Foreign Exchange Guide to Italy
In this guide we review :
- Euro info - general info about the Euro
- Euro in the markets - recent EUR moves and predictions from the FX markets
- Travelling in Italy - currency & money saving tips
- Buying Euro cash online - travel money for Italy
- Sending money to Italy - save on Euro bank transfers to Italy
- Euro exchange rates - latest info & charts.
Euro (EUR) general currency information
The three letter currency code for the Euro is EUR and the symbol is €. It is the domestic currency in Eurozone, Aaland Islands, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guinea, French Southern Territories, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Vatican City, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Reunion, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre And Miquelon, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The euro (ISO: EUR) is involved in slightly more than 30% of all foreign exchange deals, and as such, is the world’s second most traded currency, behind the US dollar.
The euro is the currency of the eurozone (officially called the ‘euro area’), which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union, and is used by almost 350 million Europeans. It was introduced in January 1999.
Of all the thousands of exchange rates that exist in the world, the euro-to-US dollar exchange rate is the most actively traded, or most ‘liquid’.
Since its introduction, the euro’s lowest value against the dollar came in October 2000 when EUR/USD hit lows of 0.8231. The currency was strongest in July 2008, shortly before the worst stage of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when EUR/USD reached 1.6038.
There are currently more than twenty nations and territories which peg their currencies to the euro, the largest of which is Denmark.
Euro (EUR) in the markets
The euro was the best performing G10 in 2017 and was broadly stable in early 2018.
In the seven-week period between January 1st and February 15th (the time of this report), EUR/USD threatened 1.25 multiple times – a level not seen since 2014 – but appears to have met resistance at this level. It should be said that much of EUR/USD's recent rally is a result of broad US dollar weakness, rather than of broad euro strength.
Entering 2018, forecasts for EUR/USD ranged between 1.15 and 1.3. A more recent judgement on the pair came in February from Jens Nordvig, founder of Exante Data, who said that “dips [in EUR/USD] should be used to add to long exposure.” Nordvig declined from giving any precise upside targets.
Against sterling, the euro is little changed since the summer of last year. A EUR/GBP rate of 0.8855 in mid-February was more or less identical to that in mid-September, five months earlier.
Entering 2018, Danske Bank forecast EUR/GBP at 0.86 at year-end, while UBS forecast a much higher rate of 0.95.
By mid-February, the euro was marginally down on the year against the yen, at rates in the high 132s.
Significant bullish news for the euro in early 2018 came from Germany, with Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU party bloc achieving a breakthrough in coalition talks with the Social Democrats, which reduced political uncertainty in Europe’s largest economy.
The chart below shows the EUR to USD exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.
Currency and money saving tips for Italy
Italy’s great food, beautiful countryside, fabulous wine, and long history make it an excellent country to visit. Try to learn a few words at least in Italian, the Italians will be impressed that you're giving it a go but will often reply to you in English, giving them a chance to practise what they've learned.Some Italians still take a siesta during the day from 2-4 pm. It is somewhat of a past tradition but some of the shops still close and it’s best not to call on an Italian, as they might be having a nap. Stay alert while in the cities as theft, bag snatching and breaking into cars is common. Theft is also common on trains – day and night, so keep your eyes peeled. Try to avoid carrying passports, credit cards, travel tickets and cash together in handbags or pockets. Only carry with you what you need for the day and make use of safety deposit facilities in hotels.
Accomodation in Italy is not cheap, though decent deals can be found by searching around the internet these days.
The best way to get around Italy is via their extensive train network. Fast trains (Eurostar) cost between 35-65 EUR per trip. The slower regional trains cost between 6-23 EUR per trip. These are great if you enjoy the views. Public transport are at a good price, and of course now there are cheap flights in Europe that can save you a lot of time.
Rome is a stunning city, try to find a rooftop bar to enjoy sunset. I enjoyed Grand Hotel de la Minerve's rooftop bar with a gorgeous view. You can just walk around old city and catch all the sights if you have a decent map to follow. Venice is beautiful and unique, but is so full of tourists you may find it a bit claustrophobic. You can see what you need to within a few days, unless you know some locals.
Renting a car is a good option, as you can drive across Italy within a few hours.
Italy Trip Checklist
Travel money for Italy
Save money and time by Ordering your Euro online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the EUR cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.
Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.
For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Euro otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.
Travel Money for Italy
Sending money to Italy
When sending money to Italy it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 3 simple steps :
- Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
- You specify the local or Euro amount you want to transfer
- Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
- Once your funds are received by the provider the converted EUR amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Italy.
Bank Transfers to Italy
By comparing the rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Euro deposited into the recipient bank account in Italy and less margins and fees kept by the banks!