Getting an Italian
Internet Service Provider
Okay, so you're in
Rome, your computers plugged in and running, and your modem can
dial up a number and connect (or
click here for advice if your modem in fact does not
seem to work)
So now, who the heck do you connect to get
onto the Internet or pick up your email in Italy?
If youre only
here for a few days, and can afford it, the easiest (but ridiculously
expensive) way is to simply connect to your existing ISP (Internet service
provider) in the States, or England or wherever home is. Just reset your
dialup with the national prefix code for the phone number. Thatll
get you surfing okay, but of course at international phone rates. You
dont want that of course. (Unless your home ISP has local international
Point of Presence Dialup numbers in Italy, or you have one of those deals
that allows you to do this).
can forget about your own computer and just go to an Internet café
in Rome (there are a few) to pick up your email (having first opened a
Hotmail, or similar account. Do it before you leave home, and tell all
your usual contacts what your new, temporary Hotmail address will be,
itll save time later on).
But if youll
be in Italy for anything longer than a couple of weeks, its best
to get your own ISP. Theres a few free providers in Italy . Theyre
mostly rather oversubscribed and sometimes slow to connect, but in fact
theyre a heck of a lot better than they were two or three years
ago. Italy is a bit behind with Internet and computers in general, but
they are now catching up fast with the latest technology and culture.
Run a web-search for
any of the following Italian free ISP companies, and just pick one:
Italian Online (IOL)
Some of these are
merged with each other at the same portal now, ie Virgilio/Tin.it is all
the same thing now I think, though they may have different corporate domain
indexes. By the way, .it is the domain suffix for Italy, the
equivalent of .com in the US or .co.uk in England.
Instead of pronouncing .it as dot it, as we would
say it, the Italians pronounce it something like poontoh eat,
so listen out for that.
You can either sign
up with these providers by using a free CD Rom, as normal in our country,
and these come free on magazine covers or the usual junk sources, as we
are used to seeing at home.
If you cant
get hold of a CD, just do it online from the providers website that
you found after searching on the names given above. Signing up can be
tricky of course, because the forms are mostly all in Italian, but if
youve done this before at home, you can generally figure most of
it out. The word you should look for on their sites is abbonato
or some conjugation of it It means subscribe, or sign
up. Follow the links from that word. Some Italian sites use a few
English words which can be a big help.
One annoyance you
might come across is that they wont let you sign up with the online
form unless you quote them an Italian Codice Fiscale number,
which of course, as a non resident, you wont have yet. If this happens,
screw them and try another provider.
If you cant
get round it, try borrowing an Italian friends Codice Fiscale number,
but the problem with that is that youll have to sign up in the same
name as the legitimate Codice Fiscale number-holder. Ah, Italy
They even managed to balls up the new freedom of the Internet with their
insidious old bureaucracy.
If you still cant get round it, try emailing them a letter explaining
that you dont have a Codice Fiscale nuber because you just plain
aint Italian, and see if you can persuade them to manually build
you an account and just mail you back with the POP and SMTP server addresses,
and DNS numbers and stuff.
The advantage of signing
up with these companies online is that you can do it at home in the States
or wherever before you leave for Italy, and have your computers
dialup connection and email and Internet applications already configured
and ready to just plug in and surf as soon as you hit Italy. Saves time
later. Even if you dont want to pre-configure, you can at least
have all the new configurations written down or printed out, ready to
tap them in when you arrive.
Some of these free
service providers allow you to upgrade to a pay service with more webspace,
or broadband. Actually Tin.it is part of the old national telephone company
in Italy, while Wind and Infostrada are newer competitors in the now open
telephone provision market here, so if you also have them as your phone
company, they also sometimes have tie-in deals for ISDN or broadband provision.
Look into it.
Some of the free providers
here dont allow you to do anything commercial with their free webspace.
Its part of the deep-seated Italian culture here, never to give
anything away for free unless youre a friend of the family.
If youd prefer to go straight to a commercial ISP for a better service
and oodles of web-space to do what you please with, I can recommend a
company called Pronet. Other commercial providers here are
Flashnet, Isinet or Tiscali, who also have an Italian operation. Theres
others. Try the phone book or check ads and reviews in any Italian computing
to all this is to just buy a whole new computer in Italy and ask the dealer
to configure an Internet account on it with an Italian ISP for you. Thats
an expensive option of course, but time may be money to you, and the hours
saved in frustrating failure to get your old computer online in Italy
may be worth it to you.
It all depends on
your circumstances, how long you intend to stay in Italy, how old your
computer is and how much you think youll be using it etc...
for more about using
your computer in italy