If you’ve never travelled abroad before or aren’t familiar with things like exchange-rates or where to get hold of cash while you’re on holiday, here’s everything you need to know about the currency in Italy.

What is the Currency of Italy?

In keeping with the rest of the EU, the Euro is the only form of legal tender in Italy. You’ll see it represented as either ‘EUR’ or €. The preceding currency of Italy, the Lira, was taken out of circulation in 2002, although it was officially replaced by the Euro in 1999. Lire are now worthless and cannot be changed up in banks or used in shops or restaurants.

The Paper Money

Euro notes each depict something from Italy’s culture, both ancient and modern. In Italy, currency notes are also given notably different sizes, so that the visually-impaired can feel which note is which. The smallest note is worth the least, starting at €5 and increasing in value and size, up to €500. In addition, the Euros are markedly different in colour, making it easy for both the fully-sighted and the visually-impaired to distinguish between them. It’s worth remembering that many shops simply don’t have the change to deal with the larger notes, so you can make your life a lot easier by carrying only smaller denominations of the currency of Italy.

The Coins

Much like the British Pound and Pennies, one Euro equals 100 cents. These are available as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins, before you get up to the Italy currency equivalent of the one and two-pound coins: the one and two Euro coins. Much like the notes, the coin currency in Italy carries pictures of Italian life such as famous sculptures, buildings or pieces of art. While they might be unfamiliar at first, paying for items with the right change can help you avoid coming home with a load of useless tender: Euro coins are too small in worth for banks to convert them back into Sterling.

Getting Cash while you’re Holidaying in Italy

Traveller’s cheques were once an easy way to change up currency in Italy, but they’re becoming less and less used. Your credit and debit cards are a much better bet: there are plenty of ATMs in the larger towns and cities in Italy, known as ‘Bancomats’. Some British banks charge commission on cash withdrawals in other countries, so it’s worth checking with yours what they charge on the currency in Italy, before you go. It’s also worth remembering that the majority of Italian ATMs will only allow a maximum withdrawal of €250 per day.

Getting Currency the Easy Way

If all this talk still sounds a bit daunting, there’s another option to consider: to save time you can get your Euros in advance from Thomas Cook’s website or instore. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about the official currency of Italy and can provide you with other options, such as a pre-paid Thomas Cook Cash Passport, and money reservation services. Reserving Italy currency means that you get the rate shown online at the time you reserve as long as you collect on the same day, which means no surprises or sudden fluctuations when you go to exchange. If you order in advance, you’ll get our Reserve & Collect rate for the day that you collect the currency on.