hand holding an iphone in front of a bush. there is an italian phone number entered, originating in the united states.

How To Call Italy From The USA (or Canada)

Are you in the thick of planning your trip to Italy and you need to call your hotel in Pienza?

Do you want to announce the birth of your new baby to family and friends in Italy?

Are you wanting to call your Italian lover on Valentine’s Day?

No matter what your reason for calling Italy is, you’ll dial the number you’re calling in different ways depending on whether you’re calling a landline or a mobile phone.  Read on for all the info you need on how to call Italy from the USA (all of the below also applies to calling from Canada).

Quick Answer – How to Call Italy From The USA

  1. Dial ‘011’ (international access code)
  2. Dial ‘39’ (Italy’s country code)
  3. Dial the area code + number (landline) OR prefix + number (mobile)

Example – To call the Italian landline 0571 123456, dial 011390571123456:

Infographic showing an American flag with an arrow to a telephone and an arrow to an Italian flag.  Underneath, you can see how the Italian landline phone number is broken down into international access code, country code, area code, and phone number.

Example – To call the Italian mobile number 335 123 4567, dial 011393351234567:

Infographic showing an American flag with an arrow to a mobile phone and an arrow to an Italian flag.  Underneath, you can see how the Italian mobile phone number is broken down into international access code, country code, area code, and phone number.

You may be wondering how to tell the difference between an Italian landline number and an Italian mobile number. More on that below.

Things To Know Before Making A Call To Italy From The USA

Italy’s Country Code is 39.

The international access code to use when calling from the USA is ‘011.’  When your mobile phone sees a ‘+’ in a phone number, it dials the appropriate international access code based on your current location. 

You may not be able to call every Italian number.  Some toll-free numbers or call center numbers can only be called from within Italy (they typically begin with 199 or 800).  Tip – if the number doesn’t begin with ‘0’ or ‘3’ you probably won’t be able to call it from outside of Italy.

Photo of box of salt with Italy's version of a toll-free number.  You can also see other writing in Italian and the bar code at the bottom of the box.
This Numero Verde gratuito 800 80 55 80 is a toll-free number that you can’t call from outside of Italy

Important To Know – Format Of Italian Mobile Numbers

Italian mobile phones begin with ‘3’ and have 10 digits.  The first three digits are the prefix. Occasionally you’ll come across an older mobile number that has only 9 digits.

Examples of how Italian mobile numbers are written:

338 12 34 567338 12345673381234567
+39 338 12 34 567+39 338 1234567+39 3381234567
+393381234567338/1234567338.12.34.567

Screenshot of Fenix NCC webpage with driver's mobile number circled in red.
To call this Italian mobile number from the USA, you’d dial 011393473183580

Important To Know – Format Of Italian Land Lines

Italian landlines begin with ‘0’ and have 8-11 digits.

Important – do NOT remove the beginning ‘0’ when calling a landline.  Although this is common practice when calling many other countries, in Italy we NEVER remove the leading ‘0.’ 

Landlines all begin with a 2-4 digit area code.  The first digit is always ‘0.’

Area Codes Of Some Of Italy’s Larger Cities

CityArea CodeCityArea CodeCityArea Code
Amalfi089La Spezia0187Positano089
Bari080Lecce0832Ravenna0544
Bologna051Livorno0586Rome06
Bolzano0471Milan02Salerno089
Cagliari070Modena059Siena0577
Catania095Naples081Siracusa0931
Cortina d’Ampezzo0436Parma0521Torino011
Ferrara0532Palermo091Trento0461
Florence055Perugia075Venice041
Genoa010Pisa050Verona045

For all of Italy’s area codes, see the Italian White Pages.

Examples of how Italian landline numbers are written:

055 123456055123456
055.123456055/123456
+39 055 123456+39 055123456

Screenshot of Villa Crespi's contact information with the phone number circled in red.
To call this Italian landline number from the USA, you’d dial 011390322911902

Again, remember to leave the leading ‘0’ in the phone number!  You may occasionally see a landline written like +39(0)55123456.  Ignore the parentheses and keep the ‘0’ in the number.

Calling An Italian Landline From The USA

  1. Dial 011 (the international access code to dial outside of the United States)
  2. Dial 39 (Italy’s country code)
  3. Dial the area code
  4. Dial the number

Example number to call: 06 123456
This is a landline in Rome (area code 06).
Dial 0113906123456.

Calling Italy From The USA On A Mobile Phone

  1. Dial 011 (the international access code to dial outside of the United States)
  2. Dial 39 (Italy’s country code)
  3. Dial the prefix and number

Example number to call: 339 1234567
This is a mobile number.
Dial 011393391234567.

How To Add An Italian Phone Number To Your Contacts

If it’s a number you’ll be using more than once, you’ll want to add it to your contacts:

  1. Enter ‘+’ first.  Tip – If the ‘+’ key is shared with the ‘0’ on your keypad, press down on the key until the ‘+’ shows up on your screen.
  2. Enter the country code for Italy, ’39.’
  3. Enter the area code (landline) or prefix (mobile), then the phone number.

So, an Italian mobile number will look like:

Screenshot of iphone contact number for Marco Rome Private Driver.

An Italian landline number will look like:

Screenshot of iphone contact number for Romantik Hotel Turm.

Calling Italy From The USA Using WhatsApp

This is my recommended method when someone asks me how to make a call to Italy from the United States.

Advantages:  It’s free if you have access to WIFI, and if you have data on your phone, you can use data to make the call.

Disadvantages:  While you can sign up for WhatsApp with a landline, it hasn’t really caught on yet in Italy.  So, you may not be able to call landlines of hotels, rental car agencies, or other businesses. 

To use WhatsApp to make a call:

  1. Make sure the Italian number is entered in your phone correctly (see above How To Add An Italian Phone Number To Your Contacts)
  2. Open WhatsApp and click on the ‘Calls’ Icon at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Click on the Phone + icon in the upper right.
  4. Either enter the contact name in the search bar on top or scroll down to find the contact you’d like to call.  If your landline phone number shows up, the contact has the landline WhatsApp and you can make the call.
  5. Click on the phone icon next to the contact (or the video icon if you’d like to make a video call).

Calling Italy From The USA Using Skype

Advantages: It’s free if you have access to WIFI and your contact also uses Skype.

Disadvantages: If your contact doesn’t have Skype (which is common for many businesses), you’ll need to pay for the call to a mobile or landline.  Fortunately, the rates are not expensive.

To use Skype to make a call:

  1. Sign in to Skype
  2. If your contact uses Skype, choose the contact from your contact list and click the phone or video icon to begin the call.
  3. Otherwise, click on the dialpad icon, choose ‘Italy’ from the countries list, and enter the phone number (using the formats listed above – you don’t need to enter the ‘011’ or ’39’).

Calling Italy From The USA Using FaceTime

Advantages: It’s free if you have access to WIFI, and if you have data on your phone, you can use data to make the call.  FaceTime is integrated into all Apple devices, so you can use it on your Apple computer, iPad, etc.

Disadvantages:  Your contact needs to have FaceTime.  So, you will not be able to call landlines of hotels, rental car agencies, or other businesses. 

To use FaceTime to make a call:

  1. Access your contacts from your iPhone phone app or the FaceTime app.
  2. If you’re looking via your contacts, you’ll see FaceTime audio and video icons if they have an Apple device and access to FaceTime.  Click on the icon you’d like to use (audio or video).

Tip – If you’re looking via the FaceTime app, simply click on ‘New FaceTime’ and choose the contact you’d like to call and click on ‘FaceTime.’

Other Ways To Call Italy From The USA

Phone Card

I remember using phone cards 20 years ago, and you still can!  These are great because they’re prepaid, so you won’t get any unexpected bills.  Pay attention to the expiration date. 

Viber

The Viber app is relatively unknown in Italy, so most people and businesses don’t have it.  Viber requires both the caller and recipient of the call to have the app, so you’re probably out of luck.  You can use Viber Out and to make calls to Italy from the USA for next to nothing (~$0.02/minute). 

Facebook Messenger

You can use Facebook’s Messenger app to call others with Facebook Messenger.  I prefer other options above, like WhatsApp, Skype, or FaceTime.

Mobile Phone Plan

I don’t recommend this option unless you have a dedicated international plan and know the exact rates you’ll be charged.  Even so, I would still use one of the other options.

Italian Phone Etiquette

How Italians Will Answer The Phone

When Italians answer the phone, they don’t say ‘ciao.’ Instead, they’ll say ‘pronto’ as in ‘I’m ready, go ahead!’  This is in place of the US ‘hello?’

A polite response is to say ‘buongiorno’ during the day or ‘buonasera in the evening (Italy time)

If you don’t speak Italian, you can say, ‘Non parlo italiano, Lei parla inglese?’ which translates to ‘I don’t speak Italian, do you speak English?’

Read more about How People in Italy Answer the Phone.

Acceptable Hours to Call Italy

Italy is on Central European Time.  It’s one hour ahead of the UK (GMT), six hours ahead of New York City (most of the year – Italy’s daylight savings dates aren’t exactly the same), and 9 hours ahead of California (again, for most of the year – Italy’s daylight savings dates are slightly different than the US’s). 

To be polite, don’t call anyone (business or personal calls) before 8:00 or after 20:00.  You may need to call a hotel after 20:00, and that’s fine because someone will be on duty at reception.

It’s also best to avoid meal times, which are typically 13:00-14:00 for lunch and 20:00-21:00 for dinner.  Aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks and snacks) is in the early evening.

Receiving Phone Calls In Italy

Italians do not pay to receive phone calls on their mobile phones, so they may prefer not to call back if they’ve missed a call.  You may need to call back versus leaving a message and expecting the Italian contact to call you back.

FAQ