The once loved and highly devalued Italian lira (L) is
now a thing of the past.* As of January 1st, 2002, twelve countries
in the European Union (including Italy) adopted the Euro as their
legal currency. The Euro experiment, which began with a primary
purpose of uniting commerce in a geographic area that has many different
foreign ideologies, has become a stable and valiant currency with
a strong presence in today’s Foreign exchange markets (FOREX).
Denominations of the Euro include:
1, 2 Euro coins;
5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 & 500 Euro notes;
and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents.
The Euro is unique in that each country prints its’
own euro notes (even though both sides of the banknotes are
the same in all Euro-based countries). The real distinction
rests in the coins as they are minted with one side which
bears each country’s own design, and another side that
is common to all countries. But, no matter what country's
Euros you possess, they are the same size, they are the same
in value, and they can be used in all Euro-based countries.
Today, the FOREX quotes the value of the Euro to be
approximately equal to USD $1.2864
When do I convert my money? Before embarking on your Etaly Vacation,
it is advisable to equip yourself with enough Euros so as to compensate
for an unplanned cab ride or phone call. Thereafter, it is advisable
to keep some Euros in cash for making small purchases, such as snacks
and souvenirs from street vendors. Wherever you are in the world,
banks and ATMs are the best places to receive favorable exchange
rates for cash withdrawal.
The good news, however, is that credit cards are also a widely accepted
method of payment in Italy and they are the best method of obtaining
the best exchange rate. Whenever possible, avoid cash conversions
at airports or at your Italian hotels as their rates have a tendency
to leave holes in your pockets. Don’t forget to plan for having
enough cash in your pockets for your return trip back home (in case
you have to pay for airport parking or arrange for a cab).
In the absence of credit cards, Traveler's checks are also very
useful and a less risky method of payment during your vacation in
Italy. For convenience, buy them already denominated in Euros before
In Italy, banks are usually open Monday through Friday (and Saturday
mornings), and are closed on public holidays. ATMs are readily accessible
in many instances, but check with your local bank to make sure they
are part of a European ATM network.
*If you have Italian lira left over from a previous trip, you can
convert them to Euros at any Italian bank.