Currency, Credit Cards, ATMs

CURRENCY 

The currency used in Italy, since 2002, is EURO. Notes are in denominations of Euro 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and Coins are in denominations of Euro 2, 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent.

Don't bring around 200 or 500 euro pieces as they are very hard to use if you are not making a large purchase, prefer instead to carry around 10s and 20s, which are useful upon arrival to buy bus tickets, taxi, cappuccino, gelato...

To find out how much the Euro is today, you can use the following currency converter: http://www.xe.com/

BANKS offer most favorable Exchange rate than currency exchange booths, but are close after 4:00pm, make sure to do this operations  in the morning.
Banks Opening Hours - from Monday to Friday (time vary from bank to bank)
Mornings:   9:00am - 1.15pm
Afternoons: 2:30pm - 3:30pm
 
CURRENCY EXCHANGE can be found at the Airport, Railway Station and through Exchange Offices in downtown Florence, better ask the commission applied before changing cheques or cash. Travel Cheques are not used so much anymore as commissions applied are not convenient anymore. 
Exchange Offices can be found in Via Calzaiuoli (the street connecting Piazza del Duomo with Piazza della Signoria).

The best option is anyhow the CREDIT CARD, these are accepted anywhere, just bring your ID and/or Passport along, as a confirmation of your identity may be asked before the purchase.


CREDIT CARDS
 
Credit Cards are accepted almost anywhere (maybe some tiny shops or food booths do not hold it- also taxis - so just bring always some change with you). 
American Express is not popular and not so much accepted as Mastercard/Cirrus or Visa/Plus. 
 
Make sure to advise your bank before your vacation that you are going on an overseas trip. Many banks can decline payments coming in from foreign entities without prior consent from their clients. As with other important documents (passports, insurances), make photocopies of all your major documents in case of any unforeseen problem.

Consider taking with you at least two cards from different banks. It is better to play it safe and have a backup card, in case the first one fails. Also, for additional peace of mind, do bring with you some euro to get you started. 

 


ATM - Bancomat 

ATM machines (Bancomat in Italian)allow you to withdraw cash day and night, and are usually located outside Banks - all transactions will be charged at the official net rate. ATMs withdrawals are the cheapest way to get local currency, but watch out for the per-transaction fee and avoid small withdrawals. Be  aware that most Italian ATM/Bancomats impose a maximum withdrawal limit of 250,00 Euro per transaction.

Most ATMs in Italy ask for a 4 digit pin number – make sure your card does not have a 5 digit pin number or you will not be able to withdraw cash - you can ask your bank to change it to 4 digits, no letters – but test it before you leave your country. Bring some Euro bills with you before you leave: it's much easier than having to run around for a ATM or negotiating at a currency exchange office in the Airport with your load of baggage after a long distance flight.