Italy uses the Euro (€) as its currency. It might be wise to have some with you when you land, particularly if you plan to take a taxi from the airport to the Rome Campus or your hotel. You may purchase Euros in the US at most major airports and through AAA. You may also be able to purchase Euros at some larger US banks. Be aware that the exchange rate for Euros purchased in the US will be significantly higher than it is in Italy.
Most travelers prefer to use their ATM card in Italy to access cash. Before leaving for Italy, be sure to contact your bank and explain that you will be traveling in Italy and plan to use your ATM card while there to access your account. The same is true for any credit cards you plan to use. If you do not let your bank and credit card companies know that you will be using your cards abroad, it is likely that they will think that your card has been stolen and put a hold on your accounts.
ATM machines are plentiful in Italy and the procedure for accessing them is the same as in the US:
Italian banks do not charge ATM fees, but US banks do. Ask your bank about its fees to avoid surprises when you get your bank statement.
When thinking about how much things cost, remember that the Euro is worth more than the dollar, so, for example, if the Euro is exchanging at around $1.50, that means that an ATM withdrawal of €100 will cost $150. For a general idea of current exchange rates, go to http://www.xe.com/ Your bank’s rate will probably be slightly higher than the rates quoted here. Remember that rates change daily.
Do not use travelers checks or bring US dollars to exchange. It is difficult to exchange both and, when you do find a bank that will exchange them into Euros, the exchange rate is high. Unlike in developing countries, do not expect to pay for anything with dollars.
Credit card companies also charge fees for using your card overseas. Ask your credit card company about its fees to avoid surprises when you get your statement. Capital One is the only credit card company/bank that we have found that does not charge a fee on top of Visa or Master Card’s fee for international transactions.