Italy Currency Exchange Guide

Italy is a spectacular country that is overloaded with beauty, culture, and history. From the iconic canals of Venice to the awe-inspiring Coliseum in Rome, you will never be lacking things to marvel at. With its idyllic coastline dotted with picturesque villages and bustling cosmopolitan cities, Italy offers something for everybody. Whether it’s kicking back on a beach, shopping with the locals or just experiencing the vibrant local culture, you will come away feeling enriched and inspired.

General Italy Currency Information

What is the currency in Italy?

The official currency in Italy is the Euro (EUR).

What do Italian notes & coins look like?

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Italian euro banknotes feature the artwork of a European architectural style according to denomination. The lowest denomination reflects the classical architecture, while the mid denominations depict Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles, as well as rococo and the Age of Iron and Glass. On higher valued notes, modern 20th Century architecture is displayed. This artwork is complemented by other symbols, such as windows and gateways that collectively represent the openness and cooperation of Europe, while bridges symbolize communication between EU citizens and those beyond its borders.

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Italian Euro coins consist of the 1 and 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. These coins use a bi-metal and sandwich technology, as well as a unique Nordic gold alloy which makes them highly secure against counterfeiting. Also, due to the sophisticated production process used to make these coins, they can be recognized by vending machines across the euro area regardless of their place of issue. In addition, each €2 coin features lettering along its edge that is distinct from other countries’ Euro coinage. Altogether, Italian Euro coins offer a high level of reliability and are clearly identifiable for ease of use.

Economy

Italy’s economy is an integral part of the European Union (EU) and serves as a cornerstone for multilateral economic stability. As the third-largest national economy in the EU, it is a major contributor to international trade.

Additionally, with a nominal GDP of the 10th-largest in the world, it is considered an Advanced Economy. The country is also part of significant international organizations like the Eurozone, OECD, G7, and G20 – all of which have substantially enriched its global economic relationships.

Exports from Italy amount to $611 billion, and its closest trading partners are other EU countries, where it conducts about 59% of its total trade. Major exporters include Germany (12.5%), France (10.3%), the United States (9%), Spain (5.2%), the United Kingdom (5.2%) and Switzerland (4.6%).

Brief currency history

Italy’s currency history is both fascinating and complex. The roots of the Italian lira were established in 1807 when Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy established it at par with the French franc. It was a benchmark currency it continued to be used amongst Italian states until their unification in 1861.

Subsequently, Italy took its share in the Latin Monetary Union alongside France, Belgium and Switzerland, which saw the lira pegged to those currencies. In 1914, 1 U.S. dollar was equal to 5.18 Italian lire before the country went through various other economic changes over its history.

After World War II, Italy struggled with the devaluation of its currency, the lira. This caused economic calculations and price displays to become quite cumbersome due to the need to include a large number of zeroes.

As early as the 1950s, proposals were made to redenominate the lira; however, no serious efforts were made until the implementation of the lira pesante [it] (or ‘hard lira’) in 1984. The lira pesante aimed to solve these problems by redenominating at 1,000:1, thus removing three zeroes from the currency.

Despite some degree of improvement from this initiative, plans for a single European currency ceased any further progress on the project, and it was completely abandoned in 1991.

On the 1st of January 1999, Italy officially adopted the euro as its currency in place of the lira. Although it was a national subunit for two more years and coins denominated in lira were still accepted until 28 February 2002, by this date, Lit.1,936.27 had to be converted into euros to use legally tender money in Italy.

The Bank of Italy allowed the exchange of all lira banknotes and post-WWII coins until December 6th, 2011. Initially, they had promised to redeem Italian currency up until February 29th, 2012 – but it was thankfully pushed forward to give everyone more time.

Taking Travel Money to Italy

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What currency should I take to Italy?

If you’re travelling to Italy, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Euros (EUR) before you leave. Get information on how to exchange your AUD to EUR.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Italy?

When travelling to Italy from Australia, it is more practical to convert Australian dollars to Euros in Australia rather than waiting until you reach Italy. By converting your funds ahead of time, you can budget better and have access to the funds right away. Additionally, exchanging currency in Australia may offer a more favourable exchange rate than when you are abroad. Ultimately, it is best to research beforehand and prepare for all situations before leaving on your trip.

How much cash can I take to Italy?

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can bring into the country or the eurozone, so you can carry all the funds necessary for your travels. However, if you’re entering or leaving Italy with more than €10,000, you’ll have to declare your cash. Make sure that this is part of your preparation process before arriving at the airport or other travel point in Italy.

Where to convert currency?

If you’re looking for the best place to convert currency in Australia, look no further than Crown Currency Exchange. With nearly 20 years of experience and a friendly team, we offer convenient services with no hidden fees or commissions. Our competitive foreign exchange rates make us the top choice when you need to exchange currency in Australia! With 50 stores across the nation, it’s easy to find our service when you need it.

Is tipping customary in Italy? How much is expected?

When travelling to a new country, it can be difficult to know what the customs are for tipping. In Italy, tipping is expected and customary in certain situations. Here’s an overview of when and how much you should tip while visiting Italy.

Restaurants and Cafes: When dining at restaurants or cafes in Italy, a few Euro up to 10% of the bill is expected as a tip. When leaving your tip, you don’t need to leave it on the table; instead, give it directly to the waiter/waitress when they present you with your bill. If there is no service charge included in your bill, then 10% is usually considered standard. If there is already a service charge included in your bill, then 5-8% would be more appropriate 

Taxi Drivers: The best way to show appreciation for taxi drivers in Italy is by rounding up the charge at the end of the ride up to a couple of euros or so. This isn’t necessary, but it will certainly be appreciated by them.

Tour Guides: Tipping tour guides is also common practice in Italy, depending on how satisfied you were with their services during your tour. Anything between 5 Euro and 5-10% of the cost of the tour should suffice as a thank you for their time and knowledge.

Hotels: If you use bellhops at hotels or check into hostels that have porters available, 1 Euro per bag is customary – usually up to 5 Euro if they help carry multiple bags for you. For housekeeping staff at hotel rooms, 1 Euro per day of stay is common as a thank you for cleaning and tidying up your room each day during your stay.

Hairdressers: If getting some styling done by hairdressers or barbershops while travelling around Italy, 5 Euros should suffice as a thank you for their service.

Can you bargain in Italy?

Bargaining at markets and with street vendors is commonplace in Italy, so if you’re looking for a good deal on shoes, clothes or handcrafted items, chances are you can get some decent savings by having a friendly chat. Of course, the amount of money saved will depend on the vendor, but on average, you can expect to get 10% off the initial price. It’s important to note that this strategy does not usually work with food vendors—they will not be willing to negotiate on prices.

What is ATM access like in Italy?

ATM access in Italy is plentiful and easy to use. Most of the country’s largest cities have ATMs, which are commonly located outside banks and stores. While these machines accept cards from most major credit cards, it is recommended to inform your bank before travelling so that you can use their debit and credit cards without any difficulty. In addition, it’s important to be aware of any expenses you might incur for using non-Italian ATMs.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

When travelling to Italy on a limited budget, you should aim for a daily allowance of at least 60 EUR. This amount covers accommodation in the form of hostels, home-cooked meals and transport around the country using public means. Free activities such as beach-going, hiking and sightseeing tours can also be enjoyed while adhering to this budget. If alcohol is a desired part of your stay in Italy, it is worth adjusting the daily allowance by 5-10 EUR.

Moderate

If you’re on a moderate budget, setting aside 140 EUR per day should do the trick! With this amount of money, you’ll be able to stay in a nice Airbnb, sample some of the divine Italian cuisine out-and-about and still have enough money to quench your thirst with some drinks or coffee. Plus, you can explore local attractions like the Colosseum or Pompeii without breaking the bank.

Luxury

Ready to experience Italy to the fullest? With a luxury budget of 255 EUR or more per day, you can live like a king! Treat yourself to comfortable accommodations at a cozy budget hotel, enjoy delicious authentic Italian food from all the best restaurants, indulge in plenty of drinks, whether it be Prosecco or Aperol spritz, rent your own car for extra convenience and flexibility, and treat yourself to some unforgettable experiences like gondola rides in Venice or walking tours around Florence.

Currency details

Currency:

Euro

Currency code:

EUR

Currency symbol:

Central bank:

Bank of Italy

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Cent = 1/100

Bank notes:

€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500

Coins:

1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2

Must-do's while you are in Italy

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1. Take a Scenic Gondola Ride in Venice

A gondola ride in Venice is one of the most iconic experiences you can have while visiting Italy. Gliding down the Grand Canal, taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful city is a must when you’re in Venice. Make sure to book your ride during the day or early evening, as that will provide you with the best views of the city. 

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2. Marvel at the Art and Architecture of Florence

As far as art and architecture go, there’s no better place to be than Florence. Home to some of the world’s greatest works of art, including Michelangelo’s David, it’s easy to see why Florence is one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Spend your days wandering around this beautiful city and admiring its impressive monuments and breathtaking works of art.

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3. Cruise The Canals Of Venice On A Venetian Gondola

There’s no better way to explore Venice than on a traditional Venetian gondola. While taking in all that this incredible city has to offer, take time to appreciate its intricate canals and bridges as you cruise along them on your gondola. And don’t forget to look up! The stunning architecture that adorns many buildings will take your breath away. 

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4. Climb To The Top Of Michelangelo's David In Florence

One of the most iconic statues in all of Italy, Michelangelo’s David stands tall in Florence and is definitely worth seeing firsthand. Climb up to the top of this masterpiece and marvel at its size and detail up close—you won’t regret it! Plus, it’s an amazing photo opportunity, so bring your camera! 

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5. Visit The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Last but not least, don’t forget about the Leaning Tower Of Pisa! This remarkable structure stands tall against the backdrop of Tuscany’s rolling hillsides; just make sure not to lean too much while taking pictures! It’s an incredible sight not only because it leans but also because it symbolizes centuries of architectural history right before your eyes. 

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