited sms within Europe
  • Valid 30 days

6. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90

  • 20 GB data
  • Unlimited calls in Europe
  • 120 minutes worldwide
  • Unlimited sms in Europe
  • 1,000 sms worldwide
  • Valid 14 days

My recommendation if you want to order a sim card for Italy online is Orange Holiday Europe sim card. You can order them directly through the Simoptions website, as well as all the other above sim cards. They have sim cards for traveling in every country in Europe for sale. The sim card will be send to your home address and you simply put it in your phone on arrival. The data packages are already activated!

E-Sim card for Italy

In the provider stores they don't yet provide e-sim cards for Italy, however on the internet you can order you Italy e-sim card through Airalo, a worldwide e-sim card provider. These are their Italy e-sim card offers:

  • $4.5 USD = 1 GB data for 7 days
  • $7 USD = 3 GB data for 30 days
  • $10.5 USD = 5 GB data for 30 days
  • $16 USD = 10 GB data for 30 days

These so called Mamma Mia e-sim cards operate on the Vodafone and Wind mobile networks. Click here for more info or to order your Italy e-sim card directly.

I hope the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card in Italy are useful for your upcoming trip. May you have any questions please leave me a comment below, Im more than happy to assist you!

Enjoy your trip to Italy!

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